By Josh Fate
Timing Test Results
|The Pentax Optio RZ10 is an affordable and compact 14-Megapixel digicam. It is versatile and easy to use thanks to its 10x optical zoom and Smart Auto shooting mode. It's a decent option for an introductory digital camera.|
Pick This Up If...
|You want a versatile and easy to use compact digicam without paying for a lot of extra options. |
This compact plastic body means that the camera is very light but still very durable. A small rubberized grip on the right side makes it easy to hang on to. Its controls on the back are small but well placed and spread apart for easy operation. With Pentax's "green" mode, this is one of the easiest cameras available to operate. Framing and viewing your images is accomplished on its 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot LCD screen. With 6 levels of brightness adjustment, it is easy to see in any lighting situation, including bright and direct sunlight.
Our outdoor image samples show the camera's ability to properly expose and produce a very good image with good lighting. We also saw that it struggled with the snow and overcast skies, producing a very dull image. When looking at the images at 100%, they are a little pixelated and soft, even at the lowest ISO settings, but for most smaller print sizes you will get an excellent image. Assisting with your compositions is the 10x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 28-280mm, giving you an excellent wide end for landscapes and enough telephoto zoom to get up-close to a distant object.
The indoor samples show a crisp, clear image with hints of noise in some of the blue colors at ISO 80. From there the noise slowly increases as the ISO is raised, allowing you to make decent prints up to ISO 400. ISO 800 looses a lot of detail and any setting over that should not be used unless absolutely necessary. Assisting with your indoor images is a small built-in flash with a range of up to 17-feet at ISO auto. We can see from our sample that the ISO climbs quickly, reaching 800 with the camera just 5-feet from our subject. This means that your flash images will be very grainy unless you stay as close as possible to your subjects.
The RZ10 did well capturing portrait shots, finding and following faces without too much difficulty. We did see excellent exposures and colors based on the detected faces within the scene with no instances of redness in the eyes. The high ISO settings from a short distance was the only issue we found, producing a noisy and soft image. The camera also features smile detection that will automatically capture an image when a detected face smiles, whether you press the shutter release or not.
Capturing video with the RZ10 was a little on the disappointing side. While the camera has a 10x optical zoom, you cannot use it while recording. The videos quality is not sharp, shows a little noise and doesn't seem to run smoothly, even though it is recorded at 30fps. Its audio is average for a digicam, with one small internal mic that picks up all of the sounds near the camera. This provides a lot of background noise that you may not notice at the time of recording, so be careful where you place the camera while shooting video.
Powering the RZ10 is a 3.7V, 925mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. During the course of our tests, we were able to capture 160 images and several short videos while still showing two of three battery bars on the screen. This holds up well to the 260 images that Pentax claims the camera can capture on a single charge. Pentax has also included a small quick charger that can be taken and used anywhere, allowing you to charge your main and a spare battery quickly, so you always have enough power.
Bottom Line - The Pentax Optio RZ10 is an affordable 14-Megapixel camera featuring a 10x optical zoom, 720p HD video recording and dual image stabilization. Its colorful and compact body is easy and fun to use for anyone of any age. Its overall image quality and performance are decent at best for a camera in this price range. With a MSRP of US $219.95, it is a decent option for someone's first camera or one that will just be used on occasion. You may also want to look at the Canon Powershot SX120 IS with similar features, price and better image quality.
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