One more -- Pentax Optio WP

Considering getting a Pentax Optio WP, apparently waterproof point and shoot 5MP digital camera.

Anyone else have this camera? Whaddya think?

Also, a 6MP version is apparently set for release in October, but I have a 2 day trip coming up and I may just buy the older version at a discount.

Pentax Optio WP

– Last Updated: Sep-07-05 11:39 AM EST –

There were many threads devoted to this camera on forums, so you can do a search.

Most of pictures in my paddling website and blog after April-05 including recent Texas Water Safari were shot with this camera:

My early comments on the camera:

And, my comments on a "viewfinder issue" copied from another forum:


Well, it seems that I've managed to adjust very quickly to this camera.

It's true that the display (a pretty large one for such a tiny camera) is practically not readable in a direct bright sun. However, it seem that such a situation doesn't happen to me very often or it possible to avoid it.

Shooting several extra frames in a digital camera is cheap, costs nothing in comparison to a film camera. So, if I cannot see my picture on the display too well I am shooting some extra frames. I think that I've developed a pretty good feeling for my angle of view anyway (something to do with shooting pinholes?).

Finally, I wouldn't use a viefinder in my tippy Sisson Nucleus kayak where I usually prefer to hold a paddle for balance most of the time. This small camera is also tippy, so I hold the camera against the paddle, see pictures further down in that report:
The Pentax is on leash and stored in a small neoprene pouch attached to my life jacket. For a comparison you can check my pictures shot with Pentax Optio during the same trip to Gross Reservoir in Rocky Mountains:

I still own and use other cameras, but Pentax Optio is my standard paddling camera.

33WR or 43WR?
I’m looking at the same camera for paddling and fishing trips and macro shots of fly fishing flies. I’m starting to think, however, that the Optio 33WR might be enough and might have the advantage of the viewfinder and some other features. It may make sense for you to look at that one, too.

Optio WP
I have one and it’s strengths are: It is waterproof (thus far, including submersions practicing self rescues) it is conveniently sized (I keep mine on a neck leash or clip it to a d ring in my pfd pocket and doesn’t get in the way- I can tuck it under my pfd) and the 5 megapixel has enough detail for all my picture needs. Weaknesses are: lack of viewfinder, LCD and controls are difficult to manage in less than calm water. I agree that in bright light the LCD washes out, but just holding down the shutter button slightly before taking the picture it gains up and becomes readable. It(LCD) doesn’t show well if you have sunglasses on, especially dark polarized lenses, but not much does. The controls are small and close. You should set it before you go out and don’t think of changing anything other than the zoom. The on/off button is small and could be better designed but I can cope with it. I recommend you handle it in the store before you purchase it to see if the controls work for you. I don’t think more pixels will significantly improve the images, unless you really produce big prints.

For sub $300 (I paid $277 + shipping), waterproof and convenient size, there aren’t many alternatives.


– Last Updated: Sep-07-05 1:03 PM EST –

The LCD viewfinders are a PITA anywhere but indoors or in deep shade. But they do give an accurate view of what image is being recorded, unlike the tiny optical viewfinder that is in my discontinued Optio 43WR.

Remember that none of these point-and-shoots is an SLR, so the lens records an image that is offset from what the optical viewfinder shows you.

Therefore, you might not care about only having an LCD viewfinder. But you should definitely note that having only LCD is a disadvantage, especially if you wear polarized sunglasses, because with those the LCD often looks completely blacked out. You have to remove your sunglasses to see any image at all on it, and then it is subject to glare wash-out. I wish they would install collapsible (soft) LCD viewing hoods.

As for the other aspects of the Optios, expect good, snappy-looking close-range photos but poor landscape shots. They just do not provide sharp detail of medium- and far-range objects.

They are great if you treat them as water-resistant point-and-shoots, not as substitutes for high-end film cameras.

Guess I’m an old timer
The parallax problems of point and shoots vs SLRs is no big deal for me. I’ve been photographing since the days of rangefinder cameras. Having to take off my polaroid perscription bifocals to read the blacked out LCD does me no good because then all I’ll see is a fuzzy metallic rectangle.

