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Pentax Optio M30 compact digital camera

Pentax Optio M30 digital camera

Photo finish or super snapper?

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Wear and tear can take its toll on any compact digital camera: bouncing around in a bag on a day-to-day basis could, without any form of protective casing, potentially damage the LCD display or even cause problems with the shutter closing properly when powering down. But the performance of the M30 was reliable over time and felt like it could confidently take a knock or two in a worse case situation. It takes a little under three seconds to switch on the device and about two seconds to shut it down, which is about standard for cameras in the same class.

Pentax Optio M30 compact digital camera (back)

Of course, a consequence of its inexpensive price - the M30 is a mere 124 quid - is the limited range of features the M30 offers. So it's automatic exposure only and the more-or-less now standard selection of pre-program scene modes covering portrait, landscape, sports and night – all of which are fairly self explanatory. These modes also include flowers (bright, colourful images with soft outlines), surf & snow (images with dazzling backgrounds) and three settings for categories that Pentax has called kids, pets and... er... food. Well, someone has to take all those photographs of different dishes for restaurant menus...

The M30 also features a mode called “Digital SR”, meaning shake reduction. This increases the ISO setting to around 1000 to increase shutter speed, reducing the effects of camera shake and movement blur at the expense of increased image noise.

When in its continuous shooting mode, the M30 maintains a rate of one frame every half second or so for the first ten shots. However, it slows a little after this to about one exposure a second until either the 21.9MB built-in memory or the inserted SD/SDHC memory card is full. The movie mode records at a respectable 30 frames per second and 640 x 480 resolution.

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