Can Pentax’s W series waterproof camera make a splash with it's images?
Pentax has a history of producing compact digicams with a penchant for underwater functionality, and the W10 continues this tradition. Released in time for the 2006 summer season, this addition sports a subtly revised design and a smattering of fresh features including Pentax’s Face Recognition AF.
Like its Optio WPi stablemate, the W10 offers 6MP courtesy of a 1/2.5in CCD and it pairs this resolution with 18 scene modes, 64-800 ISO sensitivity and a 3x optical zoom. As part of the Optio W series, the camera’s standout feature is waterproof functionality without the need for a waterproof case. In line with JIS Class 8 waterproof performance, the W10 can withstand 30 minutes of continuous operation at an underwater depth of 1.5 metres.
Smooth and slim, the W10 sports an elongated body design that is compact enough to slip comfortably into a pocket. Consequently the 2.5in LCD screen does not dominate the rear panel, leaving ample space for a simple collection of controls that include a multifunctional D-pad, zoom lever and menu and playback buttons.
Though it’s not the fastest camera at springing to life, the Pentax manages a generally sprightly performance. Write and shutter times are both prompt, though shot-to-shot speeds can drag frustratingly. On the plus side, Pentax’s user interface is clear and user-friendly, offering access to essential options such as mode and white balance at a swift touch of a button.
Despite its wealth of automatic and semi-automatic shooting options, image quality is resoundingly so-so. The camera is capable of taking clean and precise images in bright and fine conditions, but ghosting is common in high-contrast scenes while the majority of photographs lack definition and punch, both in terms of contrast and colour reproduction.
Value For Money
It’s of optimum value for users looking for a physically durable camera, but a poor imaging performance means that outside of the underwater shooting sphere there are many more superior cameras out there in this price bracket.
Offering weather and waterproof functionality, Pentax has produced a stylish and durable model that is sure to appeal to all-terrain photographers looking to shoot in the great outdoors. However, a sluggish performance and lacklustre images makes the W10 a one-trick pony that’ll struggle to make waves in the competitive compact market.