Pentax Optio W90 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green) 12.1

Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green)

Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green) Rating:
List Price: $279.00
Sale Price: $569.95
Availability: unspecified

Product Description

PENTAX 16426 12.1 Megapixel Optio W90 Digital Camera (Green)


  • 12.1 megapixel CCD
  • 720p high-definition video at 30 fps
  • Wide-angle 5x optical zoom (28?140mm equivalent)
  • 2.7" LCD 16:9 display
  • Waterproof up to 20 ft

Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green) out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 953 user reviews
Pentax Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green) PENTAX 16426 12.1 Megapixel Optio W90 Digital Camera (Green) $279.00

10 Responses to “Pentax Optio W90 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green) 12.1”

  1. R. Cowles Says:


    I received this camera as a Father’s Day gift prior to our family vacation to Hawaii. Obviously, I wanted to use this camera to shoot some fish while snorkeling. Well, to cut to the chase, it lasted all of 5 minutes on our first time out on the reef before the screen began pixellating, then completely shorted out. The camera is toast and I am sorely disgruntled. I did not jostle it, get it in the sand, dive with it or otherwise contribute in any way to its early demise. So, don’t waste your money if you are going to use this camera in the WATER! Waterproof used to mean just what it says but I guess it has multiple meanings these days. Maybe it would survive a mild waterfight with squirt guns but, then again, who knows? Multiple thumbs down on this produuct. It remains to be seen if I can get the money back.

  2. H. Fink Says:


    Before buying this camera, I read all the reviews I could find but because it was so new, there weren’t many. Like every other product there were those that loved it and those that hated it. I’ll have to get in line with those who loved it. The only thing I have to agree with those that didn’t like it is the battery life. You definitely need to carry a spare. The one major thing I would like to see in the next model would be a manual mode to enable you to set shutter and aperture. Now to what I really like about it. The main reason I purchased this camera is the underwater picture and movie. When I first tried the movie mode I was concerned because with an 8 gig SDHC card, I only had about 10 minutes recording time. After reading the manual (I actually do read it) I found that the video files are limited to a 2 gig file. One other drawback to shooting video is that you only have analog zoom before you start shooting. After the shutter button is pressed you only have digital zoom. Some of the other features that I like but which are not on any of my other cameras is the digital microscope and its 3 LED ring. I take a lot of macro photos and this feature could come in handy. Also the interval shooting is a plus. The good thing about the interval shooting is that the camera powers down between shots so you are not wasting battery. When power comes back on for the next shot, the camera re-focuses and takes the next shot then shuts down again. It continues this until the set number of images have been taken. Another plus is the Pan Focus mode which comes in handy when you have to shoot through glass. It’s just like having a fixed focus camera.

    If you’re expecting DSLR quality pictures you will be disappointed. The quality of the pictures is the same as just about every other point-and-shoot camera I have (and I’ve had quite a few).

    Bottom line is that this is a well constructed camera that can do a lot of things that other cameras can’t.

    Perfect case for this camera is: Lowepro Volta 20 Camera Case (Black)

  3. spf15 Says:


    Pros: easy to use, both underwater and on land. Easy to hold and small size fits well in pocket. Like the caribeener for my primary uses. Underwater pictures turned out very nice.

    Cons: On the first visit to the pool, it worked for about 25 pictures, and then suddenly got into a mode where the camera would automatically take a picture when turned on, but none of the controls other than power would work at all. Presumably, some drop of water made it through the waterproofing (note that no “abuse” occurred, as the camera was never under more than 5 ft of water, and was not subjected to any fast moving water, etc…). After 4 days, it finally started working correctly again, and I was able to use it with no problem for over an hour of snorkeling in salt water.

    Hopefully, this was a fluke in manufacturing of this particular camera, but I’m returning it and trying the Panasonic TS2 instead.

