'Waterproof' Camera Group Test (Q2 2009)
Pentax Optio W60
10.0MP | 28-140mm (5.0X) ZOOM | Waterproof 4m/13ft | $240/£190
Pentax has been making waterproof compact cameras for quite some time; the early Optio 33WR (which was only water resistant and not waterproof), evolved into the Optio WP in 2005, which allowed you to actually take pictures underwater. For 2009 Pentax has introduced the W60, which allows you to take the camera to 4 meters underwater, and features a versatile 28-140mm zoom lens (35mm equiv). The sensor records 10 Mp stills and 720p HD videos (although this is only at 15 fps), and this all comes in a compact rectangular package. In terms of features this is the most attractive package in this group test, even if cosmetically it may not be the prettiest. The W60 comes in three colors: Silver (shown here), Ocean Blue and Coral Pink.
- 10.0 effective Megapixels
- 28-140mm equiv lens with 5.0x optical zoom and up to 5.7x Digital Zoom
- Waterproof to 4m / 13ft
- Dust proof, cold proof to -10°C
- 720p (1280x720) Video at 15 fps, AVI format
- 2.5-inch LCD with 230,000 dot resolution
- ISO sensitivity from 50 to 1600 with 3200 and 6400 at a reduced resolution of 5 MP
- Auto ISO with selectable upper ISO setting
- 22 Scene modes
- In-camera Image Retouching
- Panorama assist mode and a digital wide mode
- Battery life 205 shots (CIPA standard)
Click here to view the specifications (opens in new window)
While not as compact as the smallest in this group test (the Z33), the W60 is still petite in dimensions, and with its rectangular shape and lack of protrusions, it should easily fit into any jacket pocket. There is a metal panel on the front of the camera, but the predominant build material is plastic. Compared to the other cameras in the test group, the W60 feels a little bit cheap and not as well made, and the lack of a hand grip combined with the finish on the front of the camera makes it a little slippery to use.
Specification wise the W60 is one of the most impressive in this group of cameras. The 10 MP sensor is not the highest resolution in this group (that honor is shared between the Canon D10, Panasonic FT1, Pentax W80 and Olympus Tough 8000), but to most users the difference between 10 and 12 MP is insignificant. The zoom range of the lens reaches from 28mm to 140mm (5x), which is the most useful in this group, and there is also digital zoom available (though we don't generally recommend using it). The W60 offers HD video recording at 720p (1280x720), though unlike the FT1 or W80 it does so at the reduced 15 fps (it can do a full 30 fps at VGA / 640x480 resolution). The W60 also offers an impressive ISO range from 50 to 6400 (3200 and 6400 are at the reduced resolution of 5 MP), and the W60 offers auto ISO with a user-selectable top ISO setting. There is also an impressive array of 22 scene modes for just about every situation you could think off.
Despite the impressive array of features, there are a few missing, the most noticeable of which is image stabilization. Pentax compensates for this by offering digital shake reduction, which simply increases the ISO setting to increase the shutter speed. We feel that with the longer telephoto reach, the W60 could be a more usable camera in low light conditions with either in-lens or CCD-shift image stabilization, especially as small sensor compacts don't produce fantastic image quality at high ISO settings. The other major flaw with the W60 is that it offers the smallest capacity battery in this group test (at 680mAh), and with all those features and extended zoom range it is disappointing to see the battery run dry so quickly. What's more the W60 tends to have a fairly inaccurate battery indicator which will go from full to red (almost flat) in a very short space of time. The LCD is also the smallest of this group (though the resolution is the same as other cameras in this group).
Operationally the W60 is fairly straightforward. It is not the quickest camera in the group, but it is by no means the slowest. Like all of the other cameras in this test, the W60 features a Program mode which allows the user to set some of the parameters on the camera, and the green button can be set to act like a function button in program mode (by setting it to Fn in the menu). Pressing the green button in program mode will bring up four (customizable) shooting parameters such as exposure compensation or ISO sensitivity. The Pentax menu system overall seems quite clunky compared to the clearer Canon system or the icon driven Olympus systems.
Image quality and performance
The Pentax W60 was middle of the pack performance-wise in testing. It was one of the slowest focusing cameras in this group taking 1.5 seconds to achieve focus lock (only the Olympus Tough 6000 was slower). The W60 managed to zoom from the widest setting to the most telephoto setting in 1.6 seconds, and while that may not sound great, you have to remember that 28mm-140mm represents the widest zoom range of all the cameras in this test. A time of 1.8 seconds to power up was not as quick as the Canon D10, but still acceptable in terms of compacts, and the W60 was one of the fastest in the group to write an image to card, taking only 1.2 seconds.
Taking a closer look at the images from the W60 reveals that it can capture detailed images with little noise in the shadows at lower ISO settings. While the images don't appear as sharp 'out of camera' as the Canon D10 due to lower in camera sharpening, it is still clearly better than the Tough 8000, Tough 6000 and Z33. The combination of the wide zoom lens and one of the longer telephoto reaches meant that the W60 was amongst the most versatile of all the cameras in the group, and impressively for a lens with the joint widest zoom range it exhibited no more chromatic aberration than the other cameras in the group.
The color reproduction, white balance and exposure of the W60 was very good, and although we did notice that in some situations it would drift towards the warmer end of the spectrum, this was not a common enough problem to be of real concern in daily use. There is a live histogram available by pressing the ok button to cycle through available view options in record mode. The Program (P) mode allows you to have some manual control of the camera, and you can set your most used functions to the function menu assigned to the green button. Auto focus performance was relatively consistent and accurate, despite the relatively slow focus speed.
The flash test results revealed that while the W60 did a relatively good job in terms of sharpness and detail, it used a little too much flash power and produced a result that did not retain as much ambient light as the D10; it was also equal worst performer in terms of red eye. At high ISO settings the W60 took a different approach to the D10, seeming a little more detailed but with both more visible noise and noise reduction artifacts. Up to ISO 400 it did quite a good job, but above that the image quality deteriorated noticeably. There are ISO 3200 and 6400 settings, but they are so noisy (and reduced resolution) that they are almost completely useless.
The W60 manages to translate its out of the water performance into good underwater image quality. However while the shutter button was easy to operate in the water, the other small buttons combined with the slightly ugly menu system meant that settings were not as easy to change.
The W60 is a great alternative to the Canon D10 if you feel that the latter is too bulky for you to carry around. With its versatile 5x wide zoom lens that starts at 28mm, wide ISO range (albeit with the top two settings at reduced resolution) and 720p HD video recording, it is surpassed in features by the FT1 and W80, but its the image quality of the W60 which lifts it above other cameras in this group with results at low ISO settings almost as good as the D10 or FT1. If you want a camera that you can use all the time, and occasionally use underwater the W60 is certainly worth a look.
- We like: Compact design, sharp detailed images straight from the camera, good colors and exposure, versatile with wide zoom range, 720P HD video recording, wide ISO range.
- We don't like: Not the most attractive camera in the group, no built in image stabilization, small battery
Jul 22, 2009
Feb 18, 2009
Dec 20, 2011
Dec 15, 2011
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
|Dirt Hose by poppyjk|
|European bee-eaters by drvanger|
from A Big Year - birds
|Fat Is Beautiful Guinea 2008 DP by MarioSS|
from - Fat is Beautiful - (Woman's Portrait n Black and White+ A Border)
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more