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Pentax Optio P80 review

Pentax Optio P80
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £132
inc VAT

We love the slinky design, but there’s little else to make this camera stand out.


1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 4.0x zoom (27.5-110mm equivalent), 105g

The P80 is incredibly small and light, and its curved metal body has a sophisticated elegance that few camera manufacturers manage to pull off. It’s well specified, too, with 720p video recording and a wide-angle lens with an f/2.6 maximum aperture that’s a little wider than most.

We like HD video modes on digital cameras but the P80’s isn’t the best. Focus was fixed for the duration of clips, as was the optical zoom, relying instead on a digital zoom that produced blocky results. Noise was a big problem in low light, and the 8kHz audio sample rate meant that sound quality was extremely basic.

There’s no optical image stabilisation for counteracting camera shake. Instead, Pentax offers a feature called Pixel Track SR. The name suggests that it’s more sophisticated than most electronic stabilisation techniques, which usually just involve hiking up the ISO speed. However, the results aren’t really much different, with heavy digital processing ironing out the details in shots.

Pixel Track SR takes a heavy toll on performance, but even without it, the P80 is slow. It took around four seconds on average between shots, but this delay was far from regular, sometimes taking up to six seconds. Continuous shooting lasted for just two frames at the highest quality setting, although dropping the resolution increased this to five.

The lens displayed sharp focus across its zoom range. The preview image exhibited heavy pincushion distortion at wide-angle settings, but the saved picture was corrected digitally. Colours were a little over-saturated for our tastes, but it was possible to rein this in. However, we also found that we had to adjust the white balance under artificial light to avoid an unpleasant yellow cast to pictures. High-ISO shots suffered badly from noise, but no more than usual for a 12-megapixel compact camera.

Image quality sits in the middle of the pack at this price, but with poor performance and disappointing video, there are better options.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 4.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 27.5-110mm
Image stabilisation none
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 34MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 200 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier 5.6x
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 105g
Size 54x97x22mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £132

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed 4 to 1/1,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.6 to f/5.8
ISO range (at full resolution) 64 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, shadow correction, highlight correction
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 10cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer