Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Review

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Compact Digital Camera

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Compact Digital Camera 20.2 Mega Pixel RX Series 8.3x Optical Zoom Cyber-shot

To numerous photographers — novices and experts alike — digital SLRs signify quality. The fact that you can detach the lens and exchange it for an alternative is irrelevant to those who will never purchase a second optic, and it’s that particular section of the marketplace that Sony’s concentrating on with its Cyber-shot RX10. Everything about the Cyber-shot RX10 is DSLR-like — its form factor, integrated EVF, focusing performance and picture quality are all on par with numerous higher end SLRs — but its awesome 24-200mm lens is permanently affixed. By opting with this relatively rigid design, Sony’s able to produce a constant f/2.8 aperture and extremely high-quality optics in a comfortable package, at a price tag considerably under what a comparable detachable lens would command, were it to really exist to start with. The end result, quite simply, is incredible, however as the price is at the upper end of even deep-pocketed consumers’ budgets, you will want to catch our complete review prior to making any purchase.

Visually, the Cyber-shot RX10 is much like a digital SLR in virtually every way. You will find a noticable grip, a top-mounted monochrome LCD, a pop-up flash, a hot shoe (in this instance, Sony’s Multi Interface Shoe), dedicated mode and exposure-compensation dials, an XGA OLED viewfinder, a 3-inch 1.23M-dot Liquid Crystal Display that tilts upwards 84 degrees and downward 43 degrees and a reasonably large SLR-like lens up front. From the inside, however, the Cyber-shot RX10 is very similar to its compact counterparts, the RX1 and RX100 Mark II. As a matter of fact, the 10 features exactly the same 20.2-megapixel 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor as that latter model, which, although nonetheless quite large, is smaller than the APS-C and 35mm sensors in traditional DSLRs. What’s more, it contains Sony’s potent new BIONZ X processor, which is also located in the Alpha 7 and 7R, along side Sony’s freshly launched A5000.

But back again to that lens. The 24-200mm Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* optic is unquestionably the celebrity of the show, thanks in no small part to its constant f/2.8 aperture. What makes that significant, you may well ask? The majority of zoom lenses, particularly those permanently connected to a camera, incorporate variable aperture lenses. Although some may perhaps allow you to capture at f/2.8 from the widest focal length (24mm in this instance), you simply will not discover many point-and-shoots boasting of that equivalent aperture at the tele end at the same time. Commonly, a lower-end lens allows apertures no greater than f/5.6 or even f/6.3 at 200mm, and having f/2.8 available instead, you can actually take significantly crisper photos in lower light, or images with velvety bokeh (shallow depth of field) during the daytime. You have still got f/5.6 (right up to f/16) for your use, needless to say, immediately available utilizing the dedicated ring dial round the base of the lens, in case you are after different imaging effects, alternatively.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Top View

You can still find a great deal more hardware components to discover, too. Sony’s placed loads of emphasis on connectivity with the Cyber-shot RX10. On the sound front, you can find headphone and microphone jacks, stereo microphones up top as well as being compatible with Sony’s advanced audio accessories utilizing the accessory port which is also a hot shoe — for mounting wireless receivers as well as shotgun mics. You will find an HDMI interface with clean, uncompressed output, a micro-USB interface for data transfers and charging the camera’s 1,080mAh battery (exactly the same unit included in NEX cameras as well as select current Alphas), a dual Memory Stick/SDXC flash card slot and a tripod socket at the base. The camera is rather comfortable to hold on to, and even though it is weightier than you would anticipate, it will not weigh you down whilst it dangles from the neck strap.

Sony hasn’t modified its UI a great deal since the NEX series’ creation in 2010, but just like the other RX products as well as current Alphas, the Cyber-shot RX10 incorporates a tab-based user interface that many of us significantly prefer. Settings are really simple to find along with every thing displayed in a linear format, it’s simple to hop from category to category to generate each of the modifications you require without first going back to your home screen. Capturing choices like file size, ISO and SteadyShot are displayed in the first tab; customizable key modifications and display alternatives are within the next tab, accompanied by wireless-connectivity features, then playback; and then finally general settings like sound levels and display monitor brightness can be found in the 5th tab.

