Pentax Optio P70 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Pentax Optio P70 Ease of Use 8
Features 8
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality7
Colours 8
Photo Quality 7
Style 8
Lowlight 7
Macro 7
Value for Money 7
12 Megapixels
4x Zoom
2.7 inch LCD Screen
97 x 54 x 21.5mm
110g

Overview

The Pentax Optio P70 is small enough to slip into most pockets. It has 12 megapixels and a 4x wide angle, optical zoom lens. Extra zoom becomes available when shooting at lower resolutions.

Why Buy The Pentax Optio P70

The Optio P70 has High Definition movies and comes in at a substantially lower price than a number of pocket cameras.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

12
4x
2.7 inches
97 x 54 x 21.5mm
110g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

10cm
Yes
No
Lithium ion
SD/SDHC

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom): I like the overall impression given by the colours and brightness in this photo. It is only if you blow the photo up and make large prints that you start to notice the picture is soft in places. There is also a lack of any detail at all in darker areas of the shot.

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): With the lens zoomed out the Optio P70 puts in a credible effort. No camera manages to produce a pin sharp image of what is a distant scene, but this camera does well in comparison to others.

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): This is a mid range effort. The photo is sharp enough in most areas without really challenging the top rated cameras. There is a drop in focusing as you move away from the centre of the shot and the photo becomes a little more distant on the right hand side.

Outdoor 4 (Building): As with the other scenic shots this photo scores average marks for focusing. You are unlikely to notice a great deal of difference with snapshot sized prints, but if you are more ambitious with the size of the prints you make you will start to see areas that could be sharper.

Portraits

Outdoor Portrait: I am not quite sure about the colours in this shot. This is especially true of the skin tones. It has a faint orange caste to the colours.

Indoor Portrait with Flash: The conditions used for taking my indoor portraits are quite favourable. There is some light and most digital camera manage fairly well. This photo is darker than I would like to see and it is also not as crisp as most cameras manage. Noise is creeping into the shot, despite the light given off by the flash unit.

Indoor Portrait without Flash: I have noticed that whenever the light is not perfect the Optio P70 quickly pushes up the ISO rating to compensate. This can lead to higher levels of noise and therefore a lessening of picture quality than I am used to seeing.

Macro, Colours and Noise

Macro: The macro shot is a decent effort, but the Optio P70 is handicapped by the fact it can only focus from 10cm away from the subject. This makes it difficult to get in very close. My test shot has been cropped for display.

Colours: Aside from the tinge of yellow / orange in the outdoor portrait I have no complaints about the colours of my test photos. I am happy with the way the colours are balanced and the overall feel of the photos.

ISO 400 and ISO 1600: With this camera it is not so much a question of how much noise shows in the photos as you push up the ISO ratings, but how often the Optio P70 resorts to higher ISO settings when taking standard photos. I felt that noise was more of an issue with this camera than I am used to seeing.

Summary

The Optio P70 works well enough as a snapshot camera in good light. If the light starts to fall noise can start to play a part in the photos and take an edge off the clarity and definition of the photos.

See sample images link arrow

Style

The ends of the camera are quite rounded. This helps to give the Optio P70 a bit of a different look to a lot of pocket cameras. The lens unit looks larger than other cameras as well. You should have no problem slipping it into a pocket.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.55 seconds
27.32 seconds
1.63 seconds
21.66 seconds
3.89 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par There is little to trip you up with this camera. Pentax has added something it calls Green Mode. This is basically a very simple mode that turns the Optio P70 into a completely automatic camera.

Points I Like

Ease of use

Where it Could Improve

Macro shots are distant - noise creeps in from time to time - shutter delay times

Verdict

Not every digital camera can be fantastic. I was left with a feeling that the Pentax Optio P70 is not really cheap enough to overcome some of the problems I found. The problems may not always be that big, but I feel there is better value for money to be had elsewhere.

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 shooting modes

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100

If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.

Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review

Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100

Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review

Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review

Related Pages

Pentax Optio P70 Review Pentax Optio P70 Specification Pentax Optio P70 Sample Images Pentax Optio P70 Features Pentax Digital Cameras

Review Date

May 2009

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