The Pentax Optio W10 is a typical example of a digital camera that aims at the consumer looking for a model that prioritizes ease and user-convenience. In addition to this, the camera offers plenty of options for the photographer that spends a lot of time in and around the water, or wants to shoot more actively during a holiday. All in all, this means we can qualify the camera as a simple compact camera for the novice, which is by no means intended to downgrade or disqualify the Pentax Optio W10. It should be said, however, that the Pentax W10 is not exactly a camera for the hobbyist or serious photographer; its setting options simply do not offer enough freedom to experiment. The Pentax Optio W10 is a fully automatic camera, and features a variety of handy additional pre-programmed scenes, so that certain specific photo moments can be captured in the best possible way. Therefore, the operation of this type of camera should be smooth and effortless; preferably without having to consult a user manual first. Such is also the case with the Pentax Optio W10; upon your first encounter with the camera you will instantly notice a user manual is not at all necessary; the camera truly features an entry-level operation.
Pentax Optio W10 - Operation & Buttons
Just as we saw with the previous W-series digital cameras, the buttons on the Pentax Optio W10 need a slightly more forceful push than you are perhaps used to, whereupon you will feel the resistance and hear a clearly audible click. Not only does the water-proof seal of the housing provide extra protection against water for the buttons, it also repels dust and other sorts of dirt and grime. The camera's operation, the size of the buttons and their position all prove pleasant to work with. The buttons are easily operated and the camera reacts rapidly. The zoom button has a logical position and also reacts instantly. The shutter release button is enjoyably large and features a pleasant pressure point. Thanks to the large size of the shutter release button, you will not have to search for it with your index finger; it finds the right spot almost immediately. Although we used to encounter cameras that suffered from a so-called shutter release lag, we have to say that certainly isn't the case with the Pentax Optio W10. It reacts remarkably fast, and it is unlikely you will find yourself let down by the camera when capturing "quick" shots.
Pentax W10 - Photography in the water
The Pentax Optio W10 is a camera that enables trouble-free, effortless photography both in and around the water. However, it isn't a camera intended for the action photographer or serious hobbyist that wants to get down to business and experiment with a vast array of photographic tricks. Consequently, you should not expect the Pentax W10 to feature a remarkable speed when working with functions such as continuous shooting. Standard, the camera allows you to shoot continuously until the memory card is full, with a speed of approximately 1fps. The high speed mode reaches a speed of 3fps. However, the resolution will be instantly reduced from six to three Megapixels. It has to be said though, that 3 Megapixels will still suffice for a high quality 10x15cm print. Writing the files onto the flash memory card is done with an average speed, and the practice tests prove there is hardly a difference between working with an ultra-fast card or a standard SD card.
Pentax Optio W10 - Multicontroller
When switching on the Pentax Optio W10 digital camera, the first thing to be activated is the automatic mode; a programme that is suitable for most situations. Just as with the previous models, the multi-controller -located right of the LCD monitor- allows you to select a different recording mode. This selection proves fast and clear to work with, and the use of the quick buttons can certainly be called a success. The separate button is the conspicuous green button. This button enables you to link it to a number of settings, which will then become instantly accessible. Examples are resolution, quality, white balance, etc. In practice, you are likely to come across certain things you wish to alter or adjust more often than the remaining setting options. The settings of your choice can then be linked to the quick button; a setting option that has a positive influence on the speed and ease of the camera's operation. The option to assign your personal favourite settings to such a button forms a simply luxurious asset for an entry-level model like the Pentax W10.
Pentax Optio W10 - LCD monitor
The back side of the Pentax W10 features the large monitor, a 2.5-inch. This type of large format proves excellent to work with, and easily replaces the optical viewfinder. With the Pentax Optio W10, we see Pentax take their W-series to the next level: the large format. After all, its predecessor still sported a 2-inch monitor. We are pleased to see that Pentax have succeeded in maintaining the camera's compact size whilst equipping it with a 2.5-inch format monitor. The information is displayed clearly, and the images can now be assessed just that little bit better than before. The large size monitor proves to come in particularly handy underwater. The absence of an optical viewfinder really isn't a problem; in fact, we have to admit it isn't even missed. Ok, perhaps there is one exception: when looking at the display in very bright sunlight; in which case an optical viewfinder would be the best solution.