Additionally, there are a great deal of dedicated controls around the camera, and so you will not absolutely need to spend much time in the main menu whatsoever. A function button off to the right of the LCD launches a quick-adjust setting, with direct access to drive mode, flash options, ISO, white balance, metering, et cetera. A display button cycles through a variety of display modes, such as a full-screen real time feed, an advanced settings panel with histogram and physical alignment indicators and an image preview screen with a thorough settings readout placed at the border. Also there is a specific video capture button, an alternative settings dial and a control ring on the back. Up top, you will find there’s backlight switch for lighting the grayscale LCD, a flash release button, a user-configurable button, an exposure-compensation dial and a zoom toggle switch around the shutter release. Additionally there is a focus-mode selector switch along the front side of the camera, right below the lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Back

Incorporating WiFi, it’s also possible to control the camera utilizing a smartphone or even tablet running Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app. After establishing a connection to the camera’s wi-fi hotspot, you’re able to only shoot in auto mode with the app — as soon as you connect, auto will override all of the existing camera settings. Photos are sent to the connected device right after capture. Although this is an excellent solution for group self-portraits as well as other tripod photos, as a result of the diminished control options, we would advocate capturing directly on the camera and then transferring pictures to the app from either the camera’s playback mode or perhaps the live gallery viewer within the application. Wi-fi connectivity helps make sharing pictures on the internet a piece of cake, nevertheless — your Instagram account will certainly benefit enormously from the Cyber-shot RX10‘s huge sensor and mighty lens.

At release, Sony’s RX100 arrived with an ambitious price tag, which was a significant sum for a point-&-shoot, especially one which did not appear a great deal different from a model one half its price to the inexperienced eye. Then again extraordinary performance — for any digital camera, actually; not only a pocket-size compact — established this the essential everyday camera of 2012. You can actually make the identical argument here. The Cyber-shot RX10 delivers that level of performance to a considerably larger, although a lot more versatile form factor. Shutter lag is just about nonexistent and also camera’s speed overall is practically flawless. Even wi-fi transfers are far more seamless than we have experienced with a lot of other digital cameras, including previous models from Sony.

The camera can power on and capture its first shot in just over 1.5 seconds. When shifting the frame between a subject 2 meters in the distance and another centimeters from the lens, the Cyber-shot RX10 managed to expose and refocus in approximately 0.25 second. Meanwhile, in the speed-priority continuous setting, we managed to capture 20 successive JPEGs at 9 fps, as opposed to the “approximately ten frames per second” which Sony estimates within the standards. When it comes to transporting pictures wirelessly, it took us 17 seconds from choosing a picture on the camera to receiving a 2-megapixel image on this smart phone, which includes the amount of time needed for this smart phone to connect with the Cyber-shot RX10‘s Wi-fi. Transfers ended up being a great deal faster when choosing pictures on this smart phone instead, because the couple were already paired. A 2-megapixel picture took roughly one second to transfer, whilst a full-resolution photo took only five seconds.

Battery life, as you would probably expect from a camera this large, is superb. The Cyber-shot RX10 utilizes the identical battery as each and every previous NEX digital camera along with the latest Alpha mirrorless cams, and that means you may perhaps already have spare NP-FW50 1,080mAh packs laying about. If you are planning to be away from an electric socket for several days, it would not hurt to take a spare. Nonetheless, we succeeded in making it through every complete day’s shooting with a great deal of juice to spare. We devoted 2 days photographing without recharging the battery pack. The capacity meter reflected a 31 % charge remaining following taking over 700 pictures as well as 5 mins of 720p video, together with a number of Wi-fi transfers as well as some on-camera picture reviews.

