Pentax Optio RZ18 review
A big, sharp 18x zoom lens at an incredible price, but only consider it if you're not interested in video or low-light photography
Review Date: 17 May 2012
Price when reviewed: £127
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
The march of progress never ceases, but we still find it astonishing that this 16-megapixel camera with an 18x zoom and 3in screen costs just over £100. We wondered how Pentax had brought it in at such a low price, but close inspection reveals quite a few reasons.
The plastic body looks pretty basic, but it isn’t ugly. There's no HDMI output, though, and the plastic buttons feel cheap. The lack of any dials for changing modes or adjusting settings doesn't come as a surprise, but we'd have liked a dedicated video record button. Instead, there's a button for face detection and a smile shutter, which captures a photo about a second after your subject displays a toothy grimace; not the most deserving features for a dedicated button.
Then again, this video mode is unlikely to see a lot of use. It captures at 720p in the inefficient Motion JPEG format, which gobbles up 180MB of card space per minute and limits clip lengths to just over 10 minutes.
Zoom and focus are fixed for the duration of clips, but at least that means there's no chance of lens motors interfering with the soundtrack, which was full-bodied and clear. Sadly, its video picture quality elicits few positive comments. Details were poor even compared to other 720p cameras, and well-lit outdoor shots suffered from fizzy noise and vertical purple streaks. Handheld shots at the full zoom extension were particularly unpleasant, with the optical stabilisation transforming gentle shakes into a series of sharp jolts.
It isn’t particularly fast either, taking 2.4 seconds on average between shots. The 0.8fps continuous mode is pretty hopeless, but dropping the resolution to five megapixels let us shoot at up to 9.2fps for an impressive 40 frames, which is just the thing for capturing fast-paced action.
Bought it a week ago and...
its a little bigger than i expected it would be, but i'm very impressed with the Macro functions..for years i was using my kodak zd8612IS and the macro was...eh...at best...this..is out standing..i've taken pictures of rain drops on the windshield, my lizards eyeball in awesome detail and managed to get a cute shot of the freckle my daughter has in the corner of her eye, the flash is in a little bit of an awkward place i'm used to putting my finger in the top right corner ...where the flash sits, but i love the speaker/mic design and placement unlike my kodak i can be a foot from the speaker and give a chirp of a yell and it doesn't pick up so loudly it hurts the ears, ( i film alot of horses and riders so some times while i'm filming i have to ask them to try some thing new with this camera it doesn't sound like i'm YELLING..but that my voice is raised a little) i like the feel of the anti-shake module.
it gives it a feel of almost being a super expensive camera, it fits in the side pocket of most of my cargo jeans which is convenient for me, my only quarrel is the shutter...its so flimsy i have already managed to reach into a pocket and unknowingly pushed the shutter open with my fingers and pulled it out with a finger on the lens, so i bought a carrying bag..i love playing with the picture editing software IN the camera (THE SOFTWARE FOR IT ON THE PC SUCKS..you're better off using windows live photo) the factory battery is great i get between 6hours of idle camera time (turn it on and let it sit untouched) not sure how many pictures as i haven't really tested it to its full capability yet, but i'm an intermediate level photographer along side my 2011 pentax k-r dslr camera, i love this little point and shoot just as much as my k-r if not slightly more for its small but efficient size...
the panorama is decent, but its not the best at what my dslr succeeds in which is any thing to bright, sunsets and moon pictures dont fare well with this little guy unless you can jimmyrig a filter to the lens for moon pictures, but i found there's a horrible glare even with the iso at lowest OR highest, my bf knows a good bit about camera's also an intermediate level and he was baffled why the sunset mode isn't as great as he too hoped it was. the action setting is GREAT as stated before, i shoot lots of horse video's and pictures with the setting to take 10 pictures quickly (forgive my lack of knowledge of camera terms i just go by what i know) i can get the perfect picture set of a horses gait at ANY pace which is hard some times, while bored 1 night watching tv i decided to play with that function and shot the tv image i caught every 1/2 a second image for a good 2 minutes which led me to have i believe..30 images..flipping back through them it was like i was watching tv again. this is a GREAT camera to take on hikes, its quick to start up and is ready to go in a second or 2 so you dont miss out on that "shot to make the season" which for me yesterday was catching the flight of a bald eagle from perched position to mid-air flight...AMAZING quality of pictures.
in short...this camera is GREAT for an entry to intermediate level for a hiker, biker, traveler, or just the stay at home mom wanting to catch those special moments to remember i DO suggest buying a much larger GB mem card though on a 4GB the movies total length is 12 minutes i believe in full 16MP. This is THE BEST of 5 camera's i've ever owned and puts my dslr to its paces to be my fave.
*Note: for best price of the Pentax Optio RZ18, I suggest you have to check before you will buy it at: Digicams2012.wordpress.com/pentax-optio-rz18/
Hope my review is helpful, enjoy!
By Robinson2012 on 24 Jun 2012
Let down by Poor Build Quality and Support
When I first got the camera I was seduced by the fantastic zoom, the niggle I had about the general feel and build quality of the camera was put to one side. After a few weeks of light use however my initial worries came back to haunt me. The camera wouldn't turn on properly, the lens would come out part way then the camera would turn off and the lens would instantly retract. I sent the camera back to the manufacturer under warranty and their response has been very poor. "A piece of grit or sand has got into the camera, this is outside of the warranty and will cost £91.20 to fix, if you want the camera back you can pay £7.20 for return postage, if you don't want it back we will destroy the camera for you."
This is simply unacceptable in my opinion, a problem which is caused by poor build quality not being addressed by the manufacturer. I won't be paying for the repair, the same problem is inevitable in the future. I won't be buying a Pentax again either or buying a camera without first picking it up and trying it to get a feel for the build quality before committing to a purchase.
By CharlesDobson on 17 Sep 2012
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