The Pentax Optio A40 is at the top end of the company's Optio range, boasting 12 megapixels and a £185 price tag. But we still associate Pentax compacts with cheery, child-like styling and such novelties as the sound of a cat miaowing when you press a button. Can the A40 prove itself a more serious point-and-shoot?
Despite having an all-metal body in either matte black or silver, we think the A40 has a toy-like feel to its design. Even with swirly chrome accents, the rounded corners and lack of sharp edges give the camera a cheerful appearance. The controls heighten the friendly effect, with a large flat zoom rocker and chunky round buttons. The buttons all have sizeable writing on them, while the one-touch automatic mode has a big green 'press me!' button.
The monitor is the average 64mm (2.5-inch) screen. All told, the A40 weighs 150g including battery and card, and feels agreeably sturdy.
The happy toy-like feel continues with the cartoony onscreen menu icons. The menu options are clear and bright, although we felt there was possibly one too many screens to go through for shooting options.
The 3x optical zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent to 38-114mm, which isn't anything to write home about. Face detection is nothing exciting these days, but we're still pleased to see optical image stabilisation on cameras such as this.
Modes include shutter priority and (nominally) manual control. These allow you to set minimum and maximum aperture values, or choose from a range of shutter speeds from four seconds to 1/2,000 second.