Pentax Optio A40 Review

Review posted 5/17/2008

Click on the Optio A40 to take a 360° QuickTime VR tour

The PENTAX Optio A40 is the latest model in the Optio A-series of advanced compact digital cameras. Featuring 12 megapixels, this model features three types of Shake Reduction including mechanical, digital and movie. Each version helps deliver sharp, blur-free shots where camera shake is an issue such as action photography or in low light conditions. The Optio A40 also features the newest Face Recognition technology including a Natural Skin Tone mode and a Half-length Portrait mode, which automatically takes a head and shoulder photograph of subjects.

With 12.0 megapixels for higher image quality and enhanced performance, the Optio A40 marks PENTAX's first 12.0 megapixel digital camera. Equipped with a high resolution 1/1.7 inch CCD for a wider light receiving area that is superior in tone reproduction and a new image engine that offers excellent color reproduction.

The Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism is unique to PENTAX, and corrects camera shake when photographing still images by shifting the image sensor (CCD) horizontally and vertically in relation to the amount of shake that the high-accuracy gyro sensor detects. Shake Reduction technology used in PENTAX's digital SLR cameras is applied to the Optio A40 for highly corrective effects that are equivalent to shutter speeds of approximately 2.5 to 3.5 stops.

Digital SR (Shake Reduction) mode automatically adjusts sensitivity, to an ultra-high sensitivity of ISO 3200 according to the brightness of the subject, and effectively reduces camera shake and subject blurring when photographing still images. With fast shutter speeds, photography with reduced blurring is available.

The Optio A40 is equipped with a Face Recognition AF&AE function that automatically detects and focuses on faces. In addition, the Optio A40 also comes with new functions that apply face recognition technology, such as "Natural Skin Tone" mode, which smoothly captures skin texture based on the detected information, and "Half-length Portrait" mode, which automatically takes a head and shoulders photograph of people recognized in photo frame.

This LCD monitor is a high intensity type equipped with an LCD booster that adjusts the brightness of the screen even when viewed outdoors. The 2.5 inch size and high resolution of approximately 232,000 pixels makes it easy to confirm picture composition and focus quality. With a wide viewing angle, the screen may be viewed easily since there is little change in brightness and colors even when looking at the monitor diagonally.

The Optio A40 is newly equipped with a Dynamic Range Adjustment, which helps correct tones for highlight or shadowed areas of a subject with significant differences in contrast. Even when photographing people with sun in the background, the new function highlights subjects and maintains background tones.

Optio A40 Features:

  • 12-megapixel CCD imager for poster size prints
  • Ultra compact 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches, weighs just 4.6 ounces
  • Stylish and durable aluminum alloy body
  • Large 2.5" color LCD with 232,000 pixels and 100% coverage
  • SMC Pentax 3x optical zoom lens
  • 5 point AF system with Tracking AF and focus-assist lamp
  • Face Recognition AF & AE technology
  • Super macro focus coverage down to 0.20 inches
  • Shake Reduction with high-accuracy gyro sensor for blur-free stills and movies
  • Digital SR mode uses ultra-high sensitivity settings (up to 3200) to help combat blur
  • Auto, Program, Shutter priority, Manual and 15 Scene modes
  • VGA (640x480, 30 fps) video w/audio and Shake Reduction mode for steady video
  • 30 second voice memos can be attached to still images
  • Voice Recording mode lets you use the A40 like a digital voice recorder
  • Three metering choices: multi-segment, center weighted and spot
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 (3200 in Digital SR Mode at 5MP)
  • Audio-Video output for TV display
  • Powered by rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • 21 MB of internal memory plus SD/SDHC card slot
  • PictBridge, Epson PRINT Image Matching III and Exif Print compatible
  • USB Mass Storage compliant
The Optio A40 is available now with an MSRP of US$299.95.

Physical Views

Pentax Optio A40

Pentax Optio A40

Pentax Optio A40Pentax Optio A40

Pentax Optio A40

Pentax Optio A40

Optio A40

The Optio A40 compared in size to a standard CD.

