The Pentax Optio M60 is a 10Mp compact camera with a 5x optical zoom.

Having spent a few days with the much bulkier Canon PowerShot A2000 IS, we were relieved to get our hands on the far daintier, prettier Pentax Optio M60.

Also a 10Mp compact camera, the Pentax Optio M60 has a 5x optical zoom (compared with the Canon's 6x) and a 2.5in LD display, which seems quite cramped compared to the PowerShot's 3in screen. Unusually, icons on this screen are in colour and have a cartoon-like look.

The Pentax Optio M60 has an 8.3 to 31.5mm lens and takes admirably bright, sharp shots when there's plenty of light. It's pretty much a point-and-shoot affair, so you don't get a dial offering access to a slew of scene modes or manual settings. Instead, the main controls are a rocker switch on the camera's reverse side that zooms in for close-ups and out for panning shots. Just below this is a rather odd set of raised silver buttons that resemble Braille - these help you keep a firmer grip on the 106g light camera.

As with many cameras, the Pentax Optio M60 has a navipad arrangement to select items, cycle through menus and turn the flash, continuous shooting and macro modes on and off. The Mode button beneath these offers up eight scene presets. Aside from the P (Program) mode that lets you specify settings yourself, most are of the video, night and auto variety. Others let you take specific types of shot but at a limited resolution, optimising text, detail from a web page to upload to a blog and so on.

Video is recorded at 30fps and 640-pixels and came out looking bright but fuzzy - about what you'd expect from a reasonably inexpensive 10Mp camera such as the Pentax Optio M60, with video as an afterthought.

Perhaps more usefully, the Pentax Optio M60 offers several onboard features that let you tweak your photos once you've taken them or specify what to emphasise. Here, you can loosely or exactly frame images, beautify portraits by selecting either the portrait or natural skin tones setting.

We liked the Pentax Optio M60's Pets option, in which you can specify the colour of your beloved cat or dog's coat, and the description of the Kids setting which explains that ‘fast-moving children' can be a bit of a trial to snap and still make them look angelic with ‘bright and healthy skintone'.

We corralled a couple of kids into shot for the purposes of this review and got the promised ‘healthy skintones', so if you're after a digital snapper to record your kids' antics, you won't be disappointed with the Pentax Optio M60.

NEXT PAGE: night shots

The Pentax Optio M60 is a 10Mp compact camera with a 5x optical zoom.

We were pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of the Pentax Optio M60's night scene mode which produced some well-lit, detailed shots - not something we've experienced with many cameras without first adjusting their white balance levels and/or ISO settings.

For more expansive shots, the Pentax Optio M60 compensates for its lack of widescreen lens by taking two side-by-side photos and stitching them together. It's not the most effective approach we've seen, but easier than trying to fudge two photos together on your PC if you're not artistically inclined (or patient).

You can crop an image and save both original and cut down versions; apply a retrospective image stabiliser to reduce the blur; copy your photos from the internal memory to a removable SD flash memory card for easier transfer to a PC and protect images from accidental delection. It's also possible to get the Pentax Optio M60 to try and recover photos you've already trashed by mistake, though it is noted that formatting your memory card will erase images, regardless of whether this option was chosen.

Pentax Optio M60: Specs

  • 10Mp compact digital camera, 6x optical zoom, flash
  • macro mode, 30fps video recording, digital shake-reduction
  • 8 scene presets
  • XXMB internal memory
  • lithium-ion battery
  • AC charger
  • 10Mp compact digital camera, 6x optical zoom, flash
  • macro mode, 30fps video recording, digital shake-reduction
  • 8 scene presets
  • XXMB internal memory
  • lithium-ion battery
  • AC charger

OUR VERDICT

Although in essence a point-and-shoot camera, the Pentax Optio M60's menus repay investigation as there are some intriguing options hidden beneath the cartoonish overlay. While we think this is a fairly pricey model given its limited manual options and scope, many consumers will be attracted to its trim outline and double-digit megapixel count.

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