The Optio E50 is, unsurprisingly, the fifth model in Pentax's entry-level range, and offers 8million pixels for an astonishingly low price of £99.99. The camera is aimed at the complete novice, with a range of auto everything controls and plastic body to maintain the low price point.
A brief overview of the specification shows improvements over it's predecessor the E40 to include improved shake reduction, better battery life, a reduction in size and weight and, to quote Pentax, ‘a more attractive design'.
Lets look at the basics first before we look at those improvements a little more in depth. The cameras exposure system is reliant on AutoPict, which selects the best scene mode automatically and Program AE which offers a little more user control such as ISO and white balance selection. The Pentax ‘green button' is also included which is a basic exposure mode with little user over-ride functions.
The camera also includes a selection of 11 scene modes covering most snapshot circumstances, such as landscape, portrait, flowers, pets and so on as well as a panoramic mode and frame mode. As is the current trend the camera also offers Face Recognition auto focus and exposure.
The panoramic mode automatically stitches three images together to produce a panoramic format image, while the frame mode lets you select one of three superimposed cartoon frames for your image. Additionally the camera also has movie recording and voice recording options.
More advanced features include a choice of focus options from standard AF to macro and panning focus. There's exposure compensation if the onboard metering gets it wrong an a choice of sensitivities from ISO 100-1600. This high range is one of the improvements of the camera, previously the E40 offered ISO 1000 and it is this high ISO that's used to compensate for camera shake when the digital Shake Reduction is in play.