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It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any of Pentax’s Optio pocket compacts, so today I’m taking a look at one of the most recent, the super-slim Optio M30.
Announced in January along with the more sophisticated T30 and the AA-powered E30, the M30 is a mid-level 7.1-megapixel ultra-compact with a 3x zoom lens, a 2.5-in 115k pixel monitor screen and a maximum sensitivity of 3200 ISO. Affordable pocket compacts have always been something of a Pentax speciality, so although it has a list price of £149 the M30 is available from several online retailers for under £125, which compares extremely well with other recent 7MP ultra-compacts such as the Olympus FE-230 (£129) Casio Exilim EX-Z70 (£149), Samsung Digimax NV3 (£164), Nikon Coolpix S200 (£179), Canon IXUS 70 (£209), Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 (£234) and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T50 (£269).
Measuring a diminutive 57 x 97 x 18mm and weighing in at only 135g including battery and card, the M30 is one of the slimmest and lightest cameras on the market. However despite its delicate appearance and low weight, it is a solidly made camera with Pentax’s usual excellent build quality. The body is all metal, an attractive anodised aluminium case that resists finger marks, with chrome trim which does show up fingerprints but is easy to wipe clean. Only the battery/card hatch is made of plastic, but even this has metal hinges. The shape of the body flares out slightly toward the right hand side, so despite its slim profile it is easy to grip securely. There is a small textured area on the back to provide a thumb grip.
The LCD monitor is large and bright, but with only 115,000 pixels it’s not the sharpest around. It also lacks the useful feature of a non-reflective coating, so glare can be a problem in bright sunlight.