Pentax Optio W80 review
I bought this camera in duty-free outbound to the Maldives, and was willing to risk wasting £120 given the cost of going there in the first place. All in all it was a risk worth taking.
I own DSLRs and use those for proper photos, but there's no way I was going to be spending the thousands required for DSLR cases and underwater lighting when all I wanted was some half-decent photo and video while snorkelling... and in that regard the Pentax came up trumps.
Would I recommend it as a primary camera? Absolutely not!
Its feature set is quite impressive for the money: it does the usual set of photo modes, face detection, smile detection, basic post-shot editing, 720p video, and yes it's not half bad underwater. The zoom range is pretty good too. However, its noise in even medium lighting - let alone bad lighting - is awful. The underwater footage we got was exactly as we wanted, and dry video was great too: in terms of lighting though we were in shallow equatorial water; I'm not sure how well it would do without such strong sunlight.
Photos are noticeably sub-par compared to an similarly specified 12M Casio Exilim in all conditions.
Battery life is reasonable. We were initially frustrated at being given battery warnings every time we went out snorkelling, but realised that after shooting non-stop photo and video for 2+ hours, it's actually not bad.
Would I recommend it as a niche/backup camera? Sure.
It's cheap, cheerful, and solidly built; and it does a fair job of what it claims to do. The price is reasonable for what you get in return.
Noisy photos, but then it's only a backup.
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