The Pentax Optio LS465 is a budget 5x optical zoom snapper that features swappable ‘skins’ to customise its looks and a 16-megapixel resolution sensor – it’s eminently pocketable but is it any good? We find out…
As well as purple model we tested, the camera comes in black and very, very, bright pink and you get 10 skins in the box that allow you change the look, from cow patterns or zebra stripes to adding your name and address. A rubberised ring around the lens throat holds it all in place.
Pentax Optio LS465 Review – Features and Design
Priced at a very affordable £89.99, the LS465 features a 16-megapixel resolution and HD video complete with a 5x optical zoom (that’s a 28-140mm range in 35mm terms). Every inch a point-and-shoot camera it is nonetheless a stylish little beauty; there’s a suite of auto picture modes and some of the more familiar creative filters such as miniature effects, HDR simulation, and the like, with some of the more ‘normal’ features built into its tiny 102mm x 46mm x 18mm and 125g body, includes face detection and smile capture.
The camera is small enough to slide effortlessly into most pockets (and of course hand bags), the slightly elongated design gives it the feel of a mobile phone in the hand. The shape is nice to hold and use, also making room for the widescreen format display that dominates the camera’s back. The screen’s resolution of just 230K-dots reflects the cameras price however and seems primarily aimed at helping you get the most from video capture.
Talking of which, the LS465 shoots video but only offers 1280 x 720-pixel resolution (720P), so not Full (1080P) HD and can capture footage at up to 30fps, while a small instant capture button on the back means you can be quickly shooting video without any fussing in menus.
However, to make the most of the screen when shooting stills, you lose the benefit of the camera’s 16-megapixel CCD, since to use the full area of the wider aspect ratio of the screen (for stills shooting) necessitates shooting at 12-megapixels. Set it to 16-megapixels and the amount of screen used for image display and composition is reduce to a central 4/3rd’s ratio area, leaving wide black bands either side.
At this point it’s also worth noting that although this camera’s 16-megapixel resolution is fast becoming the norm for most compacts (even budget models such as this). It means the actual light gathering pixels are very small indeed and densely packed – this invariably leads to inevitable problems associated with image noise.
And here, at all but the lowest sensitivity settings of ISO 64, noise can become visible, avoiding it above ISO 400 to be safe. The ‘normal’ ISO range goes to 1600, which is (barely) acceptable for internet use, but the dual expanded modes of ISO 3200 and 6400 that also use a reduced capture resolution of 7-megapixels, are plagued by noise issues and are best avoided.
The camera’s digital filters can be applied to your images when you shoot or after you’ve shot from within the Playback menu, which is nice as it’s enjoyable to have a tinker and snazz up a shot after you’ve taken it.
Using the LS465 is simple with an on/off button and shutter realise sat on the top of the camera the other buttons are nested on the back and include a small, square four-way jog control cluster with sliver-like zoom controls above. Playback, movie record, menu and an ‘Fn’ (function) button – which can be assigned various modes such as ISO, White Balance or EV compensation – feature on the model’s body.
All the buttons are on the small side for my fingers but will no doubt be fine for those with smaller hands.
Exposure modes run from the fully automatic point-and-shoot variety (as above) to the Auto Picture scene-recognition mode, while a Program mode and 22 subject program modes – such as the normal landscape and portrait settings – as well as the funkier stuff such as the HDR and Miniaturisation filters, all feature.
Something worth bearing in mind, and that represents another compromise due to the price of the camera, is the lack of a HDMI out port; you cannot connect it directly to an HD TV for example. Any images and movie footage will need to be transferred to a computer before you can then transfer it to an HD TV.