Pentax Optio W30 -- updates?

What’s the latest from actual use of the Pentax Optio W30 waterproof camera? Prior threads worried about…

(a) seeing the shot on the LCD in bright sun – no mater how bright, I’m skeptical the LCD can avoid washout in bright sun on water or beach

(b) water leaking into the battery compartment

© battery life, given the n integral, proprietary battery rather than AAs.

My old 43WR died (got sprayed with a water jet) and I need a new kayaking camera. Any other suggestions than the W30? I really want to see the pic before I take it, so I used the viewfinder a lot.

Thanks. --David.

Look at Dan’s pix

– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 11:32 AM EST –

towards the end of the Prince William Sound thread. All were taken with the Optio 30. You can't see the viewfinder in daylight but with a 2G card you can generally aim in the right direction and always get your shot, then delete the near misses.

His battery lasted the whole trip and he took several hundred pictures.


Pentax Optio

– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 12:05 PM EST –

I have this camera and two of the three items are valid concerns.

a) Yes, it is hard to see the LCD Screen in bright light. Unfortunately, most of these types of cameras do not have viewfinders. Just point and shoot and you'll most likely get your shot.

b) I have submersed my camera many times and water has never leaked in. My friends' have remained watertight too. Must have been a defective seal on that particular camera.

c) The rechargable batteries last a reasonable amount of time but not as long as akaline batteries. If it's cold out, the power will drop way down, but they will recover after they're warmed up again. Buy a couple of extra batteries when you purchase the camera and make sure they're fully charged before your vacation.

All in all, this is a great camera and I highly recommend it.


I bought one and have regretted that purchase over and over. IMHO the Pentax Optio W30 sucks big time. I sent the first camera back for repair because of the loud clicking sound the camera made while trying to focus in movie mode. It made so much noise that it would drown out any audio you were recording at the time. I asked if this was a problem they had heard of before and the tech on the phone said “No, you will have to send the camera back so we can check it out”. Spent $34.17 sending the camera back overnight shipping because I was heading for the Grand Canyon in about 2 weeks and I bought this camera specifically for the trip. I found out later that this is a problem that goes back to the W10, continued through the W20 and is still a problem with the W30. A different tech I talked to later said “That was supposed to be fixed with the W30". They WILL lie to you. They will not reimburse you for shipping even though the problem is with their camera design. None of the techs would let me talk to a supervisor or anybody else in their food chain. There were many other issues I had trying to get the camera shipped back before I left on vacation. Made a bunch of phone calls and sent a bunch of emails trying to get my questions answered. Pentax has the worst customer service I have ever encountered in my life - period.

The camera ingested a large amount of water about halfway down the Grand Canyon run and quit working altogether thereby depriving me of the pictures I would have taken had I bought another camera.

After leaving the Grand Canyon I was heading to northern Colorado to do some paddling so I called Pentax and told them that I was on the way to their headquarters in Golden and I wanted my money back. They could keep this water filled hunk of junk and use it for a fish sinker. I called them again while I was in their parking lot to let them know that I was there. I sat in their reception area for nearly an hour before anybody, besides the receptionist, would talk to me. I thought about getting arrested while I was there, then decided against it. Finally, two guys came out with a new W30 and after a half hour of talking I finally figured out that there was no way I was ever going to get my money out of these jerks - so - like a moron I took the new camera. It has the same problem as the first camera with the video.

As to the ability to see the screen, nothing you can do will make it were you can see the screen in bright sunlight. You will be reduced to pointing the camera in the general direction of what you want to photograph and pushing the shutter button.

If you own a Pentax, I wish you the best of luck. If you don’t, I would recommend that you keep it that way. I don’t like the camera and I really don’t like the people that work for Pentax.

There is a lot more to the story but I don’t need to sit here and type up another couple of pages, just let me reemphasize - the worst customer service I have ever encountered.

As a matter of fact - I think I’ll take another stab at getting my money back today. I’ll let you know how it works out.


– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 6:04 PM EST –

Just got off the phone with Pentax. This time I actually got to talk to someone who said they were a supervisor. It looks like there is no way in the world I will ever get any money back out of these people.

I will be sending the second POS W30(the POS stamping may be too small for me to see) back for repair again with the following info:

1. Loud clicking noise in video playback mode caused by lense movement (auto focus) during video recording. Yes, I know that problem was supposed to be corrected on the W30. It’s not.

2. The door to the battery/media compartment can be moved down approximately .020 with only slight finger pressure on the top of the cover. Hold the camera in your right hand while looking at the screen and drag the index finger on your left hand down across the compartment lid. You will see and feel movement. (And you wonder why it leaks there )

3. Yesterday I was taking a photo and tried to turn the camera back off. Pushing the on/off button had no effect. Had to turn the camera off by removing the battery. Reinstalled the battery and the camera started working again.

Pentax WP and W10
I have been a lucky user of the original Pentax Optio WP, and then W10 for the last 3+ years as you can see from all those lousy pictures in my paddling blogs

No problems as long as you accept some limitation of these compact waterproof cameras.

I really like interval (lapse time) mode in my Optio W10 to shoot pictures with a camera mounted on a kayak deck. I am getting full size pictures with a setup frequency. I am not sure if that mode is still available in W30 model. I’ve heard it was reduced to video resolution pictures. Can anybody confirm this?

Check for wp or wr
Make sure it says wp (watwer proof) not wr water resistant.

my optio 10 has had no probloms at all.and i have swam lots of time with it.

and if it says POS
you might want to pass on it.

