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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
I ordered this camera to use during water activties on a caribbean cruise. I used it the weekend before on dry land and thought it did a great job - especially shooting "Wide screen" video.

We left for our cruise and took the Pentax on our first beach day. Used it snorkeling (note I stay on the surface and never dive down so the camera would never be more than 3 feet submerged) and took fabulous underwater photos and video. I was very pleased.

When we returned to our cabin, some hours after leaving the water, I took out the battery and put it in the charger and also downloaded the photos & video into my computer. Next morning, however, I took the battery out of the charger and noticed the contacts were all corroded. Looked inside the camera and the same thing.

I managed to get it working and it took photos one more day. Drained the battery during another water-filled day. I could never get the battery to charge again. Sadly, I had no waterproof camera to use during the two remaining water fun days.

Returned the camera to Amazon and will be shopping for something similar but more "Waterproof!"
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2010
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
Just got it today and here's my 2 cents' worth. It's cheap, [...], a cheaper version of Pentax W80. So please have realistic expectations. Yes, I've read the reviews before I bought it(see [...]). Other sites haven't bothered to review it. The noise and image quality issue is well known, as panned by the reviewers herein. The picture is too soft, too dull. But it fits my strategy. I need an inexpensive splash-proof camera for use while sailing. Getting any picture is better than getting no picture. For better quality shots, I can use a Panasonic TZ5 in a Dicapac waterproof pouch and look real dorky. Near future replacement for the TZ5 for me could be the Sony HX5 or the Panasonic ZS5. For dry conditions, I have a Sony A200 and A300 DSLR at my disposal.

I also have a Pentax Optio W10, bought in 2006. After taking a few comparison shots with these two Pentax cameras, I can confirm that the WS80 is noisier than the W10 at the same ISO 400, but the WS80 still has more resolution, less pixelated than the W10. The extra 4 MP help. The WS80 is also better in some other ways - 5x zoom, cost, 720 movie, and kinda IS? One ergonomic problem I have with the WS80 is that I find it hard to fully depress the shutter button without causing some camera movement. My tweaks on the camera setting: set ISO at 200; crank up the sharpness and contrast in the P mode and do more post editing and add still more contrast. There's a little too much yellow, esp on grass.

If you want something more rugged with better image quality, then spend more money, ~$200+ more for a Panasonic TX1, TX2, Sony TX5 or Pentax W90. (Sorry, Canon looks too toyish and bulky.) For me this is cheap insurance against water damage to the DSLRs. Sailing pictures taken in brighter lights this summer may turn out OK then. Happy shooting!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2009
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
Easy to use water proof camera you'll want to take to any water activity. All functions are simple and user friendly. The large picture viewing screen is extra good for older eyes with no glasses. You will not find better for the money. Old NC surfer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2009
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
I've had this camera a couple weeks and I finally got outside to take some pictures. Overall, for the price of the camera it takes OK pictures. If I wanted great quality pictures I would have bought a more expensive waterproof camera. I did however, buy this camera because it is waterproof. I did not buy it for the intent of snorkling but it will be exposed at some point to rapids, snow, and rain. After these entounters and no problems I will gladly raise this review to a five.

Camera is very easy to use. Takes nice pictures although on some pictures it looks a little blury in the background. When the shutter is pressed I experienced no delay even indoors. It was very easy to download pics to computer.

Overall, I would recommend this camera to anyone that wants a nice easy to use waterproof camera and is not to fussy about perfect pictures everytime. Camera is a good value at $169 w/free shipping. I'll update as I use this under different conditions.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2009
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
Since I just started using the camera, I have not yet utilized it to its fullest capacity, but so far I am very pleased. I like the fact that the camera is water proof so I do not have to worry about using it around water. Also, I like the feature that the zoom lens is encased so the lens does not constantly extend then compact every time you turn it on/off. The 5X optical lens is very sharp and even the digital zoom is quite sharp. Although the manual is thicker than the camera, it comes with a quick guide to let you start taking pictures quickly. I can always read the manual on an as-need basis if necessary.

I have owned a Pentax camera before (Optio S sub-compact)and really liked it also. However, this camera is much easier to use and produces very sharp photos. For a little over $200, very well worth the price!

JC
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2009
Color Name: White & PurpleVerified Purchase
Bought this as a gift to replace a 3-4yr old Canon S70 digital camera, which took very good pictures, but was a bit bulky to put in your pocket (not to mention the battery was old and only did 30s of 640x480 video). I considered other small models by Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax and even Fuji. This one was waterproof (at least splashproof) and did 720p video at 30fps. The waterproof Pentax W60 lacked 720p/30fps and the W80 had poor image quality since bumping the sensor to 12MP. I thought this camera might have been the best of both worlds. It is nice and small. The picture quality is so terrible, I'm sending this back to Amazon ASAP. I tried changing the ISO to 100, made sure I was in the highest quality mode. But, no luck. I'm embarrassed to have given this to my wife. I would buy any of the Canon SD models, but I think we are going to stick with the old one and my 40D DSLR for now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2010
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
This camera produces beautiful pictures even by an inexpeienced photographer as myself. The battery wore down rather quickly but I do expect improvement when it gets recharged. I haven't tested it in wet conditions yet. I miss a view finder since most of my shots are in bright sun, but I've learned to trust the camera and am happy with the results.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2010
Color Name: Black & OrangeVerified Purchase
Some background so you know where this review is coming from...

I'm a semi-pro photographer, which means I've sold some work (mainly those kind of high-end greeting cards you buy that come wrapped in individual cellophane, "nature" images..) but don't make enough money off it to quit my day job.

