Pentax Optio W20 Review

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Pentax Optio W20

Review posted 1/30/2007

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the Optio W20

With the Pentax Optio W20, PENTAX gives us a new waterproof digital camera with 7.0 megapixels and a 115,000 pixel 2.5 inch low reflection LCD monitor that is easy to view, even on sunny days. The Optio W20 captures high quality images both on land and up to five feet underwater for up to 30 minuets without an additional waterproof housing. The Optio W20 is a great digital camera for active outdoor people who like to play in the water or simply find themselves caught out in the rain.In addition, the Optio W20 features a new Blur Reduction High ISO mode that selects ISO up to 1600.

The Optio W20 is equipped with Ultra-fast 9-Point Autofocus features Tracking AF. Portrait mode combines Face priority AF with Face priority auto-exposure for perfect results. This technology is particularly effective at preventing "dropout" photos, where the camera focuses on the background and not on the person when taking commemorative or other valuable photos. At the same time, this feature automatically corrects the exposure so the face is properly exposed even in lighting situations where the brightness of the person and the background are drastically different, such as when a person is under a spotlight or on a strongly back lit stage.

With Pentax's Mode Palette, the selection of shooting and playback modes is made much easier. By arranging 25 shooting modes and 15 playback modes, the Mode Palette speeds up mode selection with its easy to use display. After choosing a mode a guide function appears, which displays explanations of each mode.

The Green mode simplifies picture taking by letting the camera control detailed settings. Since a simple press of the green button activates the Green mode, even beginning photographers can enjoy taking pictures with ease. The Green mode resets the shooting menu, setup menu, and other settings to their defaults and locks the menu and mode buttons and other controls so you don't have to worry about unintentionally changing the settings. This mode comes in handy when asking someone else to take your picture.

The Optio W20 smoothly captures movies at 15 and 30 fps (frames per second) at sizes up to 640 x 480 pixels with image quality rivaling camcorders. Furthermore, switching on the newly added movie anti-shake function* automatically compensates for camera shake while recording movies. (The anti-shake function can be switched on or off.)

The W20 is designed for being rugged yet stylish. Every seam in the camera is protected with rubber sealant and an interlocking design to resist the enemies of all electronics including dust, pressure, and moisture. Without ever protruding from the camera body, the camera's 3X optical zoom can capture images as close as 0.36 inch. The battery and SD card are held safely behind a special water-tight locking mechanism. The W20's slim size makes it easy to fit into a pocket or purse.

The Optio W20 makes an ideal camera for outdoor activities and sporting events. With its JIS class 8 waterproof case it can withstand up to 30 minutes of continuous operation at an underwater depth up to five feet.The W20 is also certified as dustproof (JIS Class5) so it can be used in locations where it will be exposed to dust and dirt.

Optio W20 Features:

  • JIS Class 8 Waterproof 1.5m, 30 minutes and Class 5 Dustproof performance
  • Fast 0.6 sec. boot-up and 0.05 sec. shutter lag time
  • 6.0-megapixel imager and a 3x optical zoom lens
  • 2.5-inch 115,000 pixel color LCD monitor
  • Ultra-fast 9-point Autofocus with Tracking AF
  • Voice Recorder and Voice Memo features
  • Metering and White Balance is adjustable
  • 10 Digital Filters, Sharpness, Saturation and Contrast is adjustable
  • Movie mode 640x480 30fps w/audio and anti-shake, length limited only by available memory
  • Built-in flash with Auto, Fill and Red-eye Reduction modes
  • ISO speeds: 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 (ISO 1600 during Blur Reduction and Report modes only)
  • USB Mass Storage compatible for PC and Mac OS
  • 21.9MB of internal memory or optional SD/SDHC memory card storage
  • World Time function displays the time in 71 cities
  • Powered by rechargeable Lithium-ion D-LI8 battery, Optional AC adapter available
  • Audio-Video Out for connection and replay on TV
  • PictBridge compatible for direct printing

