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Pentax Optio RZ18 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £127
inc VAT

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


1/2.33in 16.6-megapixel sensor, 18.0x zoom (25-450mm equivalent), 191g

Our image quality tests revealed ups and downs, too. The lens performed admirably, the only notable weakness being slightly soft focus in the corners of frames at telephoto settings.

[[IMG ID=167494F]]
The 18x lens belies the low price, and focus is extremely impressive.

The autofocus was sometimes incorrect, but it was easy to spot this on the 3in, 460,000-dot screen and have another go at the shot. The 16-megapixel CCD helped deliver lots of detail, but even in bright light there was a fair amount of noise. Still, we appreciate how the camera let a little noise through in bright conditions rather than smearing it to oblivion.

The same couldn’t be said of indoor shots, though. These were blotchy, streaky and smeared, and looked pretty unpleasant, even after resizing them to fit the screen. Settings were well chosen to strike a balance between the twin threats of noise and blur, but ultimately, this camera isn’t much better than a camera-phone for indoor photography.

Pentax Optio RZ18 portrait sample shot
Low-light shooting is marred by blotchy, streaky and smeared results.

It isn’t fair to compare this £100 camera with models costing two or three times as much, but at this price most people will be better off going for a camera with more modest specifications and better image quality, such as the Canon Ixus 115 HS. If you need a big zoom, perhaps to photograph wildlife, and don’t care about indoor photography or video, then the RZ18 is a decent budget option.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 16.6 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.33in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 18.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 25-450mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,608×3,456
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 96MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 240 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 191g
Size 60x108x35mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £127

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3.5 (wide), f/5.9 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, highlight correction, shadow correction
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 4cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, IR remote, panorama

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