As if you didn’t already have enough to anticipate having with the Cyber-shot RX10… Picture quality, no real shock, is incredible. Truly, with this selling price, we would not put up with anything less. No matter whether you want to shoot in bright sunlight or a evening street scene illuminated by a solitary dim light, photos are crisp and free from noise, even at ISO 6400. Video looks phenomenal likewise, even if caught at night.

The Cyber-shot RX10‘s quick power-on and focus times make it quite easy to acquire the photo. In an exposure which includes a fast paced subject, and following a rapid adjustment on the setting dial, pictures can be clicked straight away. The exposure and color balance are precise, plus details are really sharp, regardless of whether the subject is going along very fast.

The tilt-up screen and 24-200mm lens present you with a massive amount of versatility. For street photographers, this really is a necessity.

The Cyber-shot RX10‘s aperture ring, mounted around the lens, allows you to access specific f-stops directly.

The Cyber-shot RX10 is a master of focus and exposure when you take close-up photos. Elements across the foreground are exceedingly razor-sharp, even with comparatively high ISO, while the background is properly blurred, as you would anticipate by having an f/2.8 aperture.

Video quality is every bit as remarkable. The Cyber-shot RX10 has the ability to record at resolutions as high as 1080/60p with AVCHD encoding. Exposures were spot-on universally, and also videos recorded at high sensitivities (ISO 12,800) appeared much better than predicted.

As it is with Sony’s QX10 and QX100 lens cameras, the full-frame Alpha 7 and 7R and even the RX100 Mark II and RX1, the Cyber-shot RX10 lacks competition from other brands, especially if you are looking for virtually identical specifications and performance. Which is not to state you do not possess other choices, nevertheless, if an integrated, fixed-aperture, telephoto zoom lens combined with a 1-inch sensor are the thing that you’re after, there exists ultimately not anywhere else to look. You’re able to, obviously, go for a conventional digital SLR, and of course, if you already possess an assortment of lenses (or you are intending to develop one), an interchangeable-lens camera is definitely your best option.

Canon’s 70D along with the D5300 from Nikon each offer serious still picture and video chops, and they also incorporate built in Wi-fi, as well. You will need to bring your own lens into the mix, including the body-only for the Canon along with the Nikon, in addition to the price of lenses, you are going to considerably surpass the Cyber-shot RX10‘s selling price once you have included the required optics. When it comes to superzooms, Panasonic’s Lumix FZ200 also contains a lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture, which includes a massive 25-600mm focal length, even so the 1/2.3-inch 12.1-megapixel sensor is considerably less proficient compared to what you will get using the Sony. The FZ200 is equipped with affordability on its side, though.

Ultimately, we really love the Sony Cyber-shot RX10. In reality, we battled to fill the negatives segment with anything apart from a high price tag. However your money goes an incredibly long way here, and if you need to record razor-sharp pictures and full-HD movies in just about any lighting condition, with a substantial focal range, you will be challenged to identify a more suitable shooter. This is actually the very best fixed-lens digital camera we have ever used, and we would not be astounded if the RX10 Mark II, when ever it shows up, would be the sole equivalent model worthwhile considering.

Pros

Wonderful Constant f/2.8-aperture 24-200mm lens

Phenomenal image and video quality in all lighting conditions

Excellent performance and battery life

Dedicated exposure-compensation dial

WiFi with NFC

Cons

Expensive

Conclusion

Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 may perhaps be expensive, but this camera’s a must-buy if you’ve got the money to invest.

Canon EOS 100D Review

Providing the exact same picture quality as other entry-level Canon SLRs but with a considerably more compact body, the 100D is a satisfying first step into the world of SLR camera photography.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Angle

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM kit

Tempted by the prospect of an interchangeable lens camera (ILC)? Canon would like to get you back once again to the world of SLRs with the 100D.

