Monday, September 26, 2011

Pentax Optio E60 Review

(Couldn't seem to post this at dpreview.com)

This the first Pentax camera I've used. They do a pretty good job of designing a camera although this may predate the company's acquisition and dismantling by Hoya, which has sold what remains to Ricoh. The picture quality is quite good. As pictures shot on this type of camera only start to look good at around 50-60%, I set the picture size to 5MP which is more like it's real (i.e. usable) resolution and I have smaller file sizes to deal with.
The case seems to keep the dust out and the zoom works well. The autofocus is moderately intelligent but it sometimes focuses on the wrong item and macro shots seem to have to be further away from the camera than necessary.

It is a bit too automated for my liking, no white balance setting, although it is somewhat redeemed by picking the right setting more often than not. Exposure offset can only be adjusted with the menu and several clicks down, which is the biggest flaw in this camera's design. Again, it is usually well chosen automatically but the designers have acted as if it will be the last thing a user will want to change. Taking shots for a HDR composition (which I sometimes experiment with) requires a lot of clicks.

Colours are enhanced in-camera which produces some pretty vivid images of greenery and blue sky. The night-time mode is good (compared to my last two cameras which were Kodaks), the sensor has good high ISO performance. It's nowhere near SLR performance but at least it is usable, and is easily accessible from the mode menu.



One "hack" I like about this camera is that the shape of the battery chamber works well with my makeshift AA dummy cell, which allows me to reliably use a 14500 (AA-sized) lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Cameras that run on AA batteries always seem to be on the verge of running out of charge, so going Li-ion means it will fire up every time until the battery is genuinely depleted.

Here are some sample images taken in the vicinity of Adelaide.








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