Water sports fans looking for a digital camera to use by the beach or the poolside have just been thrown a new option without the need for a bulky waterproof housing from Pentax.

The company has just announced the launch of the Optio W30, the latest addition to its waterproof and dustproof "W" range.

The new camera, which sports a 7.1 megapixel picture offering and a 3x optical zoom camera also features enhanced waterproof functionality that allows it to be used for photography at depths of 3 metres, continuously for 2 hours.

Ideal therefore for stuff like snorkelling trips, Pentax has managed to beat its previous efforts by some way. Its predecessor could only depths of only 1.5 meters for a period of 30 minutes.

In addition, the camera is also dust and sand-proof, making it suitable for a wide range of other outdoor pursuits.

As with the newly announced Optio A30, the new Optio W30 boasts a Digital SR (Shake Reduction) mode that automatically adjusts the sensitivity to match the brightness of the subject to reduce camera shake and blurring when photographing still images.

High-quality movies can also be captured in the Optio W30 at 30fps (frames per second) and a new "Movie SR" (Shake Reduction) function is now included that automatically corrects camera shake.

Featuring a 2.5-inch LCD monitor, the Optio W30 includes an LCD "Bright Mode" that promises to adjust the brightness of the screen as necessary.

Other features include a Macro mode as near as 1cm, Face Recognition AF & AE for one-step portraits, auto-tracking AF that promises to continuously focus on a moving subject and an Auto Picture mode to automatically determine the best settings for the shooting conditions.

The Optio W30 will be on sale from March at guide price of £189.99.