Pentax's retro-designed i-10 may look like the Micro SLR cameras of old, but does it continue the heritage in style? The What Digital Camera Pentax Digital i-10 review...
Performance, Image Quality & Value
Pentax Optio I-10 review – Performance
The I-10’s contrast-detect AF system is relatively nifty for still subjects, though not always ideal for fast-moving subjects depending on the conditions. This isn’t unusual for a budget compact camera however, and when zooming in and out to focus the camera copes rather well. An AF lamp also features to assist with ensuring subjects can be sharply-focused in dim conditions.
Macro and Super Macro focus modes can get reasonably close to subjects, though perhaps not as close-up as would have been liked.
During use there was an occasional ‘Memory Card Error’ sign which, while unlikely to occur in all models (this review sample has obviously done the rounds), did raise questions about the camera’s overall build quality as this isn’t a common or expected issue.
Movie mode is nice to have, though focus is fixed once recording starts. Using zoom during recording is digital only and causes significant deterioration of quality and noticeable image noise.
Pentax I-10 review – Image Quality
Image quality from the i-10 is, in general, a letdown. The ISO 3200-6400 images are so soft and devoid of colour from over-intensive noise reduction that they’re not of much use – especially considering their down-sized 5MP output. At the opposite end of the scale ISO 80-160 and up to ISO 200 is relatively clean, though a regular (yet unobtrusive) grain can be seen throughout the image. Above this sensitivity and the noise reduction sees images exponentially softened, with notable softness and JPEG artifacts apparent from ISO 400. By the point of ISO 1600 there’s no subtlety of colour and everything appears significantly ‘muddied’, so the i-10’s not a great one for low-light photography.
Pentax I-10 review – Value
The Pentax Digital I-10 has a strong features list and, for a shade under £150, it doesn’t seem poorly priced at first glance. However, with models such as Panasonic’s FS25, Samsung’s WB500 or Sony’s Cyber-shot W270 all available for less money and providing better image quality and often a stronger and more versatile array of features, the Optio I-10 has stiff competition to face up against.