The M60’s performance is adequate, although not spectacular. It starts up in a little over three seconds, which isn’t too bad for a budget camera, however the shot-to-shot time in single-shot mode and maximum image quality is 4.4 seconds, which is extremely slow. The main problem is the autofocus system, which while very reliable and capable of focusing well in low light conditions, is nonetheless glacially slow, taking over two seconds to focus even in good light. In continuous shooting mode the cycle time is a more reasonable two seconds, but while it does have an audio shooting cue it doesn’t focus between shots.
While in an ideal world a £100 camera would have virtually perfect image quality, here on Earth you tend to get what you pay for. The M60 is a cheap snapshot camera, and it performs as such. Under good lighting it can take a perfectly acceptable photo most of the time. The level of detail is good, certainly on a par with other 10MP compacts, but sadly the major weak point is the lens quality. Actual barrel distortion isn’t too bad, but it has areas of distortion near the middle of the frame, significant chromatic aberration over large areas of the image, a general softness in all shots and very bad corner blurring, especially at wide angle. It’s a shame, because Pentax has a very good reputation for the quality of its lenses. The M60 is letting the side down badly.
In other respects the image quality is actually not bad. While some image noise is visible on all shots from 200 ISO upwards, it is quite well handled and images are usable up to 1600 ISO. The 3200 and 6400 ISO settings are pretty much useless gimmicks as is usually the case. Colour reproduction is good, and while dynamic range could be better shadow detail can be improved by adjusting levels in Photoshop.
The Pentax M60 shows that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent camera. While it does have its limitations, for £100 it offers excellent build quality, great handling, a wonderfully easy-to-use interface and some fun features. Unfortunately its low price shows in its slow performance and poor overall image quality.
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