    UPDATE: I have to credit Amazon for a really smooth return. I returned the camera just under the 30 day limit, and they have refunded not only my purchase price but the expedited shipping charges that I had paid for 1 day delivery. So far the Panasonic Lumix TS2 is holding up after its first trip to the pool :)

  4. Amateur Photographer Says:


    I purchased three of these cameras for my kids to use on a family vacation to Hawaii very recently. While they got some great photos and videos, two of the three cameras malfunctioned before they were three weeks old! In both cases the shutter button seemed to have failed in the “on” position because the cameras would power up, take two photos on their own, and then do nothing else. All other buttons and controls would be completely unresponsive. I had no reason to think the third camera wouldn’t fail in the same manner, so I returned all three of them.

  5. Aaron J Cox Says:


    I had the same experience as other reviewers. The camera stopped working after taking it under water. When I turn it on, it takes two pictures then ignores all input. The only button that works is the power button.

    Based on the number of people reporting this issue, the camera clearly has a defect. You should not buy it.

    When it works, it’s easy to use and has some nice features, but what’s the point when it breaks?

  6. Pascal Millot Says:


    This camera is advertised as waterproof down to 6m. I doubt it works, as I used one just snorkeling at the water surface in the Caribbeans and it stopped working after less than 5 mins in the water. After letting it dry, I opened the latched cover to access the battery and memory card, and there were drops of water on the battery, though the cover had been securely shut in the first place. So I returned it for an exchange.

    Now, I had a second unit for 4 months, and after using it with better luck in the same conditions -I managed to make about 100 good underwater pictures over 1 hr period a couple of weeks ago-, it is broken again. It stopped working while taking picture from a car, not underwater!

    The system starts, but remains blocked on some weird mode where I can’t make any adjustment, not even the zoom. It is like the software of the camera is halted at some point with only the choice of pressing the shutter. Funny enough, with no memory card and once the internal memory is filled with pictures, then all commands become available again… I tried to reload/update the firmware with version 1.01, but it did not change anything.

    Another problem I had with this second unit is that the battery would discharge itself overnight when left in the camera! Weird!

    So from my experience, I qualify this camera product as totally unreliable!!! It is sold as waterproof to 6m deep, but I doubt it can safely withstand more than a light rain.

    I have another underwater camera from Vivitar with which I never had any problem. Its setup adjustments and picture quality are much less than the Optio W90 ones, but at least it works underwater! The Optio W90 was a replacement for enhanced quality and reduced weight over the Vivitar model.

    I recommend not to buy the Option W90 for underwater applications.

  7. Agent 003 Says:


    This is the third Pentax Optio Waterproof camera that I have owned. I have been pleased with this family of cameras over the years, but I had read that recent versions of the camera were not as good as the older versions which I had owned. But I must say that this latest version is amazing and a lot of fun. It looks very different from previous Pentax Optio Waterproof cameras… In fact, it looks pretty different than any camera I’ve ever seen! The pistachio green camera, which I own, has a really cool, outdoors look. The camera has a sturdy feel and rugged design, but it is also slim and light and fits comfortably in a pocket. The camera was already dropped on a tiled floor on the second day that I owned it, and it was fine.

    What really surprised me is how much better this camera does with INDOOR pictures. I was always pleased with the quality of outdoor pictures in my previous Optio WP cameras, but the quality of indoor shots was not as good on those cameras. Not so with this camera… I am not a camera expert, but it seems that there is a lot more technology built into this camera to help pictures turn out well. It can take close up pictures, it has face recognition capabilities, and it can even detect when a person smiles and then take the picture at that moment.

    I have not yet used it outdoors, but I am looking forward to taking it with me on numerous camping trips, bike rides, ski trips, mountain climbs, and other outdoor adventures, as I have done with my previous Optio WP cameras. This camera is perfect for those kinds of uses.

  8. T. Haynes Says:


    Update: Shooting results after 24 hours of use – my initial impressions of the design and feature set are below. But first, a few words about image quality. So far, I’ve taken ~100 photos in different modes and lighting just playing around with the camera and settings. Image quality is not quite as high as I was hoping for. I was hoping for outstanding image quality; this is only good.