Physical Views

Pentax Optio W20

Pentax Optio W20

Pentax Optio W20Pentax Optio W20

Pentax Optio W20

Pentax Optio W20

Pentax Optio W20

Pentax Optio W20 and a standard CD for size comparison

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Features & Controls

Pentax Optio W20 Specifications

Camera Type: Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash, JIS Class 8 waterproof 5 ft, 30 minutes
Effective Pixels: 7.0 megapixels
Image Capture Device
Type: 1/2.5 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels: 7.41 megapixels
Color Depth: 12 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels: Still : 3072x2304 pixels, 2560x1920 pixels, 2304x1728 pixels, 2048x1536 pixels, 1600x1200 pixels, 1024x768 pixels, 640x480 pixels;

Movie: 640x480, 320x240 at 30fps with anti-shake

Focus System
Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Autofocus: 9 point AF, Spot AF, Manual, Tracking AF
Manual Focus: 0.4 in. (0.01m) - infinity
Focusing Range: Normal: 1.31 ft (0.4m) - Infinity
Macro: 0.4 in. (0.01m) - 2.0 ft (0.6m)
Type: Pentax power zoom - internal
Focal Length: 6.3mm - 18.9mm
35mm Equivalent: 38mm - 114mm
Aperture Range: F3.3 - F4
Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups (3 aspherical elements)
Optical Zoom: 3X
Digital Zoom: 4X
Exposure Control
Sensitivity: Auto, or user select ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 (ISO 1600 during Blur Reduction and Report modes only)
Exposure Control Method: Program AE
Exposure Modes: Green, Auto Picture, Picture, Program, Movie, Voice recording, Synchronous sound recording
Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV (1/3 EV steps)
Shutter: Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter Shutter Speed: approx. 1/2000 - 4 seconds
White Balance: White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Manual white balance, Available Settings: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light, Manual
Flash: Built-in series-control auto flash, Auto discharge under low light conditions in auto mode, Operation Modes: Auto, Flash-off, Flash-on, Auto + Red-eye reduction, Flash-on + Red-eye reduction, Soft flash, Effective Range: Wide Approx. 0.98 ft : 16.4 ft (0.3m :5.0m) (At Sensitivity Auto), Tele Approx. 1.64 ft : 13.2 ft (0.5m : 4.0m) (At Sensitivity Auto)
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes: Auto Picture, Program, Night scene,Movie, Voice Recording, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Underwater, Underwater movie,Blur reduction, Surf & snow, Self-portrait, Sport, Pet,Frame composite,Sycrohro Sound Record, Kids, Soft, Self portrait, Fireworks, Food, Text, Museum, Natural Skin Tone, Report
Digital Filter: Playback: Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Soft, Brightness, Fish Eye
Drive Modes: Single-shot, Continuous (Standard, High speed), Self-timer (2sec, 10sec)
Movie Mode: 30fps/15fps with sound, Shooting Time: from Approx. 1 Sec. to memory card capacity.
Anti-shake available. Color selectable: full color, sepia, or black and white
Modes: dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd
World Time: Display of the time in 71 cities (28 time zones)
Alarm Clock: Displays image with alarm with one memory setting
Image Storage
Storage Media: 21.9MB of internal memory + SD or SDHC memory cards
File Formats: Still: JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), PRINT Image Matching III; Movie: MOV (Quicktime Motion JPEG) approx. 30fps/15fps with sound; Sound: WAV (ADPCM), Monaural, Recordable time depends on the remaining capacity of the memory card
Viewfinder: Optical Viewfinder - none
LCD Specifications
LCD Monitor: 2.5 inch, low reflection TFT color LCD
LCD Coverage: 100%
LCD Resolution: Approx. 115,000 pixels
LCD Function: Slide show, Movie Play, Histogram display, voice memo available
Magnification: 8X
In-camera Editing: Trimming, Resize, Digital Filter (Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Soft, Brightness)
Erasing Specifications
Erase Modes: Single, All
Image Protect: Single, All
Type: AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video Output: Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply: D-LI8 Lithium rechargeable, optional AC adaptor kit
Physical Specifications
Operating Temperatures: 32 - 104F (0 - 40 Celsius)
Camera Casing: Plastic
Dimensions: (W x H x D) 4.2 x 2.1 x 0.9 inches (107 x 55 x 23mm); excluding protrusions
Weight: 5.4 oz (150g) loaded and ready; 4.8 oz (135g) without battery and SD memory card
Computer System Requirements
Mac Requirements: OS: Mac OS 9.2 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space: 6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
PC Requirements: OS: Windows 98,98 second edition, 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory: 64MB or more, Hard disk space: 40MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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Features & Controls

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