Pentax Optio MX4

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Gadget of the Week

Pentax Optio MX4


Take a 4 MegaPixel digital still camera, combine it with a solid state camcorder and throw in a 10x optical zoom lens just for good measure and you have the unusual and somewhat quirky Pentax Optio MX4.



10x optical zoom lens

Good quality still thanks to 4 MegaPixel sensor

Display screen can be swivelled in two degrees of freedom

Much smaller than tape based camcorders

Unique design



Quality of movie clips is not as good as those of a Mini-DV camcorder

SD Memory cards of reasonable capacity are much more expensive than Mini-DV tapes

Too bulky for a jacket pocket

Unique design


This device in particular and solid state camcorders in general will become more attractive and practical as the capacity of memory cards continues to increase and their cost continues to fall.


Some retailers have recently dropped their price for this item from just over £300 inc. VAT to just under £200 inc. VAT. Viewed as a 4 MegaPixel digital still camera with a 10x optical zoom lens at just under £200; its good value for money and bordering on being a bargain.



Best Internet Price: £199 inc. VAT (


Note: Tsunami Appeal Update: is currently offering to donate £1 from each order placed to the Oxfam Tsunami Appeal.


Star Rating: 7 Stars  View it more as a digital still camera and less as a camcorder.


Optio MX4 Features



Photo Functions


SMC 5.8-58mm f/2.9-3.5 zoom lens

[37mm to 370mm equiv. in 35mm format]

Approx. 46.3mm-463mm in 35mm format when capturing movie

12 elements in 8 groups

2 aspheric elements and 2 ED glass lenses

10x optical and 10x digital zoom


TTL 5-Point Wide Area Auto Focus

Spot AF or Manual Focus

Focus range

Normal 40cm at wide, 1.2m at tele, to infinity

Macro 10cm to 50cm at wide

Super-Macro 0cm to 15cm at wide

Manual 0cm to infinity

Infinity landscape mode


TTL Multi-segment, centre weighted or spot metering

ISO Auto 100/200/400 Manual

Exposure compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/4 EV steps

1/2000 sec to 4 sec shutter speeds

Auto flash, flash on, flash off, red-eye reduction

Flash range:0.1m  5.1m at wide

0.6m to 3.8m at tele

Exposure Modes Picture mode, Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual and Movie

Picture Modes Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Sport, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Night Scene, Soft, Illustration, Panorama Assist

9 Digital filters B&W, Sepia, Red, Pink, Purple, Green, Blue, Yellow


Adjustable sharpness, saturation and contrast

White Balance  Automatic, Manual or 4 selectable settings

Self timer

Continuous shooting

Auto bracketing on 5 parameters

Timelapse video

Histogram display

Voice memo recording

Remote Control (Optional)

Alarm clock and world time function


4.23 megapixel, 4.0 megapixel (effective)

1/2.7" interline transfer CCD with primary colour filter

12 bit x 3 colours

Takes SD memory cards

In camera file size adjustment mode









640x4802.5 (5)4 (7)5 (9n)

320x2406 (11)9 (16)16 (25)

160x12016 (25)20 (31)31 (42)

Frame rate 30fps(15fps)

with 64MB SD memory card

1 sec to memory card capacity

Movie mode - .mov (mpeg-4) format, 30 fps with sound, 640x480, 1 sec to memory card capacity


Zoom view up to 12x magnification

Nine image display

Trimming and resize function

Histogram display shows brightness levels

DPOF, DCF, Exif 2.2 compatible

Pictbridge for direct printing

Digital filters work on playback, with 'overwrite' or 'save as' modes

Image protection


PAL and NTSC video output to AV connection

USB connection, PC or Mac compatible

Windows 98/98SE, 2000, ME, XP, Mac OS 8.6 +

Comes with ACDSee for PENTAX Image viewing software


Virtual mode dial for easy mode selection

4 way controller and OK button for navigation and selection of menus and settings

1.8" CG silicon TFT LCD colour monitor with 134k pixels


Rechargeable L-Ion Battery D-L17

180 still images per charge

80 mins of movie per charge

1x CR-V3 lithium battery

Optional AC Adaptor


73 x 59 x 103.5mm, 330g without battery and card, 375g operational


Optio MX4 camera

Software (CD-ROM) S-SW22

Rechargeable L-Ion Battery D-L17

Battery Charger

AC Plug cord D-CO2E

Strap O-ST17

AV cable I-AVC7(B)

USB Cable I-USB7


Leather Case

Remote Control

AC Adapter




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