Pentax's OptioWP (street price of around $300; www.pentaximaging.com) ups the ante a little. Pentax claims you actually can submerge the cameraprovided you don't push it more than a few inches below the surface. It has five-megapixel resolution, and matches the Stylus' 3X optical zoom (versus so-called "digital" zoom, which merely pre-crops a picture, a feature I think is stupid). And it all comes in a slim little case that fits easily in a pocket.
That said, I'd still get the two side by side and compare how they work and feel to you. It's not necessarily true that the Pentax's five-megapixel imaging is superior to the four-megapixel resolution of the Olympusthe camera lens and other factors also can play a role. Maybe the camera shop will let you take some pictures on each and then put them on a PC monitor so you can see enlarged versions, as that will give you the best idea as to which camera offers the better picture quality.
Check out Outside's Gear of the Year winners in the 2005 Buyer's Guide , then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!
Filed To: Digital Cameras