Pentax’s 12.1 Megapixel Optio W80 Takes the Plunge

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Pentax has been making ruggedized digital cameras since at least 2003, and today introduced a new consumer-friendly model to its lineup. The Optio W80 (available in grey, blue, and red) offers a 12.1 megapixel resolution, a 2.5-inch LCD display, and a 5× optical zoom—but perhaps more appealing to photographers (and videographers: the camera shoots HD video too), the camera can operate for up to two hours underwater at depths up to 5 meters, and survive a 1 meter fall.

The Optio W80 saves images and video to SD/SDHC media (there’s about 32 MB of internal memory as a failsafe), and features a face recognition system that can track up to 32 faces at once—great for group shots. The camera can shoot 30fps video at up to 1,280 by 720 pixels. The camera features an automatic picture mode that can automatically detect and switch between eight different shooting modes (strangely, none seem specific to underwater use), 20 creative image filters, and an automatic macro mode automatically switches the camera’s focus range for close-up shots. Although the W80 lacks optical image stabilization, the camera does feature Pentax’s Pixel Track SR and movie shake reduction technologies, which are designed to offer some image stabilization without the potential breakdown of moving parts—important in a ruggedized camera.

Expect to see the Pentax Optio W800 available this July for prices under $300.