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11-16-2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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Pentax Optio W 90- good ?

I'm looking at getting a Pentax Optio W90. Don't know much about them, except that they're waterproof, rugged (can be dropped a couple of feet, have a 'microscope' feature, etc.

I'm looking at this camera as I can redeem some credit card points I have accumulated over the years towards getting one.


I have a Pentax K10D and KM (K2000) and an assortment of Pentax lenses.

I know the sensor is smaller than these two DSLR's...so the pictures won't approach the quality of these two cameras.

I would use it as a carry around camera in my jacket.

Anyone own one...can you tell me:

* quality of the picture
* does the 'microscope (assuming it's a macro) work well
* is it an outdoor, rugged camera as billed


* I've been very happy with my K10D and KM...is this Pentax P + S built to the same high standards as the DSLR's ? Probably not, I'm guessing, but I don't know.


* What do you think ? Again I am a neophyte when it comes to P+S digitals.

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11-16-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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I've had a W90 since August this year and have loved it.

Previously I owned a Casio EX-Z850 which I bought specifically because it had (limited) manual control over aperture, shutter speed, etc. When it was time to replace it, I decided to leave the "proper" shooting to my DSLR and get a compact that could take the rough and tumble and go places my DLSR couldn't or shouldn't.

I run regularly, and since August my W90 has "done" about 565km. These days it accompanies me on all my runs and hikes, single-handedly supporting my running/photography blog.

Some of the better (in my mind) images:









And a few showcasing abilities:
Built-in panorama mode


These were all shot using the camera's built in panorama mode, which I find myself using regularly when out on a run. Check out the flickr link to see it in full (very large!) size.

Underwater



Wet conditions


Apologies for the missed focus, I was treading water!

For straight-from-camera, unprocessed images see my blog:
The Photographer's Biathlon

A few things I've found:
- Despite online reports to the contrary, for me, battery life has been very good.
- Noise isn't a problem at low ISOs, but it looks terrible when present. I commonly shoot with my K20D at ISO1600 - ISO3200 because I like the look of the noise, but the noise from the W90 is particularly ugly. If there was a choice, I would rather higher noise if they could make it look more like that from my K20D.
- The camera is fully waterproof, but if it needs to be that waterproof, typically I'm totally wet as well, and water on the lens is hard to remove and ruins photos.
- The flotation arm-band is awesome and well worth the investment if you'll be taking it swimming.
- The macro mode works well, but it certainly needs those front LEDs because you will be blocking natural light sources if you're getting that close.
- I was fairly unimpressed with the "HD" video, it's a good thing I couldn't care less about that feature.
- The built-in 3-photo panorama mode generally works great. I noticed that the bundled software was from Arcsoft who make great stand-alone PC panorama software, so I'm guess that has something to do with it!

Feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll try to get right back to you. Apologies for all the large photos in this post!

Cheers,
Joe
11-17-2010, 07:25 AM   #3
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Nice shots. At what ISO level would you say the noise becomes distracting?
11-17-2010, 08:18 AM   #4
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Just came back from French Polynesia where my W90 got a real work out. Outdoor shots are great and some can rival my K7 with the 18-55 kit. Indoors are OK. Macro is great. Underwater shots need overhead mid day light. Battery life is half that of my trusty W20 so make sure you get at least two spares. They do charge fast which is a plus. It is probably the most handy tough fit in your pocket camera I've owned.

11-17-2010, 03:21 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by JoeGray Quote
I've had a W90 since August this year and have loved it.

Previously I owned a Casio EX-Z850 which I bought specifically because it had (limited) manual control over aperture, shutter speed, etc. When it was time to replace it, I decided to leave the "proper" shooting to my DSLR and get a compact that could take the rough and tumble and go places my DLSR couldn't or shouldn't.

I run regularly, and since August my W90 has "done" about 565km. These days it accompanies me on all my runs and hikes, single-handedly supporting my running/photography blog.I'm thinking of the W 90 for similar reasons, rugged, waterproof, take it around with me on a daily basis.

Some of the better (in my mind) images:









And a few showcasing abilities:
Built-in panorama mode


These were all shot using the camera's built in panorama mode, which I find myself using regularly when out on a run. Check out the flickr link to see it in full (very large!) size.

Underwater



Wet conditions


Apologies for the missed focus, I was treading water!

