Sat - November 17, 2007

How to Add Filters and Lens Attachments to Your Waterproof Pentax Optio or Olympus Stylus Camera?



My last point-and-shoot film camera, Contax TVS, allowed me to use lens hood and filters. I really missed a polarizer filter in my paddling photography when I switched to digital cameras: Canon PowerShot S40, and later to Pentax Optio WP and W10.

I did some experiments with a polarizer filter hold in front of my Optio W10, but did not try to attach it permanently to the camera. Recently, I found modifications of the Pentax Optio W10 camera made by Adam Grace, pimpphisher on Flickr and asked him for more detailed information. Thank you, Adam.

I have made some modifications to my Pentax Optio W10 waterproof camera so that I can use attachments like filters and lenses.

I bought a 30.5mm UV filter that come with a ring thats "steps-up" from 28mm to 30.5mm made by Sunpak from Best Buy for about $15. This step-up ring has threads that allow me to screw in a filter or wide angle adapter once the back part of the ring is glued to my camera. The UV filter is virtually useless for me, the step-up ring is the important part.

The 28-30.5mm step up ring fits just right. I used about 4 drops of super glue to tack the ring temporarily in place before I used a continuous bead of 5minute epoxy around the whole edge of the ring to permanently bond the ring to the outside of the camera body. Once dry your camera will be ready for attachments.

I bought a Sunpak 0.5x wide-angle lens ($30 or so) to achieve a much wider picture angle. I recently purchased a lens cap for a 30.5 mm ($5) to protect the lens cover from scratching. I bought the wide-angle lens and lens cap all from Best Buy as well. I bought my 30.5mm Hoya circular polarizer filter from Adorama.com for about $30. I also attached a lanyard from a flash drive/thumb drive to the camera so that I can detach the camera from the lanyard when needed.

Hopefully this information will help you if you want to use filters or lenses on your Pentax cameras.

Adam

pentax optio w10
Pentax Optio W10 with the wide-angle lens, the circular polarizer and lens cap attachments
pentax optio w10
all new accessories
pentax optio w10
Before wide-angle lens without using the flash in Auto, on a tripod.
pentax optio w10
After wide-angle lens without using the flash in Auto, on a tripod.

The wide angle attachment causes a lot of distortion and, I am sure, it deteriorates the image quality. However, it can be used just for fun. I would also see some applications in my paddling photography.

The Pentax Optio W10 camera mounted on a bow of my 21' Thunderbolt covers the entire paddler together with a paddle. It is important if you like to video your paddling technique. The same video is more difficult with the shorter 17' Sisson Nucleus kayak. I am cutting the paddle or I can show it only on one side of the kayak. In the case of even shorter boat you would really need the wide angle attachment.

More important would be for me the possibility of using the polarizer filter. Check Adams landscape pictures on Flickr, e.g., Yellow Creek, which were shot with Pentax Optio W10 with a polarizer filter.

A step up ring may serve as a short lens hood. It will be possible to attach some kind of a larger improvised hood to protect the lens against water splashes and the direct sun light. It would extend usable video footage shot from the kayak deck.

The above modifications can be done for any Pentax Optio "W" model. What about Olympus Stylus SW cameras? They have similar design to Pentax with the lens completely enclosed within the camera case. However, it may be more tricky due to awkward location of the lens at the camera corner and a sliding lens cover. Could any Olympus owner share his or her opinion?

I have started to look for the requires parts. You can order them all from amazon.com:

  • Sunpak 0.5x wide-angle lens which includes 25 to 37mm, 27 to 37mm, 30 to 37mm, and 30.5 to 37mm step-up rings
  • Then, you need a 37mm circular polarizer filter
  • Or perhaps, the entire 37 mm filter set like this one from Bower or Opteka
  • There are many creative options here since there are numerous accessories for video lenses. You just need to find and glue to the camera a step-up ring starting from around 28 mm and, then, find a corresponding filter.

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