Build quality is also very good, with a strong all-metal body and excellent fit and finish. The few remaining controls are solidly mounted, and the battery/card hatch is nice and secure with a metal hinge. The only glitch is the soft plastic tripod mount, so be careful not to strip the thread.
Of course it is the touch-screen system itself which is the T30’s main selling point. Touch-screen technology isn’t nearly as dodgy as it used to be, thanks mainly to the advances made in PDA development, and the T30’s system does work very well indeed. It is designed to be used with the fingertip rather than a stylus, and the virtual buttons are nice and big so they’re hard to miss. It operates quickly and smoothly, and once you get use to the locations of the various functions and options it is much quicker to use than a conventional menu system for almost every operation.
The touch-screen really comes into its own in playback mode though, because it incorporates a simple paint program, with a range of colours, brush sizes and softness effects. With the aid of any suitably stylus-shaped tool it is possible to write or draw on pictures, or to add a range of silly extras such as sparkly stars or a Groucho Marx moustache and glasses. There is also a memo pad function so you can jot down brief notes and save them as image files to the memory card. It’s not as fast or responsive as a PDA, but it is quite usable.
Apart from the touch screen features, the T30 is a bit limited. It is only a basic snapshot camera, so its range of features is restricted to the same set as the Optio M30, in other words not much. It has a program auto mode and 12 scene modes, although this includes the “anti-shake” mode, which as with most basic compacts is really just a high-ISO mode to produce faster shutter speeds. It also has Pentax’s usual Auto-picture mode, in which the camera automatically selects the most suitable scene program for the type of shot being taken. It is a very effective system and produces good results in most circumstances.
Other menu options include adjustable contrast, saturation and sharpness, auto-bracketing, exposure compensation, adjustable focus parameters (wide area, spot or tracking AF), and spot, centre-weighted or matrix metering. The movie mode has a maximum setting of VGA resolution at 30fps with mono audio, which is pretty much the market standard these days.