For straight-from-camera, unprocessed images see my blog:
The Photographer's Biathlon

A few things I've found:
- Despite online reports to the contrary, for me, battery life has been very good.
- Noise isn't a problem at low ISOs, but it looks terrible when present. I commonly shoot with my K20D at ISO1600 - ISO3200 because I like the look of the noise, but the noise from the W90 is particularly ugly . If there was a choice, I would rather higher noise if they could make it look more like that from my K20D.[B



- The camera is fully waterproof, but if it needs to be that waterproof, typically I'm totally wet as well, and water on the lens is hard to remove and ruins photos.
- The flotation arm-band is awesome and well worth the investment if you'll be taking it swimming.
- The macro mode works well, but it certainly needs those front LEDs because you will be blocking natural light sources if you're getting that close.
- I was fairly unimpressed with the "HD" video, it's a good thing I couldn't care less about that feature.
- The built-in 3-photo panorama mode generally works great. I noticed that the bundled software was from Arcsoft who make great stand-alone PC panorama software, so I'm guess that has something to do with it!

Feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll try to get right back to you. Apologies for all the large photos in this post!

Cheers,
Joe
Your pix seem very good. I have a K10D and a KM (k2000) DSLR and I don't expect a P+S to be at the same level...quality wise. But would you say, given very good light that there is a noticeable difference...say at the 4 X 6 or 5 X 7 print size ?

As long as the W90 doesn't have noise from 100 to 400 ISO...I would be happy. How is it at those ISO's ?

Have you had any problems with it ?

Thanks Les
11-17-2010, 03:23 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
Just came back from French Polynesia where my W90 got a real work out. Outdoor shots are great and some can rival my K7 with the 18-55 kit. Indoors are OK. Macro is great. Underwater shots need overhead mid day light. Battery life is half that of my trusty W20 so make sure you get at least two spares. They do charge fast which is a plus. It is probably the most handy tough fit in your pocket camera I've owned.
That's impressive...good light and the W 90 rivals the K7. I also like the prospect of filming underwater. Are you happy with underwater shots in good , overhead light ?

Thanks, Les
11-18-2010, 09:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
That's impressive...good light and the W 90 rivals the K7. I also like the prospect of filming underwater. Are you happy with underwater shots in good , overhead light ?

Thanks, Les
We are talking snap shots with the kit 18-55 on the K7. The folks in the above posts show this capability. Here is a underwater shot posted at:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/122614-light-co...-solution.html

Post #4
11-21-2010, 06:01 PM   #8
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
We are talking snap shots with the kit 18-55 on the K7. The folks in the above posts show this capability. Here is a underwater shot posted at:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/122614-light-co...-solution.html

Post #4

Ahab,

Thank you for providing W90 pictures. I am 99.9 % sure that I will pick up one this coming week.

Les

11-26-2010, 01:08 AM   #9
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Sorry it took me so long to get back here!

Answers to a few questions:

- For me the noise becomes too distracting at ISO400! I have the "Auto"-ISO set at 80-200
- Somehow, you can push the ISO up to 1600 where the whole image becomes very Monet-esk (the camera is amazingly sensitive at this setting - just not particularly sharp!)
- I'll try to dig up some ISO200, ISO400 and ISO800 100% crops for you

- I've never printed anything from the camera, but I can't imagine small prints would be any problem. With a little minor post-processing I don't think larger prints are really too unrealistic either.
- The quality of the photos in no way approaches the K20D (or the K10D I guess) when comparing a "good" photo from each
- It is still one tough, fantastic little camera, and so long as you know the limitations and exploit it's strengths it'll do you very proud!

If you decide to go ahead and get one, why not post up a couple of your first photos here for us to see!

Cheers,
Joe
11-29-2010, 01:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoeGray Quote
I've had a W90 since August this year and have loved it.

Previously I owned a Casio EX-Z850 which I bought specifically because it had (limited) manual control over aperture, shutter speed, etc. When it was time to replace it, I decided to leave the "proper" shooting to my DSLR and get a compact that could take the rough and tumble and go places my DLSR couldn't or shouldn't.

I run regularly, and since August my W90 has "done" about 565km. These days it accompanies me on all my runs and hikes, single-handedly supporting my running/photography blog.

Some of the better (in my mind) images:









And a few showcasing abilities:
Built-in panorama mode


These were all shot using the camera's built in panorama mode, which I find myself using regularly when out on a run. Check out the flickr link to see it in full (very large!) size.

Underwater



Wet conditions


Apologies for the missed focus, I was treading water!

