We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Cameras Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Pentax Optio A40 review

£190 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Pentax

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The Pentax Optio A40 is the latest result of Pentax's tradition of producing simple, usable, ultracompact cameras that have high-quality optics.

The Pentax Optio A40 is the latest result of Pentax's tradition of producing simple, usable, ultracompact cameras that have high-quality optics. This 12Mp black-and-silver model has a serious look.

At 2.5in diagonally, the Pentax Optio A40's screen is smaller than the screens on some competing models, although it works just fine indoors and out. When we saw how petite the Optio A40 is - it's only about 90mm wide - we were a little concerned about how it would handle, but the camera feels substantial in hand, and two well-placed grips keep your fingers away from the lens and the flash.

The Pentax Optio A40's image-stabilisation feature has you covered if things get shaky. This feature works so well that we kept it turned on nearly all the time. In photos of moving subjects, it definitely improves the sharpness of shots.

Getting into and around the menus is fairly simple, even without poring over Pentax's detailed manual. If you do have a question, you'll probably find it answered in the documentation. And the Pentax Optio A40 has enough dedicated function buttons that you probably won't have to slow down, even in full-automatic mode. Macro, zoom, and flash settings are readily accessible via dedicated buttons, and pressing the menu button lets you change everything else, depending on the mode you're in.

Unlike many other digital cameras priced under £200, the Optio A40 delivers outstanding image quality. Photos are sharp without undue halos or artifacts.

Don't expect miracles, though: like most digital cameras, the Pentax Optio A40 is not immune to noise, although it does all right. Shots are occasionally hit-or-miss in low-lit indoor situations and in quick street snaps, but this Pentax's output consistently beats the results from several competing point-and-shoot cameras we've been testing - and the Pentax Optio A40 does especially well in bright sunlight.

The Pentax Optio A40 includes a setting for expanding its dynamic range; using this setting added quite a bit of detail to shadowed areas in our tests, although it doesn't appreciably affect highlights. Overall, pictures show good colour, sharpness, and exposure. If anything, the Pentax Optio A40 tends toward underexposure, yielding good-looking, balanced, and saturated landscapes. Highlights were generally under control regardless of whether we expanded the dynamic range.

The Pentax Optio A40 throws in a handful of other features that have been cropping up on similar cameras: slide shows in playback mode, face recognition, soft-skin portraits, kids, and even different settings for pets of different colours. You also get a silly feature that adds a cartoon frame around your subject, so you can capture manga-style photo-booth shots wherever you want. Manual settings include manual exposure (in preset, nonstandard increments only), shutter priority (but not aperture priority), saturation, contrast, colour filtration effects, and white balance. The Pentax Optio A40 shoots 640 by 480 video and lets you zoom in and out fairly smoothly while recording.

A few minor complaints: we wish that Pentax had included a RAW image option (at 12Mp, why not?). We'd also love to have seen a 5x (rather than 3x) optical zoom and a wider-angle lens. But these are minor shortcomings.

Visit Photo Advisor for the latest reviews of digital photography and video hardware and software, cameras and accessories. PLUS: get tips and tricks to improve your photos

Pentax Optio A40 Expert Verdict »
Pentax Optio A40 Scores 9.0 out of 10 based on 65 reviews
12Mp, 1/1.8 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary colour filter
sensitivity: Auto (ISO64-800), Fixed(ISO64/100/200/400/800/1600/3200)
Hi-Sensitivity anti-shake mode (Digital SR)
JPEG, DCF, DPOF, PRINT Image Matching III
AVI, 30 fps, with sound
built-in memory (approx. 22MB)
takes SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
optical 3X zoom
focal length: 7.9mm-23.7mm (equivalent to 38-114mm in 35mm format)
digital zoom: 1X - approx. 5.4X
compensation: ±2EV(1/3EV steps)
shutter speed: approx. 1/2000 sec. - approx. 4sec
effective range: wide - approx. 0.06‚� - approx. 7.1m (Standard Output Sensitivity Auto), tele� - approx. 0.35‚� - approx. 3.5m (Standard Output Sensitivity Auto)
2.5 inch, TFT colour LCD (with back light), approx. 232,000 pixels
57x89x23.5mm
150g (loaded and ready)
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The Pentax Optio A40 is a good, no-nonsense camera that captures pictures with surprisingly good image quality.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Pentax Optio S10 10Mp compact camera

    Pentax Optio S10 10Mp compact camera

    Pentax's Optio range of cameras just keeps getting better and better. The Pentax Optio M40 was impressive, but its latest offering, the Pentax Optio S10, is pure genius.

  • Pentax Optio S12 review

    Pentax Optio S12

    What do you get when you cram 12Mp and great battery life into a very tiny, very durable, and sublimely easy-to-use camera? You get the Pentax Optio S12, a solid competitor for the upper echelons of the point-and-shoot category.

  • Pentax Optio E40 8Mp digital camera

    Pentax Optio E40 8Mp digital camera

    Priced just the right side of £100, this 8Mp Pentax Optio E40 would make a decent Christmas or birthday gift.

  • Pentax Optio E70 review

    Pentax Optio E70

    The Pentax Optio E70 is a compact, intuitive, and fun camera that is a cinch to use. It fits easily in your pocket, and it has enough modes to handle whatever lighting or subjects you encounter.

  • Pentax Optio M60 review

    Pentax Optio M60

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


IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features. The next version of Windows will run on everything:....

IDG UK Sites

An Apple fan's perspective on the Windows 10 launch

IDG UK Sites

Sensor-laden kids' watch with 3G launches in Japan

IDG UK Sites

2014 Retina iMac release date rumours, specs and features: 27in 5K Retina iMac 'launching this mont'......