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Optio A40 Specifications

Type: Ultra-compact digital camera
Sensor: Type: 1/1.7" Interline Transfer CCD w/ primary color filter; Effective pixels: 12MP; Total pixels: 12.4MP Recorded resolutions; Still - 12M (4000x3000), 10M (3648x2736), 7M (3072x2304), 5M (2592x1944), 3M (2048x1536), 1024 (1024x768), VGA (640x480); Movie - VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240); Quality levels: *** (best), ** (better), * (good)
Lens: Type/construction: smc Pentax Zoom Lens (7E, 5G, 2 dual aspheric lenses, 1 single aspheric lens); Optical zoom: 3x, 7.9-23.7mm; Focal length (equiv.): 37-111mm; Intelligent zoom: approx. 3.3x (10M), 3.9x (7M), 4.6x (5M), 5.7x (3M), 11.4x (1024), 17.9x (VGA); Digital zoom: approx 6x; Combined zoom: approx 17.9x; Aperture: f/2.8-5.4
LCD/Viewfinder: LCD screen: 2.5 inch TFT color LCD with LCD Bright Mode, 50 FPS refresh; LCD resolution: 232,000 pixels; Wide angle viewable: YES, 160 degrees horizontal and vertical; Optical viewfinder: n/a
Focus System: Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus w/ AF assist lamp; Autofocus: 5 point AF, spot, tracking, and face recognition autofocus modes available; Manual focus: YES; Macro focus: YES, macro and super macro; Focus lock: YES, by pressing the shutter release button half way; Focus range: normal 1.15' to infinity, macro 0.39-1.31', super macro 0.20-0.49'
Flash: Type: built-in series-control auto flash; Flash modes: on, off, auto, redeye, soft flash; Effective range: wide 23' auto ISO, telephoto 11' auto ISO
Storage Media: Internal memory: 21MB; Removable memory: SD, SDHC
Interfaces: Ports: USB 2.0 hi-speed, AV out, DC in; Video out: NTSC and PAL; Printer interfaces: PictBridge
Power Supply: Power source: Rechargeable D-LI8 lithium ion battery; Recordable images: approx 240; Playback time: approx 250 min; Movie recording time: Approx 80 min; Audio recording time: Approx 210 min; AC adapter available: optional
Physical Specifications: Dimensions (W x H x D): 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.9"; Weight - Without battery or removable memory: 4.6 oz, Loaded and ready: 5.3 oz; Construction material(s): aluminum alloy; Operating temperature: 32-104 degrees F
Timing: Startup: approx 1.8 sec; Release lag: approx 0.005 sec; Shot to Shot: approx 1.25 FPS
Language Support: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese
Image Stabilization: Still: sensor shift shake reduction, Digital SR Mode (ISO 3200 at 5MP); Movie: Movie SR
Metering System: Type: TTL; Multi-segment: YES; Center weighted: YES; Spot: YES; Exposure compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps
ISO Sensitivity: Auto: 50-800 (3200 in Digital SR, 5MP), auto range selectable; Manual: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 (3200 in Digital SR, 5MP)
White Balance: Auto preset modes: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent; Manual mode(s): YES
Shutter: Type: Programmed AE electronic lens shutter w/ CCD electronic shutter; Shutter speed: 1/2000 to 4 sec
Capture Modes: Mode selection: Auto Picture (Normal, Night Scene, Landscape, Portrait), Program, Shutter Priority, Manual, Natural Skin Tone, Half-length Portrait (3MP), Night Scene, Movie, Voice Recording, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Kids, Digital SR (5MP), Surf & Snow, Sport, Pet, Text, Food, Frame Composite (3MP), Dynamic Range Adjustment; Green simplified mode available: YES; Face recognition available: YES, recognize up to 15 faces in all capture modes; P/A/S/M/B: P, S, M; Date stamp: YES (not available in Green Mode); Digital filters (capture): n/a
Drive Modes: Mode selection: one shot, self timer (10s, 2s), continuous, remote control (3s, 0s), multi-exposure (5MP); Continuous shooting: approx 1.25 FPS; Self-timer: YES, 10 sec, 2 sec; Remote control: infrared, 3 sec, 0 sec (remote optional)
Playback Modes: Mode Selection: one shot, index (9 thumbnails), magnification, movie playback, sound playback, histogram, select/delete, calendar; Mode Palate: slideshow, resize, trimming, image/sound copy, image rotation, color filter, digital filter, brightness filter, movie edit, redeye edit, voice memo, protect, DPOF, startup screen, frame composite; Magnification: up to 8x, scrollable; Digital Filter Effects: color filters (13), digital filters (5), brightness filter; Movie edit: save as still image, divide movies, extract movies
File Formats: Still: JPG (EXIF 2.2), DCF, DPOF, Print Image Matching III; Movie: AVI (DivX with MPG-4), 30 FPS w/ sound, movie anti-shake; Sound: WAV (PCM), monaural
Computer System Requirements: For device connectivity. Bundled software requirements may vary. Windows: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, USB port; Mac: MacOS 9.2, MacOS-X (10.1.2 or later), USB port

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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