I purchased the Pentax Optio W90 because I wanted something rugged, waterproof, cold proof and shock resistant for the hiking, camping, skiing and water related trips I take.
Here are my current findings:
The picture quality is not the greatest, but the camera has many settings that I found very useful. The panoramic mode is great. It lets me take 3 photos side to side and keep the previous photo’s edge ghosted so I can easily line up the shots. Once all 3 photos are taken it automatically combines them. Here is a tip – make sure that everything is stationary as you’re shooting the 3 photos, because it might get confused when merging them together. You will end up with “ghosts” in your photos. Another nifty feature is the micro scope photo setting. It lets me take photos super close and uses led’s for light instead of the flash.
Which is why I bought this thing in the first place… It is cold resistant and works great when skiing in freezing-my-ass-off temperatures. As expected it does drain the battery a little quicker when it’s super cold outside. It is rugged and waterproof, however when I took it to the Warrior Dash and got it muddy, the mud got into the waterproof locking mechanism of the battery and memory card. I washed the exterior mud off under running water without any issues, but when I tried to open it up the next day I had to struggle with it because some mud got into the locking mechanism and dried. Uhhh and also I scratched the lens a little bit on the rocks in the mud. 🙁
All in all it is a decent little camera that can take some abuse.
Update: June 15th, 2011
Well I took it to the warrior dash here in Arizona a little while ago and it got a little dinged up in the mud. I guess it was not as rugged as I originally thought. As the photos below show the lens glass is now a little scratched, and while I was swimming through the mud it got everywhere including the inside of the camera which is supposed to be waterproof. (but not mud proof?) Also the mud got into the opening mechanism for the battery and external connections which now gets stuck. The camera still works fine and the damage to the front glass goes not seem to be evident in the photos I took since. I will go through and do an in-depth cleaning of this thing. Hopefully it won’t fail on me in Thailand…