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

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MSRP: $249.95

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

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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.

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