Pentax Optio P70
Nice face, shame about the snaps
There are 26 shooting modes to choose from, including the usual ones , such as portrait, night snapshot, panorama and landscape, plus Blog for shooting VGA-sized images, and Wide, which is rather like a mini version of the Panorama mode. Wide works by stitching two images together to create what Pentax describes as the equivalent of scene shot with a 21mm extra-wide angle lens.
The face-recognition system can detect up to 32 faces, Pentax reckons, and is claimed to work in as little as a third of a second. There’s also a blink detection system, lots of playback functions - such as cropping, resizing, red-eye removal and colour filtering - plus a handy 33.7MB of internal memory.
When it comes to handling, the Optio P70 is easy to use. Switching between camera modes basically involves using the four-way controller to scroll through a series of on-screen icons which helpfully include brief text descriptions.
Likewise, it’s a doddle to alter menu settings. The LCD screen is clear and bright and the green button is always there should you get yourself in a tangle. If you put the camera in auto picture mode - which, we suspect, will be the default setting for most users - the Optio P70 will automatically select from up to eight scene modes. So if you’re shooting close-up on an object, for example, the camera will automatically select macro mode without you having to press a button.
In a nod to the popularity of camera phones, the Optio P70 also offers a vertical shooting mode which allows you to operate the camera like a camera phone – that is, vertically, with the shutter control on the back. To use this mode, you turn off the power, hold the Optio P70 in a vertical position and then hold down the central OK button on the four way controller.
The camera powers up and the LCD screen image and icons are correctly orientated for vertical shooting. The four-way controller is also used for focusing and adjusting the exposure in this mode. However, the Optio P70 doesn’t have automatic vertical and horizontal image orientation, and so the icons remain fixed whenever you change shooting positions without the special start-up procedure.