Monday, May 16

New Waterproof Camera - Pentax Optio WP

I invested in the Pentax Optio WP late last week and tested it out on the American River - South Fork this weekend. I bought it from Wolf Camera in San Francisco, $349. For some unknown reason they were selling the older WR for the same price - go figure. People are raving about it. I have to say I can't disagree with them so far.

Pentax Optio WP Posted by Hello

It seems to take great pictures. It is relatively easy to use, but you really need to read the manual to get your $349's worth of camera. It has more bells & whistles than you can shake a stick at and more than you'll probably ever need or use - whatever. The funny thing is that it doesn't look waterproof at all! It's a little scary to be dumping a shiny expensive silver thing in the water - but low & behold it appears to indeed be waterproof. Who knew!

The one thing I found out quickly is that when taking it out of your PFD pocket the lens gets pretty steamy (especially on an 80 degree day), so you need to do something to clear it before shooting, otherwise you end up with crappy pictures. So just grabbing it to snap a quick pic of a move isn't really doable. I also dummy corded it to my PFD, since I'm a dummy. I wouldn't want to drop this on a rock, since I think it would break pretty easily. The older model was slightly rubberized, no idea why they didn't make this one a little sturdier. Although it was a hot day the water was freezing so I was wearing thin gloves (NRS Hydroskin) but was able to operate the camera just fine without taking them off - a blessing since it would have been a huge pain in the ass.

The other thing, which is my idiosyncrasy, is that I use paddle wax. I didn't even think about it, but the camera gets covered in wax. It seems to come off pretty easily, but I had to be careful to avoid waxing the lens.

I haven't figured out the zoom deal while taking movies. When I zoom in they get very grainy - seems to be using the digital zoom and not sure why the optical zoom (which has much better quality) isn't working.

I had a flash card in my PDA and so I just re-used that - 512MB. Took a bunch of good quality pix (larger files) this weekend and a few movies and was barely over 100MB. The battery was still alive on the second day after being on for a while both taking pictures (many with flash) and reviewing, not sure how much juice it had left. I haven't found any car adapter charger accessories, so it might suck for a long trip away from AC. The other thing is that you need to very careful changing the flashcard on the river is the camera is damp when you open the sealed compartment.

The software that comes with it loaded fine on my Windows XP machine, but has frozen a few times. The jury's still out on this. I managed to download images & movies without a hitch though.

I'll keep you posted.

P.S. For anyone keeping track of my recent purchases, I DO NOT wish to know the total $$ and will stay in happy denial :-p


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