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Pentax Optio H90 review




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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.


July 9, 2010, 12:53 pm

For the price it's not too bad but I would have loved to have seen a better spec model housed in this lovely Dieter Rams inspired design.


July 9, 2010, 8:13 pm

I heard a rumour that Hoya want to kill off the Pentax brand! Maybe that’s why they seem to be knocking out more rubbish than usual!

I hope it’s not the case I love Pentax SLR’s

Cliff Smith

July 9, 2010, 9:46 pm

I like my K-7 too. Those sort of rumours have been flying around the internet since the Hoya buyout, and as far as I know they're just rumours. However there's no denying that Pentax has problems, with only about 2.5% of the DSLR market and only a handful of decent products. I wouldn't be too surprised if Hoya bins the unprofitable compact camera lines entirely and then sell off Pentax's DSLR technology to another company, possibly Samsung. Anyone who thinks this can't happen should look at what happened to Minolta.

The big news in Japan at the moment is mirrorless system cameras, with Panasonic's G-Micro system accounting for around 25% of all new non-compact camera sales, and Pentax doesn't have anything in that market. The consumer electronics market today is so fast-moving that unless you're prepared to commit to a huge R&D budget you just can't keep up, and Hoya just isn't putting the money into new products. Slapping a pretty shell on last year's components just isn't going to cut it.


July 9, 2010, 10:35 pm

But it is a very pretty shell. Panasonic and to a lesser degree Canon should take note.

Putting real care and thought into design and fabrication really does pay, as Apple continues to demonstrate.


July 10, 2010, 12:15 am

Right On Guys!

I agree with your comments.

Pentax had been doing some great works with their DSLR line products lately.

Like the K-7 is an outstanding camera which deserved great consumer recognition in terms of both value and performance for Pentax, and I can't wait for their latest DSLR "Pentax 645D"(40 Megapixels)have some amazing technology implementation to their DSLR Line up.

It makes you wonder, how can Pentax produce such a poor camera like Optio H90 which has a fantastic design, but they neglected the most important element about a camera - image quality.

It's a real shame! Had Pentax put more thoughts into this camera, it would've be a real good seller.

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