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|Daniel Bell reviews the Pentax Optio M900.|
The Pentax Optio M900 is designed to be easy to use, as well as being light-weight with advanced basic functions. It is available in black and burgundy red from around £99. The M900 has a 5x optical zoom, equivalent to 28 - 240mm in 35mm format and a 12Mp sensor. At this price range you may be considering a wide range of cameras such as the Samsung PL90 or the Nikon Coolpix S3000.
Pentax Optio M900: Features
- Pentax 5x optical zoom lens 5.1 - 25.3mm f/3.5 - 5.9, (equ. to 28-140mm in 35mm format)
- 12.1 Megapixel sensor
- 2.7in TFT LCD screen
- 2 - 1/2000 second shutter speed (dependent on mode)
- ISO80 - 1600
- Easy-to-use button interface
- Face detection
- Auto picture mode
- Digital panorama mode
- Movie mode
Pentax Optio M900: Handling
After switching on the camera it is ready within a couple of seconds to take pictures. Most of the controls for the camera are on the rear, where there are the typical buttons found on a compact, such as the zoom rocker, menu, playback and a d-pad with a central OK button. Also on the rear is the 2.7in TFT LCD screen which is easy to view in all conditions.
When changing the length of the lens, the zoom rocker is simple to control as is navigating through the cameras menu system. Overall, the camera looks and feels great and all users from beginners to advanced will enjoy using it.
Pentax Optio M900: Performance
Although the colours are well represented accurately by the M900 but the quality of the images leaves something to be desired when viewed at full size. The best images are produced at the wide-angle length but there is some detail missing. The performance does worsen at the telephoto length. Images produced are more suited to the web, such as Facebook and Flickr or as 6x4 prints.
|Pentax Optio M900 Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
ISO and noise performance
Noise is handled extremely well at ISO80 and ISO100. There is increased noise at ISO200 and ISO400 but again the images produced are acceptable. Beyond this, at ISO800 and ISO1600, the images produced are poor and not ISO settings I'd recommend using.
|Pentax Optio M900 Test chart ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
Under the incandescent lighting in our studio the white-balance performance whether using auto or the incandescent preset the performance is good. Under the fluorescent lights the images were both quite dark although performance was again similar using the auto or fluorecent preset. You can rely on the auto white-balance performance but may need to use a higher ISO in fluorescent lighting.
There are a fair amount of scene modes available on the Pentax Optio M900 such as auto, p-mode, panorama, smile catch, sport, landscape, night landscape, portrait, self portrait, night portrait, museum, snow, sunset, fireworks, beach, party, foliage, kids & pets, copy, backlight and frame composite.
Below are some examples using the scene modes. The landscape mode increased the green and blue in the image slightly but not by much. The copy mode was quite impressive, the newspaper article is readable even on the thumbnail. The panoramic mode was easy to use but it is possible to see where the images have been joined.
|Pentax Optio M900 scene modes: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.|
|Landscape mode.||Copy mode.|
Pentax Optio M900: Verdict
Even though the M900 only costs around £99 it is fair to say that there are other cameras out there that can produce better images for this price. If you are looking for a camera to take with you when out with friends and like sharing images on social networking sites then the Pentax Optio M900 is worth your consideration.
Pentax Optio M900: Pros
Noise performance at ISO80 and ISO100
Pentax Optio M900: Cons
Image quality at full size
Noise performance at ISO800 and ISO1600
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Pentax Optio M900: Specification
|What comes in the box||USB/AV cable, battery charger kit, Li-ion rechargeable battery, strap, software.|
|Lens||Pentax 5x optical zoom lens 5.1 - 25.3mm f/3.5 - 5.9, (equ. to 28-140mm in 35mm format)|
|Max. Image size||4000 x 3000|
|LCD monitor||2.7in TFT, 230,000px|
Contrast detection TTL Autofocus system
|Focusing modes||Multi-AF 3-point zone, Spot AF, Auto-tracking AF (anticipating moving subject)|
|Metering system||Multi-segment metering|
|Metering modes||Auto Picture, Program, Auto-Panorama, Sport, Landscape, Night landscape, Self-portrait, Night portrait, Museum, Snow, Sunset, Fireworks, Beach, Party, Foliage, Kids&Pets, Copy, Backlight, Frame Composite, Audio, Video, Portrait|
|White-balance||Automatic, Sunny, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2EV (1/3EV steps)|
|Shutter speed range||2 - 1/1000 sec|
|Movie mode||VGA (640x480 pixels) at 30 fps, QVGA (320x240 pixels) at 30 fps|
|Media type||SD / SDHC|
|Interface||USB and AV output|
|Power||Rechargeable D-LI108 Lithium-ion battery|
|Size (wxhxd)||97.5 x 58.5 x 23mm|
|Weight (with battery)||133g|