The build quality of the Optio WP is more crucial than normal because it's designed to be used underwater.

Pentax says that you can take the camera down to a depth of 1.5m, which means the deep end of the pool isn't off limits, and you can apparently stay submerged for periods of up to 30 minutes. Because of this, the Optio WP is exceptionally well built, with a stylish two-tone grey and silver finish and large two-inch LCD.

A fairly conventional 3x optical zoom lens focuses onto the 5.1Mp sensor, and offers a zoom range of 38-114mm and a maximum image size of 2,560 x 1,960 pixels. There are nine-point automatic, wide area and spot autofocus options, but only a single, multisegment metering mode. The lack of anything but a Programme shooting mode will be a letdown for serious photographers, but at least this is backed up by 19 scene modes for tricky lighting.

The Optio WP has 10Mb of memory built in. Further capacity is available by use of SD cards, which fit into the same watertight compartment that's used for the rechargeable battery pack and USB connector. It's not the most convenient layout but Pentax obviously had to cover all the connection holes for watertightness.

There's nothing wrong with the sharpness of the lens throughout its entire zoom range. Likewise, metering proved to be very accurate throughout our tests, even in tricky conditions. The real problem area seems to be noise, with skies and smooth surfaces looking quite grainy in our tests. Matthew Richards

Via PhotoRadar