Pentax Optio 230 Review

Steve's Digicams

Pentax Optio 230
Review posted 6/6/02

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the Optio 230

The Optio 230 is a compact 2.0 effective megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens that offers a wide range of handy shooting modes, including an innovative 3D- image mode for stereoscopic shooting. For greater versatility, the Optio 230 even has a handy swing-out LCD screen, which folds out through 180° to assist in a variety of situations. With all these features, you might expect it to be something of a handful but, thanks to PENTAX advanced technology and a newly designed lens, the remarkably compact and stylish Optio 230 fits easily into your pocket.

Like other models in the Optio series, the Optio 230 is amazingly compact and easy to carry, with dimensions of just 4.0" (W), 2.5" (H), and 1.5" (D) and weighs only 6.3 oz. The 3X zoom lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm lens in 35mm format and provides high- quality, high resolution images while achieving a low level of image distortion. Image quality is further ensured with the Optio 230's efficient 2.11 total megapixel primary color filter CCD.

The image processing circuitry makes the Optio 230 a robust performer. The user can easily choose from a range of shooting modes, such as Auto, Full selectable, Night Scene, and Movie. There's individual buttons for frequently used functions accessed during the composition and playback of images and a handy four-way controller and a central "OK" button for easy operation.

Enjoy a new perspective with stereoscopic shooting. The Optio 230 makes it easy to take 3D shots that have real depth and perspective when seen through the special 3D viewer provided.

The Optio 230 has a 5-point autofocus system with selectable Spot AF. Macro mode allows you to compose shots at a distance of just 0.33ft (0.1m) from your subject and zoom in or out as you please. There's also Infinity-landscape mode, which is ideal for capturing landscapes and scenery, even when you are shooting through a window. The manual focus function gives you the freedom to achieve exactly the kind of focus you want, while viewing the subject on the LCD monitor. The Optio 230 can even zoom in on one part of the shot for more accurate focusing.

Advanced features abound with White Balance settings for Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light and manual preset. Exposure metering can be selected according to your subject. Choose from Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, and Spot metering. Sensitivity to light can be set to auto, or manually set to ISO100 or ISO200. Exposure compensation can be adjusted with a range of +2EV in 1/3EV steps. A choice of color, black & white, and sepia modes allow further creative freedom. Sharpness, saturation and contrast can be set in 3 different grades to produce the desired results.

Pentax Optio 230

There are times when you want to take a shot of yourself. On such occasions, the Optio 230 makes composition much easier with its high-resolution, 1.6 inch LCD monitor that swings out through 180°. You can see exactly how you appear in the frame while still holding the camera. Self portraits can now be composed with the same ease as shots of other people, and you can easily join someone else in the same shot. And of course the color LCD allows you to check the image as soon as you have taken it.

The Optio 230 can be easily connected to a TV via video cable for even easier viewing of recorded images and is compatible with both NTSC and PAL systems. The camera is powered by two AA (lithium, Ni-MH, or alkaline) batteries, one lithium CR-V3 battery or an optional AC adapter is available. Images and movie clips are stored on CompactFlash Type I flash cards and comes with a 16 MB CF card.

Optio 230 Features:

  • Compact 4.0" x 2.5" x 1.5" and weighs only 6.3 oz.
  • 2-megapixel CCD for images up to 1600 x 1210 pixels
  • 3x optical zoom (38-114mm) with 2.5x digital zoom
  • Macro mode as close as 0.33ft (0.1m) from subject
  • 1.6-inch color LCD monitor swings out through 180°
  • Auto, Full selectable, Night Scene and Movie modes
  • Multi-segment, Center-weighted or Spot-metering
  • 5-point autofocus with Spot AF option
  • Exposure and white balance bracketing
  • Movie mode records 30 seconds of video in AVI format
  • Multiple image file formats including, JPEG, TIFF and AVI
  • 3D-image mode with included Stereo Viewer
  • Built-in flash with Auto, Fill and Red-eye Reduction modes
  • Color, black & white, and sepia modes
  • USB Mass Storage compatible for image downloading
  • CompactFlash Type I memory cards

The Optio 230 includes the following: 16MB CompactFlash, USB cable, video cable, ACDSee™ software, Stereo Viewer, neck strap and lithium CR-V3 battery. The suggested retail price is $392.

Physical Views

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230

Pentax Optio 230 and a standard CD for size comparison

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Pentax Optio 230 Specifications

Type: Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash.
Effective Pixels: 2.0 megapixels.
Sensor: 2.11 megapixels (total pixels) 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter.
Color Depth: 10 bit x 3 colors.
Recorded Pixels: Still - 1600 x 1210 pixels (TIFF), 1600 x 1200 pixels, 1024 x 768 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels
Movie - 320 x 240 pixels.
Sensitivity: Auto, fixed (equivalent to ISO 100, 200)
File Formats: Still - JPEG, TIFF, DCF, DPOF. Movie - AVI (Motion JPEG Format) 15fps.
Quality Levels: "Good", "Better", "Best".
Storage Media: CompactFlash (CF) card Type I.
Lens: Pentax power zoom 5.8mm-17.4mm (Equivalent to 38mm-114mm in 35mm format) f/2.6-f/5.0, 6 elements in 5 groups (1 aspherical elements).
Digital Zoom: 1X-2.5X
Focusing System:
Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus system. Manual focus/Infinity-landscape mode available.
Focusing Areas: 5-point autofocus, Spot Autofocus.
Focusing Range: Autofocus: Normal - 1.31 ft. (0.4m) to infinity. Macro - 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to 1.64 ft. (0.5m). Manual focus: 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to infinit
Metering System: TTL metering: Choice of Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, Spot metering.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Full selectable, Night Scene, Movie, 3D image, Auto bracket.
Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV (1/3 steps).
Movie: Shooting time: approx. 1 sec.-30 sec.
Shutter: Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter. Shutter speed: approx. 1/1500 sec. to 4 sec
Drive Modes: One shot, Continuous, Self-timer.
Flash: Built-in series-control auto flash. Automatic discharge under low lighting and backlight condition in auto modes. Flash-on and flash-off modes. "Red-eye" reduction function employs a single discharge.
Flash Range: Wide approx. 0.7 - 5.9m (ISO 200)
Tele approx. 0.5 - 2.7m (ISO 200)
White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual setting.
Color Modes: Color, black & white, sepia.
Optical Viewfinder: Actual-image zoom viewfinder. Magnification: Wide 0.41x, Tele 1.13x
LCD Monitor: 1.6 inch, TFD color LCD with swing out screen.
LCD Function: Nine-image and 1X-4X magnification available in playback mode.
Interfaces: TV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal.
Video Output: Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats.
Power Sources: Lithium battery CR-V3, two AA (lithium, Ni-MH, alkaline) battery. Optional AC adapter also available.
Dimensions: 4.0 (W) x 2.5 (H) x 1.5 (D) inches (103.5mm x 63.5mm x 42mm).
Weight: 8.1 oz. (230g) loaded and ready. 6.3 oz. (180g) without battery and CF card.

Specifications as represented by the manufacturer

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