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Pentax Optio 750z Manual Camera , Pentax Optio750z

Pentax Optio 750Z 7MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom

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Review summary

Thanks to the recent spate of fully featured, pocket-friendly 7-megapixel cameras from Pentax, Olympus, Sony, and Canon, serious photographers don't have to trade must-have capabilities for compact size. Pentax includes the fine-tuning control over exposure and focus that photo enthusiasts need, along with some stand-out features such as a flip-out swiveling LCD, a 3D stereoscopic shooting mode, and a time-lapse interval recording option. Unfortunately, mediocre performance and imaging artifacts in the photos seriously crimp the Pentax Optio 750Z's upscale appeal.

Review summary

Thanks to the recent spate of fully featured, pocket-friendly 7-megapixel cameras from Pentax, Olympus, Sony, and Canon, serious photographers don't have to trade must-have capabilities for compact size. Pentax includes the fine-tuning control over exposure and focus that photo enthusiasts need, along with some stand-out features such as a flip-out swiveling LCD, a 3D stereoscopic shooting mode, and a time-lapse interval recording option. Unfortunately, mediocre performance and imaging artifacts in the photos seriously crimp the Pentax Optio 750Z's upscale appeal.

Pentax Optio 750Z Review: Digital Photography Review

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Pentax Optio 750Z review - CNET

In addition to the standard exposure modes, the Pentax Optio 750Z's Picture mode setting offers 12 preset "scene" modes for shooting under unusual circumstances. Once in Picture mode, you can choose from Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Night-Scene, Surf & Snow, Autumn Colors, Self-Portrait, Night-Scene Portrait, Sunset, Food, Sport, and Fireworks b settings. Each mode addresses a specific shooting situation, and optimizes the camera for the best overall results. Panorama Assist mode lets you capture panoramic images, in either horizontal or vertical directions. Guide arrows appear on the LCD display to let you choose the direction in which the photos will be captured (up, down, left or right). After the first shot, subsequent frames show a small translucent portion of the previous image to help you line up shots. Note that exposure is not locked from frame to frame, so some panoramas may still be best achieved by shooting manually. The accompanying software "stitches" the captured images together into one panoramic frame on a computer. The 750Z also offers a 3D recording mode, which debuted on the Optio 230 model and has since appeared on several models in the Optio line. In 3D mode, the camera produces three-dimensional "stereo pairs" of images similar to old-fashioned stereographs. The camera guides you to capture two images of the same subject (one just slightly off-center from the other) and then combines them as a "stereo pair" in a single frame of image memory. A translucent display of the first image captured remains on the LCD monitor, so that you can keep everything aligned as you move the camera over slightly and capture the second image. (Very slick, this eliminates one of the biggest problems with hand-held 3D stereo photography.) The 750Z supports either the Parallel format - which means you view the stereo photo with your eyes looking straight on, or the Cross format - which means that you cross your eyes to see the stereo effect.

While it's not perfect, I do like the Pentax Optio 750Z quite a bit, and it earns my recommendation. It has a stylish, fairly-compact body with a handy flip-out LCD display. Build quality is very good for the most part, save for the cover over the battery/memory card compartment. Despite its size, the Optio packs a 5X zoom lens -- great for telephoto lovers who don't want to carry around a bulky ultra zoom camera. Photo quality is very good, though a bit noisier than the other 7MP cameras I've tested. Images were well-exposed, colorful, and very sharp, all with a minimum of purple fringing. You may encounter some blurry corners or vignetting in flash shots while using the 750Z.