Ah, you’re back. Right, now you know what the Optio S6 looks like, I’ll tell you how the X600 differs from it. This isn’t simply a re-badged version of the same camera, since that would be a foolish move on Pentax’s part, and would undermine sales of the S6. Although it is very similar, the X600 lacks a couple of the S6’s features, thus justifying the higher price for the Pentax-branded product. The S6 currently retails for £224.89, while the X600 has an RRP of around £200 and an online prices of around £180.
The most noticeable difference, from the outside at least, is the slight re-working of the front panel. It lacks the Pentax’s distinctive high-grip concentric-circle design, opting instead for an attractive but much more slippery brushed-steel look. It makes up for the lack of tactile texture with a slightly enlarged protruding finger rest detail, and also adds a couple of extra bumps on the rear thumb rest area on the rear panel, so the camera still handles well. Also missing from the front is the receiver for an infra-red remote control, which sits just above the lens on the S6. No such accessory is available for the X600, so that’s one extra expense that could be cut.
The only other difference in the camera itself is on the inside, or rather in the software. I had been told that the X600 had fewer menu options than the S6, but after and exhaustive trawl through all the options I was beginning to think that someone had made a mistake. Every option is in place; the excellent 640×480 movie mode with image stabilisation, the active continuous focus mode and the multiple metering options. Even the ghastly frame composite option is still there, although the choice of frame overlays that you can add to your photos is, if anything, even more appallingly hilarious than on the S6. Choose from floating hearts, a lovely composition of teddy bears and ribbons with a “happy birthday” message, or a surrounding border of very badly drawn pastel coloured flowers that would have Chuck Norris questioning his sexual orientation. I’d love to know who thought of adding those to the options, because I swear they are pure comedy gold. However those aren’t the differences I was looking for.