Pentax Optio P70
Nice face, shame about the snaps
There are also manual focus and white balance options, but it’s not easy to fine-tune the focusing when using the zoom lever control.
Colour options include a fetching 'marine blue'
Sadly, despite the good looks and fancy handling, the Optio P70 proved something of a disappointment when it came to performance. The main problem was noise and even at ISO 200, it begins to creep into images. There’s a lot to be said for not packing so many pixels onto a chip. What’s more, in many cases, when you’re shooting indoors using the auto mode, the Optio P70 boosts the ISO speed and set a slow shutter speed rather than fire off the flash - it seems to automatically select Night Scene mode.
Sometimes you can have too much automation. The result is images that not only suffer from noise and poor exposure, but colours that look anaemic. Now, it’s true that you can tweak many of the camera settings to improve things, but we think most Optio P70 users will want a point-and-shoot camera that consistently delivers good results in auto mode. Sadly, this camera doesn’t.
It’s also very slow in writing data to the card. Occasionally, after taking a shot, the LCD screen displayed the message: “Data being processed”, forcing us to wait several seconds before we could take the next shot.
The face-recognition system worked well, but overall, the Optio P70’s images were soft and lacking in vibrancy. On a happier note, Pentax claims you can shoot around 200 frames on one full battery charge, and we managed to get 234.
We really wanted to like this camera, and there are some nice things about it, but while Pentax has got the design more or less right, they need to improve its performance.
It’s sleek, stylish and has lots of features, as well as a novel vertical shooting mode. But the Optio P70 is let down by its performance, especially when used indoors. ®
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