Last week I reviewed the Pentax Optio I-10, a 12-megapixel, 5x zoom compact with an unusual retro style. Today I'm looking at its stablemate the new Optio H90, which is a 12-megapixel, 5x zoom compact with an unusual retro style. I'm sensing that there might be some sort of theme developing here. Pentax's range of cameras is much smaller than most of its rivals, with only five compacts in its current line-up. However what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in diversity and style, with models ranging from the rugged waterproof W90 to the AA-powered budget-priced E90. The H90 was announced in January along with the E90 and I-10.
The H90 has has a fairly plain rectilinear body similar to Pentax's older S-series models, but it is detailed with an eye-catching and immediately distinctive design, reminiscent of classic 35mm compact cameras from the 1970s such as the Kodak Instamatic or Olympus Trip. It is available in silver and orange, silver and white, or the silver and black scheme shown here. The body is mostly plastic with aluminium trim, and the build quality is very good, well up to Pentax's usual standard. The H90 is very small, measuring just 94.5 x 56.5 x 24.5mm, and is also exceptionally light, weighing just 131g including battery and memory card. This does make the camera feel a bit insubstantial, but the solid construction helps to counteract this. It is certainly small and light enough to slip into a shirt pocket.
The H90 is currently selling for as little as £80 from a number of online retailers, which means that its main competitors are a motley array of non-brand Chinese imports and the very bottom of the range models from Samsung and Fujifilm. Against this fairly weak competition the Optio H90 stands out as a well featured and stylish alternative, offering a decent specification, brand-name recognition and solid build quality at a bargain price.