Apart from its internal vertically-mounted lens and waterproof body the WS80 shares most of its features with another of Pentax’s recent ultra-compact models, the Optio E80. Like the E80 it is essentially a pretty basic snapshot camera, with only automatic exposure controls and a range of 12 scene modes, although these do include underwater photography and video modes, as well as a setting for beach and snow.
Despite its simplicity the WS80 does offer a reasonable range of contemporary features. It has D-Range contrast compensation with selectable highlight and shadow correction, and saturation, contrast and sharpness can be adjusted. The WS80 also features a much-improved face detection system, able to detect and recognise up to 32 faces in each shot.
There are several interesting features in playback mode too, including red-eye correction, colour filters, composite frames and a bizarre Small Face filter which, to quote the official website, “makes the subject’s face appear smaller in proportion to the body than it actually is, to produce attractive, well-balanced portraits.” Personally I like my face the size it is, thanks.
It’s not all good news though. The impressive sounding “Pixel Track SR Hi-sensitivity anti-shake mode” is really just digital image stabilisation with increased ISO setting to produce a faster shutter speed. It does work, but it’s not as effective as a mechanical image stabilisation system, such as the sensor-shift IS that Pentax uses in its more expensive compacts and digital SLRs