Pentax Optio I-10 review: Pentax Optio I-10

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Pentax Optio I-10

(Part #: 16456)
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

1 stars 1 user review

The Good Impressive styling and finish; useful expanded-dynamic-range options; handy 5x wide-angle zoom range.

The Bad Crude-looking interface; poor lens quality; can't use the zoom or autofocus when shooting 720p movies.

The Bottom Line The Pentax Optio I-10 is so well made that it makes you expect a much higher level of performance than you actually get. Instead, it ends up feeling like a budget camera in a high-class body. There are plenty of filters and gadgets to play around with, but, without a good basic level of image quality, they all fall flat

6.5 Overall

There's no such thing as a baby digital SLR, but, if there were, it would look like the Pentax Optio I-10. The I-10 is actually modelled on Pentax's old Auto 110 film-format SLR, a weird idea which combined the cheap naffness of 110 snapshot film with a rather expensive interchangeable lens design. At around £130, is the 12.1-megapixel I-10 just an expensive novelty or a real camera?

Vintage appeal
The original 110 SLR used a miniature film format that was never going to produce decent-quality images, but the I-10 is different. It uses the same size sensor as many other compact cameras, so, in theory, the playing field should be level.

The I-10 can produce pleasing, vibrant images, but, even though it goes right up to ISO 6,400, its images soften up as early as ISO 400. There's a pretty serious loss of sharpness towards the bottom of this shot, too (click image to enlarge)

The I-10 is also very well made. It comes in a black or white lacquered metal finish with matching leatherette on the front panels. You can even get 'vintage' leather cases in both colours. In fact, the I-10 looks much more expensive than it actually is, so where's the money been saved?

Inside, perhaps? Well, the I-10's 12.1-megapixel sensor is pretty ordinary, but you do get a 5x wide-angle zoom, sensor-shift shake reduction and a 720p movie mode. There are some neat digital filters, a panoramic mode and a 'digital wide' function that stitches together two shots to produce a single wide-angle image -- and it does work, although you have to line up the shots carefully. The focusing options are pretty serious too, with autofocus, macro, super-macro, pan focus, infinity and manual focus among them, plus a face-detection mode that works with cats and dogs.

The I-10 is also available in white

Pentax has also lifted the dynamic-range-expansion technology from its digital SLRs. It allows the camera to record extra shadow or highlight detail, and it seems to work by adjusting the ISO values locally within the image.

The I-10 looks like much more than just a novelty item, that's for sure. It's too well made for that, and there are some pretty serious photographic tools on offer too. But a cute appearance and smart features aren't enough. It still has to take decent pictures.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Canon PowerShot SX600 HS

    3.5 stars

    With its 18x zoom lens, simple straightforward automatic shooting, and built-in Wi-Fi,...

  • Nikon D3300

    3.5 stars

    The company's latest entry-level model delivers the speed and photo quality you expect...

  • 4 stars

    The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is a powerful pocket camera with 20x zoom and GPS built in...

  • Samsung NX1

    4 stars

    Fast, sturdy, well-designed and with excellent photo quality, the Samsung NX1 hits all...


Discuss Pentax Optio I-10

Conversation powered by Livefyre