Pentax Optio P70 Review

3.0
July 20, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 2Mb.

The Pentax Optio P70 produced images of above average quality during the review period. The biggest issue is noise and loss of detail at relatively slow ISO speeds. The 1/2.33 inch, 12 megapixel sensor recorded noise-free images at ISO 64 and 100, but there's already some noise and slight loss of fine detail at ISO 200. ISO 400 shows more noise and some more obvious softening, and ISO 800 and 1600 are even worse, with lots of noise and a distinct colour shift.

The Pentax Optio P70 handled chromatic aberrations well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds not being long enough for most after-dark shots.

Macro performance is disappointing, only allowing you to focus as close as 10cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Pentax Optio P70 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Pentax Optio P70. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Pentax Optio P70 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (3.87Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (1.79Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Pentax Optio P70 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Pentax Optio P70 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Pentax Optio P70 are Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Auo + Red-eye, Flash On + Red-eye, and Soft Flash. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (27.5mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (27.5mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (110mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (110mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Flash On + Red-eye settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Flash On + Red-eye

Flash On + Red-eye (100% Crop)

Night

The Pentax Optio P70's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night scene mode, which is disappointing news if you're seriously interested in night photography, as it doesn't allow you to capture enough light in most situations. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 4 seconds at ISO 125. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, compact, 720p, 12 megapixel, 2.7 inch LCD, 4x zoom, Pentax, Pentax Optio P70, Optio, P70

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