Pentax Optio W90 Brief Hands-On

Pentax Optio W90

While the Pentax Optio W90 has just been announced, I had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with a preproduction model of the new camera at CES 2010 last month.  For my first impressions on the 12MP deathproof camera, keep reading.

Pentax Optio W90 Key Features

  • 12.1-megapixels
  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • Advanced Pixel Track Shake Reduction
  • 720p HD Video Capture at 30fps
  • Waterproof to 20 feet
  • Shockproof to 4 feet
  • Dustproof
  • Coldproof to -10° C
  • 2.7-inch LCD
  • ISO 80-1600 (full-res)
  • ISO 3200-6400 (5MP or 3.8MP)

Pentax Optio W90 Hands-On Time

Pentax Optio W90

The first thing that is apparent with the W90 is that it looks different from all the other rugged cameras out there.  It is a very compact little camera.  The W90 comes with a carabiner attachment, which makes it a great companion for the avid hiker and outdoors enthusiast.

Pentax Optio W90

There are a lot of rubberized components on the W90.  The perimeter of the camera body is covered with a rubberized material, which helps with shock resistance and helps prevent unwanted elements from finding their way in.  The W90 has the feel of a tough flashlight rather than a camera.

Pentax Optio W90

One of the coolest features on the W90 is the inclusion of three LED lights surrounding the lens.  These LEDs serve as a light source of extremely close up macro shots.  Often times when you use a point and shoot with one of these extreme close up macro modes, the camera’s own shadow blocks the light source and makes it difficult to get a decent shot.  Pentax aims to remedy this problem with the W90 by providing a built-in light source for those extreme close ups.

Pentax Optio W90

Aside from the rugged build, LEDs and robust controls, the W90 shapes up to be a rather ordinary point and shoot camera; however, I think that is the precise goal of the camera.  It’s not trying wow anyone with bells and whistles.  The W90 is made for the hiker, climber, kayaker, etc. who wants a decent camera to carry along and that won’t die when things get nasty outside.

Because the W90 that I tried out was a preproduction model, Pentax wouldn’t let me bring back any image samples to share.  As soon as I get a full production model on hand, I’ll be sure to pass along some image samples and provide my thoughts on the overall image quality and competence of this rugged point and shoot.  If you missed the announcement and full press release you can find it here: Pentax Optio W90

The Pentax Optio W90 should be available in April 2010 for $329.95.  Check availability on

Finally, here’s a short clip of the W90 in hand to give you a better idea of the size and form factor.



  1. Dave says

    this is the best info yet on this camera. at least you are honest about them not letting you take any of the sample photos away. it looks like the goods tho. i have 10mth old and this is what i want in a camera. waterproof and sort of outdoor proof. i would prefer pentax over olympus and also hopefully it will do timelapse like some of the other optio’s.

    thx for this look forward to full review

  2. WRoss says



    Who cares if a camera can scramble eggs for breakfast when it can’t even take a decent photo? PENTAX Designers, Engineers, Marketeers! – PLEASE NOTE: Its a camera first and foremost. Therefore it needs to take decent photos, at least the photo quality should be improved from earlier versions of the same model, not degraded in quality.

    I look forward to a decent and thorough review.


  3. says

    I’m looking forward to seeing more reviews pop up now that this thing is available for sale. I’m really looking forward to buying one. I had a W30 up until last year, but that broke on me (that thing was strong, I abused it to all hell). Thanks for the info on this camera, hoping it does well.

  4. says

    This is a tough little point and shoot. I use Nikon DSLRs primarilly but purchased this for quick on demand shooting! Plus I wanted a housing for underwater, not necessary with this cam. It’s very good results underwater and in low light. I am pleased with the results from this little handy camera. The pano feature works well as does it’s macro and microscopic features.
    Been using it as a spare/ and underwater extreme cam for about 2 months now.. I keep it in my purse when my DSLR is out of the question. Glad I purchased it!
    The more I use this point and shoot extreme cam the more I like it.. Underwater photography in the Hawaiian Islands was a hoot! Great little backup cam. Great results, tough little point and shoot. In the Water with my new Pentax W90 point n shoot waterproof camera. Awesome toy for extreme shooting! This is not a DSLR nor do I expect it to be. This is useful for those times you don’t or can’t take the big guns.
    Photo results were superior, the handiness and usefulness is well worth the purchase!
    Small compact and sturdy, very handy
    macro and macro 1mm pics
    security : the belt strap is very secure and useful to latch on when in extreme situations
    very fast shooting
    camera body is plastic covered, easy to grab and hold! rough avoids slipping from your hands when are wet
    very fast picture playback
    can go 20 ft deep, have done it without any mishap!
    zoom 5x
    shock proof 4ft, just remember it is a camera not a brick!
    good to excellent photo results in and out of the water! Video quality is good to great. Good low light photo taking.
    No extra lenses necessary handy! Good zoom and wide angle.
    Useful and handy to keep on you for spur of the moment shots.

    Would recommend this camera to anyone interested in a quality, small pointnshoot, or someone wanting a good underwater still and video cam.

  5. katie says

    I bought this camera for an amazing trip. I had my real camera for the land and this one for the water/wet times. I was geeked to get into the water and snapping photos left and right, when I passed it off to my friend and wham, not able to snap a photo. Thought I hit a wrong button. Dried it for a day, then removed the battery and charged it. Still didn’t work, except when it turned on it snapped 2 photo’s. I thought, well I can still get a few photos this trip. I was incorrect because 10 more shots later, I had a dead camera. Nothing worked- RUN from this camera if u plan on taking it underwater… I’ve since read a lot more reviews than I did before I bought it(which I only read one that had the same problem) but since then TONS more -exact same problem.