Pentax’s Optio W80: An underwater camera with HD video and long zoom

Pentax Optio W80 waterproof shockproof digital camera ruggedized camera

Pentax claims its Optio W80 point-and-shoot digital camera is waterproof to depths of 16-feet and survives falls from a height of 3-feet. The camera will be available in July. Click to enlarge.
[ Photo courtesy of Pentax. ]

The burgeoning waterproof camera market has yet to cool off this summer. Pentax has just announced a new model, the 12 megapixel Optio W80, $300, which records HD video (720p at 30 frames per second). It's not the first with this feature—Panasonic has made that claim. But the W80 is $100 cheaper than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1. (Digital camera model Ratings information is available to Consumer Reports subscribers only.)

The new Pentax will include a 5x zoom, more than most other waterproof models. Like the TS1 and a couple of other waterproof cameras, the W80 also has wide-angle capability, letting you fit more fish, or mermaids, in your shot.

Pentax claims the W80 will be shockproof, able to withstand a 3-foot fall, and operable at a depth of 16 feet. Both exceed the specs for a number of waterproof cameras, although the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 (available to subscribers) is supposed to be able to withstand a drop of 6 feet and operate at a depth of 33 feet. (For more information, see: Abuse this camera? We test the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000, available to subscribers, from the July 2009 issue.)

The Optio W80 will be available in July, in red, blue and gray. —Terry Sullivan