Pentax Optio 330RS review

Started Mar 18, 2003 | User reviews thread
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Tariq Sami
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Pentax Optio 330RS review
Mar 18, 2003

Decent little camera in some areas. Bought it as a back-up easy-carry alternative to a larger prosumer digital or SLR... now regretting it a bit... read more...

PROs:
+ ease of use
+ size
+ weight
+ construction
+ colour values are very good

The 330RS' strengths are it's construction (stainless steel body), compact size, and ease of use. I spent about 20 minutes with the manual and another 30 minutes of actual hands-on use and I had mastered almost every aspect and feature of the camera. Two days of use later and I was easliy able to toggle and switch between options and features without thinking about it. Very intuitive and I'm not a tech type!

Unfortunately the picture quality is really quite poor. Although colour saturations are quite startling for such a mid-range camera there is far too much noise in the photos I've taken - even in good light conditions. Somehow I don't feel like I'm getting a 3MP quality. I printed my pictures at 66% of the original size and I still saw noise! It's a bit unacceptable for a 3MP digital image at 3.5" x 5" to look worse than a regular SLR print! Why go digital at this stage?

Amazingly, the macro works quite well for a mid-range camera that has no business boasting such a feature.

This camera also has other limitations like video WITHOUT sound. Honestly, no one is buying a digital camera to make movies but not having sound makes the feature almost useless and such 'fun' features are actually quite relevant for these pocket-size compacts. You'll be limited to only making silent Chaplin-like movies. Video is a neat feature to have and particularly so with a pocket-sized camera because the assumption is that you'll be carrying this camera with you everywhere and the chance for a quick video clip might arise at any unpredictable moment - i.e. at a birthday party blowing out the candles, stage-dives at a concert/show, noticing an escaped elephant running through an urban street, wrestling a cougar while camping, celebrity spottings in New York, or happening upon Winona Ryder shoplifting a few aisles from you at Wal-Mart - who knows! You'll miss the ambient noise and/or commentary that accompanies these opportunistic moments. Sure, you'll have the video of your chance encounter with Penelope Cruz, but you'll never be able to prove to your friends that she said you were the most handsome man she'd ever met and would dump Tom Cruise for you. "Nuts! Wish I had the audio..." And because of all the noise in the photos some friends will actually doubt that it was Penelope at all! "Nuts! Wish I had a Canon or Nikon!

Problems:

CONs:

- only saves in compressed JPEG format

- poor picture quality (noise in any lighting condition)

- video - no sound

- a bit expensive for what you're getting

- 3D feature is a scam - it's not automatic as the user has to do all the work and any camera allows you to do the same. Too bad because I've been researching and experimenting with stereoscopic photography for the last dozen years.

- might leave you wishing you had bought a different, more reliable, capable small-size pocket camera for the same cost or slightly more

NOTE to Pentax and the industry in general:
3MP is more than adequate for the average point-and-shoot user so make sure these configuartions actually take good photos! Compact point-and shoot cameras should be packed with well-performing features because people will use these sized cameras and their gimics most readily (even some prosumers). Keep your super macros telephotos and maual overrides dedicated to the professional and prosumer market. Focus your attention on what a point and shoot can do and make sure it isn't substandard to a regular SLR. Just my thoughts on how to create a market and interest in digital photogarphy... G'night!

Tariq Sami's score
4.0
Average community score
4.1
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