Bought my Pentax Optio camera just over 18 months ago,easy to use,fantasic picture quality however on taking the camera overseas on our holidays it`s let us down by freezing !!!!! the zoom not working and not been able to review the photos,this happened last year and the problem seemed to rectifi itself be removing the batteries for a while,but this year no such luck,4 days into the holiday the same again,zoom not working,unable to review photos and now an extra,not been able to change the picture mode !!!! I took all the precautions from the manual,keeping the camera dry and not leaving it exposed to temperature changes but it still let me down again,i didn`t pay loads for this camera,i read the reviews and they don`t mention this problem.Iv`e been home from my holidays and the cameras still faulty,took it in for repair and the price is at least £100 for Pentax just to look at it,next year back to my old faithfull 35 mm camera,no fuss,no playbck,no zoom but i know i can rely on it !!!!!!
I have always been keen on photography and quite proud of the photos that I've managed to take. However, using a standard automatic camera has its limitations and so I finally thought it was time to invest in a decent digital camera. Price was a big factor in deciding which make to buy. Although I didn't want a really cheap digital camera, I didn't want to pay the earth for one either! Searching the Internet, I came across the Pentax Optio E30. It seemed to fit the bill well in terms of price (just under £100) and had many of the features that I was looking for, such as video recording with sound.
I ordered the camera through Tesco Direct because I had a £5 money off coupon to use, and received the camera in the post a couple of days later.
The Pentax Optio E30 offers a 2.4 inch LCD and 7.1 megapixels, providing high resolution photography. It also offers 11MB of built-in memory and a 3 x optical zoom, allowing you to zoom in on the detail you want.
WHAT YOU GET
The Pentax Optio E30 camera comes in a box with two AA batteries, a USB/AV Cable, dock insert and a convenient camera strap. You also get a basic User Manual and two CDs - one for installing software and the other, an Operating Manual. You will, however, need to buy a SD Memory Card separately, as this is not included with the camera. SD (Secure Digital) cards are sophisticated memory cards which link a whole range of digital equipment and allow you to send photos to a PC or direct to a printer. As well as images, they are capable of storing music, movies, downloaded application or even games. Depending on storage capacity, these can range in price but normally cost between £5 and £10.
I found the camera remarkably easy to set up. The manual provides clear instructions and pictures showing you exactly how to get the camera working. Once the batteries and SD card are installed, simply press the Power On switch and the camera is up and running. Pressing the same button will turn the camera off.
The next stage is to set the correct language, date and time, but this should only take a few minutes.
* Shooting Modes
The camera offers a wide range of shooting modes. The basic picture-taking mode is called 'Program', but some of the others include 'Night Scene', 'Landscape', 'Flower', 'Portrait', 'Sport', 'Pet', 'Fireworks', 'Food' and 'Sunset'. Each one is slightly different so as to provide the best possible results. For example, the 'Sport' mode allows you to take fast-moving action shots and the 'Food' mode gives subjects a bright, vivid finish. As I have only recently bought the camera, I haven't a lot of experience of using the different shooting modes. However, I find that the basic 'Program' mode suffices for most subjects, although I will probably use the 'Landscape' mode frequently, as I enjoy taking photos of land and seascapes.
* Picture and Movie Playback/Editing
The great advantage of using a digital camera over a conventional one is that you can view and edit images and movies as you go. The Pentax Optio E30 allows you see all photos you've taken in an album or as a slideshow. You can then decide to keep, format or delete them. You can also change the size and view layout at a click of a button. My only advice would to be careful when deleting images or movies. If you accidentally select format and delete, you will lose all data stored on the SD card. There is a particular way of deleting individual images or movies, as I learnt to my cost.
IMAGE AND SOUND QUALITY
Since buying the camera, I have taken many photos and the vast majority have been bright and sharply focused. However, I have found that uploading them onto my PC and printing them out myself provides grainier photographs than if I get them developed in a shop. However, this is also probably more to do with my printer than anything else! It may also be because of the pixel settings. You can select the exact pixel setting to suit what sized image you want printed, although I havent properly experimented with this myself. There are seven settings in total. The larger the recorded pixels, the sharper the printed image will look once printed. For standard postcard sized prints, it is recommended that you use around 1600 x 1200 recorded pixels.
One feature of this camera which has impressed me immensely is the 'Movie' and 'Voice' mode. The camera picks up background sound with exactitude, and the quality also remains high when movie clips are uploaded onto the PC. You can record in either full colour, black and white or sepia.
* Optical Zoom Facility
Another feature I like is the Optical Zoom mode. This allows you to zoom in on your chosen subject and get a sharper picture image. A zoom bar appears on the LCD to show the precise level of magnification. This feature is particularly useful if youre taking pictures of landscapes.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, the Optio E30 comes with an all-important USB/AV cable. The USB cable allows you to link the camera to your PC and thereby send and retrieve images/movies. The AV cable can connect straight to your video, which is ideal if your want to see your own home made movies.
LOOK AND DESIGN
I personally like the compact, ergonomic design of the camera. It may be bulkier than some newer and more expensive models, but only weighs around 180g, so can hardly be classed as bulky. It also measures a fairly modest 61.5 x 94.5 x 35.4mm. As with similar digital cameras, the Optio E30 comes in a nice silver chrome colour.
I consider the E30 to be an excellent, user-friendly camera for the amateur photographer. It offers a comprehensive range of features, many of which I have not mentioned here, and produces good quality images and movies. It also works out as good value for money. My only criticism of the camera is it only works with AA Alkaline batteries and these can run down quite quickly. But apart from that, Im very satisfied with my purchase and hope to carry on using it for many years to come.