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Pentax Optio 43WR Cameras & Accessories

Cameras & Accessories Manufacturer: Pentax
Pentax Model: Optio 43WR
Review Category: Cameras & Accessories

Purchase: Purchased online at J+R Music/Computers for $350, and received in the mail 5 days later. The "WR" stands for water resistant. I was looking for a pocket size digital camera that could stand up to rain, and that I could take with me on hunting and fishing excursions. My original motivation was to attach it to the stabilizer of my bow, in order to film the actual shot sequence during a future hunt, when a shot opportunity presented itself. (using the 640 x 480, 30 frames per second movie mode) I thought I had all the engineering worked out. I used a "cobra" knuckle to make the 90 degree turn upwards, and mounted a alternate tripod attachment hole, where the camera was now balanced and facing directly where I aimed the bow. Unfortunately the camera stopped recording at the release of the string. The vibraration of the shot seems to cause a power issue with this camera.

Things I like about the Pentax Optio 43WR: I did place the camera on a tripod and shoot arrows over it. I was amazed at the quality of the video. While playing back the video one frame at a time,I could see and stop the arrow five times before, and upon impacting the target, at a 16 yard shot distance. In one shot sequence I could clearly see the bend of the carbon shaft when it is only 3 yards out. Having taped hunting shows at home for years in an effort to see exactly where the arrow hit the animal, I am suprised that this small camera can capture both the shot and the hit with clarity, and the results seem to be comparable to the "camo cameras". The camera runs on 2 AA's and weighs only around 7 ounces loaded. It is only 3.2x 3x 1.2 inches, making it very easy to carry. It takes still shots at 4 megapixels and has a 2.8 power optical and 4 power digital zoom. Images and movies can be played back in the camera, on a computer, or straight to your TV. All cords come with the camera, as well as CD software and written manual. I also recently recorded my nephew hitting a baseball. The movie was again of much higher quality than one would expect from a pocket size digital. Another good feature is that you can save settings when powering down. This way if you want your camera ready to record at the highest quality setting and at 3x zoom, all you have to do is press on and the camera will return to these settings when powering up.

What I don't like about the Pentax Optio 43WR: Obviosly the power problem I experienced with the camera mounted to the bow was dissapointing. However I have not had any power issues during regular use. The camera does not have a lens cover, and you will find your finger prints on the lens often without carefull handling. The tripod hole is way off center, so I glued on a second one on center. I use a small tripod (6inch) for field shots when I'm by myself. This way the camera will balance on the tripod, and not tip over.

Optio 43WR quality: Again it is obvious that my camera will not accept the sudden surge of a bow shot, without a power problem. Other than that it is difficult for me to critique the contruction of electronic devices.

Optio 43WR summary: While it is dissapointing that the camera does not work on the bow, it does function quite well in my hand. The high quality movie mode recorded surprisingly crisp and clear clips that are only limited in lenght by the capacity of your "sd" card. While I have only taken still shots in auto mode there are manual settings available. The stills can be captured at up to 4 megapixels, and as is the case with most digitals a variety of different scene modes are available. This is an excellent camera for the sportsman worried about exposing his investment to the elements. I have taken the camera fishing (splashing and rain won't hurt), and I will be carrying it into the woods come fall. I will have it at the ready in my treestand, and have better stories and evidence of what I saw, when I return to camp. The "Stylus" camera by Olympus is another water resistant and very compact digital that would be a good choice for the outdoorsman. It does have a lens cover but does not yet offer the highest quality video mode that the Pentax 43WR delivers.

Rating for this Pentax product: 4

Author of this review on Pentax Cameras & Accessories: Mike (skyhunter) Corazon

Date: 2004-07-08

Usefulness Rating: 5 out of 5.
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