My Pentax Optio WP10

– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 8:58 PM EST –

has been absolutely wonderful.

I have a Nikkon Coolpix 5700 that I took on the river in a dry box. The 1st Coolpix 5700 is unforgiving to any water and was sent back to Nikkon 3x for repairs at the cost of $250 each time plus freight one way. (I'm a slow learner)

The Pentax Optio WP10 was a life saver. I'm not a pro photographer but some of my pictures came out with exceptional quality. I took both 12V and 120V chargers and several cards on a 49 day trip and took 2800+ pics. Some of them can be seen here:
There are some exceptional pics on Day 47,48 & 49.

I have had the camera submerged many times with no problem, don't seem to have a problem with the screen in sunlight but haven't made a video. The camera isn't perfect but it only cost $400.00.

I have abused the camera by keeping it under my seat in the kayak with the lens pointed up and it slides all around the kayak on the viewing screen. It has been dropped many times, the casing is all scratched up and the viewing screen matches the bottom of my Kestrel.

Sorry to hear that the camera which has been a dream come true for me has been a nightmare to some.

What is POS?

My W20 has this sound also
It is meant to be a still camera as a primary mode, so I guess there are areas it won’t be as good as a video camera. And this appears to be one of them. So I don’t use the zoom when I am taking videos, unless I will not be listening to sound on the video clip I take.

Optio W10
I don’t know about the W30, but I’m happy with my W10. I took it out for a paddle in 4 foot surf to catch some video and dropped it. This was back in March - in Wisconsin. I spent an hour or so scouring the beach for it, but no dice. After getting thrashed by the waves all night, the temp dropped the next day, and the water at the shoreline froze. About a week later, I came back to find the ice melted, the water line receded, and my Optio was shining in the sunlight under about six inches of cold water. I waded out to get it, turned it on, and proceeded to watch the video I had taken a week earlier. Tough as nails!

Thanks for all the replies…
… exactly what I was looking for.

The big deal-breaker for me is – no viewfinder; LCD still not bright enough to see in sunlight on the water.

I like to shoot tight and carefully framed (which I’ve learned to do even with the inaccurate 43WR viewfinder), rather than those mile-of-water-tiny-kayak-in-middle shots. So if I have to crop every one post-facto, I’m going to be spending lots more time on the computer for each set… assuming I can even get my compositions somewhere in the frame.

Well, I just shipped my 43WR back to Pentax for a free estimate on drying it out and reviving it, after someone (who remains nameless) shot a jet of water at it while rinsing my PFD after a trip. Maybe I can get another year or two out of it, and hope someone comes out with a waterproof viewfinder model again.


PS: Anyone who like their later model Pentax Wx0 series have a working 43WR they’d part with?

Also looking…
for a waterproof digital and the two options I’ve found really don’t do it for me either. The Pentax has some pretty bad feedback on Amazon relative to leaking and reliability. The Olympus is apparently better in both regards but still no viewfinder. I almost never use the lcd outside because it’s not visible so have become accustomed to having a viewfinder. My WR33 is still hanging in there so guess I’ll stay with it for a while longer and hopes it lives on. Many folks really like the Canon cameras with the Canon waterproof housings. This may be, for now, the best solution though a bit pricey and bulky.



– Last Updated: Aug-07-07 9:13 AM EST –

Yes, the W20 seems to have better feedback than the W30. However, you still have to use the "point and pray" composition technique due to the lack of viewfinder, right?


– Last Updated: Aug-07-07 12:55 PM EST –

Yes, I am spending significant time "postprocessing" pictures shot with my Pentax Optio W10: mostly rotating and cropping.

On the other hand, as soon as you free yourself from a viewfinder you will start shooting blind from some unusual angles.

10 Tips on Shooting Pictures without Viewfinder

You cannot shoot a picture like this using viewfinder:
at least if you are sitting in the kayak.

And, I still enjoy carefully composing each picture in my DSLR mounted a tripod. It's just a different kind of photography with Pentax Optio from a kayak or canoe.

Here’s what I mean by tight framing…

– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 11:28 PM EST –

... all of which were composed in the viewfinder of my W43... as opposed to...

... which were indeed shot (by someone else) with a Wx0 series using point-and-pray. Not that they are bad shots, it's just not my style. I don't shoot very many pictures where I can use that approach and get what I want without a ton of major cropping (and sometimes, not even then).


C’mon David…play fair

– Last Updated: Aug-07-07 12:25 AM EST –

the pictures aren't comparable. Distance vs close up.

These are some pics I took with my Pentax Optio WP10 but they aren't close ups.

Terrific pictures!
Just two questions…

  • How many of them were shot without framing in the LCD, that is, just pointing and hoping it was framed well?

  • How many were reframed later by cropping?

    If some were done without framing the shot and not cropped later, more power to ya! Sometimes those kind of landscape shots are a bit less sensitive to actual framing.

    But that kind of pic is not my style. I’m more interested in storytelling shots of people and action. If that means close-ups, yeah, often, but not always. So it’s not a matter fairness. It does mean catching the moment and framing precisely, which I find impossible to do without seeing what I’m shooting more-or-less framed the way it will be.

    Anyway, I’d love to give it a try with a Wx0 for a trip and try to shoot my kind of picture without using the LCD. But it would have to be a loaner. I’m not going to risk $250 to buy one before trying it, as I remain skeptical it will work.