Layout and features

Developed for photographers that always desired the flexibility of an SLR camera, but have become discouraged by the dimensions and weight, the 100D has a weight of only 407 grams. Even though it looks a lot like every other Canon SLR camera from the exterior, everything is more compact — 12 % trimmer compared to the 650D.

Not a great deal has become compromised on the specifications sheet, nevertheless. The camera offers exactly the same 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as the 650D along with the 700D, which was revealed simultaneously with the 100D. It features a Digic 5 image processor chip as well as nine AF points, although just one cross-type at the centre.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

Dependant upon the lens you couple the camera with, the 100D rests beautifully in the palm of your hand. The grip is compact, and bigger hands may find that they overwhelm the slim body. Rotate the camera around, and the 3-inch touchscreen display occupies the vast majority of rear panel. This also ensures that other control keys as well as dials are kept to an absolute minimum. A four-way directional pad exists, but lacks any marks to demonstrate exactly what each and every direction is utilized for. Playback, exposure compensation and an aperture button are the other principal controls.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

Even though the downscaling of control keys may appear as if the 100D is merely for novice photographers, the mode dial on the top does indeed accommodate each of the same controls available on every other SLR camera in the form of full program, aperture, shutter and manual exposure modes. Newcomers additionally gain access to complete automatic, portrait, landscape, macro, sports and no flash and creative automatic modes.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

As with any other SLR camera, it is able to capture JPEG as well as RAW pictures, whilst support for quicker UHS-I SD cards ensures that the buffer receives a boost to a maximum of 1140 JPEG photos when you use continuous mode. At four fps, continuous shooting isn’t a slouch, either. On the rear of the camera sits the identical 3-inch capacitive touchscreen display which was on the 650D.

Canon EOS 100D Sample Photo

Canon EOS 100D Sample Photo

The hybrid CMOS AF system is perfect for photographers who shoot mainly in Live View, or who take a large amount of video. Additionally present in the 650D, the phase-detection system swiftly grabs a focusing point, and then the camera switches in to the more conventional contrast detection to attain accurate focus. In the 100D, the hybrid system now covers 80 per cent of the sensor size, which is designed to give much better results than previous cameras.

Connectivity can be found in the form of a 3.5mm microphone port, remote port, USB as well as HDMI out — each revealed beneath the single flap at the side of the camera. As with any other Canon SLRs, image stabilisation is supplied through the lens.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

The 100D now receives the capability to preview creative filter effects in Live View mode on the display screen, before you take the photo.

The 100D didn’t slow down significantly when producing a burst of JPEG photos, progressing to about 30 frames before any indication of processing time or buffering came into play.

The focusing system is agile, on level with previous digital slr cameras found in this class from Canon. There are actually, nevertheless, very small focusing points within the viewfinder, which might be challenging to pinpoint upon your desired subject. Undoubtedly that Canon is counting on many users to compose and take photos utilizing Live View along with the touchscreen display, which supports features like touch to focus for more precise handling. When you use Live View, focusing remains equally slow as on all of the other entry level Canon SLRs, therefore try not to expect any remarkable improvements there.

Just what is absent on the 100D is an inbuilt Wi-Fi option. With an increasing number of ILCs and SLRs having this particular functionality, it’s a pity that there is not a way to instantly transfer pictures or movies to a mobile device, particularly as this is a characteristic touted on various other Canon digital cameras, such as the PowerShot N and higher-end 6D.

Canon rates the battery pack at 350 photos utilising the optical viewfinder or 150 photos with Live View, which is considerably less than the other SLRs found in this range, including the 1100D, that can handle 750 shots making use of the viewfinder before a recharge is required.

Image quality

Employing the same sensor as the 700D and 650D, it isn’t surprising that the 100D generates pictures that are extremely consistent to these somewhat larger cameras. On default settings, the camera produces punchy JPEGs with good colour rendition and noise control at low ISO levels.

