Pentax Optio H90 Review - Features and Design Review

In terms of features the Optio H90 is basically identical to another recent Pentax compact, the Optio M90, and also shares a number of components with the I-10. It has the same 5x zoom f/3.5 – f/5.9 lens, equivalent to 28-140mm, the same 2.7-inch 230k TFT LCD monitor, and the same list of options on the menu. However it lacks the I-90’s sensor-shift image stabilisation, relying instead on pixel-tracking digital stabilisation, which is nowhere near as effective.

The H90 is a point-and-shoot compact, and has the shooting options to match. Modes include the standard Program Auto, and automatic scene detection mode and a choice of 18 scene programs, including a couple of unusual ones such as the half-length portrait mode, a digital wide angle mode that stitches two shots together, and of course the wonderfully awful frame composite mode, which offers a huge selection of truly terrible frames to superimpose on your photos.

There are a few other options available on the menu, including limited control over saturation, contrast and sharpness, the D-Range contrast booster and the usual selection of metering modes. Focus modes are limited to wide-area, centre zone or subject tracking AF, although as with the I-10 the tracking feature is not terribly effective. As I mentioned in the review of the I-10, it’s really about time Pentax updated the menu system in its compact cameras. It’s been using the same one for as long as I can remember.

The H90 does offer HD video, shooting at 1280 x 720 pixels and 30fps with mono audio and no optical zoom, but the picture quality isn’t exactly brilliant, and the tiny internal microphone is very prone to wind noise in even the lightest breeze, and actually seems to pick up sound from behind the camera better than sound in front.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.