A go-anywhere camera that's perfect for the outdoors type, the Pentax W80 can be operated not just in rain, but submerged at depths of up to 16 feet (five meters) for as long as two hours - complying with the JIS Class 8 waterproofing standard. The W80 is also JIS Class 6 dustproof, and is designed to withstand a drop from over three feet (one meter). Winter sports enthusiasts will appreciate its ability to function in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), while the maximum operating temperature is a sweltering 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
The Pentax W80 is based around a 1/2.3" RGB CCD image sensor with 12.1 effective megapixel resolution, capable of yielding uninterpolated images as large as 4,000 x 3,000 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio. 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios are also available. The Optio W80's imager resides behind a 5x optical zoom lens that spans the range from a healthy 28mm wide angle to a 140mm telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from F3.5 to F5.5 across the zoom range, and as part of the shock and waterproofing the lens zoom mechanism is internal - meaning that nothing protrudes from the front of the camera. The internal lens zoom has the added benefit of meaning the camera is ready to slip back in your pocket or camera bag the moment you turn it off. Pentax's SP coating on the lens' crystal front cover helps defend against fingerprints, dirt and water adhering to the surface.
To help keep size and cost down, the Pentax W80 also doesn't offer a true optical viewfinder, with images instead being framed and reviewed on a 2.5" LCD display with 230,000 dots of resolution. The LCD has a wide 170-degree viewing angle both horizontally and vertically, and includes an anti-reflective coating - two features that should help make it easier to view in difficult conditions. There's no true mechanical image stabilization offered in the Pentax Optio W80, likely due to the potential fragility of mechanical systems with their reliance on moving parts. Instead, Pentax has opted for what it calls "Pixel Track" Shake Reduction, which essentially uses software algorithms to analyze and attempt to correct for blurring caused by camera shake.
The Pentax W80 uses a 9-point contrast detection autofocus system, and includes face detection capability. The W80's face detection can recognize up to 32 individual faces in a scene within 0.03 seconds, and both Smile Capture and Blink Detection functions are included to ensure your portraits look their best. Both focus and exposure systems are linked to the face detection functionality. Focusing is possible to as close as just one centimeter in Super Macro mode, which locks the zoom to an approximate 34mm to 50mm range. In the standard Macro mode, focusing is possible down to four inches (10 centimeters) across the entire zoom range.
Exposure modes in the Pentax W80 include Green (fully automatic), Program, Auto Picture, and a wide selection of twenty scene modes. Auto Picture mode automatically selects from a subset of the scene modes as required - either Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Sport, Flower or Candlelight. The full selection of scene modes includes these plus Underwater, Digital Wide, Surf & Snow, Digital SR, Kids, Pet, Half Length Portrait, Fireworks, Text, Food, Digital Panorama, Frame Composite, and Report. Finally, there are two video modes - either Movie or Underwater Movie. Videos are captured as Motion JPEG compressed AVI files with monaural sound, and resolutions on offer include 720p (1280 x 720 pixels), VGA (640 x 480 pixels) or QVGA (320 x 240 pixels). Movie-mode frame rates are either 15 or 30 frames per second in any of these resolutions.
The Optio W80 ordinarily offers ISO sensitivity equivalents from a minimum of ISO 64 to a maximum of ISO 1,600, controlled either automatically or manually. By dropping the resolution to five megapixels, this can be expanded to ISO 3,200 or ISO 6,400 equivalents under manual control, or in the automatic Digital SR mode. Shutter speeds on offer range from 1/1500 to 1/4 second ordinarily, or as long as four seconds in Night Scene mode. Exposures are determined using TTL Multi-Segment, Center-Weighted or Spot metering, with 2.0EV of exposure compensation available in 1/3EV steps. The Pentax W80 has six white balance modes, including Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Manual. There's also a self-timer with two- or ten-second delay.
The Pentax W80 draws power from a D-LI78 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, which is included along with a charger in the product bundle. Images and movies are stored on SD or SDHC flash cards, or in 33.7MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include USB 2.0 High-Speed and NTSC / PAL standard-definition video.
The Pentax Optio W80 goes on sale from July 2009, with pricing set at about $300.