The camera that detects a human smile.

If, like many of us amateur photographers, you always press the shutter just after the moment has passed, then Pentax’s latest compact could provide a solution.

Pentax’s LS465 can detect human faces within your image range, so it knows where to focus and whether to change its exposure settings to flatter your subjects.

It also offers great gizmos for capturing great portraits including the Smile Capture mode, which automatically releases the shutter just at the moment the camera detects the subject is smiling and there’s a Natural Skin mode, which gives the subject a smooth, healthy skin tone. So, there should be no more excuses for taking poor quality pictures of your nearest and dearest.

Pentax has a deservedly impressive reputation for creating hi-spec compact cameras. It’s the brand of choice for many professional and casual snappers alike.

First branded Asahi Pentax and then Honeywell Pentax, the company has been known for producing all sorts of optical products including binoculars and spectacle lenses as well as cameras.

Finally becoming known simply as Pentax, the company made its first mass-produced assembly line camera – the Pentax H2 in 1959.

Now, more than 50 years later, the company’s devices are still just as popular and, with one of its latest point-and-shoots, it is very much appealing to the casual photographer just as it did all those years ago.

This time round Pentax is appealing very much to the youth market, with its entry level LS465.

Coming in a choice of body colours – sapphire black, ruby pink or amethyst purple, it also comes with a set of snap-on covers so you can personalise your Pentax. Maybe you want cow-hide spots, optical illusion black-and-white, tartan, spots, or leather look, to name just a few of the options.

Given it comes with 16MP, offering better image quality than the average smartphone, Pentax hopes the image quality on offer will tempt casual snappers away from their mobiles.

The LS465 also comes with a 5X zoom lens which covers focal lengths equivalent to a 28mm wide angle to a 140mm telephoto. It means you can capture a whole range of subjects and scenes from landscapes and architecture to family and group shots.

Pretty much everything is done for you with Pentax’s original Auto Picture mode, which selects the most appropriate shooting mode for you subject and chooses for you from such options as portrait, blue sky and sunset.

One area where the price does lead to a bit of a compromise is in the fact that you can’t record 1080p Full HD videos, but there is 720p HD capture . This does make the process of playing directly to a HDTV a bit of a faff as you’ll need to transfer your movies to a computer first. But, if you’re buying it for your teenager to shoot silly movies of their friends, then this probably isn’t a huge issue.

It’s also small – just 2.7 inches wide and 46.5mm in height – so it’s designed to be carried around in your back pocket or that side space in your bag. Pentax hopes this will make it attractive to everyone from those wanting everyday snapshots when they are out and about to those who want to take souvenir pictures of their holidays or leisure outings.

With Pentax targeting the younger generation with this latest release, at a price point below £100,  it could have to cross a major hurdle. Most youngsters are used to pointing and shooting with their smartphones so will they be convinced to buy and carry around a compact camera too? Well, they just might be if they want to take their photographs at just the right time.

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