tips on shooting with Pentax Optio WP

I am trying to collect a list of tips on paddling and shooting with Pentax Optio WP. Do you have more suggestions or comments?

My list of tips reflects my style of paddling, mostly solo on rather tippy boats (Sisson Nucleus kayak or X-treme canoe). I don’t have many occasions to shoot some action on water.

If you’re not in a hurry to snap the picture, try this.

I have a SOT and I keep a foam Paddlefloat under my knees for support while paddling. One thing I’ve found is that trying to take a picture from the yak in moving water can be tricky so I slip the float on my paddle then slide the other end under my thigh (or under your deck bungie in a SINK)making an outrigger and giving me a little more stability while snapping a landscape pic. I know this might not work for all and it probably won’t work if you’re trying to snap a pic of a Great Blue Heron just as it takes flight, but 90 percent of the time, it works for me.

check lens for water droplets
My tip: On flatwater this may be less of an issue, but I take mine on whitewater, and after a few rapids, there can be water droplets on the camara. If they are on the glass (plastic?) over the lens on the front of the camara, they will also be in my picture. I try to make a habit to periodically check for droplets there, and to wipe them away. I don’t have a perfect solution because after awhile I may not have any dry surface readily availabe to wipe it dry, but I have been using a lens cleaner cloth kept in my pfd pocket and even when it is wet it usually can still clear the lens fairly well.

winter conditions?
I wonder if you have experience with using Optio WP in winter conditions. Battery life in low temperatures?


– Last Updated: Dec-13-05 10:40 AM EST –

I've not seen too much issue with cold weather on the battery life. I'm sure it must effect it to some extent. However, the viewfider will white out for a moment right after you turn it on in very cold conditions. I have to push the button down half way a few times to get it to set the right exposure before I can shoot. I've only had this issue when I've been out in under 15f and not enough to be sure it's a consistant issue.

Not quite Optio specific, Here is a little write-up I did about kayak photography a while back.

How about settings?
I recently purchased the Optio WP a few weeks ago. I’ve had on 2 day trips with sub freezing air temps and it worked fine. I’d say this camera has way too many features and settings to be simply called point and shoot.

My only question here is, what setting are you guys using when paddling? Or are you coming up with your own program? I’ve beeen using the landscape setting since it brings out some nice colors and I really like to just pull it out of my pfd pocket and shoot without having to fiddle.


add a float

Add a pool noodle float so the camera doesn’t sink if you drop it.

No fiddle mode

– Last Updated: Dec-13-05 11:05 AM EST –

Hey, I know what you mean. Myself I have it set on Program mode, flash always off, all highest quality settings. 6mp etc.,

I have the auto white balance off and set that before I go out (sun, shade, etc). I also have that on the green shortcut button in case conditons change. This can really help improve the color of the sky and shading in some instances.

I also have exposure compensation on the green button as it helps to bump it up or down slightly in certain conditions. Of course you can "photoshop" it at the end, but it's tough to correct over-exposed shots.

Normally I just set it the ISO at 400 instead of auto. Lower ISOs produce sharper images, but for what I do, 400 just makes it easier and more consistant.

For me these little "tweaks" makes it easier to just "point and shoot" with the Optio when I'm out on the water.

For what it's worth. . .

or lanyard
Another option is a lanyard attached to your PFD or bungies.

Stability Solution

– Last Updated: Dec-13-05 11:06 AM EST –

I just read MountainWayfarer's weblog on tips for the Optio and the problem with camera stability. Are you familiar with Ultrapod? It's 2 oz. a mini tripod with a swiveling head and folded up it can strap to a paddle, thwart, tree, etc. As far as durability goes, I've had mine for 15 years which includes 2 AT thru-hikes, countless canoe trips and one very long crawl-on-your-belly cave expedition.
Find it here:

Underwater photos anyone?
I would love to see some taken with this camera.

I have an older Olympus stylus 300 that is “all weather” that I keep in an otterbox with 1/2 a washcloth (to dry wet hands)…The “all weather”

description makes me more comfortable using it in wet conditions…but the WPi is on my wish list!

I appreciate the tips list and look forward to hearing more about this camera that I hope to own someday in 2006…

Pan Focus

– Last Updated: Dec-13-05 12:30 PM EST –

What I've found in seas bigger than a foot or so is the the auto focus can be a pain, because of the rocking & pitching of the boat. Often times, the subject is out of focus, and something in the background is crystal clear. I learned this the first time I used it on the water, attempting to photograph seals in 4 foot seas.

So, I use the "pan focus", which makes everything in focus, and allows for cropping in case the subject is not centered.


stability solution 2
I don’t know enough detail about the WP, for those camera has a mode that shutter speed can be, set the shutter speed high enough (1/250 or shorter), you’ll get clear picture.

I don’t bother with setting up the camera on the boat, because the boat itself bobs ups and down anyway. As a rule of thumb, anything faster than 1/45 can be safely handheld without blur. The 1/250 is really meant to take out the movement of the boat itself.

Plus, if you’re lucky enough to see any waterfowl about to take off, the higher speed is needed to get a clear picture of the body while still have a little bit of blur of their wing which adds dynamic to the photo.

I’ve got to do more underwater stuff. Here’s one when I was just playing around during a roll

OK - enough!!!
I finally broke down and ordered a WPi.

$243.49 after $30 rebate seemed pretty good.

I imagine I’ll be pulling this thread back up at some point, so keep those tips coming!

Here’s two I took underwater:
With the WP:

Here’s an underwater shot I took with my OptiWp off Manitou Islands at the Apostles this past July. Rolled over, took a couple of pics, put camera away in PFD pocket, pulled paddle out of bungies and rolled up.

Great little camera…

Greyak , where did you order from ?
They have the $30 rebate form for download too.

Another store was just $.01 more - a few not to much over that. I think Dell (home) is only $10 more once you figure in teh rebate. Range is $244.49 - $349.99

Check the lowest few - and compare shipping and accessories (gotta at least get a fat memeory card).

Current price comparisons:

Best price by far
I bought mine from this place for $239 free shipping. Minus the $30 mail-in rebate is $209