If anyone has one of those old useless 35mm film Leica rangefinders with a parallax problem that they want to get rid of cheaply drop me an email and I’ll invest in a waterproof case for it :slight_smile:

Take a look at Olympus Check out this tread . The Olympus Stylus 500 is another option to consider .FishHawk

Point and Shoot
I used my Pentax on Labor Day. Yeah, the lcd does wash out in bright light. Still it’s not a problem. Point and shoot. Take an extra photo or two if you’re not sure if you got your intended image. So far I have not missed any photos due to the washing out of the lcd.

The cameras size and waterproof feature more than make up for the lcd washout.

Just point and shoot…

My new Canon S2 IS has two LCD displays, one “inside” where you’d normally expect to find an optical viewfinder. I think most superzoom cameras are like this. It’s a little dim when I have my sunglasses (non-polarized)on but usable. So no problems using it when I’m out in the bright sun.

I got this camera for getting scenics and pictures of far-off objects (birds, etc), and the IS and 12x zoom have been giving me very satisfying results.


I’m very pleased with ours
I thought I’d miss the optical viewfinder but I rarely have difficulty seeing what I’m shooting. The big LCD makes taking pictures in rough water a lot easier in my opinion. The display goes into battery saver mode and does get hard to see until you push halfway to focus. Tends to make me let the autofocus actually do it’s job instead of snapping fast and grabbing my paddle. I always felt tippier lifting the camera to my eye. With this camera I dunk it to clear the water drops and shoot holding it out in front of me. It has held up to some serious dunkings and abuse so far, boots up and is ready to shoot fast, and has given me better pictures than our 33WR or our old Pentax WP.

Optio 43WR vs Optio WP battery?
I have the 43WR…and plan to give it my wife and pick up an Optio WP. Am trying to figure out whether they use the same battery type? I have a rechargeable CRV-3 battery for the 43WR…doesn’t look like it is compatible. Does anyone know for sure?

Many thanks…


I like my WP
I recently bought a WP and I am very happy with it. I wanted something that would easily fit into a PFD or shirt pocket, was waterproof, and would take decent pictures. I have been surprised by the quality of the pictures (including landscapes). We just got back from fishing and paddling the south fork of the Snake – I’ll have to post a few pictures to give you an idea of the picture quality.


I’ll ditto what all of the WP owners
said. If you’re after art, this probably isn’t your camera. But if you are a snap shot taker, it’s easy to get used to the LCD screen. And being able to carry in a pfd pocket makes it incredibly easy to take pictures in less than optimal conditions. I love mine. Additional batteries are only $15. Two fully charged batteries lasted me through an eight day trip to Johnstone Strait this summer. I took 400 photos and still had plenty of battery when I got home.

Not just the offset
The optical viewfinder gives a greatly reduced area compared with the LCD’s. You might have all kinds of distracting stuff in the background if you go only by what’s shown n the optical viewfinder. And the offset is a LOT.

On every rangefinder I’ve used, the viewfinder includes framing guides, which are useful.

Sample photos

– Last Updated: Sep-08-05 12:01 PM EST –

Here are a couple representative shots from a recent trip:
(South Fork of Snake -- Canyon Section)
(The Girls)
(Drift boat with background)
(Moon over Grand Teton)

The Optio 43WR rangefinder shows…
… quite a bit less than you actualy get in the picture. But I’m becoming pretty good at knowing just how to crop the view as I look through the viewfinder to get near the framing I want. Also, cropping the resulting image is pretty easy with the software I use (Adobe Photoshop Elements).

I do wonder why they can’t make it exact, or at least a lot closer? Is there some technical reason? The parallax on such a small camera is pretty minimal.


lack of motivation?
The parallax is different for different focal length. It’s not as simple for a zoom camera to get it exact. Getting it closer isn’t really that useful, in my opinion.

Since you can simply crop the edge out on the PC anyway, it’s really a non-issue. Well, not entirely, I hate to have to keep doing that to 50% of my pictures.

Still, cost-cutting has something to do with it too, I presume. And cutting the optical viewfinder altogather is THE hint.

“All Weather”
“All Weather” should not really be compared to “JIS class 8” Submersible.