    Color accuracy appears very good, with the exception of a strong yellow cast in some videos and in night modes. The camera consistently seems to use higher-ISO than I would prefer (or than would be used by similar PnS cameras), and the result is graininess for many of the photos.

    Some small amount of graininess is present even in the fastest mode, ISO-80, in broad daylight and at fast shutter speeds. It is disappointing that there is noise present even in perfect conditions. My guess is that this is a reflection of 12.1megapixels being forced out of a tiny 1/2.3″ CCD. This is not unusual, but the cameras I use most often — a variety of 8-10mp Canon PnS cameras — have noticeably less image noise.

    The upside is that with 12.1mp and a 5x zoom, most people will seldom really need all those pixels. When printed in small sizes or reduced for the screen, little or none of the noise is apparent.

    Another factor contributing to noise is that this camera lacks any actual image stabilization — it has a software-implemented “shake reduction” feature for both the still-frame and video modes, but the “shake reduction” — at least in my limited experience so far — produces blurrier images when it’s on than when it’s off. I think this feature is marketing hype and does not translate to real world improvement on pictures. I have not tested it yet with video, only with still shots.

    One of the biggest downsides to this camera is that there is NO WAY to set shutter or aperture priority. Shutter speed is whatever the camera feels like, and there is nothing you can do to change this. I spoke with Pentax tech support to confirm the complete lack of this feature. At this time, they have not released any plans to implement this feature in future software upgrades. But maybe if enough of us e-mail them (pentaxinfo at [...]), they will relent.

    The place where the inability to change shutter speed is most frustrating is with the flash on. Usually, turning on a flash sets a PnS camera to a very fast shutter speed (1/500 on most PnS Canons)… with the Pentax W90, the shutter speed with flash enables locks to 1/50 — ten times slower than many other models. This means that even with a flash, you can get some blur in the image.

    The camera has a wealth of shooting modes, but it lacks some of the modes that you would expect, like a simple “outdoor” shooting mode or a simple “indoor” or “low-light” shooting mode. There are some neat feature modes like candlelight mode or fireworks mode that are seldom likely to be used, but some of the basic modes are missing.

    On the bright side, the camera powers on and is ready to shoot very quickly. I’d estimate it’s barely over 1 second from hitting the power button to being ready to shoot — that’s very fast. Shot lag time with full autofocus appears to be (my guess), about 1/3 of a second, which is also pretty fast and plenty good enough for everyday use. Flash recycle time appears to be 2-3 seconds, which is good as well. Shot-to-shot times (no flash) appears to be ~2 seconds. All of these figures are estimates, but probably close enough to give you some idea of the camera capabilities. The camera feels plenty quick, and comparable or better than most small PnS cameras.

    Overall, I’m not 100% decided if I will keep this camera. I’m going to give it two weeks to see how it does in some real-world scenarios. I don’t know yet if the inability to set shutter times, the 1/50 shutter time on flash photos, and the noise and tendency to default to high-ISOs are going to be deal-breakers or not. I really, really like this camera, and initial results are promising, though not conclusive.

    ORIGINAL REVIEW — focuses on features and design:

    Like many people, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this camera, along with the Olympus Tough 8010 and the Panasonic DMC-TS2. I’ve been trying to hold out for good reviews on each of them to decide which one to get. But alas, very little info is out, and with a trip coming up I finally broke down and bought the Pentax Optio W90, based on the feature set and a conversation with customer service at Pentax to confirm a few details about the camera.

    The camera arrived today and I spent about 30 minutes trying out some of the features during lunch. It’s not much content for a review, but I’m sure others are as anxious as I am to learn more about this particular model, so I’m posting what I know. For the record, I’m a bit of a techy with a solid photo background and a lot of experience with digital cameras — everything entry-level point-n-shoot models to professional digital SLR equipment, so I feel fairly competent to share my impressions.

