Pentax Optio MX Review

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Review posted 07/26/2004

Click on the OptioMX to take a 360° QuickTime VR tour

The Pentax OptioMX is a palm-sized digital still/movie camera with 3.2 effective megapixel resolution and a 10X optical zoom. It can capture still images and high resolution (VGA) full-motion movies with zoom capability. The advanced design of the OptioMX features an ergonomic grip handle and an articulating LCD monitor that swivels horizontally and vertically to frame subjects exactly as you prefer. The compact size allows this versatile camera to travel everywhere and capture scenes and action whenever opportunities arise.

The powerful 10X optical zoom incorporates an smc PENTAX 5.8mm - 58mm lens. The lens offers a focal range covering angles of view equivalent to those of a 38mm - 380mm lens in 35mm format so users create a variety of shots ranging from wide-angle to telephoto. Combined with a 10X digital zoom, the camera features a combined zoom capacity of 100X.

The OptioMX offers an array of shooting modes accessible through selections on a mode dial. Users may choose from PICT (picture mode), P (program mode), Tv (Shutter-priority AE), Av (Aperture-priority AE), M (Metered Manual) and voice recording modes. Picture mode includes 10 choices - landscape, flower, portrait, self-portrait, surf & snow, sunset, night scene, soft, Illustration and Panorama Assist.

Enhanced movie functions offer MPEG-4 recording so the OptioMX can record extended movies with the quality of 30fps in VGA (640 x 480 pixels) in a choice of 640 x 480, 320 x 240, and 160 x 120 recording pixels.

OptioMX marks Pentax's first step into the production of full-capacity digital video and PENTAX has priced the camera under $400. For optimal results in panoramic settings, a 28.5mm wide conversion lens will be available as an accessory to the OptioMX, and the digital video camera will ship to dealers in June 2004

OptioMX Features:

  • Stylish, compact and durable aluminum body with swiveling grip
  • 10x Pentax power zoom lens (38-380mm in 35mm equivalent)
  • 3.2-megapixel CCD imager for images up to 2048 x 1536
  • Records 640x480 MPEG-4 movies with audio at 30fps, length limited to media capacity
  • 30 second voice memos can be attached to images
  • 10 PICTure modes, Program AE, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority Metered Manual and Voice Recording mode.
  • Wide or Narrow AF, Manual focus and Super macro down to 0cm
  • Three metering choices: multi-segment, center weighted and spot
  • Eight digital filters: B&W, sepia, red, pink, purple, blue, green and yellow digital filters can add a different mood to recorded images.
  • Settings for exposure compensation, sharpness, saturation, and contrast
  • Auto bracketing of exposure, white balance, sharpness, color saturation and contrast
  • Swiveling 1.8" high-clarity color LCD monitor with 100% coverage
  • Powered by rechargeable Li-ion battery, or CR-V3
  • Removable SD card media
  • PictBridge, Epson PRINT Image Matching II and Exif Print compatible
  • USB 2.0 Mass Storage compliant

Pentax OptioMX

Physical Views

Pentax OptioMX

Pentax OptioMX

Pentax OptioMXPentax OptioMX

Pentax OptioMX

Pentax OptioMX


The OptioMX compared in size to a standard CD.

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OptioMX Specifications

Effective Pixels: 3.2 megapixels
Imager: 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels: 3.34 megapixels
Color Depth: 12 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels: Movie: 640x480 (VGA), 320x240, 160x120 pixels

Still: 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1024x768, 640x480 pixels

Type: smc Pentax power zoom
Focal Length: 5.8mm - 58mm (38mm - 380mm 35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range: F2.9 - F3.5
Construction: 12 elements in 8 groups (1 dual-sided aspherical element, 1 aspherical element)
Lens Thread: 37mm
Digital Zoom: 4X or 10X
Focus System
Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Autofocus: 5 point AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus: 0 inches (0m) to infinity
Focusing Range: Normal: 1.31 ft (0.4m) to Infinity at 5.8mm, 3.9 ft (1.2m) to infinity at 58mm.

