A low-cost and easy-to-use compact camera
There's no shortage of low-cost digital cameras available, with all the big names having sub-£100 models. Pentax's latest offering, the Optio M60, combines an ultra-compact design with a 10-megapixel resolution
Although it's small the buttons on the camera aren't fiddly and the on-screen menus are easy to navigate. As is the trend these days, face detection is built in, activated by a dedicated button and allowing the camera to pick out up to 32 faces in the same scene and then adjust settings such as focusing accordingly.
A 3x zoom lens is the norm for pocket-sized cameras but Pentax has managed to squeeze a 5x zoom into the Optio M60's diminutive body, letting you get slightly closer to the action.
The shooting modes (night, close-up, etc) are designed to make digital cameras more user friendly, but when presented with the 24 modes on the Optio M60 it had the opposite effect, leaving us unsure which one to pick. Thankfully the automatic mode usually did a good job of picking the best one for us.
During testing, however, we noticed that the Optio M60 tended to favour high ISO settings when shooting outdoors, which resulted in some unnecessarily noisy images.
This can be remedied to an extent by switching to manual ISO mode, where you can choose between ISO64 and a ISO6400, but even at low ISO settings a fair amount of image noise crept in – most likely the result of trying to get so many pixels out of a relatively small sensor.
It's not such a problem if you're printing 6x4in or 7x5in photos, but crop in or try producing an A3 print and the noise will be all too apparent.
Movies up to 640x320 resolution can be recorded, and you can scroll through the individual frames and save them as images.
The Optio M60's main selling points are its compact size and equally small price tag. For just £99 you're getting an easy-to-use digital camera that performs reasonably well.
Those with an eye for quality, however, won't appreciate the noisy images and thus will need to increase their budget.
The Pentax Optio M60 is cheap and well-featured, but the 10-megapixel sensor creates some noisy images Good points Small; 5x zoom; cheap; compact Bad points Noisy images; auto ISO settings occasionally unnecessarily high
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