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I'm a big fan of cameras that fit in my pocket. I'm also aware of how dainty some of the tinier digicams can be, which is why I've been even a bigger fan of the more rugged, tough digicams that have come to market over the past couple of years from Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Fuji. Add to this list the Pentax Optio W90.
The Pentax Optio W90 elicited an immediate ‘oh-jeeez-I-gotta-have-one’ reaction from me the moment I laid eyes on the press release. With an inadvertent nod to the rubber bumpers that ‘graced’ 1975 MGB roadsters, the black, grippy edges of the Optio W90 help the camera withstand impacts from heights up to 4’ from the ground. It's also dustproof, freeze-proof, and submersible down to 20’.
As for the numbers, the Optio W90 sports a 12.1Mp CCD, a 5x, 28-140mm equivalent zoom, 720p HD video capture, a 2.7” LCD, an HDMI port for connecting to HD TVs, and Eye-Fi wireless SD memory card connectivity.
But the coolest feature, the one that sets the Pentax Optio W90 apart from the pack is it’s Digital Microscope mode. Consisting of 3 LEDs that circle the perimeter of the lens in the 2, 6, and 10 o’clock positions, these tiny bulbs help to illuminate subjects as close as 0.39” (1cm) from the front of the lens. And it works equally well out in the field or under the waves. And when photographing pirahnas, the Optio W90 can be used with the waterproof, infra-red Pentax Remote Control WP. Available in gray with black or green trim, the Pentax Optio W90 comes with a water-resistant woven web fabric strap and a carabiner for hitching the camera onto your belt, bag, dive harness, or belly ring.