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Good: Waterproof, shock proof, good hi-def video, INCREDIBLE macro photo and video capability
Bad: Batteries run down a bit quick (plenty of cheap spares on ebay!)
Comment: Got this camera for water-based activities and general outdoor use. REALLY pleased with the results.
It's great not having to worry about taking it to the beach, canoeing or strapping it to my mountain bike.
The video footage is brilliant and I've been blown away by the macro video capability (great for mini-beasts!).
It looks great too. Mine is in blue and is the envy of all my friends. I bought it second hand and it works perfectly.
Can't recommend it highly enough.
Good: Waterproofness. Good colour rendition of underwater subjects.
Bad: Had to clear face recognition every time. Battery life.
Comment: My first camera was a Pentax ME Super SLR and I have had a soft spot for Pentax products since. I bought this camera as a replacement for a similiar Panasonic product which failed a submersion test before going on holiday. I go to the Red Sea on holiday and like to take photos and video of the fish I see when snorkeling. I have a Canon with a housing, but wanted to go 16x9 for both formats. I found the Pentax to be totally reliable in very difficult conditions. It was pounded by waves, bumped into coral and did all the rides in the water theme park without any problems.
For general photography I did take a lot of holiday snaps with the camera and I was totally satisfied with the results, but missed having proper manual control of the camera. The scene modes are ok, but found from time to time with a subject I wanted to shoot, no option in the list of scene modes offered.
Underwater capturing sharp images of fast moving fish in waves pushing both me and the subject matter around, is a challenge for any autofocus system. I found the camera had focus problems with about 70% of photographs and 80% of videos being discarded. Video was particularly irritating as my canon would re-calibrate after a few moments, the pentax once started never got things back into focus even with the subject right in the centre of the focus area.
Having said that what it did get right was beautifully rendered and the auto white balance in one of the underwater modes did really well getting all the colours of the fish spot on. The predominant blue of underwater light is a probIem for any camera's white balance and I was very pleased with the data I took. I filmed a lion fish rising up the over the reef top, which was as good as a BBC wildlife programme and showed the subtle detail in the filaments of the fins which far surpassed the 640x480 format of my old equipment. I also have some wonderful stills to impress my family and friends.
However, I still need to find something more quicker and more reliable in the focus area as quite often you will see a rare fish once during the holiday and having a blurred shot of it is very frustrating.
Battery life was also irksome. When filming fish you need to have the camera on all the time ready to catch what might be a 10 second window of opportunity. Pentax only recommend the camera to be used underwater for 2 hours, but as the battery only lasted about 80 mins of that, I never ever used my 8gb SDHC card.
And finally my biggest irritation. Why would anybody who buys an underwater camera be obsessed with face recognition. Every time I switched the camera on, I had to switch the little cheery smiley man off. I'm not manic, but I am beginning to think he is taking the michael. There is a little memory section in the setup to remember some of the settings like zoom etc, but not for that (anglo saxon expletives edited by author at this point) little man. He is there, smiling at you from the LCD screen, no matter what you do.
This camera did the job for me on holiday, never let me down and I was very pleased with what I got, but I will continue looking for something better.
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