Reaching up to higher ISO sensitivities, the 100D does a respectable job of keeping noise at bay. ISO 1600 is the highest sensitivity, where noise is very well managed even at maximum resolution — anything greater, and colour shifting begins to happen.

The 100D preserves an identical level of detail in its RAW files, just like the previous cameras mentioned. Detail is recovered best from shadow areas, whilst highlight detail is mainly recoverable except within the most extreme instances of overexposure. Utilizing automatic exposure modes, the 100D does demonstrate a slight level of overexposure when making use of evaluative metering mode.

Video quality is once more in line with what we have observed previously on the Canon series of SLRs. Colours are yet again punchy with strong, defined contrasts between shade and highlight areas using default picture styles. When used along with the kit 18-55mm STM lens, autofocus in video recording is actually noiseless and smooth.

As opposed to cameras like the 700D, for example, the 100D has only room for an integrated mono microphone. This means owners looking for the very best audio quality would want to incorporate an external microphone for stereo sound.

Conclusion

The Canon EOS 100D offers a gratifying experience for newer photographers or those who find themselves looking to purchase a rather compact entry in to the world of SLRs. Nevertheless, it may not be sufficiently small to attract prospective buyers away from a similarly priced mirrorless ILC with additional features.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Review

July 31st, 2010 110 Comments   Posted in Digital Compact Cameras

The LX5 has a 3.0-inch LCD screen, Face Recognition / Detection, 720 high definition video capture and and the new Venus Engine FHD image processor. The LUMIX DMC-LX5 comes in either black or white and it’s slightly larger than the LX3 in width and depth.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 features include:
  • 10.1 megapixel, 1/1.63-inch CCD image sensor
  • F2.0 Leica DC-Vario-Summicron 3.8x optical zoom wide-angle with 24-90mm (equivalent) focal range
  • ISO 80-1600 (up to 12800 high sensitivity at lower resolution)
  • 3.0-inch TFT LCD with 460K pixels  (backlight LED)
  • 720p HD video capture (AVCHD lite)
  • Face Recognition and Detection technologies
  • Venus Engine FHD image processor
  • POWER Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.)
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
  • A/V, USB 2.0, HDMI outputs
  • Stereo Microphone with Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator
  • Powered by a Li-ion battery pack (rated up to 400 shots per charge)
  • Accessories include External Optical View Finder, Wide Conversion Lens, Live View Finder, ND Filter, MC Protector, External Flashes and Leather Case

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

Olympus Pen E-PL1 Review

May 8th, 2010 129 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

The brand new E-PL1 is the third Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus, following on from the E-P1 and E-P2 models which were launched in 2009. The Olympus E-PL1 is a more affordable mass-market camera, with a plastic rather than metal chassis, smaller and lighter body, and a redesigned user interface that’s simpler to use. The easy-to-understand, non-technical Live Guide provides direct on-screen control over key image effects like depth-of-field and sharpness, while the addition of a built-in flash makes the E-PL1 more versatile in low-light. Other key features of the E-PL1 include 12.3 megapixels, 2.7 inch LCD screen, sensor-shift image stabilisation, one-touch HD video recording, Supersonic Wave Filter for automated sensor cleaning, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-3200, 6 different Art Filters and 3fps continuous shooting for up to 10 raw images. The Olympus E-PL1 is available now in silver, black, blue, champagne gold and red at a retail price of $549 body only, £549 / $599 for a single lens kit and £699 for a twin zoom kit.

