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Electronics Preview

Preview: Pentax announces 6 Megapixel Waterproof Camera, the OptioWPi

Date: 8/02/05
Tackle type: Electronics
Manufacturer: Pentax
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: Fisherman love cameras, how else can we prove that we really did catch that lunker? Digital cameras have made it easier than ever to capture those priceless moments, and with CPR (catch, picture, release) becoming more and more popular a good camera is becoming a necessary piece of "tackle" to carry with you in your box, backpack, or boat. Pentax has just announced their new OptioWPi an amphibious yet fully featured digital camera that may be just what anglers have been waiting for. 


Introducing the Pentax OptioWPi, a small compact digital camera capable of being submerged 5 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes


Introducing the OptioWPi: One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at TackleTour is "what kind of camera do you use to get all those shots?" While each of our staff uses various brands of cameras ranging from point and shoot cameras to full on SLR's the one thing we can answer positively is that the entire staff has shifted from traditional film to 100% digital. Digital cameras are the most affordable and easy way to snap away without guilt, ensuring a higher number of quality shots. Up till recently digital cameras and water just simply didn't mix, and anything short of a bulky dive camera or cumbersome protective bag offered little in terms of water protection and easy functionality in or around the water. Many companies now offer "water resistant" digital solutions but few offer full on "waterproof" cameras. Yesterday Pentax announced the introduction of their new OptioWPi, a 6.0 megapixel digital camera capable of going just about anywhere life takes you, including 5 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes!


The OptioWPi features a 2 inch higher resolution screen that it's predecessor, 3X optical zoom, and an ultra fast 9-point auto focus


Design: The new OptioWPi has the same basic physical dimensions as it's predecessor, the OptioWP, but features a higher-resolution 6 megapixel CCD imager, an improved LCD display, updated ISO range of 80-400, a new tracking AF mode in Sport, Kids or Pet Modes, and manual white balance mode. Physically the camera is very sleek and weighs in at only 4.8oz loaded with the battery and SD flash memory, that's lighter than the magnesium based TD-Z!

The slim, flat body design is ideal for pocket or fishing vest portability and the ergonomic contoured grip design provides users with a more confident, more comfortable shooting experience even when wet. The OptioWPi features high-quality aluminum alloy for the front panel with a textured face. The rounded overall form of the OptioWPi is accentuated by a water ring design element, a four-way control key and other details that give the camera a look that is both sophisticated and user-friendly.

The slim OptioWPi is only .9 inches thick


Features: The OptioWPi features a very slim body and offers a JIS Class 5 dustproof rating and JIS Class 8 waterproof-rated exterior. Perfect for outdoor activities in and around water including angling, the OptioWPi offers high resolution images with a quick start-up, a 3X zoom lens and an ultra-fast 9-point Autofocus to keep your fish pictures sharp.


The OptioWPi delivers premier optical performance with a lens comprised of 11 elements in 9 groups. It also includes three aspherical lens elements that compensate for aberration to make for even sharper results, and makes use of a refraction lens system that enables it to deliver 6.3-18.9mm 3X optical zoom performance and cover angles of view equivalent to those of a 38-114mm lens in 35mm format without ever extending from the camera body. Together these features allow anglers to make the very most of the OptioWPi's ample 6.0 effective megapixels. Images and sound can be stored in JPEG (for images), MOV (for movies), and WAV (for audio).


Up to 20 seconds of audio data can be recorded while a still image is being shot, extending from 10 seconds before to 10 seconds after the moment of shutter release. Such capability allows anglers to capture special moments in a more memorable manner. Imagine narrating the experience of landing your prized catch for an even more cherished documentation of the whole event.


The Pentax OptioWPi may be waterproof but it isn't safe from scratches or dents, but with the accessory proactive skin it is better protected.
(The camera can be operated with the skin on)


Despite slim, flat body dimensions, the OptioWPi features a large, 2.0 inch LCD monitor with 115,000 pixels for precise confirmation of recorded images. This low-reflection monitor also features a backlighting mechanism that effectively maximizes visibility, even when used outside on sunny days, and additionally offers a “Power saving mode” that automatically reduces backlighting intensity to make batteries last longer.


Within the large 2.0 inch LCD screen the OptioWPi allows anglers to edit movies in the palm of your hand! The Pentax movie editing function edits recorded movies in-camera. Selected clips can be saved as new movie files, or users may select single frames for saving as individual still images. Separate movies can also be combined as one file.


Pentax shipped the camera's predecessor, the OptioWP, in April 2005 and followed with the announcement earlier this month of the limited availability of a protective, silicone skin. Priced at $19.95 US, the new skins are designed to fit both the OptioWPi and the OptioWP. Additional plans are underway to offer the Pentax OptioWPi in the alternative colors of burgundy and cobalt as well as traditional silver. 


Not only can the OptioWPi be fully submerged it also has a JIS Class 5 dust rating so that grit will not enter the unit and interfere with the camera's operation, imagine wiping off fish slime with a wet towel!


Availability & Pricing: Anglers will just have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on the waterproof and dustproof Pentax OptioWPi. The camera will go on sale in October at a price of $350. This is a very reasonable price for a digital camera offering 6 megapixels, enhanced movie modes, and waterproof capabilities. 

Conclusion: The Pentax OptioWPi looks like the camera that anglers, including the TT staff, have all been waiting for. This small compact digital camera is designed to deliver 6MP and features a sophisticated design that enables it to be fully submerged for underwater shooting without the need for any waterproof casing! How many cameras can be dropped in a stream while fishing and not only survive the dip but actually be used to shoot fish underwater? For the full range of outdoor sports in and around water the OptioWPi looks like a quality solution. For anglers the OptioWPi looks like the perfect way to immortalize those great moments spent fishing.









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