Pentax Optio WP Waterproof camera - Road Cycling UK

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Pentax Optio WP Waterproof camera

Neat, compact, waterproof

Easy to operate

A tourist’s refuelling session recorded for posterity

Scenic shots a cinch

Pentax Optio WP Waterproof camera £169.99 (memory card extra)

Many of us use our bikes for touring and like to carry a camera to take pictures of our tour along the way. Digital cameras are now commonplace; many, like this Pentax Optio WP, are an ideal size for anyone who wants to take general snaps, being light and compact enough to fit into a cycling jersey or pannier pocket. However, one common complaint amongst riders is that cameras can be vulnerable to moisture. Even waterproof panniers can be insufficient to protect a camera; moisture is in the air, after all, and especially if riding through hot humid showery conditions pannier bags can sweat. The result can soon be one broken camera!

Step forward the Pentax Optio WP, which is fully waterproof. It can even take pictures underwater, although I confess I wouldn’t risk that myself. It was purely bought as I felt reassured that at least if it did get wet on tour then it should be OK. Picture quality is fairly good with 5.0 megapixels, although I note that already the model has been replaced, first with a 6.0 megapixels version. The current model called Optio W30 has 7.0 megapixels, although the basic design and functions are in the same! That is, of course, the problem with this kind of product; mine is a year old only.

With a simple menu screen I found the camera easy to use and perfect for on-tour shots of views and daylight general pictures of points of interest. It can be used in either fully- or semi-automatic mode with quick and easy to select options that included an emphasis on long distance views, portraits or close up pictures as well as all the normal features we would expect of a compact camera.

So easy to use was the Pentax and so pleased was I with the results even I could manage that I actually started to enjoy taking pictures. In fact, more so than ever before, the convenience of digital allowing me to snap away carefree without the concern of filling up a 36 exposure film as in the past. Only the size of the memory card is a limit in that respect, my 1gigabyte card allowing for 300 pictures, more if I selected a lower resolution to be recorded in each shot, of course. I personally keep the camera set at 5.0 mega pixels as for me 300 shots is adequate plus I find that instead of using the zoom to the maximum (3 x Optical) I get a better quality picture if I crop a shot on my PC afterwards instead, the maximum amount pixels helping to achieve this.

I found it ideal for views and general location snaps that are typical cycle touring holiday pictures; it also has a ‘micro’ setting for real close-up clarity that is very impressive and once again encourages pictures of that type, just because it is so easy to get good results. On the downside the display screen can be hard to see in bright sunlight and flash photography is impressive for close up work only; in conclusion for I am very happy with it; even if it was out of date by the time I walked out of the shop with it; I dare say the new one is even better!


Compact waterproof camera, ideal for tour snaps and close ups

goodWaterproof and compact

badVery limited use of flash and picture quality diminishes if zoom used

performance 8

value 7

overall 8

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