For straight-from-camera, unprocessed images see my blog:
The Photographer's Biathlon

A few things I've found:
- Despite online reports to the contrary, for me, battery life has been very good.
- Noise isn't a problem at low ISOs, but it looks terrible when present. I commonly shoot with my K20D at ISO1600 - ISO3200 because I like the look of the noise, but the noise from the W90 is particularly ugly. If there was a choice, I would rather higher noise if they could make it look more like that from my K20D.
- The camera is fully waterproof, but if it needs to be that waterproof, typically I'm totally wet as well, and water on the lens is hard to remove and ruins photos.
- The flotation arm-band is awesome and well worth the investment if you'll be taking it swimming.
- The macro mode works well, but it certainly needs those front LEDs because you will be blocking natural light sources if you're getting that close.
- I was fairly unimpressed with the "HD" video, it's a good thing I couldn't care less about that feature.
- The built-in 3-photo panorama mode generally works great. I noticed that the bundled software was from Arcsoft who make great stand-alone PC panorama software, so I'm guess that has something to do with it!

Feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll try to get right back to you. Apologies for all the large photos in this post!

Cheers,
Joe
Wow those pics are great from this tiny camera. Nice.
12-16-2010, 10:10 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoeGray Quote
- The camera is fully waterproof, but if it needs to be that waterproof, typically I'm totally wet as well, and water on the lens is hard to remove and ruins photos.
-
Joe
Rain-X.

The other thing that works is using your lip to push the water off the lens.
12-17-2010, 08:15 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Immunogirl Quote
Rain-X.

The other thing that works is using your lip to push the water off the lens.
I *wouldn't* let Rain-X anywhere near my optics. It'll surely interfere with how the coatings work, is unlikely to do more than create beads that'll be worse, and you won't get it off.

That said, I'm thinking that when the price comes down, one of these ought to be great for my sweetie on field surveys and the like.
12-17-2010, 08:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I *wouldn't* let Rain-X anywhere near my optics. It'll surely interfere with how the coatings work, is unlikely to do more than create beads that'll be worse, and you won't get it off.
I would agree if we were talking about nice quality optics, but if the w90 is anything like the w60 it's nothing more than a sheet of clear plastic covering the lens assembly...

Pat
12-17-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I *wouldn't* let Rain-X anywhere near my optics. It'll surely interfere with how the coatings work, is unlikely to do more than create beads that'll be worse, and you won't get it off.

That said, I'm thinking that when the price comes down, one of these ought to be great for my sweetie on field surveys and the like.
Have you seen a w90 or any of the waterproof optios or ever tried to use them in a wet situation? The lens is behind a sheet of plastic or glass. Entirely encased. There is no lens cover that covers that glass/plastic - or anyway to protect it from getting scratched. I doubt that there's a coating on it.

Rain-x doesn't get anywhere near the optics and if you've ever tried to use any of these cameras in salt water, once you get the camera wet, you get water droplets that stay on the glass. If they dry there, you get a big salt smudge on your lens. Since you're using them underwater or in water, there usually isn't a way to keep a dry lens cloth and some lens cleaning fluid on you - I suppose I could carry a drybag with lenscleaner and then tread water and clean my lens while snorkeling or I could let go of my paddle when I'm kayaking in surf conditions to clean my lens (apparently I'm lazy, 'cause those aren't really acceptable courses of action for me). So invariably, you surface, the lens coating is covered with water droplets, and you try to find some clothing on you that is dry but typically you just use something wet, and hope it'll wipe it off. That doesn't work, so you try putting more water on it, and shaking it off. That doesn't work, maybe try dunking it. Nope, don't work either. The best way I've found to do it is to use my lip to push the water off.

And really... This is a camera that probably 20-40 times a day, I'm using my lip to push water off after I've tried using my wet swim suit, my life jacket, my spray skirt, or whatever to wipe it off. Do you think I care about whether the glass coating is gonna be damaged by rain X? If there was a coating on that glass, it was rubbed off years ago.

Rain-x works, it keeps me from going neurotic trying to get the water drops off everytime I try to take a picture with the camera - and the camera still takes pics as good as they ever were. And there is nothing that sucks more than finding out there was a water droplet on your lens after you've taken what would have been really great pics.

But no, I don't put rain-x on my dslr or lenses.

As an example, this pic would have been really nice if it didn't have about 4 water splotches on it:
12-17-2010, 09:34 AM   #15
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From a quick google - the pentax waterproof optios are supposed to have: the Pentax-exclusive, highly water-repellent SP (Super Protect) coating on the protective glass panel that covers the zoom lens.

I don't know that that coating was ever actually all that effective on my camera, I only started with the rain-x this last summer. I did the lip or saliva thing for a couple years, so I'm pretty sure the pentax waterproof coating is gone. So people with newer waterproof optios should maybe not try rain-x if the pentax coating is effective for them.
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