Review of Pentax Optio W80 Waterproof Camera

Pentax Optio W80 Camera and Joby Gorillapod
Pentax Optio W80 Camera and Joby Gorillapod

My new Pentax Optio W80 is the camera I’ll be taking on our next adventure.  Some of you may recall that my Canon Powershot S60 died on our last trip while we were in Thailand (it was about 5 years old).  We had purchased an underwater housing and it was awesome to be able to take it swimming, but having to carefully seal the underwater casing each time was nerve wracking.  I decided it would be easier to buy an underwater camera next time around.  I was without a camera during our adventure through Vietnam and Cambodia.

When we finally got to KL Malaysia I was able to buy a new camera.  There wasn’t a Canon underwater camera on the market there at the time, so I went with the Pentax Optio W60.  The one I got must have been defective, since the shutter button stopped working within a month.  When we looped back to KL I was able to get it repaired, but then it broke again two months later. It leaked while in the water, temporarily messing up the screen and the shutter button stopped working again.  So I didn’t have a camera again for the China and Europe segments of our trip.  When we got back to the U.S. I sent it in for repairs, and they replaced it with a new Optio W80!  It’s a good thing we got an international warranty!  I can’t complain about the service, but I wouldn’t recommend the Pentax.  I may have just gotten a lemon, but who knows.

Having a waterproof camera is perfect for our type of traveling.  I don’t have to worry about a sudden down-pour damaging it and I can take it on boats and kayaks.  And best of all, I can take photos and videos of the fish while snorkeling!

It’s pictured above on a Joby Gorillapod, which is a flexible light tripod.  It’s awesome for uneven surfaces and can even wrap around a tree branch. George also has a larger Gorillapod for his SLR.  Highly recommended for traveling light!

[Update Nov. 13, 2011]

I used my Pentax Optio W80 for our trips through India and Eastern Europe, and it has been working fine.  I am a little hesitant about taking it in the water, but so far it has not leaked.  I especially like that I don’t have to worry about my camera if it starts raining unexpectedly.  It doesn’t take great photos at night, but the video quality is pretty good even at nighttime.  It has started to develop a bit of rust in the battery compartment, but that could be my fault for not drying it out each time after taking it in the water.

Maybe as my next camera I will get a waterproof Canon Powershot, in blue :).

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