It should be clear that the Pentax Optio T10 digital compact camera is not a camera that aims at the professional photographer, or the hobby photographer that wishes to unleash his creativity through a wide variety of manual settings. The Pentax T10 keeps things simple, and puts the emphasis on user-friendliness and convenience. Standard, the camera is set to the P (Programme) mode. In addition, the user is provided with eleven other scenes, which include the video mode. Furthermore, the user has the option to adjust the white balance, in case the automatic white balance fails to neutralise the colour cast. To complete the picture, the sensitivity can be set up to a maximum of 400 ISO, and the exposure can be compensated.
Pentax Optio T10 - LCD screen
The Pentax Optio T10 also offers several additional options to edit the image and determine the sharpness or contrast in advance. The large 3 inch screen is perfectly suitable to assess and edit the images, as well as to share them with your friends or family. It should be said the optical viewfinder isn't at all missed. However, it does prove a bit trickier to work with the LCD monitor in full sunlight. Both the sharpness and the colour rendition of the monitor are excellent. The 230.000 pixels are used to their fullest effect, and clearly add a surplus value to the camera. It is also possible to switch off the monitor after a certain period of time whilst keeping the camera activated, in order to save power.
Pentax Optio T10 - Touch-screen
The operation of the touch-screen is both simple and easy to familiarise yourself with. Beside the single tap on the screen, the user can also give two short sequential taps; the so-called double-click. This instantly selects and confirms a function, as opposed to the regular method of selecting and confirming afterwards. You also have the option to "drag" your finger across the screen, which serves to edit an image by -for instance- making a crop. We should point out, however, that the screen requires a resolute approach; those who use soft taps on the touch-screen will soon notice it responds much better when using clear taps.
Pentax T10 - Wide-angle & Tele mode
Standard, the Pentax Optio T10 is able to focus from 40cm, both in the wide-angle and tele mode. All in all, a very decent minimum distance for most subjects, but there are times when one would like just that little extra leeway, to for instance 30cm. A portrait doesn’t require such a close proximity; however, this only creates an unwanted distortion, particularly in a wide-angle image. If you want that little extra flexibility, you will have to switch to the Macro AF via the menu. This mode enables you to capture an image from 15 cm in the wide-angle mode, up to 50cm in the tele mode. The macro mode does quite easily show a form of distortion, something prospective users should keep in mind. The Pentax Optio T10 virtually does not suffer from visible chromatic aberration.
Pentax T10 - ISO settings
The Pentax T10 offers the user the resolution that is regarded as the standard these days: 6 Megapixels. One would perhaps also expect the Pentax Optio T10 to be equipped with an extensive range of ISO settings or, for instance, an image stabiliser. However, both of these features are either limited or plain absent on the Pentax Optio T10 camera.
If there is a risk of blur caused by movement of the photographer's hand, this is signalled by a symbol on the display, so that the user may opt to increase the ISO value. You are able to set a maximum increase to 400 ISO, which - in all honesty - is somewhat limited to prevent jitter. The competition often offers 800 ISO and higher, and although it should be said that the quality of these ISO values often proves below par, it does provide a handy option in certain cases. Moreover, when considering user-friendliness, I really would expect an image stabiliser, even if just the digital version.
Pentax Optio T10 - ISO values
When looking at the ISO values, we notice a good signal/noise ratio with the low ISO values of 80 - 320 ISO. The 400 ISO value does show a slight degree of visible noise, but certainly not more than is average. The noise reduction, however, seems clearly present and certainly does leave its traces; it is with the 400 ISO images in particular that the details in the image aren't as clear, and the so-called "watercolour" effect becomes more noticeable. On one hand, something can be said for the fact that the Pentax Optio T10 steers clear of qualitatively inferior high ISO values, but on the other hand, Pentax seem unable to meet the expectations in this area. A remarkable feature is the image compression offered by the Pentax Optio T10. These days, we see more and more compact cameras limit themselves to only one compression or perhaps two at most. The Pentax T10, however, offers 3 compression types, which means Pentax certainly have an advantage over the competition, as a compression that is too strong often has a negative effect on the quality of the image.
Pentax Optio T10 - Multi-segment metering
The image quality leaves very little room for criticism; the Pentax Optio T10 keeps to its word. The colour rendition is true to nature, and the exposure produces excellent overall results. The automatic white balance performs very well indeed in most circumstances. Although the camera does tend to filter the colour cast with a slightly warm tone, this does not affect the quality. When working with a surplus of fluorescent light, you will have to jump in and set the white balance to a more specific light source. The multi-segment metering is able to expose 90% of all images correctly. In addition to this, the user has the option to work with centre-weighted metering or spot metering. The average user, however, is likely to stick to the standard multi-segment metering.