As a state employee, we can not endorse any particular product, but we can talk about the sutibility for our particular need and how well it meets them.
The Pentax W90 has really exceeded most of my expectations with regards to a rugged and versitile compact point and shoot camera.
First off I was going to complain that the battery can be inserted backwards, which at first I thought was a design flaw, but in reality, it is nice since you can reverse it so that it can not be turned on inadvertantly while packed or carried on the trail. It is easy to remove and reverse. Battery capacity was very good, even in very cold weather and cold water too.
The 720P video is sharp and clear, and the interval shooting is easy to use and has alot of control including time delay before starting the sequence. We used that to do some time lapse footage of a den entrance.
The waterproof function was especially nice since we used it as a second camera to shoot spawning golden trout in creeks at 11,000 in the Sierra and the shots were quite good. One downside to video recording is at full 720p it is limited to 10 min 48 sec per file so after that you have to restart the recording process.
The camera's abilities to program time lapse and choose flash, no flash, soft flash, etc is very nice, and made the difference in some situations this trip.
All the functions and modes are very comprehensive and I am sure many of the shooting modes will get good use. The Macro mode is awsome, and the three led's that illuminate the subject do a very good job.
We are getting ready to do time lapse shots of eggs being raised in a fish hatchery, and look forward to seeing how well this works over a couple day period.
I have recomended this to several people I work with, and in fact some of our employees are being issued them for work on the job in the field. So far I know of at least a dozen being purchased.
The Carabiner clip is cute, but of little use, I guess it was provided so you can clip it on, either a belt loop or a strap on a pack, but do I really want that thing swinging around as I walk or ride? Don't think so, and the carabiner is likely to scratch the display or worse yet the lens.
All in all the W90 is a great RUGGED little camera with a big heart. Having up to 12mp is pretty nice, though I have started shooting in the 9mp wide mode to get the 16:9 format to match High Def video footage. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.
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