    My initial impressions are very favorable. The w90 has a few features that I was hoping for, based on feature sets of previous models, but that I had been unable to verify. First and foremost is a pretty vigorous time-lapse capability.

    There’s the small-scale time lapse that will really make getting yourself in photos easy… you can set a timer and then have the camera take anywhere from 2 to 11 pictures at any interval you want. Amazing feature. For instance, you could do sets of 11 pictures at a time 2-3 seconds apart, after a 20 second lag to get set up… easy way to get just the right expression… this will be amazing (and much safer) for group shots when hiking… no mountaingoat jumps from rock-to-rock needed to get in the picture, and no need to go press the button again to try a second (or 3rd or 4th or 5th or 11th) picture. I think this is going to be immensely useful for travel.

    The other version of time lapse I didn’t really play with much, but it appeared you could set the camera to turn on and take a picture every minute or 5 minutes or hour or whatever… cool if you wanted to set it to capture a plant opening or sun coming across a garden or something like that.

    Also has an alarm function which could be useful for travel. Have the camera wake you up instead of having to leave a cell phone turned on. Didn’t try this either, but it seemed like a good idea.

    Menus throughout are very clearly labeled and easy to navigate. Buttons feel good and are well placed — especially for a ruggedized camera. The camera itself feels smaller and less intrusive than I expected based on the pictures. The zoom feels good and the 28mm-140mm range is generous and is pretty much a best of all possible worlds for everyday usage. It will be much, much, much easier to hold the camera at arms-length and get a good self-portrait thanks to the wider angle. I know that may sound silly, but I’ve got a lot of pictures with only half my face filling 1/3 of the frame when trying to hold a camera at arm’s length.

    Other functions include the ability to lock the full-auto shooting mode to a certain ISO range to prevent images from getting too grainy (this may sound overly simple, but is a rare option on digicams). And you don’t have to lock it to a specific ISO, but to a range, 80-400 for instance… great little detail.

    It’s also got a well-implemented feature for stitching together panoramic photos in camera, and a mode for taking uber, uber, uber closeups of objects (distance of less than 1cm). The camera has three white LEDs surrounding the lens that provide lighting and help eliminate camera-shadow on uber-closeups. Not necessarily super useful, but could be cool for uber-closeups of flowers, plants, etc…

    Also a mode that is optimized for taking pictures of text (like museum signs) which is something I do often to help my memory, and I think I will appreciate. The whole camera just seems very well thought out, and I’m impressed by the options… menus are clear, easy to read, and for the most part they clearly explain what each mode is best for — no more having to guess at tiny little symbols.

    I have no idea at this point what the image quality looks like from the actual pictures; it’s too hard to tell from the tiny screen… but so far I’m impressed by the overall design.

    The one semi-negative is that the tripod mount is way off-center (see pictures in the 360* view on the Pentax site)… I suspect this will make it harder to level pictures easily with small flexible tripods like the Gorillapod (my default for travel). However, the huge plus for the tripod mount is that it is made of metal, which is a very rare feature on digicams… and a metal tripod mount is much more important to me than whether or not the mount is centered. Much better longetivity and helps keep with the overall rugged design of the camera.

    It appears this camera is better thought out than any other model I’m aware of for taking pictures anywhere of anything and getting the shot you want — with you in it. If picture quality is anywhere near design quality for this camera, I am going to be very, very pleased.

    I wish I could answer questions I know people are asking: what is the shot lag like? what is the shot-to-shot time like? What is the flash recharge time like? How is quality underwater? At what ISO do the pictures get too noisy? etc… I’m sorry I can’t help yet with any of those questions — hopefully a full review will be coming soon for the camera. But for now, hopefully this helps fill in a few gaps for people who are on the fence.

