As mentioned earlier, the Pentax Optio W10 is a digital compact camera that aims at the consumer looking for a camera that prioritizes user convenience and a simple, effortless operation. In addition, the fact that the Pentax W10 features a water-proof housing, which means it can be used in and around water, proves to be a definite advantage. Even though the Pentax Optio W10 has been labelled as an entry-level model, the camera has enough on board to meet the needs of the average consumer, whilst also offering creative options. Even though aperture and shutter speed are controlled and checked by the intelligent in-camera software entirely automatically, the pre-programmed scene modes will provide enough freedom to get more from the camera than just the average daily snapshot.
Pentax W10 - Recording modes & Pre-programmed scenes
A handy asset is the option to save certain settings in the camera's menu, so that you no longer require adjusting the settings each time the camera is switched on or off. The Pentax Optio W10 provides the user with an impressive collection of 25 pre-programmed scenes. A large part of these scenes will be used occasionally; the scenes apply to very specific recording situations. The P (programme) mode is the first recording function and stands for the Automatic mode. The Pentax Optio W10 does not feature the A/S/M modes, which are commonly seen in advanced cameras. The pictograms that are displayed on the monitor leave very little to be desired as far as clarity is concerned. Settings such as Night Recording, Video, Flowers, Portrait, Underwater, Sports and Children are only a few of the available options. Although the differences may seem small, they are very distinctive for the type of recording. At least it is fair to say that the Pentax Optio W10 offers a practical solution for the vast variety of recording situations.
Pentax W10 camera - Continuously shooting
Just like its predecessor, the Pentax W10 is not exactly the fastest of the bunch, which rules it out as a partner for the action photographer. Although the camera is able to shoot continuously, its options remain rather limited. The Pentax Optio W10 features two modes for continuous shooting: continuous shooting and fast continuous shooting. The first setting saves the image to the memory instantly, which means you will need to wait until the next image can be shot. Considering a resolution of 6 Megapixels, this isn't all that fast to work with, which means the value of continuous shooting pretty much dwindles to nothing. The second setting, however, sounds promising, and uses the camera's internal buffer. However, to achieve a higher speed, the resolution is limited to 3 Megapixels. When working with this setting, the image speed will become 3 frames per second, and offers the option to capture action shots that will suffice for a 10x15cm print.
Pentax Optio W10 - ISO settings
When looking at the ISO values; the Pentax Optio W10 is able to set the ISO value from ISO 64 - 800 ISO, we see a very decent amount of noise up to and including 200 ISO, although 400 ISO already seems to have a little more. The 64 - 200 ISO images, as well as the 400 ISO images, are thus certainly suitable for a 10x15cm print. The 800 ISO value, however, shows a significant decrease in quality, and really isn't up to par with today's standards for high ISO values. It has to be said that only very few digital cameras are able to produce good quality shots of high ISO values; in fact, the majority really does have its work cut out to overcome this hurdle. With their Pentax W10, Pentax show they are not an exception to the rule when it comes to high ISO values that show too much noise, but we do believe things can be improved.
Pentax Optio W10 - Image editing
Although the Pentax Optio W10 is a fully automatic camera, it does offer in-camera image editing. The intelligent software that has been integrated into the camera enables users to edit the stored images after having captured them. You can, for instance, adjust the image quality and the recording size, crop an image, apply no less than nine digital colour filters to the image or add image frames. This type of intelligent software is becoming an increasingly common feature in digital compact cameras, and even a digital SLR camera like the Nikon D80 is equipped with this kind of in-camera image editing. That fact that the camera enables you to "rescue" deleted images and retrieve them from the recycle bin comes in very handy. After all, deleting the images from the card can happen to the best of us. In these situations, this form of "data rescue" is a very welcome solution indeed!
Pentax W10 - Live Histogram function
As far as I'm concerned, the histogram function is one of the more redundant functions on the Pentax Optio W10. The 2.5-inch display shows a variety of information. In addition to the standard information, the user has the option to display a live histogram. This function enables you to check, both before and after capturing your image, whether or not the brightness and the contrast are accurate. Personally, I have my doubts whether this type of function should be on a camera like the Pentax W10. After all, the camera's main target group will likely be reluctant to spend too much thought on a variety of photographic settings and basic rules; they prefer a simple, effortless click of a button, either in or above the water. The option, however, is there, and who knows; for certain users it may prove to be the first step to a more advanced model, such as a Pentax K10D or a 100D.
Pentax W10 digital camera - Compression factor
A remarkable asset is the option to assess the quality (compression factor) of the image you are about to capture in three steps. Many compact cameras offer merely one quality setting or perhaps two at most. A compression factor that is too heavy quickly starts to show your subject with jagged edges (artefacts). Although the file size remains small, you should not be led to wanting to save on storage capacity, especially considering the current prices of memory cards.