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Pentax Optio W20
Pentax Optio W20

Hey! You should know that Pentax has released a newer version of this product: the Pentax Optio W90.

Pentax Optio W20

We've given the W20 a grade of C-.

Editor's Review

The W20 is old as digital cameras go. Check out a newer model, like the W90. Here's what we had to say about the W20 when it was released in August 2006:

The Pentax Optio W20 is a resilient compact digital camera, able to withstand tough conditions and still provide high-quality digital photos. The W20 is graded "Class 8 Waterproof" and "Class 5 Dustproof." To understand what those terms mean a little better, you can click here. Essentially, it means the this camera is one tough cookie. The 9-point auto focus ensures quick and accurate photos, with Face Priority AF enabling the W20 to zero in on people's faces exceptionally well.


  • 7 megapixel sensor
  • 3x optical zoom
  • JIS Class 8 Waterproof, Class 5 Dustproof
  • JPEG file format
  • 2.5-inch LCD
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Part Number: OPTIOW20
  • UPC: 027075121577
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2006

Shop for W20 Accessories

Pentax Optio W20 Reviews

Pentax Optio W20 Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 5.0 out of 5
great gift i ever had (april — 01/02/2009)

the pentax optio w20 has been with me where ever i go!!I never leave without it.It takes tons of pics and u can also edit them on the camera.Its a great selection.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Water filled camera (Judith Hoffman — 03/23/2008)

Camera has design or manufacturing defect that allows SD card/battery door to open in the water. Didn't discover this until camera was 15 months old. Pentax did not acknowledge flaw, but offered to repair the camera for $186.
This is my 4th Pentax camera and 2nd underwater Pentax camera. Will think hard before buying Pentax again.
Would recommend purcahsing "skin" as this may keep door from opening underwater.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Great camera for the price and it IS waterproof! (Dave — 11/23/2007)

Either some peopel got bad samples or they really didn't use the camera properly in the water, because that is the best quality of this camera. I've had mine for almost a year. Taken it around the world. Have tkane it into waterfalls, jumped off boats with it, snorkelled for 2 HOURS with it, crashed into big waves in the Ocean with it....exceeded its recommended water usage countless times.
I expected to break it by now, but its still going strong. Had a few droplets of water around the waterproof seal a couple times, after extended use, but a simple wipe and we're good to go.

Aside from the waterproofness, there arer minor image taking issues - such as occasional focus issues and poor performance under twilight conditions.

Still recommend it!

  • 1.0 out of 5
Not Waterproof Pentax does not stand behind their guarantee (Dennis Betts — 11/04/2007)

I Bought this camera for my wife to use . Unfortunately I used it in the water with the latch set correctly and it did not stay sealed in 2 feet of water. When sent to Pentax for warranty repair it was sent back unrepairable and no reimbursement or replacement was made. This is the last Pentax I'll buy, not because it didn't work as advertised, but because the company does not warranty their product, even if it says they do in the packaging.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Pentax Optio W20 (Naomi — 08/01/2007)

Don't waste your time or money.

Bought this camera for its waterproof and shockproof feature. It is slender, sleek, and looks good. Expososed it to water 3x. Camera failed!

Mailed it to Pentax (Colorado) and was given conflicting information. Two people said we fixed it and shipped it to you. Two people said it was returned to us and we checked it out again. One person said the post office returned it and it is beyond economic repair. Camera seal was intact, but water got into it! Bogus.

Don't waste your time or money.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Waterproof? Dead 5 minutes in the water (Tim — 06/10/2007)

I recently purchased this camera to take on vacation to Tahiti. Imagine my horror when not five minutes in the water snorkeling at the surface the camera died. I looked at the view finder and the camera was filled with water.
I had to purchase another camera on board the cruise ship. I purchased an Olympus 720 SW. This camera has worked great with no problems.

Please reconsider when looking at the Pentax. The camera is terrible in the water. I am currently trying to get the camera replaced with Pentax. So far they have said it will be replaced immediately so I will let you know if they give me any grief.

