Pentax Optio RZ18 review

18x zoom and 16 megapixel resolution

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The Pentax Optio RZ18 has some obvious faults, but it also offers some impressive specifications at this low price point. And then there's that 18x zoom. We were genuinely impressed to find that high level of versatility in such a slim package.

But unfortunately the 18x zoom and low price tag are about all the Pentax Optio RZ18 has going for it.

We liked

The versatility of the 18x zoom lens is to be applauded, and the Dual Shake Reduction system aids shooting at the telephoto end.

The 3-inch LCD screen is big and bright, making composition and selecting settings easy. Sensible button layout helps with this, and the Dynamic Range setting really did make a noticeable and pleasing difference to images.

We disliked

Strong colours, noise-free images at lower sensitivities and adequate processing speeds are fundamental needs in a camera, and the Pentax Optio RZ18 fails - or at best, stumbles - in providing these.

Not having access to the 18x zoom while recording videos is a little frustrating, plus the camera is slow to process, and there is noise and smearing of detail at lower ISO settings. We struggled to capture strong colours in bright conditions, too.

Final verdict

The camera does have some useful and effective features, such as the Dual Shake Reduction system and Dynamic Range setting, and the range of creative art filters and scene mode do produce strong effects.

But for all the little things it does well, the Pentax Optio RZ18 lags behind in the fundamentals compared to some of the other cameras in its class, such as the Samsung WB700 - another 18x superzoom that even offers manual control.

Ultimately, whether you should buy the Pentax Optio RZ18 comes down to one question: is fine detail important to you? Are you OK with images that appear smudged and smeared under closer scrutiny?

For many people this isn't a problem. For many, a Facebook photo album is enough. And if this is the case, the Pentax Optio RZ18 offers all you need at the best price currently on the market.

But if your ambitions lie beyond an online photo gallery, you might want to consider some of the Pentax Optio RZ18's rivals, such as the aforementioned Samsung WB700.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution16 Megapixel
Product FamilyOptio
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationDigital, Optical
Optical Zoom18x
Digital Zoom7.2x
Brand NamePentax
FeaturesFace Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Smile Detection, Blink Detection, Self-timer
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)170 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.33" (6.13 mm x 4.60 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height60 mm
Width108 mm
Depth34 mm
Focal Length4.50 mm to 81 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelRZ18
Product NameOptio RZ18 Compact Camera
Product LineOptio
Exposure Control

Program AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number14177
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The Optio RZ18 is the latest addition to the popular PENTAX Optio RZ series, which features a high-magnification zoom lens in a compact body. It provides photographers with simple, effortless shooting of a wide variety of subjects and occasions. From travel and landscape to action and spectator sports the RZ18 retains many of the convenient features of its predecessors, including the dependable dual shake reduction for effective reduction of camera shake, and the advanced Auto Picture. The very wide-angle smc PENTAX 18X optical zoom lens to greatly extend the zoom range. The number of effective pixels has also been increased to 16 megapixels to deliver higher-resolution images, while the built-in LCD monitor has also been upgraded to a larger 3.0-inch version with 460,000 dots for sharper, clearer subject image. Thanks to the perfect harmony of existing and new features, the Optio RZ18 offers both higher performance and simpler operation than ever before.

Package Contents
  • Optio RZ18 Compact Camera
  • USB Cable I-USB7
  • Video Cable AV-IAVC7
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery D-DLI92
  • Battery Charger D-BC92
  • Strap O-ST104
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year