Pentax Optio P80 review

Ben Pitt
31 Mar 2010
Pentax Optio P80
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
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

CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom4.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent27.5-110mm
Image stabilisationnone
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied34MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)200 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
HDMI output resolutionN/A
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplier5.6x
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speed4 to 1/1,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.6 to f/5.8
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, shadow correction, highlight correction
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus10cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer