Pentax Optio A30 review

Started Dec 10, 2007 | User reviews thread
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snapdragon
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Pentax Optio A30 review
Dec 10, 2007

I got this as a take everywhere camera when I don't have my SLR.. I wanted something really pocket sized, but still capable..with full manual exposure and white balance settings. The A30 is tiny yet it has very pleasing image quality and the noise is fairly low for such a small camera. The default color processing is just right, not overdone. Photos in regular indoor lighting with no flash.. no problem. In manual mode, candle lit photos look nice.. noise is there but not too terrible. Even ISO1600 shots are pretty useable. At low ISO settings the shots are very clean. One dissapointment is that there are only two aperture settings (maximum and minimum) in manual mode. But it is enough to get most shots. The other issue with shooting is SLOWNESS when focusing. I understand this was a major problem in earlier Optio models. The A30 is not horribly slow but it certainly can't be called fast. It is a little bit of an annoyance.

Macro/SuperMacro modes work nicely, the lens in general is good. The video mode is also nice, 30fps with sound.. but you cannot zoom while taking the video. Also the quality isn't the best, it's kind of noisy. It's good enough for fun uses but if you are serious about video then maybe not. The user interface has its annoyances especially there is a lot of button pushing you have to do if you are interested in manual settings. But again, it is a tiny camera so you have to make do with fewer and smaller buttons. For the more average user who won't be changing the settings 100 times a day, it's fine. The LCD screen is very nice, with good size, color, brightness and resolution.. The menus are easy enough to figure out and provide a lot of customization. The UI to delete photos is very good. I should also mention that it is very attractively put together and feels solid and well balanced in your hand. Another thing I like about this camera is that it offers a "soft flash" option. I don't like to use flash but when I have to, it's nice to have more of a fill flash rather than the harsh blown out flash of most small cameras.

Anyway I am pretty happy with the camera so far. It offers not everything I could ever want, but everything I really need and then some.. in a really tiny carry-everywhere camera. It produces clean, natural looking photos that are far nicer than you would expect from a camera of this size, even in natural (no flash) light. It does have some annoyances but every camera does, and I think Pentax has done a very good job of balancing things out with this one and come up with a winner.

Problems:

No real problems, everything works perfectly so far.

snapdragon's score
4.3
Average community score
4.2
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