Pentax Optio VS20 review

Inexpensive travel zoom with controls for horizontal and vertical shooting

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A press of the top plate power switch and the Pentax Optio VS20 readies itself for the first shot or video in just over two seconds, lens shooting out from flush to the body with a mechanical buzz, while the rear LCD blinks into life to compose the shot.

A half-press of the shutter release button results in focus and exposure noticeably adjusting, making the photographer almost blind for a second before the view clears and snaps back into focus.

Pentax Optio VS20 review

Squeeze down fully to take the shot and with little in the way of shutter delay, there's a wait of four seconds while a 16MP JPEG is committed to memory - the screen briefly displaying the captured still before going blank and then refreshing itself.

While the VS20 is capable of recording a lot of detail at its lowest sensitivity settings, the results at its highest settings are terrible. At ISO 3200 or above, resolution automatically drops to 5MP, providing a result that resembles a softened image crop.

What was most annoying on our review sample, though, was that auto white balance was a tad unreliable, introducing some odd colour casts.

Pentax Optio VS20 review

With Landscape mode chosen and a green foreground taking up two thirds of the frame, for example, the blue sky behind was given a green tint, providing a result that looked like a processing mistake.

Pentax Optio VS20 review

Using the Miniature mode also delivers results in which so much of the image is blurred, it looks like a fault rather than a filter. And when shooting at the telephoto end of the zoom, the camera sometimes struggles to decide what it was supposed to be focusing on.

More positively, the self-stitching Panorama mode can produce respectable results after a few dry runs, and the pencil sketch option has better contrast and better definition than the identical mode on Olympus snapshot cameras.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution16 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyOptio
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Eye-Fi Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom20x
Digital Zoom7.2x
Brand NamePentax
FeaturesFace Recognition, Blink Detection, Smile Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Continuous Shooting Mode, 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 Length5 mm to 100 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelVS20
Product NameOptio VS20 Compact Camera
Product LineOptio
Exposure Control

Program AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number14139
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

On top of its 20x wide-angle zoom (from 28 to 560mm), the Optio VS20 offer a second release shutter button on the side. This is a real help when taking portrait pictures.

The Optio VS20 is filled with the latest technologies, like one of the lastest generation 16MP sensor for exceptionnal sharpness, a 20X optical zoom and a large 3" coloured LCD screen. It also benefits from a new mode for low light conditions, offering less noise and better sharpness.

Thanks to its high end performance, the Optio VS20 is the ideal compact camera for everyday pictures as well as for travelling and sports images.

Package Contents
  • Optio VS20 Compact Camera
  • USB Cable I-USB7
  • AV-IAVC7 Video Cable
  • Rechargeable Battery Li-Ion D-DLI92
  • Battery Charger D-BC92
  • O-ST104 Strap
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year