Macro: 3.9 inches (0.1 m) to 1.64 ft (0.5m) At 5.8mm, 1.97 ft (0.6m) to 4.92 ft (1.5m) at 58mm.

Super Macro: 0 inches (0m) to 5.9 inches (0.15m) at 5.8mm.

Normal (Movie): 3.9 inches (0.1 m) to Infinity at 5.8mm, 3.9 ft (1.2m) to infinity at 58mm

Exposure Control
Light Metering Method: TTL metering with choice of: Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot Meter
Sensitivity: Auto, or user select ISO 100, 200, 400
Exposure Control Method: Program AE
Exposure Modes: Mode, Program, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Manual
Exposure Compensation: +/-2 EV (1/4 steps)
Shutter: Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter; Shutter Speed - approx. 1/2000 - 4 second
White Balance: White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance. Available Settings - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual
Flash: Built-in series-control retractable flash, Automatic Discharge in Low-Light when in Auto Modes. Operation Modes - Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction.

Effective Range -Approx.0.33ft -16.73ft (0.1m - 5.1m) (5.8mm at Sensitivity ISO 200); Approx. 1.97ft -12.46ft (0.6m - 3.8m) (58mm at Sensitivity ISO 200)

Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes: Picture Mode, Program, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Manual, Movie Capture
Picture Modes: Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-Portrait, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Night-Scene, Soft, Illustration, Panorama Assist
Digital Filter (In playback mode only). Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow
Drive Modes: Single-shot, Continuous(normal/high-speed), Self-timer-10 sec., 2 Sec., Auto-bracket (Exposure, White Balance, Saturation, Sharpness, Contrast)
Movie Mode: Continuous Shooting Time: Approx. 120 Min. (Related to memory card capacity & camera setting)
Modes: dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd - 12hr/24hr
World Time: Display of the time in 62 cities (28 time zones)
Image Storage
Storage Media: Secure Digital (SD) memory card
File Formats: Still - JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Print Image Matching II. Movie - MOV (MPEG-4) 30/15fps with sound (PCM, monaural). Sound - WAV (ADPCM), Monaural, Recordable time depends on the remaining capacity of the memory card
JPEG Compression Mode: Storage Capacity with 128MB SD Card

Resolution Best Better Good
2048x1536 61 112 165
1600x1200 103 176 243
1024x768 222 441 521
640x480 488 782 977
Movie @ 640x480
30fps 5 min 7 min 10 min
15fps 10 min 14 min 18 min
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor: 1.8 inch CG Silicon TFT color LCD with Histogram Display & Brightness Adjustment, Swivels 210° vertically, 180° horizontally
LCD Coverage: 100%
LCD Resolution: Approx. 134,000 pixels
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File: Single, Index - Nine image index
Magnification: 1.2X to 12X
LCD Function: Scroll, slide show, movie, image rotation, Digital filter, voice memo in playback mode
Size Change: Trimming, Resize
Erase and Image Protect Modes: Single, All
PictBridge: One image Printing, All image Printing, DPOF Auto Print
Language: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese
Type: AV output terminal, USB (2.0) terminal, DC input terminal
Video Output: Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply
Power Source: Rechargeable D-LI7 Lithium-ion battery (allows approximately 200 shots*); (Movie Capture approx. 100 Min. Playback approx. 200 Min.**) AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating Temperatures: 32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C)
Camera Casing: Aluminum alloy
Dimensions (W x H x D): 2.9 x 2.3 x 4.1 Inches (73 x 59 x 103.5mm)
Weight: 11.6 oz (330g) without battery and SD memory card; 13.1 oz (375g) loaded and ready
Computer System Requirements
Mac Requirements: OS: Mac OS 9.2 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space: 6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
PC Requirements: OS: Windows 98,98 second edition, 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, (QuickTime 6.0 or later to view movies)CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory: 64MB or more, Hard disk space: 15MB or more, Standard equipped USB port

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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