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Pentax Optio E50 - Pentax Optio E50
The flash is claimed to be more powerful than the previous model, now covering up to 6m in wide mode in auto ISO instead of 4.3m, though this may be more due to an increase in the gain than any change in flash components. Unfortunately I don't have an E40 to hand to compare.
Like the previous model, the camera operates with a pair of AA batteries, making it handy if you're away form a power supply but near a corner shop, whilst the battery power is claimed to be improved to fulfil an average of 250 shots.
The design has changed a little since the previous model, with 2mm shaved of the depth, though 2.5mm has been added to the length. It's 10g lighter at 120g, though I doubt most people would notice. The main change is a slightly smoother, less bulbous right grip and some livery change.
The LCD at 2.4 inches is unchanged and looks surprisingly small compared to those of cameras with a slightly higher price tag, and its resolution at 110k dots is less than impressive. In bright sun the screen is difficult to see, and it proved even more difficult to line up images using the panorama tool (which supplies a partial view of the previous image). Similarly previewing images for exposure or sharpness is less than ideal.
In the hand though, the camera is pretty comfortable with it's lightness sitting easily, though the spacing of the buttons is a little too wide, and the right thumb is dangerously close to some buttons. That said, for less dextrous hands - such as older people or children, the large back buttons are easy to see and operate.
The shutter release button is reasonably responsive with speedy autofocus locking onto the subject and the shutter firing instantaneously afterwards.
Write time is okay, considering the minimum specification of the camera - and there's a 16 frame burst mode at reduced resolution should you need it.
The 3x zoom is spry though it's limited stepping mechanism can make it tricky to get accurate framing - always a problem with electronic zooms.