Pentax Optio E40 compact camera

This snapper needs to sharpen its teeth

The E40 is powered by two AA batteries and our sample came with two Panasonic alkalines. At this price point, you’ll have to buy your own memory card, but the E40 does come with 10MB of internal memory.

It also has a 1/2.5in CCD with 8.1 effective pixels, 3x optical zoom with a focal length of 6.2mm-18.6mm (equivalent to 37.5-112.5mm in 35mm format), 2.4in LCD screen with 110,000 pixels), Face Recognition autofocus, Digital Shake Reduction (a poor person’s image stabilisation that works by boosting the ISO sensitivity), various shooting modes (including, nightscene, sport, flower, landscape, panoramic and movie – up to VGA quality 30fps) and a good sprinkling of playback options that include slideshow, cropping, image rotation and red-eye compensation.

Pentax Optio E40

The 2.4in LCD screen isn't as clear as one would hope

The E40 takes around 4-5 seconds to power up and shutter lag isn’t that great either (around a couple of seconds), plus it takes several seconds to write data to the memory card - so if you want to quickly replay your shots, you’ll have a wait.

Despite being larger than your average digital compact (the E40 measures 94 x 60 x 24mm and weighs 130g without batteries) it’s quite comfortable to hold. This is partly thanks to the way its body curves towards the right-hand side.

The LCD screen isn’t that particularly clear, due to the relatively low pixel count. This might be a cost-saving exercise or a way of preserving battery power. Or both. Changing various shooting parameters is easy – just press the menu button and scroll down a list.

This way, you can change things such as the resolution (from 3264 x 2448 pixels to VGA), amount of compression and ISO rating (from 80 to 1000). Selecting the shooting modes is simple too, and involves choosing one from a set of cartoon icons (a brief text description is also helpfully provided).

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