Pentax Optio RZ18 

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Not slim, not sleek and the cream colour makes it look a little strange. However the important thing is image quality and here I have no complaints, in fact this ultra compact model has other features not always found with other small cameras.

oentax optio rz18 compact 16MP digital camera
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The Pentax Optio RZ18 compact digital camera measures 10.5x6x3.5cm, the last figure can increase by as much as a further 5cm when fully zoomed in. It weights 190grams.

This is certainly not another small digital camera the MP size can be up to 16MP but the real star is the 18x optical zoom.

The still capture sizes are 16MP, 12MP 1:1, 12MP 16:9, 7MP, 2MP 16:9 and 640x480. If I do not state they are all 4:3. For capturing movies first you need to select movie mode from the mode menu and then you can enter the menu to select the pixels 1280 at 30FPS, 1280 at 15FPS, 640 at 30FPS, 640 at 15FPS, 320 at 30FPS and 320 at 15FPS.

Unlike some other units that offer more than one way to change from still to movie the only way is using the mode menu and this is not a bad thing. The options here are Auto, Program, Portrait, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Movie, Landscape, Blue Sky, Sunset, Flower, Sport, Pets, Digital SR, Skin Tone, Kids, Fireworks, Frame Composite, Party, Food, Candlelight, Text, Surf & Snow, Wide and Panorama. While in my short review time I have had the option to try only a few of the options those I have tried worked well. I was really pleased with the Wide and Panorama modes which not only stitch well but give a good initial display on the TFT.

The face of the camera has the lens on the right with the bar flash above and this is always a minimum of 5cm away. The left side is clear while the right side has anchor point for the wrist strap and behind a rubber bung the PC/AV connector. The base has the tripod screw at the left end while the battery cover and SD insertion point are at the right end. The top has just the on/off button and the shutter release with zoom button around the latter.

This then leaves the back which is dominated by the 6x4.5cm TFT and to its right are four buttons (two pairs of two) and between them the ubiquitous five position joystick, all the buttons are well marked as to their tasks.

There is a Quick Guide that really only covers setup and the now obligatory legal requirements for not eating the battery etc.

The user manual is on the CD together with some quite useful software. To be precise Media Impressions 3.1 for Windows and Media Impressions 2.1 for MAC are on one CD and the Instruction Manual are on a second CD.

Image quality was excellent even when using lesser resolutions; I took a lot at 7MP which is more than enough to print a portion of an image on an A4 photo page. Images had good depth of field and as stated above the Wide and Panorama stitched together well. I was happy with flash images and the flash cut effectively through multi coloured lighting that often tends to make people look numerous colours other than their natural skin tone.

I would have preferred a little more information in the Quick Guide and also have consigned the legal mumbo jumbo to other useless pieces of paper, while I found the white colour of the camera a little different they do have other colours and I was relieved that it was not pink.

Doing my searches found the Pentax Optio RX18 at a best price of £131.98 with free delivery from the first link below. This link is for the more normal black colour but white is available for £7.02 more should you prefer it.

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Comment by Rod Maher, Aug 3, 2012 17:14

One comment you my want to add is that the compression ratio of the Pentax RZ18 is so severe that the 16M pixel images end up looking less defined than my old 5M pixel camera.  I bought the camera for its zoom capability but there's no point in using the 18X zoom because the image quality is so poor after it has been compressed.  I've given the camera to a friend, (I didn't even sell it) and have gone back to my 10X zoom 10M pixel Fujifilm which produces far superior zoomed images despite the lower zoom capability.

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OverallPentax Optio RZ18 rated 72 out of 100

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