Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A new waterproof camera - Pentax Optio W90

I used my Pentax Optio W80 camera underwater while snorkelling at the Low Isles on my recent trip to Port Douglas.

To my horror, it started to malfunction in the water, well above its 5m depth rating!  Sea water got into it.  I returned to shore as soon as I realised but the damage was done.  When saltwater gets inside a digital camera it is basically dead.

I researched options for a replacement and chose the W80s successor - a Pentax Optio W90.  It is rated to 6 meters and a waterproof case will be available rated to 40 meters.  I have read a couple of user reports that this camera has leaked while snorkelling too, so caution is in order using it underwater.

Used in a kitecam rig, the camera does not tend to get very wet.  It might get splashed if you crash your kite, but it doesn't really get immersed.

I read the manual carefully.  Pentax recommends "replacing the packing" regularly.  I contacted the local Pentax service agent and they recommend getting the camera pressure tested annually - if they find any leak they replace the packing (waterproof seal on housing flap).

Now I just need some wind to test it out.


Airtime Kitesurfing said...

New camera looks awesome..... Im always waiting for the wind too

Anonymous said...

Is the packing replacement something that is covered or do you have to pay every year when you need to replace it.

Sounds troublesome.

Peter Campbell said...

The camera leaked on a sea kayak trip and is now malfunctioning, and I have only had it for six months.

I think you need to pay for packing replacement if and when it is required.

I will post an update when I get the camera serviced.

The best and safest approach is to use a waterproof pouch or case over the camera, but then it is hard to fit into the kitecam mount.