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Over the past few weeks I've been inundated with expensive top-of-the range compact cameras packed with the latest high-tech features and costing hundreds of pounds. Cameras like the Panasonic LX3, Canon IXUS 870 IS and Nikon S710 are amazing gadgets, but even I will admit that in terms of value for money most of them leave something to be desired. Today though I'm looking at a camera that is good value incarnate; the Pentax Optio M60, a slim 10-megapixel, 5x zoom ultra-compact that sells for just £100. You could buy three of them for the price of an LX3, and still have enough money left for a memory card.
Pentax is one of the original "Big Five" camera companies, along with Nikon, Canon, Olympus and the now defunct Minolta. It has produced many excellent cameras over the years, and this huge experience shows in its current camera range, which includes digital compacts such as the Optio S12, V20 and A40, as well as several digital SLRs and two highly-regarded medium-format film cameras.
The Optio M60 looks and feels a lot more expensive than it actually is. The body is all aluminium and feels solidly well made, and the overall design is attractive without being flashy. The shape is easy to hold securely, with a protrusion on the front that serves as a finger grip and a textured area on the back for your thumb. The control layout is sensible and well spaced out, and the camera handles extremely well. The body is very compact, measuring 95 x 55 x 23.5mm, and extremely light, weighing only 130g including battery and memory card. It is a camera that you can carry unobtrusively in a shirt pocket.