Pentax is packing them in with this compact camera: it’s got more features than Mount Rushmore, and is a million miles away from even the most competent of mobile phone snappers in terms of thrills and added extras.

It’s also – and the brand won’t thank us for saying this – pretty good looking for a Pentax. We particularly like the black version we had for review, as it stands out from the silver-clad crowd.

The A30 is also a solid piece of kit. There are few protrusions to break up the sleek lines and, as well as those key high-end features, it also has a par-for-the course 3x optical zoom lens and a 2.5inch LCD screen that takes up most of the back panel.

Turn out the light

This camera is obviously designed to shoot in low light situations – which is apparently where most of us take pictures when we’re not sitting around on beaches of snapping famous tourist spots. To this end it gives you an amazingly high-sensitivity setting of up to ISO 3200, on top of an intelligent flash system and face recognition. 

This allows you to take images in incredibly low light without the need for flash, but with the pay off that the pictures are prone to unsightly digital noise. While this camera is far from the worst we’ve seen in that respect, ramping the setting up does produce a degree of noise that may not be to your taste, especially if you are likely to blow the image up above the standard 6x4 size.

Megapixel mayhem

Unfortunately, this also transfers across into lower ISO settings. The root of the problem is that squeezing 10,000,000 pixels into such a small body inevitably creates more digital noise.

While the Pentax isn’t as bad in this respect as some of the competition, such as Kodak’s Easyshare V803, if you are planning to blow some images up large we’d recommend letting an 8MP snapper like the Sony T100 do the job instead.

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Stuff Essentials – Compact camera accessories

Stuff says... 

Pentax A30 review

Another compact crams in too many megapixels. But if you never look at pictures at pixel-level you’ll be dead pleased with this Pentax