Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $350 with Waterproof Body
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
June 24, 2010 Updated: June 30, 2010
Overview

When the family gets together for vacation or a day at the pool, the camera is an ever-present tool that is sure to get tossed around and abused. With the Pentax Optio W90, that kind of behavior is encouraged. Built strong enough to handle drops from up to 6 feet and dunks in the water as deep as 20 feet, the W90 has digital imaging technology built inside that will ensure you get the shot everytime, regardless of who is using the camera or their level of expertise.

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My Best In Class Pick
Pentax Optio W90

For a rugged camera that can capture high quality images and HD Video while dangling from a rocky cliff or swimming alongside a school of fish, the Pentax W90 was made for the adventurous traveler. With a 5x zoom lens and 28mm wide angle, you have plenty of room to capture the big picture or zoom in for the hard to reach, one time shot that never fails to present itself in faraway places.

Built tough and packed with the latest in digital technology, the W90 can handle temperatures as low as 14 degrees fahrenheit and drops of up to 7 feet. It will also go nearly 20 feet underwater and provide up to 2 hours of nonstop recording. Just the thing when venturing into uncharted territory or simply with the kids in the hotel pool.

The W90 features a 12mp sensor, a 28-140mm equivalent lens, a large 2.7” LCD screen and HD video recording. There is also a new addition to the Optio family of waterproof cameras, a Digital Microscope mode that lets you shoot tiny objects up to one centimeter away. Aided by three macro LCD lights placed around the lens barrel, you can move in on whatever flora and fauna you encounter on your expeditions and get unique images showing tiny details never available before.

If it’s portraits of kids and pets that you’re after, the W90 has a Face Detection AF & AE function that will detect up to 32 faces and render them clearly and sharply as fast as 0.03 seconds. And get everybody in the picture with another new feature of the W90, the Small Face filter . It not only detects children but your dog or cat as well.

Of course, HD video is an important feature on point and shoot cameras and Pentax has given the W90 a solid offering. Having the ability to shoot quality film clips as high as 1280 x 720 pixels at a frame rate of 30 frames per second, the W90 also lets you grab still images from video and create titles at the beginning of each clip.

And the insides aren’t the only thing Pentax did right with the W90, the outside is also designed with the adventurer in mind. Available in Black, Pistachio Green and, for the true outdoorsman, Vibrant Orange. That’s right, you asked for it and Pentax delivered. Chosen to satisfy the style currently adopted by active people, Vibrant Orange was added due to user’s requests to match their camera with their other outdoors equipment. It even comes with an attached carabiner for hooking up to backpacks or belt loops.

Pros
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    HD Video
  • +
    Digital Microscope
  • +
    Fast Processor
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    New Vibrant Orange color
  • +
    Attached Carabiner
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    Waterproof/Shockproof
Pentax Optio W90 is the Best Compact Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $350 with Waterproof Body
Where to buy
Pentax Optio W90
Recommended with
  • Pentax Optio Floating Wrist Strap for Cameras
    $4.62 @ Amazon.com
  • Energizer Lithium Ion Digital Cameras Battery For Pentax Optio W90
    $14.98 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Size: 4.2 x 2.3 x 1.0 in.
  • Battery Life: 205 shots
  • Waterproof: Yes
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Pentax Optio W90
2
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5
Customer Rating
Price $322.00
Camera Format Ultra Compact Ultra Compact
Size (W x H x D) 4.2 x 2.3 x 1.0 in. 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.7 in.
Weight (with batteries) 5.7 oz 5.0 oz
Easy to Use Yes Yes
Colors Black, Green Black, Silver, Red, Green, Pink
Waterproof Yes Yes
?
Sensor Size
6.0 x 4.5 mm 5.9 x 4.4 mm
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.0 frames/sec 10.0 frames/sec
HD Video Available Yes Yes
Optical Zoom 5.0x 4.0x
?
Image Stabilization Available
No Yes
Max ISO Setting 3200 3200
?
Face Detection Available
Yes Yes
?
LCD Screen Size
2.7 in. 3.0 in.
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Shockproof Yes Yes
2
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5

Just because a quality point and shoot camera is small, sleek and stylish doesn’t mean it can’t be rugged too! Boasting the smallest body for a waterproof camera, the Sony TX5 can go anywhere with you whether it’s out on the high seas or at home in the pool, and makes you look good while doing it.

With an ultra-slim design (3 3/4” x 2 1/4” x 3/4”) and five colors to choose from (black, silver, pink, green, red), the TX5 looks good and fits comfortably in a pocket or a purse, always ready to go to work at a moments notice. Waterproof up to 10 feet and shockproof up to approximately 5 feet, the TX5 is rugged enough to handle the great outdoors and deliver great shots everytime. I would recommend adding an optional floating strap when venturing into open waters, just in case it gets away from you. An extra battery is also recommended whenever setting out for a day of shooting.

Along with it’s newest option, Intelligent Sweep Panorama, the Tx5 is loaded with plenty of powerful attributes like a 10.2mp Exmor R CMOS Sensor, Sony’s own BIONZ processor that lets you shoot up to 10fps, a 3.0” wide Clear Photo LCD touchscreen that works underwater and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 4x optical zoom lens. For HD video, simply tap the touchscreen and switch effortlessly to 720p MP4 movie mode.

When the gangs around, rely on the TX5 to get the shots that pop up at a moments notice. Armed with Intelligent Scene Recognition, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, Smile Shutter technology, Intelligent Autofocus and up to 12 different scene modes, capturing that rare moment is as easy as pointing and shooting. And when it’s time to share your images, add a little pizazz with PHOTOMUSIC to your slideshows or take advantage of In-Camera Retouching or Creative painting tools.

Pros
  • +
    Slim and Stylish
  • +
    Fast Bionz Processor
  • +
    Intelligent Autofocus
  • +
    Waterproof/Shockproof
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 is one of the Best Compact Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $350 with Waterproof Body
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5
  • Best Price: $322
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Sony NPBN1 Rechargeable Battery Pack
    $37.23 @ Amazon.com
  • Zeikos ZE-FS10-OR Floating Strap (Orange)
    $10.22 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Resolution: 10.2MP
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.7 in.
  • Battery Life: 250 shots
  • Waterproof: Yes
More
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