Pentax Optio 430 review

Started Sep 18, 2002 | User reviews thread
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Lawrence Levy
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Pentax Optio 430 review
Sep 18, 2002

This camera is a pleasure to use. Its small size and light weight make this a tiny point & shoot digicam with great pictures. Unlike my 35mm SLR (Pentax Z-1) which takes better pictures than any digicam I've used, I can take the 430 on hikes and climbs and not notice it's there until I want to take a picture. Then, it's good enough to capture what I'm shooting quickly enough not to slow down the people I'm with.

It's the ideal trip camera. As long as you don't require a very long lens or a very wide angle, the 430 can capture the scene and not break your back.

The compact flash media is cost effective and easy enough to get anywhere.

The multitude of features give ample creative leeway.

I'd prefer to be able to easily add an external flash for greater range and truly eliminate red-eye (or green-eye for dogs). But, that's where the appropriate use of software comes in.

The ability to determine which settings to have the 430 remember from session to session is an enabling feature. You can set up the camera at a comfortable starting place, and that's where it will always boot up.

Usage is quite intuitive. Features are pretty much where you'd expect them and easy to exercise.

Auto-focusing in darkened areas is a drawback. Fortunately, manual focus is available.

When I bought it, the 430RS wasn't out and it took a lot of digging to get it for $450. At that price, I found it a good value for the price (the going price was often $100 more). Now that the RS is out, prices for the 430 should become even more reasonable.

Since I wasn't a fan of stereo pictures on 35mm, this is an RS feature that doesn't interest me. To get it, you trade away the 430's double exposure feature, which I haven't been able to master.

Not having built in storage is a mild inconvenience (corrected by the RS). But then, none of my film cameras ever offered that feature and I never heard anyone complain.

This does not qualify as a true professional tool as you cannot accessorize (e.g., change lenses, flash units) the 430. The paucity of internal filtering (corrected by the RS) is also a negative.

All in all, this a truly handy photographic tool that can produce high quality images at a good value.

Problems:

No physical problems.

Mentally, it took me a while to realize that I had to either approach closer or walk further away than a greater range of lens sizes required. This was easy to overcome.

Autofocus requires brighter light than I'd like. Swithcing to manual focus was an easy, but inconvenient, fix.

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Pentax X-5
Lawrence Levy's score
4.7
Average community score
4.1
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