24 September 2010

R.I.P. Pentax Optio W80

In August '09, I bought a waterproof point-and-shoot camera, a Pentax Optio W80. Most of the photos and video on this blog since then were taken with the W80, and I'm generally pleased with the quality. But it lasted barely over a year before it flooded, never to start up again.

Within a couple months of my purchase, a small leak corroded the computer connector port, forcing me to remove the SD memory card each time to transfer files. Why not have this repaired, since the warranty period was still in effect? Because waterproof cameras aren't warranted for water damage. Or damage from sand. Or from any of the other hazards a waterproof camera will experience if used in, well, water. Go figure.

Although I've been careful to rinse the camera post-surf and to clean sand from the seals, the latest leak was serious, with water fogging the inside of the LCD screen. I dried the camera out, to no avail, then surveyed the available options, and bought the latest Pentax waterproof model, the W90. A gamble? Perhaps, but most of these waterproof cameras aren't designed with surfing in NorCal in mind. (I'm not a fan of Go Pros, although supposedly they've improved.) I considered the Panasonic Lumix TS2, but the Pentax seems to have the best button design compatibility with gloves, and I'm hopeful that the redesign fixed the leakage issue I had with the W80. Pentax recommends yearly replacement of the rubber packing that forms the waterproof seals on the battery and connector compartments, and this time I'll heed that suggestion.

Having a camera with me on the water enhances my surfing experience, and, I think, that of my buddies as well, who enjoy seeing themselves in action when I manage to catch it. My priority is always on surfing first, with photography as a secondary hobby. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video, ten thousand. One day I'll get a cool wildlife shot too, although, if a shark ever charges me, I will not be taking photos.

1 comment:

  1. Aw c'mon......you wouldn't deny your loyal blog-followers a shot like that would you?