Hands-on with the Pentax Optio A40: 12-megapixel pet

The Pentax Optio can pack in as many swirly chrome accents and 12 megapixel sensors as it likes, but the cutesy Optio styling will always make us say, "Aww, bless"

There's just something cuddly and lovable about the Pentax Optio range of compact cameras. Yesterday we were introduced to the new Optio V20, and today we take a closer look at the Pentax Optio A40. It's at the top end of Pentax's friendly Optio range, boasting 12 megapixels.

The 3x optical zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent to 38-114mm, with face detection and optical image stabilisation built in. Other features include shutter priority and manual mode, in which you can set minimum and maximum aperture values, and choose from a range of shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/2,000th of a second. We're also looking forward to testing the dynamic range adjustment feature in our forthcoming review: this adjusts sensitivity in darker areas and highlights, adding detail to shadows and burned-out highlights.

These features are encased in an all-metal body. It's available, in either matte black or silver, for about £180 online. Even the swirly chrome accents can't take away from the overall cuteness of the Optio styling -- this is, after all, the range that brought us the cat noise shutter.

Click through to see if you can work out exactly what is it that makes the A40 so friendly, so cuddly. Is it the rounded corners? Is it that cute little face, with the flash for a winky eye?

Is it the flat zoom rocker? Is it the big writing on the buttons, or the fun-size 64mm (2.5-inch) screen? Is it the one-touch automatic mode that has its own green button? All these things give the A40 a toylike quality. Even the onscreen menu icons are cartoony. Bless.