Ease of Use

The Olympus E-PL1 is the sixth member of the growing Micro Four Thirds family, joining the E-P1 and E-P2 models and Panasonic’s G1, GH-1 and GF-1 line-up. All of these cameras take advantage of the mirror-less nature of the Micro Four Thirds standard to offer a smaller and lighter solution that more traditional DSLR cameras, targeting those users who want to trade up from a compact but who are scared away by the size and complexity of a DSLR. With it’s all-plastic body the E-PL1 is one of the lightest models in this category, weighing 300g, and it’s also a little smaller too, measuring 120.6 x 69.9 x 36.4 mm. Both the more expensive EP-1 and EP-2 cameras have metal bodies, so the E-PL1 has shed weight and lowered cost by using a plastic construction, although it still feels reassuringly well-made with very little flex in the overall design. The depth and weight increase when the supplied poly-carbonate mounted 14-42mm kit lens is fitted, making the E-PL1 instantly more DSLR-like, but fitting a pancake lens like Olympus’ 17mm or Panasonic’s 20mm creates a compact overall package that will particularly suit street photographers looking for an indiscrete camera.

The more modern styling of the E-PL1 is a lot more neutral than the overtly retro design of the E-P1 and E-P2 and will mostly appeal to the younger and more inexperienced audience that this model is aimed at. Our black review sample with silver metal accents looked quite stylish in an understated kind of way, although it lacks the more cohesive design of its predecessors. There’s a generous, textured black plastic hand-grip on the left-front of the camera which I prefer to the original E-P1, and a shiny black panel on the rear where most of the controls are located. The E-PL1 is better constructed than you’d expect given its relatively small size, light weight and budget price-tag, certainly on a par with most entry- and mid-level DSLRs.

Large metal neck strap eyelets are located on top of the camera at the sides, with the rear dominated by the fixed 2.7 inch LCD screen, another cost-cutting measure (the E-P1 and E-P2 both have a larger 3 inch screen). When it comes to storing your photographs the E-PL1 uses SD / SDHC cards, an important decision by Olympus as this format is much more popular than the xD-Picture cards that most Olympus compacts use. The BLS1 battery which provides up to 500 shots under the CIPA testing standard (note that this drop to 280 images if using Live View all the time) is housed next to the SD slot, both protected by a plastic lockable cover. Also found on the bottom of the camera is a metal tripod mount located almost in the centre of the camera body, although not in line with the lens.

As with the E-P1 and E-P2, there is no optical viewfinder as on a DSLR. Instead, you can choose to buy the excellent detachable VF-2 viewfinder which slots into the E-PL1′s hotshoe on top of the camera and is tilt-able to 90° so the camera can be used as you would a medium format model and with 100% field of view. The EVF has its own newly included port, situated just below the E-PL1′s hotshoe and protected with a slide-off piece of plastic that will quickly get lost in the recesses of your camera bag. This port also allows the attachment of an accessory microphone if so desired via the EMA-1 adapter. New for the E-PL1 is the much-requested built-in pop-up flash, activated by a switch on the rear. This uses a folding design to raise the flash as high as possible above the lens, much the one on the Panasonic GF-1.

Once you have captured a photo, the Olympus E-PL1 has a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 25 onscreen at the same time and in a Calendar view), zoom in and out up to 14x magnification, view slideshows, delete and protect an image, add a sound clip and set the print order.

The Edit option offers a number of different ways to alter the look of an already-captured photo, including merging 2 or 3 into one, shadow adjustment, redeye fix, cropping, changing the aspect ratio, converting to black and white or sepia, boosting the saturation, resizing and applying the e-Portrait filter. The Info button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, and there are small brightness and RGB histograms available.

In summary the Olympus E-PL1 is an easier-to-use and crucially cheaper PEN model that doesn’t compromise too much on features and build quality, although serious photographers will miss the key controls that have been removed to make the camera simpler.

Pentax Optio I-10 Review

March 6th, 2010 52 Comments   Posted in Digital Compact Cameras

Pentax Optio I-10

The Pentax Optio I-10 is the latest compact camera to come out from Pentax and stands out from the crowd not because of a higher than average megapixel count, or smile technology, but because it offers a retro design similar to Pentax’s Auto 110 film camera. But can the camera that takes its heritage from yesteryear perform today? We were able to take it for a quick spin for a First Look review.

