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All Wet with the Pentax Optio W20

Nothing quite equates to the experience of underwater photography: getting those pics of colorful fish milling about coral reefs on your tropical getaway, arty shots of bobbing for apples from the apple’s perspective, the children playing in the pool, the cat being chased off the diving bo—oh, uh—anyhoo, yeah. Underwater photography! It’s hip.

So Pentax has squirted out the Optio W20, the seven megapixel followup to its Optio W10 waterproof camera. The W20 can handle being under up to 5 feet of water for as long as 30 minutes, and also meets the JIS Class 5 dustproof standard, making it a decent choice for sports and outdoor activities. The w20 also offers a 3× optical zoom (using a folding system which means the lens doesn’t protrude from the camera even while zooming—4× digital zoom is also available) along with a one-inch macro mode, ISO sensitivity up to 1600 for those low-light shots, face recognition and tracking auto-focus technology, an anti-shake function, and the capability to capture VGA resolution movies at 30 frames per second (optionally with a special Mermaid mode optimized for underwater recording).

The W20 stores images using either conventional SD, SDHC high-capacity memory cards, or the roughly 22 MB of built-in memory, supports PictBridge printing, offers 25 scene modes and 15 playback modes, and a number of built-in filters (including sepia, black & white; soft focus, fish-eye, and color filters).

Pentax says the Optio W20 will be available in September with suggested retail prices under $300.