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Pentax Optio E40
Pentax's Optio series is just one of the many digicams aiming to make a stab at perceived consumer requirements. Having had a chance to put the Optio E40 though its paces, here are my findings.
The Optio E40 is a compact digicam, or is it? I’d say it's just like any you’ve seen. On the top you’ll find the shutter release and power buttons. On one side is the USB slot and on the other side is the strap holder. It has a 2.4 inch LCD display at the rear and like other digicams the zoom keys on the top followed by a desiccated gallery key and a five-way nav-pad with options.
The Menu and Erase / Green Mode key are located at the bottom of the rear panel. Beneath the camera you’ll find a stand slot, cradle slot and battery compartment (which also houses the SD card).
On the whole it’s not a bad-looking camera. Even with the batteries it’s still quite lightweight and very easy to carry around.
The E40 provides a variety of options with regard to shooting modes. If you don’t want to get too technical, or if you’re going to give it to a kid to play with for a bit, the Green Mode is the way to go. It simplifies things a great deal.
As I said, there are plenty of preset modes, all neatly depicted with appropriate icons. Among the options is a 'Sports mode' that helps you capture images of moving objects. The E40 manages to work that out quite well. There’s also an option to take pictures of surf and snow. Not that too many of us would ever need to take pictures of snow.
The biggest issue with this camera is the vignette effect almost all landscape/outdoor shots seem to acquire. In the photos you'll notice the corners have a curved-like darker tint.
On the plus side, macro images look really good at first glance with the colors seemingly vibrant. On closer inspection, however, you will notice that there is still some graininess. The camera seems to have a problem focusing on major colors like yellow and red.
The E40 does manage to pick all the surrounding light and give you rather bright night shots with colors that remain decently intact, but the images are still grainy as hell with too much noise. But when you think about it, this isn’t that high-end a camera, so it’s all good.
Pentax has managed to incorporate a few editing features into the E40. You have a choice of resizing, rotating, and cropping images. It even allows you to add color filters and brighten images, as well as protect images so you won't delete them by mistake. There's also a facility for recording voice memos over the images.
Video capture is in .AVI format and this may be the one of the better features of the camera. I even managed to record some fireworks at night from a distance with the zoom and I have to say it looked quite good on PC playback.
Frequent travelers may not be happy about the batteries. Though I’m all for the "get a battery, anywhere" slogan that applies to cameras like the E40 (which runs on two AA batteries). The problem is even Duracell doesn’t seem to stand up to the consumption power of this camera. It eats away into the battery too quickly. After a bit of testing, we feel rechargeable cells are the way to go. Get yourself at least two pairs and make sure they’re fully charged before venturing out.
The E40 is not up to the mark. It delivers only average performance. Battery life is an issue, so you might want to think twice before you pick one up. Since the camera is ho-hum on the whole, it's not something I can recommend without reservation. One would naturally expect more when paying Rs 12,990 for 8.1 megapixels.
|Dimensions||94 x 61 x 23 mm|
|Connectivity||PictBridge/USB 2.0, AV out|
|Storage||Internal /SD/MMC card|
AA (2) batteries (NiMH recommended)
|LCD Type||2.4 inch, 110,000 px|
|ISO Sensitivity||Auto, 80, 160, 320, 400, 800, 1000|
|Shutter Speed||4-1/2000 sec|
|Aperture||F2.8 - F5.2|
|Format||JPEG (EXIF 2.2)|
|Scene Modes||Pet (cat/dog and colors), Food, Text, Flower, Landscape, Night, Sports, Snow, Portrait, Frame composition, Macro|
|Flash||Auto, On, Off, Red-eye reduction|
|Self Timer||2-10 secs|
|Street Price||Rs 12,990|