  • 1.0 out of 5
buy a real camera - not this useless thing (molly — 05/05/2007)

After many years of SLRs, I switched to a pocket digital a few years ago. I had the ancestor to this camera - the Pentax WR33, for several years, and LOVED it. Fit in my pocket, and I took it travelling, skiing, boating, family events, indoors, outdoors, everywhere, and it took great sharp very good quality pictures every time. But I started thinking it was immune to rpough treatment, abused it once too many times, and had to get a replacement.
WHY Pentax thinks the W20 camera is any kind of advance is beyond me. It's absolutely useless without a view finder, pictures are terrible quality, it reverts to ISO of 400 every time its turned off....I have yet to get a decent picture out of it. If you want a waterproof camera, shouldn't it be obvious you'd use it outside? Of Course! But the LCD CAN NOT BE SEEN outside!!!!
I've sadly come to realize I may as well have flushed $275 down the toilet.

  • 1.0 out of 5
unfortunatley not water water proof (sally wildon — 04/05/2007)

The product itself sounds great, but the first time i used it was on the beach & it broke. I found water droplets in the battery compartment & pentax wont replace or fix this brand new camera. Im pretty suprised as i've always considered pentax to be a reputable company. I'll be more careful with my money next time.

  • 5.0 out of 5
excellent out door camera (Maciek — 04/04/2007)

own one sine november 2006 over 3000 photos included 500 under sea water and work perfect

  • 1.0 out of 5
NOT waterproof and NO warranty (Ryan Lefebvre — 02/08/2007)

The title says it all.

FIRST use was at the beach on vacation and it died. I had carefully followed all directions in the manual... but after drying it off and looking it over, I found small droplets of water in the battery compartment. Obviously, the seal leaked. Looked a little closer, and one corner of the seal was not glued-down properly to the battery door... sent the cam back to Pentax, and SURPRISE, they claim impact damage (a small crack in the case)

I never saw a crack... the cam is BRAND NEW.

Either way, whether it was a seal failure or a crack, the cam is supposed to be waterproof and it is NOT. Also, Pentax refuses to stand behind this product. Looks like I just flushed 300 dollars down the toilet.

Buyer beware, very, very risky purchase. I wouldn't buy anything from Pentax EVER again.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Great little camera! (Dennis — 02/04/2007)

I have had Sony, Olympus, Cannon, etc. I have never owned a Pentax. I took a chance on this camera when it first came out and there were no reviews yet on the net. I am very pleased with the camera. Here are my highlights that I like about it.

- No moving parts! Most of my other cameras have broken due to moving lenses or Len's covers (under normal use). This camera will last along time if treated well.

- Great Video. The video on this camera rivals all the other cameras I have used. I would use this video for family video all day long. You can also take a picture at the same time you are Videoing. Its great!

- Waterproof (good for about 10 feet) Just make sure you keep the camera clean and battery lid locked!

- High speed pictures and sport pictures. Now I can get the pictures of my kids when I want instead of taking a picture and waiting 20 seconds for a picture. The sport and high speed picture works great.

- Very easy to use and great price.

- Many, many more features.

By far the best overall travel camera on the market. Owe... and it is light!

- Dennis

  • 1.0 out of 5
waterproof??? Poor Service! (Angel Sy — 01/12/2007)

I bought the 5megapixel version of this camera.. I was just amazed with its waterproof feature that I chose to buy this camera.. but I got disappointed when I finally tried it underwater (about less than one meter from the surface). Carefully following all instructions for taking underwater pictures, I took some underwater pictures of my sister for about 10 to 15 minutes, I got out from the water and when I was about to view the pictures that I've taken, the camera stopped working. I went to the service center to have it repaired, and when I finally have it back, small spots were seen in the LCD (when turned on). I returned it to have it fixed again, but when I had it back again, the spots were still there.. so disappointing..

