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Pentax Optio I-10 review

Ben Pitt
9 Jul 2010
Pentax Optio I-10
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
149
inc VAT

Pentax takes a typical modern compact and gives it a retro cosmetic makeover. If the idea appeals, so might the end product.

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Specifications

1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (28-140mm equivalent), 132g

After years of competent but bland compact cameras, it’s great to see that Pentax has raised its game in the design stakes. Last month we saw the Pentax H90 with its minimalist, contemporary chic. This month we have the I-10, with a retro design that recalls compact cameras from the 1950s and 60s. Fortunately, it doesn’t emulate vintage cameras’ bulk. The lens fully retracts into the camera body when not in use, and at just 132g, it’s extremely light.

We’re quite taken by the look of the front of the camera, and particularly the white and cream colour scheme, but it isn’t so impressive from other angles. There’s a lump of silver-effect plastic on the top of the camera that’s presumably there to grip onto, but it doesn’t fall naturally under the fingers and cheapens the overall appearance.

The zoom lever that encircles the shutter button looks smart but it’s a little awkward to use because it faces backwards. There’s nothing retro about the controls on the back, with just four buttons and a navigation pad making this an unexceptional point-and-shoot camera in use.

There’s no viewfinder on the back of the viewfinder hump, so shots must be composed on the 2.7in LCD screen. Its widescreen shape means that photos only use a portion of the screen and appear quite small compared to other cameras’ 2.7in and 3in squarer screens. There’s an option to capture widescreen-shaped photos but this discards the top and bottom of the image, reducing the resolution to 9 megapixels.

Operationally, the H90 and I-10 appear to be identical. Their lenses have the same optical design, although the I-10’s metal construction may prove to be more robust than the H90’s plastic.

Their performance, image quality and video quality were all virtually indistinguishable. While the H90 is accomplished for a £100 camera, at £150 the I-10 is a tad disappointing. The one feature that helps justify the I-10’s higher price is its CCD-based stabilisation, which allows it to use slower shutter speeds in low light without introducing motion blur. This stabilisation didn’t perform particularly reliably in our tests, though. With excessive image noise appearing in photos at ISO 400 and above, this isn’t the best camera to choose if low-light photography is on the agenda.

There are no serious flaws and the retro design is appealing, but it implicitly suggests a level of quality that the I-10 can’t live up to. It’s also disappointing that the stylish design of the front of the camera doesn’t continue over the top and around the back. On the other hand, the I-10 manages to stand out in a crowded market. Those who are drawn to its looks and aren’t too fussed about getting the best image quality possible won’t be disappointed. Those who are more discerning should go for our long-standing favourite, the Fujifilm F200EXR.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom5.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-140mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied27MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)250 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
HDMI output resolutionN/A
Body materialaluminium, plastic
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight132g
Size65x101x28mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£149
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.pentax.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangef/3.5 (wide), f/5.9 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, highlight correction, shadow correction
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus8cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer