It also has one massively annoying trait. When you press the shutter button to focus, the scene on the monitor freezes until the AF system locks on, so trying to frame a moving subject is almost impossible. In continuous shooting mode this effectively means that the monitor is useless, because it only shows the shots that have been taken, without showing what you’re trying to frame.
Battery life is also extremely poor. The T20 uses the same small 710mAh Li-ion battery that Pentax has used in most of its compacts since the original Optio S four years ago, and it simply isn’t powerful enough to cope with a complex technological camera like the T20. Even Pentax’s own spec sheet only claims 130 shots on a full charge, and to be honest I think this is an over-estimate. Reviewing pictures or heavy use of the touch screen depletes it even faster.
This is a shame, because in other respects the T20 is a nice enough camera. Image quality, while not brilliant, is at least above average, with good exposure metering, decent colour reproduction and reasonable high-ISO noise control. Low light flash photography is very good, with a maximum flash range of 4.5m and excellent frame coverage. File size at maximum size and quality is around 3.2MB per shot, with a 1GB card providing enough space for approximately 283 pictures. The movie mode is also good, shooting at 640 x 480 resolution and 30fps, with a 1GB card providing nearly 22 minutes of shooting.
The Pentax Optio T20 could have been a much better camera. It is stylish, well made and the touch-screen technology is well implemented and has some genuinely useful features. However very slow performance, severely limited battery duration and the annoying AF monitor-freeze are major handicaps that are impossible to ignore.
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.