Since Pentax merged with the Hoya Corporation in 2007 there have been persistent rumours that the company's Optio range of digital compact cameras would be cancelled, freeing resources for the development of its much more profitable digital SLR range. However these rumours seem to be unfounded, at least so far, because new Optio models continue to appear, such as this Optio P80, a stylish 12-megapixel ultra compact with a 4x zoom wide-angle lens.
There may be some evidence that compact camera development isn't as high a priority as it used to be though, because the P80 is virtually identical to the Optio P70, launched earlier this year. The only real upgrades are the video recording mode, increasing the frame rate of the 1280 x 720 mode from 15 to 30fps, and an improvement to the face detection/recognition function, which can now detect up to 32 faces, and do so more quickly.
All of the camera's other features remain unchanged, including the 12.1-megapixel CCD sensor, the 4x zoom wide-angle lens (equivalent to 27.5 - 110mm) and the 2.7-inch 230k monitor. The body is also identical to that of the P70. The P80 is a very slim and compact camera by any standard, measuring 97 x 54 x 21.5mm, and tipping the scales at an ultra-light 120g including battery and memory card. The body is all aluminium, and is available in either silver, metallic green or the attractive gloss black finish shown here. The build quality is as good as ever, but like the P70 the round-ended shape is hard to grip securely especially with sweaty fingers.