I've been through many cameras in my life. In film, started with Canon SLR's (AE-1, then A-1), switched to Nikon 20 years ago (FM2, multiple N8008 bodies), have also owned medium format (Rolleicord, Yashica, Mamiya 645..) Current outfit is much simplified - a Nikon D80 digital SLR with a bunch of lenses...

Have also owned lots of digital point and shoots - from the Sony Mavica (remember saving to floppy disc?) through some Sonys and Canons.

My latest Canon point-and-shoot (the one my wife uses) died recently, and since we live near the beach and have a pool (and three small children who shoot pictures) I thought I'd get something waterproof as well as small. Did not want to spend a lot of money on that - I have enough money in cameras, thank you very much - and it looked like the Pentax fit the bill.

Oops.

Although the Pentax seems like it might be a good camera for some people, for me picture quality is paramount. If the camera doesn't take good pictures, you might as well not take them.

Pentax did a good job with exposure (with and without flash) but despite the megapixel count the final image was always "noisy" - a grainy-looking effect, noticeable without an extreme amount of magnification. I tested this under every condition I could think of - bright sunlight, shade, indoors with flash, and with the camera at every setting (ISO and picture size) that I could think of. Same result.

I did NOT test the underwater capabilities of it. Given that it could not produce acceptable pictures for me above water and I was going to return it (which I did) I didn't want to risk having something happen to it in the water.

Now... one might think "that's just the way small cameras are" but I've tested multiple "non-underwater" cameras in the same price range and they take MUCH better pictures. For example, I've replaced this with a Canon SD780IS and it's flawless...

So... again, the picture quality is not AWFUL, I'm sure if your only purpose is to post pictures on Flickr or print 4x6's (or 5 x 7's, maybe) most normal people would not be able to see what I'm talking about, but if you're a somewhat fanatical photographer I can't recommend this one.

Perhaps it's a side effect of the underwater nature of it, I've seen similar reviews that suggest if you go to a higher end UW camera the picture quality gets better, but for me I was not willing to spend twice as much to find out - we'll just have to keep the kids away from our Canon at the beach and pool.

Again, if you're looking for an inexpensive camera that's supposed to be waterproof and aren't too picky about picture quality (if camera phone pictures look good to you!) then this might be the one, but not for me...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2010
Color Name: White & PurpleVerified Purchase
I own one of NIKON DSLR camera and I always wanted to have small, portable camera/video recorder and it was really hard to pass when the unit has many features (5x optical zoom, waterproof, 720P video, etc.) and its priced around $100. I was little worried that many reviewers stated about bad image quality. I give it a try and took it to wisconsin dells waterpark and took some pictures/ video clips at indoors & outdoors.

Image Quality:
Well, my advise is, alway put ISO manually at lowest setting. (yes, even at outside)
I believe this camera is intended for outdoor use, unless plenty of lighting system is setup in indoor.
Picture (or Video) quality is okay when there are enough light w/ ISO setup at 64 or 100.
I would not even waste time trying to take a good picture if any of above are missing.

Optical Zoom:
I rather put it at 1x zoom and take a picture/video as I think you loose the image quality when you zoom it.
And I would definitely turn off digital zoom.

720P Video:
There is no HDMI input. After I recorded (max. length is about 11 min. per record) some clips, I saved to PC and they played straight without any conversion. (avi format) Quality? well, it's not crystal crisp clear, but okay enough to watch in my 55" LCD TV. You can zoom while recording, but the image quality will get fuzzy as recording is still focused to your original zoom setup.

Waterproof:
This was the main feature I liked the most. I recored many video clips at indoor+outdoor water parks. I recorded while on water slides, artificial waves, underwater (at typical 4-5ft pool), etc. Played (w/ sounds) pretty good and there's no sign of leakage.

Overall, it is okay camera (+ video recorder) as long as shooting outside when there's enough light.
I would not recommend if you're looking for indoor use camera. Battery life is pretty short. I would get couple extras.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
Color Name: White & PurpleVerified Purchase
I absolutely love new my little camera! It fits perfectly into every aspect I'd been looking for the past year, however I did not purchase it for underwater photography but as a resistant land camera, which it is! Most digital cameras are not water resistant so even a little drizzle at a concert or splash at the beach can ruin your camera for good; this is the maximum water ventures my camera is scheduled to have and the most I would recommend for anyone to expose their unit to. I work with digital cameras and when I purchased this one a heated debate began among my co-workers about "waterproof electronic devices"; it seems to be an oxymoron. We concluded that "waterproof electronics" are built for resistance and recommendable in that regard but should be kept on dry land because they tend to not work as advertised. Personally, I will not be experimenting for Pentax with the Optio WS80, the only camera I might put to the test (depending on customer reviews once it has been on the market for at least a year) is the Optio W90 but note I wrote "might". Meanwhile, for the rare occasions I do underwaterphotography I will go with the tried and true film cameras built for this purpose.

I needed a camera with a lens that would not extend and had 5x optical zoom (as opposed to electronic zoom), the non-extendable lens is typical of waterproof cameras but most only have 3x zoom which is not enough for me because I love candids and close-ups. I also needed a decent built in flash because remember I was looking for a resistant land camera but most waterproof cameras either lack a flash altogether or have one that seems to be for simple decoration, on this I gambled because I had to wait to receive it before I could confirm anything. Now that I have taken some night shots, I have no complaints. I would have preferred a viewfinder but this is not caracteristic of waterproof cameras because they are hard to use underwater, however I settled for a bright, wide and comfortable 2.7 inch LCD screen. Looks were a secondary aspect but important nevertheless, I wanted something I liked though I had no preset design in mind; this I love! It is sleek and slim, comparable to any high-end compact digital camera on the market, and the colors are very cute and "totally me" as advised by a friend.
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