Clunky and unattractive models have dominated the lower end of the compact camera price bracket in 2006 and into 2007. but with the Optio M30, Pentax seems to have come up with a solution
For too long, clunky and unattractive models have dominated the lower end of the compact camera price bracket with users forced to shell out a lot of money for an eye-catching number that also produced good results. But with the Optio M30, Pentax seems to have come up with a solution.
The 3x optical zoom covers 38-114mm, with a 7.1MP sensor ensuring that the M30 punches several price brackets above its weight. The ISO ranges from 64-1600, but can be extended up to 3200 in Digital SR mode, to allow reduced blur in shots taken in low-light.
The design is sleek, with a subtle wedge-shape enabling comfy handling at the thick end while shooting. The low price hasn’t meant quality compromises – the M30 has a metal build and a 2.5in LCD.
The camera also features Pentax’s ‘Green Mode’ for capturing images with minimal fuss, and whilst aimed at beginners we found it very effective for producing good quality snaps. In fact, the lack of intuition within the menu navigation system and ineffective scene modes mean the combination of ‘auto’ and ‘green mode’ often seems the best option.
Although the sensor contains a modest 7.1MP, noise is visible even at low ISO settings when you look at them closely on screen. The general image quality is pleasing though – even when control of the shots is handed over to the point-and-shoot ‘Green Mode’. The white balance produces nice, slightly warm images and fringing is well controlled for a low-end compact.
At £140, the M30 represents good value for money, offering decent quality results with relative ease and an eye-catching, metal-bodied design.