Pentax Optio SV review
Well, since there are no comments about this camera so far I will have a go at posting some. It should be noted however that this is the first time I have owned a digital camera, having previously been used to good quality manual and automatic 35mm film cameras, so I don't have a lot of experience to compare this camera to other than what I have read and seen online.
First the positive things..
Nice compact size
Controls and buttons are well placed and ergonomic to operate.
Comprehensive but easy to use user-interface - I particularly like how you have rapid access to 4 user-chosen settings via the function button, and can set up each dial-selected mode with your own custom settings.
Very nice to have the options to do some things or everything manually.
5x zoom, which seems to zoom in and out quite quickly
Nice close macro focusing
Good picture quality in good light
Minimal drivers/software needs to be installed on PC (actually you don't need to install anything at all unless you have an old OS like Windows 98)
.. but unfortunatly there are a couple of things which I have been really quite disapointed with:
Auto focus just doesn't lock properly in low light - and I'm not talking complete darkness here - even in a normally lit room (single overhead 100W equivalent bulb covered by thickish paper lampshade) the auto focus won't lock on people standing in the middle of the room. Or in a much more brightly lit room, trying to focus very close in macro mode doesn't lock if the camera itself is casting a shadow on the target. Of course manual focus is available to 'work around' such situations, but I've never had such problems with my auto-focus film cameras.
Pictures seem very noisy to me at ISO 200 or 400 - much more 'grainyness' than you'd get with film of this speed, and I think more noisy than photos I've seen from other peoples 5MP cameras. Not so much a problem in good light - at ISO 50 the picture quality is excellent, but with low light you really have to have a very still subject and something to rest the camera on in order to avoid using the higher ISO settings.
So in summary: if I was only intending to use this camera in situations with good light I would be happy with it, but unfortunatly it is going to have to go back to the shop. I intend to get a refund and get an Optio 750Z instead - I hope this will improve these 2 problem areas while keeping all the things I like about the SV. I think having spent £300 already, I would rather spend £400 and actually be totally happy with my camera.