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Summary

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8/10

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Pentax Optio M50 - Pentax Optio M50

As with other Pentax models, the M50 has a green button which in its default setting puts you straight into the AutoPict mode. You can change this in the menu so that It becomes a function button to rapidly change a predetermined image parameter such as image size, ISO or any other of the main settings.
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As well as face recognition, the camera incorporates the latest must-have, smile capture. This sets the shutter to wait, after the release button is pressed, until it recognises a smile on the subject's face before capturing the image. If the subject blinks, the camera will also let you know after the picture has been taken - though sometimes it gets this wrong.

The camera's layout is pretty simple, with a 2.5 inch LCD taking up most of the real estate on the camera back, and the standard four-way controller providing access to flash modes, macro and focusing features and the self timer, as well as the mode button. This control also scrolls through menu options and images in playback.
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In common with most digital compacts there's no optical viewfinder, so you need to rely on the monitor for image composition. It works as well as can be expected with reasonable visibility in average sunlight, but is difficult to see in very bright light. A positive point is the inclusion of a live histogram option, though I doubt this would be useful to the average parent on a beach holiday.

Despite the 5x zoom the camera is small and light, and fits easily into a pocket. The buttons are all well spaced and easy to use with a decent profile away from the camera back, though the top plate buttons for power and shutter are understandably set more flush into the casing.

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