  • 4.0 out of 5
Rugged Camera for many purposes, but not quite perfect. (Austin — 01/08/2007)

This camera is something I have come to love. Although, my opinion may be a little biased due to the fact that its the first digital point and shoot I have owned, I feel it compares exceptionally to many of my friends and siblings. I bought this camera because I needed one that would withstand high levels of humidity (many cameras can fail or short circuit due to humidity). I have had no problems with it what so ever. It is an easy camera to navigate and takes excellent pictures. I plan on using it during a long stay in tropical weather for the next few years, and when I get home, I will probably end up buying another camera that I feel could potentially take better pictures (technology just keeps getting better and I really want a digital SLR), but will always keep this one for hiking, boating, scuba diving and other adventurous activities that I wouldn't take an expensive camera, or where its too bulky to do so. It takes EXCELLENT underwater pictures in clear water. The underwater movies in the "underwater movie" mode are the best i've seen. If the water is a little murky and you dont change the settings for the camera not to flash... your picture is gone as it lights up the murk. Other than that, all underwater pictures have been great.

I have noticed two things that are somewhat irritating. The flash tends to overpower some photos. There is a setting, however, to force the camera to take a "soft flash" and this has almost always fixed it when I think it might take too strong of a flash as it has sometimes done. My other big pet peeve is if you are recording a movie and zoom in or out optically while doing so, when you go back and play the movie, you can audibly hear the zoom mechanically moving. Very annoying. Perhaps only my camera does this. I need to take it back to where I bought it and see if this can be fixed, but if it is a widespread problem, very very poor planning on the configuration of the camera by Pentax.

I wouldn't let either of these things stop me from buying the camera even if I knew about them before hand, however. Such a rugged, sturdy, and durable camera as this just can't be beat for the quality of photos it takes. I'm very impressed and have recommended it to some other friends who will also be spending time in tropical/humid weather.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Does the Job (Jason — 01/03/2007)

Great little camera so far. Auto settings work great and take good pictures. Good fishing camera. It sounds like their Service is lacking, this is my first Pentax. Hopefully they stand behind their product when and if the time comes.

  • 2.0 out of 5
buyer beware (michael alboucrek — 12/05/2006)

really loved the camera for the ability to take it skiing windsurfingt etc, until it stopped working for no apparent reason. Service blamed impact damage and wanted as much to repair as to re buy. I was shocked that they did not stand behind their product until I saw several internet postings of similar episodes. Like the others there was no impact damage, I believe the camera probably leaks and their waterproof claim is bogus and they know it. The quality of the images is only so so compared to other cameras I have used, the hook for this camera being its sealed rugged construction NOT.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Either defective manufacturing, or a lousy design (Glenn — 10/09/2006)

I wanted a water resistant camera, and the reviews seemed to indicate this was the one to buy.

I did a side by side comparison between it and my 4-5 year old Canon 4 megapixel. Indoors with flash. Outdoors in shade. Outdoors in sun. Various ISO settings, and a couple of other modifications. The Canon won every time.

The Pentax had poor color rendition, less color saturation, and was many times fuzzier than the Canon. And this was on the Pentax's best resolution setting. The flash over exposed every time, and washed out the picture and colors.

I also disliked the idiot-proof 'scene' classifications, but which allow no versatility and minimal override. e.g. 'Sports' = a faster shutter speed, etc., but you don't get to specify what speed.

I was so dissatisfied with it that I returned it the next day.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Incredible all around camera (Rick Breton — 10/03/2006)

I bought the Pentax Optio W20 while on vacation in the caribbean. I was looking for an underwater camera and found this 7MP pocket sized wonder that was capable of anything and everything. It has a rechargable lithium ion battery, a flash, zoom and uses SD cards like the ones I use in my large digital SLR cameras. Best of all it is waterproof and is about the size of a deck of cards! I love this camera! The photos are fabulous.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Great camera, beats any competition including Olimpus (Joe WIlfred — 09/29/2006)

This little gigiant exceded my expectations in all aspects. Took it on a trip to Taganga (jungle), Colombia, and the camera����s capabilities impressed everybody. Keep getting advice from others on not to ruin the camera by getting it underwater. Camera is tought, easy to use, magnificent pictures (land and underwater), and very small and easy to carry. Wish I can take it at least 25 feeet underwater. Excellent price for the quality you get.