As not to mislead, this First Look impression is based on a pre-production sample sent to us by Pentax. While the handling, form factor and general performance of the camera are finalised, the image processing elements are still being worked on we are told. On the two models (a white version and black version) sent to us, the video capture feature wasn’t working for example, and we noticed blips in the performance of the rear display.

Those caveats aside, that doesn’t stop us telling you about the design and the feel of the camera. It’s light in weight to hold (approx 140 grams with battery), while that retro feel certainly stands it apart from most of the compact cameras on the market today gunning for a compact, slim, feel.

The front of the I-10 boasts a large lens that offers a 5x F/3.5-5.9 optical zoom and further digital zoom qualities beyond that. In reality that gives you the equivalent of a 28-140mm in 35mm speak. The digital zoom (which we always recommend against using) offers a 6.25x zoom giving you a possible total 31.3x if you are willing to forgo image quality.

Above the lens is the flash (rather than to the side) and whether it’s down to the handgrip or the mottled pattern layered over the camera, Pentax has successfully carried off the look they were after. Old meets new has been finely balanced.

Around the back you get a 2.7-inch LCD screen sporting a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio that gives you plenty of scope for seeing what you are doing. There is no electronic or optical viewfinder; the raised flash housing might make you expect one, but whether you need it or not comes down to personal preference.

Unfortunately if you opt to shoot at the highest resolution (12 megapixels) you won’t be able to benefit from the screen’s 16:9 aspect, with “widescreen” shooting coming in at 9 megapixels. Shooting in 12 megapixels means a black box down the left hand side is automatically filled with data like battery life, what scene mode you are in, whether face detection or smile mode is on, and how many shots you’ve got left, leaving your camera shot free of clutter. In other shooting modes this information is overlaid, but we like the fact that Pentax didn’t choose to put black bars either side of the image, as is often the case, so it looks nice and tidy.

To the right of the screen is the usual array of quick link buttons, nothing unusual there, and the on/off switch, shutter and zoom controls are found on the right hand shoulder. The left hand shoulder sports a finger grip and the zoom ring sits around the shutter button. Usually you’ll find the zoom ring on a compact camera has a knurled grip on the front, here it doesn’t – it faces you rather than away from you, which takes some getting used to.

As with previous Pentax models, the “Green” auto shooting mode will automatically choose the best option for you and let you get on with snapping the pictures. Those that want some control can opt for the specific scene from 24 on offer and here they range from fireworks, to parties to pets. Opting for the pets mode for example allows you to register your pets into the camera so it can then detect their faces in future photographs and make sure they are in focus.

You also get CCD-shift Shake Reduction, which can be used on both stills and video. The video is capable of shooting HD 720p

As for connections, there isn’t HDMI or a dedicated TV out, although a USB cable in the box will allow you to output to a TV via NTSC or PAL. The battery and SD card slot can be found on the bottom. It’s a slide and lock mechanism that won’t give you any problems and should hold up to the test of time.

The menu’s are basic in their approach, easy to understand, however from a graphical point of view not as smooth and styled as some of the camera interfaces out there. Everything is easy to find and we had no problems with them.

Overall the camera was quick to respond with plenty of options to suit most compact camera users. We will hold further judgement on photo quality when we get a full working model, although have included some shots to give you an idea.

First Impressions

The Pentax I-10 looks to offer you the usual Pentax compact camera capabilities in a rather eye-catching retro design. People we showed it too thought that it looked “cute” and rather “fun”, however we also got questions as to whether it was a DSLR (due the styling) and if it was more powerful than a regular compact.

That perception, mainly inspired by companies like Olympus and Panasonic with the Micro Four Thirds cameras (such as the Pen E-P1 and Lumix GF1), might mislead some at first glance. This is, and Pentax makes no claims otherwise, a standard compact digital camera in a funky retro body.