Waterproof Cameras: Olympus vs Pentax?

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by ceviche, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Has anyone been able to compare, side to side, the Pentax Optio W30 against the Olympus 790 SW? Prices are about the same, $249, and much of the other features are about the same. The video formats are different (MOV vs AVI), though. Other than that, I can't parse through the rest of the data to figure out which is "better." If there is one difference that does stand out, the Olympus is shockproof against drops to 5ft. The Pentax does have a smaller profile (WHD: 4.2 x 2.1 x 0.93) than the Olympus (WHD: 3.7 x 4.2 x 0.84). Other than that, what's the difference when it comes to actual performance?

    --Dave E.
  2. Mark Walker Active Member

    Posts: 2,775
    So. Cal.
    Ratings: +229 / 1
    hello dave. check out "broadway photo". pentax-$213, olympus-$204. free shipping (i think)
    i have the olympus 790sw and
    give it my recommendation (for what its worth). pentax makes a great product as well, but i've had bad luck with 2 different models in the past.

    cheers, fishdontcare
  3. Gorgefly Member

    Posts: 465
    Washougal, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I would opt to spend a little more if you can swing it and get the Olympus 1030 SW....10 mega pixels, waterproof to 33ft, freeze, dust and shockproof. I have had it for a month or so and love it!
  4. Josh dead in the water

    Posts: 2,975
    NW Washington
    Ratings: +513 / 2
    Broadway photo is a rip off joint. Stay away from them.

    http://photo.net/neighbor/view-one-about?id=2&about=Broadway Photo, Brooklyn NY

    In general, if you find a price that is more than 5% lower than what you see on Amazon, B&H, or Adorama, then it is a scam of some sort.

    As far as those two cameras, it's really 6 of one half dozen of the other. Either will be just fine. I have the Pentax, it works fine.
  5. Josh dead in the water

    Posts: 2,975
    NW Washington
    Ratings: +513 / 2
    The real advantage to the Olympus 1030 is that it has a significantly wider lens on the "wide" end of it's zoom. This makes taking self portrait "look at my fish" or in the boat "grip and grin" shots a lot easier.
  6. Mark Walker Active Member

    Posts: 2,775
    So. Cal.
    Ratings: +229 / 1
    sorry about the broadway photo info. i just saw the prices. didn't know they were so disreputable. yikes!
  7. fishmagnet Bent rods and tight lines!

    Posts: 107
    Monroe, Wa., USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have the Olympus 770 SW and it has been great and withstood the abuse.
  8. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,592
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +751 / 2
  9. flyflogger Huh? Ok.

    Posts: 19
    Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  10. I have had the Olympus 790sw for 6 months. Dropped it a few times and got some good dings and scratches, still works just fine.
  11. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,131
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +124 / 0
  12. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    This is really solid advice.
  13. tkww Member

    Posts: 469
    WA
    Ratings: +70 / 2
    Pentax does have a new W60 out that has a 5x zoom starting at 28mm equiv. It's good to 13 feet, they mention that it can withstand freezing, etc. Not sure about dropping or shock-proof, etc. (BTW, not disagreeing with your point, just pointing out that Pentax does have a better option now as well.)

    I have one of the older Pentax ones (the "WP"?--5 megapixels). And I've fooled around with a friend's Oly...760? Don't remember exactly). Truthfully I don't like the image quality of either, but then I'm used to canon P&S and nikon DSLRs. ;) I don't think there's a big difference in any of them... But I think Josh makes a good point: get one that has a wider lens (at least if you like taking scenery pics), and get one that does good video.

    BTW, the w60 is available in early august, so it'll be full retail for a few months, and that's $330. Here's another little blurb about it and the Oly models:

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/digitalcameras/?p=272
  14. Josh dead in the water

    Posts: 2,975
    NW Washington
    Ratings: +513 / 2
    Yeah, I didn't mention the W60 as it wasn't going to be on the shelves for a while. Though I may have one in the near future to review.
  15. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,227 / 0
    I've had a bunch of different P&S digicams and the image quality (sharpness, contrast and saturation) of the Canon chipset/lens combination is clearly superior. I regard some of the early Nikons P&S 'experiments' as a real POS.

    My wife recently bought a Panasonic Lumix from Costco that she carries around in her purse. I'm not looking at it now but as I recall it's about 8mp with built-in vibration reduction and a stunning, large LDC display. But the best part is the Leica lens which is nearly as bright and sharp as the Canons.

    I bought a used original Pentax Optio WP 5mp camera from a fellow board member before leaving on my Smith River trip earlier this year. While the images aren't exactly stunning and the interface is a bit clunky, nonetheless ithe battery life is excellent and it's comforting not to have to worry about getting it splashed. I attached a long strap so I can leave it around my neck and tucked down inside my shirt so it's always ready when I find a shot.

    K
  16. Nick Andrews New Member

    Posts: 487
    Bremerton, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have had the 1030 SW for two months and love this camera. It is hands down the best water proof camera on the market. Spend the extra on the 1030 SW and you will not be disappointed. I was going to get the 770SW and read they were coming out with the 1030SW so I waited and waited and then waited for it to go on sale. I probably waited eight months and it has lived up to all my expectations.
  17. Dan Member

    Posts: 621
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Note that the Pentax and the Olympus use different memory cards (x-D vs. SD). The cost of switching from one format to another used to be a major consideration. With memory so cheap, it probably isn't an issue any longer. However, if you also have an SLR or another digital point-and- shoot, you'll find that you won't be able to swap memory between them because few other devices use the x-D format. It's a minor inconvenience, but a consideration that nugged me into purchasing the Pentax. I have a Nikon digital SLR.
  18. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,227 / 0
    Generally only today's entry-level DSLRs use the smaller memory cards since their smaller footprint fits better in the smaller camera chassis.

    I recently upgraded from my Nikon D-100 to a Canon and was initially attracted to the new Rebel XSi until I found out that I'd need to buy need memory cards. I have a half dozen of so of the larger CF cards from the Nikon which would have been incompatible with the Rebel's smaller SD slot. I decided to opt for the prosumer Eos 40D instead with LiveView, an all-metal body and which uses the larger CF cards.

    Not that new cards would have been a wallet-buster though: Costco has 4gb cards for about $29 in several different formats.

    K
  19. Kaari White Active Member

    Posts: 827
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +31 / 0
  20. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,763
    Doo-vall
    Ratings: +451 / 1
    For anyone who has the Olympus 1030SW, how's the longevity of the battery on a full charge? Being a rechargable, I'd hate to have it die on me somewhere far from a 110 outlet.