Sat - October 13, 2007

10 Reviews of Pentax Optio W30 Camera - Waterproof, Dustproof and Ready for Paddling

Pentax optio w30 waterproof camera Pentax Optio W30

If you are shopping for a new camera for your paddling trips you should certainly consider Pentax Optio W30, a new addition to a popular line of waterproof cameras (I am shooting with W10).

Here are three comprehensive reviews of this camera including test pictures. I especially like pictures from a photo session on a board of British lifeboat by Cliff Smith in TrustedReviewes. He has reviewed all previous Pentax Optio waterproof models.

1. TrustedReviews

Picture quality is about average for a 7MP compact. Exposure is generally good, although in standard multi-zone metering mode it does tend to under-expose in strong backlighting. Colour rendition is very good, and the lens performs well despite its unusual configuration. It has noticeable barrel distortion at the wide-angle end of the zoom range, but overall detail and corner sharpness are a match for any other 7MP pocket compact. As I’ve already mentioned, the W30 does suffer from quite bad image noise at high ISO settings, but as long as you keep it under 800 it isn’t a major problem.

2. Steve's Digicams

The overall image quality of our samples was good for a 7-megapxiel consumer model. ... the Pentax Optio W30 is yet another "Cool" underwater model. It can produce nice photos along with good shooting performance, loads of exposure modes, and lets not forget the added versatility of being able to take pictures underwater! At about $US250 or less, I feel the Optio W30 offers a great value for a camera in this category, and is sure to be a very popular digicam this year.

3. Digital Camera Review

The Pentax Optio W30 offers water enthusiasts a limited underwater digital camera capability and terrestrial users a camera they won’t need to worry about if the environment suddenly turns wet. While the camera does a good job of image capturing when conditions are optimal, its foul-weather capability makes the W30 a viable choice for anyone who needs a compact digital that can shoot in places and conditions that would pose a risk to more typical cameras of this class.


Pentax Optio W30 has been on the market for a while and I can add 7 more reviews to my list.

4. CrunchGear

Don’t get me wrong, though, it has its shortcomings. I found most of them to be in form factor, which I’ve definitely gotten over since it takes great pictures, but one thing I’d like to see change in the next model would be some areas of grip because it does get slippery when wet. The Pentax badge on the front sort of acts as a grip, but not well enough.

As with all digital point-and-shoots the W30 doesn’t take the best shots if the user relies on shooting modes all the time. You’ll get decent shots, but maybe I’m just a perfectionist, which is actually the case. If you spend time in any body of water and you’re an avid shooter then take a look at the W30. It’s a JIS Class 8 Waterproof and JIS Class 5 Dustproof camera that takes video (640×480 at 15-or30fps) and records audio in a small little package that takes photos that rival some of the photos I’ve taken with my DSLR. You can even hook up the W30 to your TV to instantly view photos and videos. If it’s good enough for the eight-time ASP world champion, Kelly Slater, then it’s good enough for me.

5. PopPhoto

Having reviewed a prior Optio waterproof camera, we were very pleased to see that Pentax fixed a big flaw of the earlier model: the ever-important protective covers and doors now have spring-loaded latches and secure automatically. No more flooding.

We like:

  • Waterproof down to 10 feet!
  • Internal optical zoom
  • Excellent underwater image and movie quality
  • Innovative synchro sound mode
  • Digital shake reduction with ISO up to 3200
  • Versatile, useful "Green Mode" button
Not so much:
  • Low-res, narrow viewing angle LCD
  • Fairly large
  • Needs better handstrap and protective boot underwater
  • No autofocus illuminator light

6. Digital Camera

Overall, there's little not to like about this camera. It's similar to many other shirt-pocket compacts on the market, with the added bonus of going with you into the pool or ocean instead of sitting behind on the beach. So go ahead, jump right in - the Optio W30 will happily go along with you.

7. Photography Blog

The Pentax Optio W30 is a fairly unremarkable camera that succeeds largely due to being water and dust proof, and very easy to use. This is truly a camera that you can take on your next beach holiday, and not have to worry if it gets dropped in the sand or sea. The W30 also makes a great companion for a snorkelling trip, and is generally a hard-wearing camera - if it can survive daily use by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, then it can survive most things!

8. Pocket-lint - Gadget News and Reviews

Tough, versatile, and easy to use the Pentax Optio W30 offers a neat combination of rugged outdoorsiness along with scene modes comprehensive enough to provide shooting panache.

Some sluggish AF problems aside, the W30 is well worth looking at if you want a camera that can go anywhere you do, rain, snow, sand shine or swim!

9. Megapixel

The waterproof/dust proof construction of the W30 means that all of its external controls are designed to prevent the ingress of water or dust into the camera itself. For the two doors on the camera — one that covers the battery and the memory card, the other the external connections — that means rubber gaskets. For the external controls, it means that the switches they activate are protected by waterproof seals, and in turn that they are a little bit stiffer than what is common on a camera. However, this is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that a bit of rain, or even a dip at the far end of the pool will not damage the camera.

10. customer review

Why did I choose it over the Olympus? I disliked Olympus' proprietary USB connection and the xD-Picture Card it takes which is also proprietary. I also trust the reviews of other Amazon users who dislike the picture quality from such an expensive camera, while the Pentax's quality has so far been great.
The photo quality above water has been good and underwater has been great. I am used to the snappy response of a Canon Rebel XT SLR, so the Optio feels very slow in comparison! But the tradeoffs for compact size and most of all waterproofing make this a good second camera.
If you don't need a waterproof camera, get a Canon SD-series (they're EXCELLENT). But if you need/want something more 'safe', get this camera. It's easily the best water/dust-proof camera on the market.

Pentax Optio W30 User Manual (PDF):

If you are using Pentax Optio W30 please share your experiences with this camera.

Pentax Optio W30 and W60

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