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Pentax Optio H90 review

Pentax Optio H90
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £100
inc VAT

The design looks elegant but is functionally unremarkable, but the H90 costs less than we’d expect


1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (28-140mm equivalent), 114g

It brings home how similar most compact cameras look when something a little different turns up. The H90 is hardly a radical departure but the minimal, two-tone design has a certain tranquil elegance. It looks more striking – and distinctly Japanese – in an orange and silver finish, although that model currently costs £15 more.

Functionally, the design is less striking. The 12-megapixel sensor, 5x wide-angle zoom lens and 2.7in LCD screen are standard issue. The lack of optical stabilisation is regrettable but it’s not unusual at this price. It’s good to see 720p HD video in a £100 camera. Zoom and focus are fixed for the duration of clips, there was a lot of noise in low-light clips and sound quality was poor, but we still prefer it to the VGA video modes normally found at this price.

The H90 has extended support for Eye-Fi cards, SDHC cards with built-in Wi-Fi adaptors (see What’s New, Shopper 265). The main drawback of these cards is the lack of visual feedback while in use, but the H90 can switch the card’s Wi-Fi adaptor on and off, and displays an on-screen icon when it’s connected to a network.

Best of all, it won’t automatically power down while an upload is in progress, although it doesn’t inform the user when it’s complete. Bizarrely, the Wi-Fi connection dropped whenever we pressed a button on the camera, but at least the on-screen icon warned of this, encouraging us to leave it alone to complete the upload.

Our image quality tests produced few surprises. Corner focus was soft at the wide end of the zoom, but otherwise, the lens performed well. Its f/3.5-5.9 aperture is pretty gloomy, though, and along with the noisy 12-megapixel sensor and no stabilisation, low-light shots looked grotty. Automatic exposures were well judged, except for flash-lit shots, which used unnecessarily high ISO speeds.

In most respects this is a competent but unexceptional camera, but the smart design and Eye-Fi support may be enough to draw in customers.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 5.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-140mm
Image stabilisation none
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 33MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 210 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 114g
Size 57x95x25mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £100

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed 4 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.5 (wide), f/5.9 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, highlight correction, shadow correction
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 8cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, smile detect