DigitalCameraReview.com
Pentax Optio W20 Waterproof Digital Camera Announced
by Ben Stafford -  8/7/2006

Pentax has announced the Optio W20, the latest camera in its line of Optio waterproof digital cameras.  While it looks the same as its predecessor, the W10, it upgrades some hardware and adds some features.  The W20 shoots at 7 megapixels, has a 2.5 inch LCD, a 3x optical zoom, and will support SDHC cards.  Look for the Pentax Optio W20 in September for under $300.

pentax optio w20
(view large image)

The Optio W20 features the same waterproof characteristics has its predecessors.  It is wateproof up to 5 feet underwater for 30 minutes.  You'll also get the same 3x optical zoom and 2.5 inch LCD as the W10.  While the body is pretty much exactly the same as the W10, there are some new features.  In addition to a higher capture resolution, which is now 7 megapixels, the W20 features a Blur Reduction High ISO mode, Face Recognition AE/AF, Auto tracking AF, and support for SDHC memory cards.  Some of these features have been seen before on other Pentax cameras, but they're new to the waterproof models.

pentax optio w20
(view large image)

In Blur Reduction High ISO mode, the ISO (sensitivity) of the sensor is boosted, up to ISO 1600, to increase shutter speed and reduce the blur. 

The Face Recognition AE/AF technology from Pentax detects faces within a portrait to correctly set focus and exposure on the face.  Having this technology simplifies portrait-taking since you have less of a chance of missing the focus point, which should be the face.  The W20 also has the Tracking AF system seen on some of their other cameras announced at PMA in February, like the Optio T10.

The other new feature on the W20 is that it will able to use the recently announced SDHC format, in addition to your standard SD format cards.  (SDHC allows memory card capacities over 2GB by using a FAT32 file system.)

Additionally, the W20 captures movies up to a resolution of 640x480 at 30 frames per second.  A "Mermaid Movie" mode optimizes the movie settings for underwater movies.

Full Pentax Optio W20 specifications (MS Word doc)