Steve's Conclusion

By Matt Metzker

Steve's SnapShot
pentax_I10_275.jpg
  • 12.1-megapixel image sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens
  • Triple Shake Reduction technology
  • 2.7" LCD screen with a  16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
  • Pixel Track Shake Reduction and Movie SR
  • 2.7-inch LCD screen
  • Li-ion power source
  • Infrared remote-control capabilities


Pros
  • Fits in a small pocket
  • Great image quality
  • Cool retro styling
  • Good video quality for compact camera
Cons
  • Zoom control faces backward
  • Feels toy like in your hands
  • LCD is hard to see in bright sunlight
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.5 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 2.0 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.5 seconds
  • Burst Mode =  1.875fps @ 14m (max. 3 frames per set)
  • All tests taken using a high-speed SDHC card, iAuto mode, flash on, review on, and all other settings at default unless noted
Bottom Line
The Optio I-10 is a cool looking retro camera that is compact and takes great pictures. At times it felt like a toy rather than a $250 camera, so be sure to look at the competition before making your final purchase.
Pick This Up If...
You crave a tiny pocket camera with the look of days gone by, and you don't mind the $250.00 price tag to get it.
Retro appears to be the new "look" this season as Pentax has joined in creating a throw back feel to their ultra compact Optio I-10. The old style look is off set by new technology with 12.1 megapixels of resolution, a 5x wide optical zoom lens and a 2.7in. LCD, which are crammed inside the I-10's petite frame.

The I-10 is lightweight and compact enough to fit into a pocket pretty easily, but it has almost a toy-like feel when you hold it in your hand. The top bump of the camera would be the most obtrusive thing about it, but at the overall size of the camera I do not think it is an issue. As far as the controls go, all buttons are a decent size and I really didn't fumble with them. The only real frustration I had was with the zoom control. This unit is mounted at the top of the camera, wrapped around the shutter release. This is a common feature (and our favorite type of zoom control), but where Pentax mucks it up is that they mount the tab facing the back of the camera as opposed to the more common front facing tab. So instead of using your index finger to control zoom, you have to use your thumb which is already doing the work of running the back controls. While this isn't a huge hurdle to cross, it is odd and uncomfortable at first.

While the feel of the camera failed to impress, the image quality was definitely up to par. We took tons of pictures at the zoo and at a local car show and with the exception of the bright sunlight causing some blow-out, it did great. The colors were true to life, images were crisp and the OIS kept the pictures blur-free as we road the train on our safari trek. The I-10 also offers the ability to take pictures at a 16:9 ratio which creates a cool wide-angle photo but image quality will drop down to 9-megapixels. I was also impressed with the panorama mode, the couple I took turned out very good. I was equally impressed with the flash, which was powerful enough to light up our close range subjects. However, remember that this is a tiny flash unit which is not going to have the power to illuminate open rooms or subject beyond 6 feet or so; without boosting the ISO. 

The I-10 offers video capture in all the standard formats and in addition to choosing whether to shoot in HD, VGA or QVGA, you can choose to shoot at 30fps or 15fps. The difference being that 30fps will create a smoother video with a larger file size, and 15fps will be less smooth, but a smaller file size. Keeping in mind that this is a ultra compact digital camera, the I-10 did great at taking video. The clip on the samples page is sharp and the colors are rich; again realizing what's taking the video. I did find that indoors where lighting is effected, the video was definitely more "grainy". The optical zoom can not be used while recording video, however you can either preset the focal length or use the digital zoom; the latter of which we recommend using sparingly.

Power for the I-10 comes from a rechargeable lithium-Ion battery. The corded charger will plug into any standard outlet and a second battery pack can be charging while you're shooting with another. Pentax claims that you can capture up to 250 photos or 100 minutes of video on a single charge (using CIPA Standard testing). Currently I have taken 144 pictures and several short videos as well as turning the camera on and off a lot during the review process with power to spare. 

Bottom Line - The Pentax I-10 is a nice ultra-compact camera that takes good quality images and video for a model in this category. The retro looks adds style to the mix as well. With a street price of $250 US, the Optio I-10 offers a competitive value, however we highly recommend you look at some of the other models in the $150 - $250 price range, such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1, Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W330 or the Canon PowerShot SD980 IS to name a few.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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