The second version of Pentax’s small but tough compact gets two million extra pixels (up to 16MP) over its predecessor, and a price drop. Good start.
It’s also waterproof to 12m, shockproof enough to withstand the occasional frozen-fingered drop and will work in temperatures as low as -10°C. Oh, and it’s got a built-in GPS receiver for geotagging your pics (though you can’t use it for navigation – just in case you were wondering).
It feels solid and it’s fair to say that, however wet, cold and crash-strewn your rides, it’s unlikely to flinch.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. The widescreen LCD is great for composing pictures and navigating through the (extensive) menus, but the small and fiddly buttons don’t work well with cold and numb – or gloved – fingers. It does at least remember your last used settings, so when you turn it on again you don’t have to delve through all those menus once again.
The glass cover over the lens also has its issues. On the one hand it gives some protection from the elements (and stray fingers), but on the other it adds a lot of contrast-reducing flare when you point the camera towards a light source.
And, although picture quality is pretty good for its class, those 16 million tiny pixels need a lot of detail-robbing noise reduction as the light levels drop (as they do in, say, woods). Don’t expect miracles in dull conditions.
As for the handlebar mount (sold separately), we wouldn’t bother. The lens isn’t wide enough to make video worthwhile, and the mount is prone to vibrating loose. Still, used within its limitations this camera makes a tough and versatile ride companion.
It’s handy being able to stuff it in a pocket without worrying about damage – and that alone makes it worth a go.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.