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on November 20, 2009
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!"
85 helpful votes
86 helpful votes
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on January 6, 2014
The seal on the battery cover has been great on the camera I purchased. I got this one for kayaking and have owned this for over three years! Still using the original battery and it works and charges great. I've had this under water while swimming, gotten splashed many times, and done kayak rolls both in fresh water and even salt water. Seaweed, muck, mud, dry sand... nothing phases this camera. Just wash it off in the sink at home! Physical zoom is done internal of the housing and is limited. Digital zoom is worthless so don't use it. Holds up to 32gb cards and that is the size I am using now. The battery will discharge before you can fill up a card of that size. I've taken this all over the US and even spent time in Rome with it. Years ago when I bought it, it was a bargain. The prices I see here today are not worth it at all. In that price range you have better options. Shop around but this is a good camera on the budget end of waterproof cameras.
1 helpful vote
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on July 9, 2010
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...
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on March 25, 2010
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!
21 helpful votes
22 helpful votes
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on May 12, 2010
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.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on June 1, 2010
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.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on June 25, 2010
just got this camera and have been taking pics of anything and everything. i took it in the ocean and the pool and it is waterproof like it states. the quality of the pics is great as well. the people who write that the quality sucks must be expecting the quality of an slr but this is a point and shoot camera so it does what its supposed to. i love that it doesnt do that pesky double flash either. that ruins so many picture moments with friends and i have always hated that on other cameras that i have had. i know its for red eye reduction but some cameras dont allow u to turn that off regardless if u dont want it.

its also a plus that it records in hd. and it has a wide angle lens so when u hare holding it yourself and trying to take a picture of yourself and a friend(s) you can capture a lot more in the screen than with a normal lens camera.

another thing i love about this camera is that it has a 5X internal optical zoom. so what that means is that it doesnt have to extend itself for you to zoom. i cant tell you how many times ive broken cameras from dropping it and then it says that stupid lens error. with this you wont have that problem anymore since there are not external moving parts. ive had cameras break and get the lens error too just from being in my pocket and it would turn on while in my pocket and then the lens would get jammed. no longer do i have that problem thank god!

i have already dropped this camera while i was biking on the beach and picked it up and it worked fine. so i guess the drop test is a success. it was even while i was moving pretty fast so i guess thats a tougher drop than while standing still..

i tried the water proof cameras from costco and they sucked. they took forever to turn on and it took a while for you to take a picture after pressing the shoot button. also they had that pesky double flash as well. so glad i got this one. you should get one too. you wont regret it.
1 helpful vote
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on June 8, 2010
I used this camera and all seemed ok, until one day I went to the pool and tried it's underwater functionality. Literally held the camera less than 6 inches under water and took a few pics and short movie. All seemed fine, until the next day. I went to show someone the pics from the previous day and saw the lens was all fogged up, not a good sign, aired it out, took battery out, let it dry out, won't turn back on, completely inoperable.

Guess what, just a few days after my return window closed w/ Amazon, and no real info in warranty about how to return it, not even a phone number. I got a paperweight at this point, until I figure out how to get it fixed or replaced.

Maybe ok for occasional spills, but by no means waterproof, if it can't take a couple minutes @ 6 inches under water and dried off immediately after.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on May 27, 2010
I almost didn't purchase this camera because of the mixed reviews. So far, I'm loving this camera! Sure, a viewfinder would have been nice and the pictures aren't as nice as your 40D, but hello? the camera is less than $100! The pictures are just as nice as any other compact digital camera i've owned.

I did have to mess with the settings though. When I first tried out the camera, the flash didn't seem to be in sync with the shutter so all the indoor pictures were just coming out blurry. Once I figured that out, pictures were great!

I took it to the pool the other day and i let the camera float (you need to buy a floater) beside me. Wiped it down with a wet one afterwards. Opened the camera to see if any water got inside...nope!

Oh - and beware fellas. The purple and white colors are SOOO girlie. The white is actually this sparkly glitter type paint.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on November 11, 2010
I purchased this camera for a trip to the Caribbean, I was a little weary because I had read the other reviews and some were not so promising. The camera arrived about 3 days earlier than I expected, I instantly charged it up. Once we were in the ocean it was hard to tell wether or not you took the picture, so I kinda just went shutter crazy pointing and clicking at anything I wanted. I was sure to leave the camera door shut for about an hour or two after each use, also I used a different SD card for each snorkle trip just incase something happened to the camera, I didnt want to loose the pictures I had captured. Anyways, we checked out the pics on the screen and they all seemed amazing, once we got home and uploaded them, that was the reality. Our pictures were AWESOME!! Im going to mexico this summer and cannot wait to see what kinda of pics I can get!! Just buy it, it was worth every penny.
1 helpful vote
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