Pentax Optio 43WR review
I've had mine for 9 months but I fell off my mountain bike (actually, a spread eagle endo) while the camera was in my pack's belt pocket. Ouch! Now it just whirrs and doesn't complete its startup - NO FAULT OF THE CAMERA.
I looked around for a new camera and came to the conclusion that there's no other camera with the same great feature set (including the new (W)ater (P)roof camera from Pentax). Here's the critical features of the 43WR for me:
- (W)ater (R)esistant [(W)ater (P)roof would be nice but not required]
- Uses 'AA' batteries, not some proprietary rechargeable - this is *so* important - all my outdoor equipment shares the same battery (camera, headlamp, GPS, walkie talkies, but alas not my cell phone)
- Zoom is internal to the body of the camera (i.e. nothing protrudes).
- Small form factor
I've been river rafting with the camera sloshing around in the bottom of the boat, it fits in my life jacket when I go kayaking, and rainy weather is no issue.
I love the intervalometer on the camera. I've been able to take a series of 640x480 photos and bring them into iMovie on my Mac and turn it into a Quicktime. Fabulous!
It is so important to have a pocket camera, my friends with dSLRs are always missing the shot because the camera was 'too big to bring' or buried in their pack.
This camera is discontinued here in Vancouver Canada and I searched around and found one store with one left. So I snatched it up to replace my broken one.
Problem 1: no lens cap. I'm not sure why other reviewers haven't picked up on this salient point: although you can get the camera thoroughly wet and still shoot photos, the pictures turn out poor if there's water on the front of the lens. It must be absolutely dry or you get fuzzy photos! I haven't found a solution to this yet since there's a very small lip around the lens, too small for anything to get a grip on. I'm thinking about a duct tape lens cap but I haven't tried this.
Problem 2: the camera doesn't float. If you drop it overboard, all the water resistance in the world won't do you any good since you'll lose the camera! Yes, I've tested this (and its water resistance) in my bathtub. Yes, you could tie one of those key and sunglasses floats to it but I've yet to investigate if the camera is too heavy or not.
Problem 3: the tripod mount isn't centred below the lens - this is a problem with most cameras HEAR THIS, MANUFACTURERS! So, multi-image panoramas, especially of non-far objects get more warped that they need to be when stitched together.
Problem 4: the zoom range is too short - I find that most cameras don't zoom wide enough.
Even given these problems, the 43WR is a great camera! Nobody produces a camera that's as good in this niche.