I purchased my Pentax Optio M85 towards the back of last year. It is currently available from Argos for around £70.
This Pentax Optio M85 is very much a pocket camera cased in a slender 24mm aluminium body that weighs 105g. First off the camera has some impressive features and comes with a 12.0mp high resolution CCD and a 32-96mm 3 x optical zoom lens. On first impressions it comes across as a very stylish camera... even though I really wanted a red one!
On the plus side there is an ample sized 3 inch LCD screen with 230.000 dots that enables you to see your captured images and to alter camera settings. However, the images on the screen are not as good as my previous Samsung 85D camera, lacking in sharpness and in particular the limited viewing angles mean that you have to look at the images head on. As for the photos though the image quality is satisfactory for my needs as long as I avoid taking pictures in low light conditions. I couldn't really advise whether the image quality overall would be up to the standards of the more serious shooter, but I doubt it.
Having spent the last two years or so constantly having to replace AA batteries of my Samsung 85D I liked the fact that this camera came with a more efficient Li-ion rechargeable battery. However this aspect is let down by the battery cover which opens far too easily and on more than one occasion has done so whilst I was taking a picture.
Another downside is the function wheel on the back of the camera that allows you to switch between the 12 different scene modes. The wheel is quite small and very fiddly to use and changing between modes can be really slow. Having said this, once I have it in automatic mode it does everything I need so I don't bother messing about with the functions too much.
But what I dislike most about this camera is the horrible noise that the lens makes every time it protrudes and zooms in and out. To be honest I would much prefer a camera without a zoom lens that didn't protrude every time you switched it on but they're such a rarity at the budget end of the spectrum. I find this feature to be one of the most annoying aspects of modern compact digital cameras and long for the simplicity of the old film cameras such as the reliable Olympus Trip that I used when I was kid and with which I always took stunning shots.
Oh, there is a 720p video capture at a measly 15fps frame rate that comes with some pretty awful sound quality - not much use in my opinion, though I've yet to come across video capture on a compact digital camera that is.
In conclusion the Pentax Optio M85 probably had the potential to be a very good budget camera but is let down by the numerous design flaws mentioned above. It isn't a complete dud however, and for a newcomer to compact digital photography it might not be a bad place to start.
* 3x optical zoom lens (32 - 96 mm) f 2,9-5,2
* 3.0'' inch large LCD-Display, 230.000 dots
* Auto scene available
* 1280x720 @15fps HD movie
* ISO range 80-3200
* Face recognition (Max 10 faces at a time)
* 90x58x19mm Slim and compact body
* Approx 215 shots (CIPA standard) with bundled rechargeable Li-ion battery
* 105g light body