Image quality is good, if not exactly trail-blazing. Although our images had crisp edges, JPEG mottling was a constant feature. Not everyone will notice it, or indeed care, as it's not sufficient to ruin an image, but printed at a large enough size the W90's images will be easily distinguishable from those from, say, the Canon S90, which costs around £30 more.
For ramblers and the clumsy alike
ISO performance was a real strong point. With the rest of the image tests in the bag, it seemed safe to assume that the W90 would return some fairly lacklustre results. Instead, the still life set up remained acceptable until ISO 800. ISO 1600 was a different matter altogether, but with some careful sharpening and contrast adjustments you could just about come away with a decent flash-free indoor image.
You can push the ISO beyond, to 3200 and 6400, but this restricts the available number of pixels to 5.03Mp. Perhaps inevitably, image quality at these settings was best forgotten. Annoyingly, there's no manual mode. However, there is 720p HD video at 30fps which adds to its appeal for use in all weathers.
Cool or what?
Treating the W90 to a cold bath resulted in a mixed bag of results. On the one hand, the lens appeared to handle the distortion caused by light refracting on contact with the water. On the other, our image was very soft - it's something you can see even in Pentax's W90 press images if you go here and click on sample image. Indeed, keen snorkelers may prefer to buy a standard, high-quality compact and treat it to a decent underwater casing instead.
I have a W60, which is excellent for hillwalking.
Just stick it in a trouser pocket, and you don't need to worry about the rain or anything.
The photo quality is more than adequate for me.
Sounds like the W90 is smaller, more rugged and has better video - all to the good!
Love the W-series
I have the previous model (W80) myself and it's excellent. Not perfect picture quality, but I often bring it into the water and snap pictures both under and close to water. Have dropped it a couple of times as well. Still works without any problems as well.
Oh, and if you actually do manage to kill it with water, Pentax will replace it for you. (Atleast Pentax have done so with the older W-models.)
Not quite the point of the carbeener...
I think the point of it was to make for a handy way to clip the camera to a bag, strap, or other attachment point rather then fumbling around with putting it back into a bag.
Otherwise I'm in full agreement- there are far too many morons out there who think that the look-alikes are rated for holding people and get injured or remove themselves from the gene pool because of it.
mine's the one with the class III trama plates and armoured joints.
A nice review
Glad to see it's toughened up. I have an older W30 model that I take out kayaking (stuck to the bow of my kayak with a suction monopod, taking photos once a minute automatically) and it was a toss-up at the time between that and the competing equivalent Olympus model, which was shock-proof, drop-proof, and all sorts of other 'tough' while the Pentax was only water/dustproof. However, the Olympus came out well on top for technical features and picture quality, and I'm glad to see that future models can cope well against the competition too. From personal experience, I highly recommend this range of Pentax point'n'shoot to outdoorsy types for camping, hiking, kayaking and similar sports.
No, the caribeenerererer is not for climbing
That will make you dead. I'm betting the manual is full of "NOT FOR CLIMBING" too. There have been too many muppets who have come to grief due to accessory clips like that being misused as load-bearing attachments, which break right away. so you have to be super-careful now.