Have you seen the light on weatherproof digics?
Last March you were not enthused about weatherproof digital cameras. Pentax's OptioWP looks promising. What are your thoughts? Tom Normandy Park, Washington
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It wasn’t so much that I lacked enthusiasm, but it was only recently that any decent weather-resistant digitals started to hit the market. Kodak made a big, bulky thing several years back, but it was outdated the moment it hit stores. More recently, Olympus has launched its digital version of the long-popular Stylus camera, resulting in all-weather models such as the Stylus 410 Digital ($300; www.olympusamerica.com), which has four-megapixel resolution and a 3X optical zoom. This is one sweet camera.
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.
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