  9. Steven Says:


    This is quite simply the best camera I have ever owned. It is perfect for every situation- underwater or otherwise. It has a mode to fit every situation I encountered on my recent vacation to Oahu, Hawaii. See the “customer images” at the top for my example pictures. The landscape mode is stunning and brings out the greens and blues in a landscape. Pictures of landscapes from my 14 megapixel Samsung look dim and boring in comparison to this camera’s landscape mode. And microscope mode can turn the simplest items (sand, dirt, bark) into professional-looking photography. With sand, you can see the individual grains and shells with incredible detail. I even used this mode on a sweet potato… it looked like a purple grand canyon (yeah, the sweet potatoes in Hawaii are purple for some reason). Microscope mode also works well underwater as well for things such as fish and hermit crabs. Panoramic mode is easy to use and patches up to 3 pictures together very well (as long as there aren’t moving people or cars in the picture… then there are ghosts of these items where it was stitched together). I took a panoramic picture at the top of Diamond Head that looked incredible. Even the “food” mode impressed me; it made a simple picture of a meal from a shrimp shack look professional and rich in color. Basically, the different modes on this camera automatically make the same adjustments to the pictures that I would normally make in Photoshop, except without the hassle and hundreds of dollars worth of software.

    My only semi-complaint is that when on the highest quality settings, the movie mode used a TON of space on my memory card. A 90 second video took up almost 300MB! Although that is way too large for a video that short, I have still left it on the highest setting because I don’t want to sacrifice any quality (especially when these videos involve giant sea turtles). Also, optical zoom is not available during video; it is purely digital zoom.

    And finally, my favorite mode on this camera is the underwater picture/video mode. I used it while snorkeling in Hanauma Bay and took stunning pictures and videos of tropical fish, giant sea turtles, squid, and so much more. With my goggles on, I could easily see the screen of the camera and had no trouble change modes while underwater. It was just as easy to operate underwater as it was above water. I was surprised to learn that the microphone actually picked up sound underwater. You could hear me breathing through the snorkel and if there are people yelling nearby, you can still hear it underwater. My only problem was that when there was a lot of sand floating in the water, the camera focused on the floating sand instead of the turtle behind it. But this only happened when I put my feet on the sand, which probably kicked it up into the water. So be careful about that.

    Three pieces of advice:

    1. After it has been submerged, let the camera sit and dry for at least an hour before you open it (even if you dried it with a towel yourself, still let it sit for an hour) because the area right outside the internal waterproof seals cannot be dried without opening the camera and exposing the battery to that small amount of water.

    2. ALWAYS TURN OFF THE FLASH in auto mode unless you absolutely need it. This camera tends to flash when it isn’t necessary. The first thing I do when I turn this camera on is turn off the flash.

    3. Turn the picture quality to the highest setting as soon as you turn on this camera! It is not on the highest setting by default. You can also do this for videos, but I warn you that the high-quality videos will eat up your memory card space. But for me, it’s worth it.

    I also recommend the floating strap for this camera.Pentax Optio Floating Wrist Strap for Cameras

  10. Dace A. Campbell Says:



    I used this camera with impressive results both in and out of the water on my family beach vacation to Puerto Rico. Then, just after I got comfortable with the device and its particular interface, the camera lens fogged up after about 30 minutes of use in 6″ of water! Shortly after that, the camera shut down, and refused to turn back on. After the exterior dried out, I opened the battery/disk hatch to find a couple drops of water inside! So much for waterproof.

    Unfortunately, it happened to me just days before the “snorkeling” part of our family vacation, so I was without a camera that I bought specifically for that purpose! But what’s is MOST UPSETTING is that when I called Pentax to discuss repair/return procedures, they were arrogant, condescending, and refused to assist me while on vacation and away from my purchase/warranty information back home. They would not even consider sending me a “lender unit” because — according to them — Puerto Rico isn’t part of the US! Ridiculous! Now I am back home and they want 4 weeks to repair a camera that I’ve used just a few days. Buyer beware!

    I have since purchased an Olympus Stylus Tough waterproof camera and highly recommend it.

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