Pentax Optio MX4 Review
Features & Controls
The Optio MX4 features a smc Pentax 5.8-58mm 10x optical zoom with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 38 - 380mm, the maximum aperture is f2.9 - f3.5. This is an all-glass lens consisting of 12 elements in 8 groups with 1 dual-sided aspherical and 1 aspherical element. It has a selectable 4x or 10x digital zoom that can be disabled. Like a camcorder, the lens does not extend when powered up, it zooms internally.
It features a 5-point TTL contrast detection autofocus system with user-
selectable AF point location, Spot AF, infinity landscape and manual focus.
The focusing range in Normal mode is 1.31 ft (0.4m) to Infinity (Wide) and
3.9 ft (1.2m) to infinity (Tele); Macro: 3.9 inches (0.1 m) to 1.64 ft
(0.5m) Wide and 1.97 ft (0.6m) to 4.92 ft (1.5m) Tele. Super Macro: 0
inches (0m) to 5.9 inches (0.15m) fixed at full wide angle.
To focus manually -- press the Focus mode button until "MF" is displayed and then adjust
the focus distance with the Up and Down on the 4-way controller. Manual focus is
adjustable from 0cm to infinity. When you are actively changing the focus, the center
portion of the LCD display is magnified and a distance scale is shown on the left. The
focus can also locked at infinity for landscape or open-sky shots.
The lens is fitted with 37mm threads for easy attachment of filters and add-on
lenses like the Pentax 0.75x Wide Converter that extends the MX's wide angle
focal length from 38mm to 28.5mm.
The color LCD is the only viewfinder -- it's a 1.8-inch CG Silicon TFT color LCD with
134,000 pixel resolution and auto brightness adjustment. The display may be swiveled 210°
vertically and 180° horizontally. The LCD is coated with a glare-reducing finish and
is quite visible even in bright sunlight.
The grip can be folded alongside the camera when shooting still images
or you can flip it down into pistol-grip position for shooting either stills
The built in flash offers Auto Fill flash, Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye
reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction; Effective range is approx.0.3ft - 16.7ft (0.1m -
5.1m) (Wide at ISO 200); Approx. 2ft - 12.5ft (0.6m - 3.8m) (Tele at ISO 200).
As you can see, it really pops UP, this helps to eliminate red-eye and gives the
clearance needed when using the 28.5mm wide angle lens.
On the top is the On/Off power button, the Mode Dial which has positions
for: Program AE, PICTure (10 scene modes), Voice Recording, Metered Manual, Aperture
priority and Shutter-speed priority. The blue PLAY button enables the review mode,
tapping the shutter release immediately returns you to record mode. The MENU
button calls up and dismisses the menu system in any mode. The 4-way controller is
used to navigate menus, select images for playback, change certain camera settings and
in record or playback mode you press it inward to change the LCD display mode.
Located on the swiveling grip is the combination shutter release and telephoto zoom
lens control. The zoom control operates in either high or low speed, depending on
how far you turn it.
In playback the zoom lever enables index or magnified playback modes.
Also on the grip is the Movie mode shutter release which allows you to capture
video no matter what position the Mode Dial is in.
On the left side are the Flash mode (Protect in playback), Drive mode [10-sec Selftimer,
2-sec Selftimer, Sequential,
High-Speed Sequential, AE Bracketing] (DPOF in
playback) and the Focus mode (Delete in playback) buttons.
The I/O ports: PC/AV port handles both the USB 2.0 connection for download
and the audio-video output for TV display with selectable NTSC or PAL video format.
The DC IN jack is for the optional AC power adapter or an external
The Optio MX4 is equipped with a Secure Digital (SD) card slot on the top-right side for
memory cards. It comes with a ridiculously small 16MB card and is compatible with up to
1GB size SD cards. If you plan on doing any serious video recording I would suggest
at least a 256MB or 512MB size, fast SD card like the SanDisk Ultra II shown here.
The Optio MX4 is powered by proprietary 3.7v 1800mAh D-LI7 rechargeable Li-ion battery, Pentax also includes a small rapid charger. It can also be powered by a disposable or rechargeable CR-V3 battery.
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