Pentax Optio S10
- Very compact size, sharp-looking shots, good colours
- Some noticeable fringing, lens distortion, some noticeable noise, can't manually change the aperture and shutter settings
It's small, can take good looking 10-megapixel-sized images and it's easy to use. It'll struggle a little in low-light conditions, as most cameras do, but it's still a decent compact camera for all occasions.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
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This pocket-sized Pentax camera is very easy to carry with you to all sorts of events and it'll do a good job when shooting scenery or people. It's a no-fuss camera with a 10-megapixel sensor, which captures plenty of detail and warm colour tones.
It's strictly a point-and-shoot camera, and for this task it's ideal. The 2.5in LCD viewfinder makes it easy to frame your subject, even while outdoors and, despite the cameras flat, rectangular shape, it's easy to control the two-step shutter. It'll focus on its subject within two seconds in a typical room environment, but its focusing motion doesn't look smooth through the LCD viewfinder; instead, it kind of jumps from a blurry image to a sharp one. If you're used to seeing an image being brought into focus smoothly, this will be a little annoying.
Different shooting modes are present within the Optio S10's menu system, which allow you to optimise the camera for the situation at hand, but we found its auto mode to be optimal. In cloudy and sunny conditions, the camera did a good job of capturing most colours, without over saturation, although some whites and greys did jump right out at us. It struggled a little in indoor situations, as some shots looked like they had slightly off colour tones, but it did a good job overall. Wide angled and optically-zoomed images were handled well, as were macro shots. Indeed, the camera did a good job of shooting text on a printed page.
Some noise was present in our test images, especially the ones taken indoors, as the camera had to compensate by increasing the ISO. This was especially noticeable in dark areas. In good lighting conditions, the S10 shot very crisp pictures and with not much noticeable noise. The amount of colour fringing wasn't as much as we were expecting either. High contrast areas looked reasonably good, although it did struggle in some extreme situations, such as when taking shots of power lines with a light-grey sky in the background.
On square images, we did notice distortion from the lens, both vertical and horizontal, but this shouldn't cause too many problems, unless you need a camera for taking product shots.
A night mode called digital SR can be used in low-light conditions, as it gives the shutter speed priority while boosting the ISO value, but shots with this mode looked a little less defined and more washed out than shots taken in auto mode. Anti-shake technology is automatically enabled when taking shots in low-light situations without the flash, but most of these will still look blurry.
For those of you who like to tinker with settings, this camera isn't ideal. Only the ISO and white balance can be manipulated (although there are different focus modes to play with, including pan focus and a manual focus setting), the shutter and aperture are always figured out by the camera itself. The camera has a burst mode that can shoot four photos in a row, and there is also a timer setting. A remote control can be used to shoot while the camera is on a tripod, although you'll have to supply the remote yourself.
Still, if you're after a very portable point-and-shoot that'll decide all settings on its own, and take good looking pictures while doing so, this Pentax model is worth consideration. It gets its power from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and it'll shoot well over 200 shots before requiring a recharge (depending on how often you've used the flash).
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