See how the two ruggedly built point and shoots compare in this head-to-head
I liked the Pentax startup, which felt much quicker than the Casio and was ready to shoot almost as soon as I lifted my finger from the on/off switch. The scene as viewed on the LCD, being slightly sharper and more contrasty, was easy to compose and the shutter worked as expected with little noticeable lag. In all, I was very pleased with the shooting experience that I had with the Pentax and I think that this is where the years of experience as a camera maker comes into play.
The Casio was nice as well, but was more lethargic in comparison to the Pentax at startup. Another feature that I disliked is Casio's two-button design for reviewing images. One button shows the images already shot, and it takes a second button to switch back to the normal shooting mode. On most cameras, depressing the shutter release button half way does this. The Casio is unresponsive to this and I had to think about how to use this feature rather than doing what I've become accustomed to on virtually all other point and shoot cameras I've handled. Something like switching from review to shooting mode isn't something I'd play with, since hitting the shutter button has become an almost universal way to switch back to a shooting mode. I also found the Casio slower on autofocus and shutter lag as well. Another surprise for the Casio was the extremely long time it took to format a card -- on the order of 30 seconds for a 1 GB SD card. In comparison, other cameras, including the Pentax Optio M30, took no more than six seconds to perform the same function. Thinking that it might be an issue with the card, I tried formatting the 8MB of internal memory as well and received a similarly slow response of 12 seconds.
The Pentax, in comparison has 21.9MB of internal memory and some other surprises that beat the Casio hands down. The M30 has a nice "on demand" macro ability that doesn't require you to change to a macro mode. The lens has the ability to focus all the way down to 5CM (1.96 inches) as well as facial recognition software that will analyze and capture up to six forward-looking faces in the "Portrait" mode. In Pentax's literature, they claim that the camera will keep the faces light, even in backlit situations. We consider this amazing technology for a camera that's a full $55 cheaper than its competitor. In comparison, the Casio has no macro mode and no facial recognition. And while we could understand not having the facial recognition, there's really no excuse for not having the ability to close-focus in a macro mode. Virtually every other camera in this class has this ability, so why not the Casio?
Pentax Optio M30What's Hot
• Image Quality Gallery
And the Winner Is...
In using both cameras, I found the Pentax to be very likable and clearly the leader in this race. The only real area where the Casio prevailed was in its easy to use menu system. But the shortcomings of the Casio -- including the button design, lower quality screen, lesser build quality and overall slow performance -- is nagging. I kept asking myself what justifies a $55 price difference with a camera that in most ways is identical to the Pentax, yet had lesser apparent quality and features. I wasn't able to find a good answer to this question.
Add up the Pentax Optio M30's solid construction, facial recognition, well-designed modes in both still and video, higher ISO settings and sharper LCD Viewfinder/Display screen, and it emerges as the better deal.
97 X 57 X 18mm (3.82" x 2.25" x 0.7")
120G (Without battery)
21.9 MB internal memory
95.4 X 60 X 19.6mm (3.76" X 2.36" X 0.77")
122g (Without battery)
8MB of internal memory
In the box
Pentax M30 digital camera
AV Cable 1-AVC7
Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery D-LI63
Battery Charger D-BC63
AC Plug Cord D-CO24
Battery Charger BC-11L
AC power cord
Lithium Ion Battery CASIO NP-20