The sales blurb that comes with Pentax’s Optio M40 states that its new camera is "a standard-class compact digital camera that is easy to carry". Talk about under-selling a brilliant product.

The Pentax Optio M40 has everything you need to produce fantastic photographs, with the bonus of great looks.

Its pleasingly slim brushed metallic body hides a host of great and mostly useful features, the best of these being the Pentax Optio M40's super macro focus, which lets you get closer than you could ever imagine to tiny subjects.

There's a pleasing soft flash for when you don’t want your photos to appear washed out, and the Pentax Optio M40's Green Button works well as an easy shot mode. Alternatively, it can be programmed to open one of a dozen menu items, such as exposure or white balance.

The by-now seemingly obligatory face-recognition and digital shake technologies are present in the Pentax Optio M40, but the real little gem is a feature that most people will overlook – the flash. On most digital cameras, the flash struggles beyond a range of around five metres, invariably leaving your subject in the dark. But the Pentax Optio M40 has a flash range of a magnificent 15 metres, which makes it perfect for that dimly lit party.

And the Pentax Optio M40 is very easy to use, with a simple navigation system (conducted on the 2.5in display) aided by a series of pop-up help boxes that explain all the icons. You also get such child-friendly features as a choice of colourful surrounds, and Pet mode – which pre-selects the colour of your pet to help get the best auto settings. Useful? Maybe not, but it is a lot of fun.

OUR VERDICT

The Pentax Optio M40 has all the basic functions of an entry-level camera… and then some. But with its ultra-slim lightweight body and seriously good looks, a more than ample resolution of 8Mp and the ability to let you take complete manual control of all the settings, this is so much more than an entry-level digital camera – something you’d be unlikely to guess from its low price.