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
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.