Sat - August 30, 2008

10 Reviews of Pentax Optio W60, a New Waterproof Camera for Paddlers

Update 8/30/08: I added two more reviews of the new Pentax Optio W60 to my list. It is also worth noting that the price of the previous Optio W30 model, dropped at Amazon to $199.99 (and shipping is free).

Optio W60, the newest model from Pentax W-line of waterproof cameras, has been on the market for a month or so. If you are shooting with the W60 please share your comments and impressions about this camera, especially, if you upgraded from any older Pentax models.

Below, I am listing 7 reviews and other resources related to Pentax Optio W60 which may be useful for somebody shopping for a new compact camera for kayaking and other outdoor activities.

I am paddling with Pentax Optio W30. It is still a good choice for paddlers and cheaper than W60.

Pentax Optio W60 silver
Pentax Optio W60 silver waterproof camera
Pentax Optio W60 ocean blue
Pentax Optio W60 ocean blue waterproof camera

1. Steve's DigiCams Reviews

Bottom Line - The Pentax Optio W60 is an easy to use and very versatile, go anywhere camera. With various pre-programmed shooting modes and the one-push green "Easy" mode, the W60 is easy enough for anyone to use. While many features are the same as found on the W30, the 10-megapixel imaging sensor, HD movie mode and 28mm wide 5x optical zoom make great additions. Overall, we found that shooting performance and image quality were great for a camera in this class. With a MSRP of US$329, this is an excellent deal for anyone that travels or spends a lot of time around water.

2. Trusted Reviews

by Cliff Smith
The W60’s overall image quality is quite good, although it does have a couple of issues. The level of detail is very good, performing as well as any good 10MP compact, and the relatively low compression at the highest quality setting (average file size 3.4MB) produces very few artefacts.

The lens is a bit of a problem, because it suffers from particularly bad barrel distortion at wide angle settings, with less-than-stellar corner sharpness, although to be completely fair this may be less of a problem when shooting underwater.

I did find that my review camera tended to under-expose on a lot of shots, resulting in some very murky shadows in high contrast scenes, but it was possible to correct this using exposure compensation.

Verdict. The Pentax Optio W60 is a unique camera. It offers much the same performance, image quality and features as a typical modern compact camera, but with the added bonus of being waterproof and ruggedly built. If you’re looking for a camera for a travel and adventure, but also want a stylish pocket camera for social photography, then you’ve just found it.

3. Owners rating and opinions

W60 is a fine little camera with convenient zoom range and satisfactory image quality. Images are better than with other P&S cameras at elevated sensitivity. Macro is just short of excellent and after using it for more than 3-4 hours underwater it has shown no stress at all.

Construction does not look very robust.

For an underwater compact camera this one is fine. Not great but fine. Image quality does not stand a chance compared with any of the Canon Ixus. However, I don't like the clumsy underwater housing for Ixus, so I've been looking for a camera like this to have with my fishing gear. Olympus has a few cameras in this category, but I don't like xD memory card format. IQ of Oly and W60 is similar.

I think the overall responsiveness of the camera has improved over the W30. It costs more than a normal 10mp pocket size, however, with its water proof abilty, the W60 opens up another world of photographing opportunities. In another words, I am loving it!

Love being able to turn off the flash and have the setting "stick" so it never comes on.

4. How does the new Pentax Optio W60 stack up against Olympus waterproof digital cameras?

by Janice Chen at
Based on specs alone, the only thing drawing me to the 1030 SW over the Pentax would be the waterproof depth rating since I am a scuba diver. But otherwise, the Optio W60 seems poised to give Olympus a run for its money. Image quality will be the kicker, so stay tuned.

5. Pentax Optio W60 KAP Report

64 pictures on Flickr. and a first impressions report on KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) discussion forum by Wind Watcher.
Background: I have been looking for a waterproof camera to use when kayaking and swimming (Atlantic Ocean) and a camera that I could dual use for water sports and for KAP (given my habits of dropping my camera and KAP rig into various bodies of water).

First impressions: The Pentax Optio W60 will be a good KAP camera (especially where water risks are high). I like the light weight AND the 10 MP. I am still sticking with my Canon A570IS for most KAP work (mainly due to CHDK, RAW, Video, scripts for zoom and much more). But I can find a place for the new W60. The W60 is a true point and shoot (no direct control over the shutter speeds or F stop). The intervolmeter is a bit tricky. It is hard to stop once it gets going (sequence of keys to hit to stop it are hard to time). The selection of how many shots to take is tricky also… it seems you cannot change the number of pictures to take till the sequence complete…I am still playing with this.

6. Pentax Optio W60 Review

on Going Prepared forum with some nice macro pictures of flowers.

7. Pentax Optio W60 Review

on All things Frinik blog.
One problem the w30 had was trying to focus in low light situations, it would take an eternity to get a focus lock on the subject indoors with incandescent lighting, this problem seems to have been solved with the new W60, after a few shots in low light situations the focus on the photos were near perfect.

8 Pentax Optio W60: Underwater Field Test

on Test swim and video. More video clips on YouTube.

9. Pentax W60 Waterproof Camera: Catching Whale Sharks

Testing W60 in Hawaii - a video clip from gizmodo.

10. W60 Review and Comparison to W30

from Imaging Resource.
As with the W30, the Pentax Optio W60 forgoes any form of optical viewfinder in favor of solely a 2.5" LCD display. This is the same size as that used on the previous camera (and pretty much the bottom end of LCD sizes seen on competing cameras), but the resolution has been doubled to 230,000 pixels - so still a noticeable improvement here.

Other changes include a new 720p (1280x720 pixel) HD movie mode, although the increase in movie quality comes at a decrease in framerate to just 15 frames per second. At VGA or below, the Pentax W60 can offer 30 frames per second movies.

There's also more built-in memory ( 36.4MB instead of 21.9MB), a new battery type (the D-LI78 instead of the D-LI63), a slight increase to the strength of the digital zoom (5.7x) and playback zoom (10x), and a slight decrease in the fastest shutter speed - now 1/1500 instead of 1/2000 second.


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