Published on December 16th, 2010 | by Greg0
Pentax’s Optio W90: An Impressive New "Everything-Proof" Camera
The Pentax Optio W90 is Pentax’s 11th generation rugged â€œEverything-Proofâ€ camera and it manages to impress with its features and capabilities. The W90 comes with so many features that we might not be able to name them all in this review… but we will try.
The W90 can easily lay claim its “rugged” title due to its ability to be used by those who love winter sports because it can be used in temperatures as low as 14F(-10C), not to mention that it is dustproof and shockproof from a height of 4 feet (1.2m) and most impressively its waterproof in water up to 20 feet (6m). The W90 also comes with a 1 cm macro mode, digital zoom and 3 LED lights placed around the lens which together give you the ability to not just take pictures of everyday life and large objects but also be able to capture the miniscule world. If you wanted to take close up pictures of leaves, ants and small objects in the natural world, you could easily do that with this camera, the only caveat (which we felt to be a major caveat) being that the resolution drops from 12 megapixels to 2.1 megapixel.
We loved that it can capture video at 720p and comes with a mini HDMI output to connect with any HD-capable TV or monitor. We were also presently surprised by its ability to be up and ready to go a second after we turned on the camera meaning that we could start taking pictures almost immediately. It can also take save your pictures quickly, allowing you to continue snapping to your hearts delight.
We absolutely loved the underwater capabilities of the W90. This is where the camera truly shines. Taking pictures underwater produced one of the best pictures we have ever seen in an underwater capable camera. On the downside there is no optical image stabilizer, so you have to rely on the Pentax’s Pixel Tracking Shake Reduction which uses digital processing to clean out the shakes and bumps. The camera also comes with a high sensitivity anti-shake mode which gives you a 5 megapixel picture. There is also a digital stabilizer for movies.
The W90 is compatible with SD or SDHC cards and also the somewhat pricey but interesting Eye-Fi memory cards that we’ve reviewed which can automatically and wirelessly transfer your pictures when the camera comes close to your PC or laptop. The camera feels and looks rugged as it should be- for instance, it comes with 5x optical zoom but the lens doesn’t protrude from its housing, thereby protecting it. It also comes with a shutter release button with a rough surface that is easy to use even with wet fingers. It also comes with an infrared remote control for remote picture taking- a bit easy to lose, as these things often are, but a nice inclusion nonetheless.
The camera comes with smile and face detection which allows it to detect up to 32 faces and also take a picture when the subject smiles. A feature of the detection is the pet detector which was claimed to be able to take and recognize the faces of pets- unfortunately the pets we tried to take pictures wouldn’t sit still for us. All in all we have come to like Pentax’s new entry into the field and think you would too- a good balance of size, features, picture quality and durability. The camera comes in Pistachio Green, Black, and Orange and can be found on Amazon for around $200 at press time. It’s easy to picture the holidays with this Pentax; whether scuba diving in Hawaii or being handled a bit harshly by the kids.