Pentax Optio E10 review
I wanted a cheap "point and shoot" to complement my Nikon D50 when the size and weight of the Nikon SLR were problematic. (Nights out, etc). Having spent most of my budget on the Nikon, I was willing to sacrifice picture quality for getting a budget camera, and looked at the Pentax Optio E10, the Canon Powershot A530 and the Sony DSCS-600. I eventually went for the Pentax as it was the cheapest (£93 from Pixmania) and I could swap in the SD card from my NIkon.
Firstly, the Pentax seems a well built camera. The start up time is a little slow, but its manageable and there are a typical range of features with enough shooting modes to play around with when I'm bored. The lack of an optical viewfinder is compensated for by a large screen and although there is no Li-ion battery the life from a set of AA's seemed reasonable (at least in comparison to my former battery devouring Olympus C-350).
So on getting it out of the box and powering it up all seemed well and I was quite happy with my choice.
Then I took a photo.
This has to be one of the worst camera's I've ever had the misfortune to use. In "auto" mode, the autometering under exposes everything - even in good light conditions. In medium to low light levels its only use is for photographing a black cats in a coal cellars. In an attempt to try and get something resembling a properly exposed picture, I manually forced the camera into its highest iso setting and widest aperture. But then every image suffered from awful noise problems. I tried everything: Iso settings, exposure times, flash, but the only way to get acceptable images was to spend 15 minutes in photoshop with each and every image.
Needless to say it was sent back to Pixmania within 48 hours
Whilst looking for a replacement, I spoke to one of the salesmen in a high street photography store. He said they were well aware of the poor image quality from this camera and had stopped recommending it a while ago.
I can only think of one reason to buy this camera: As a gift for someone you don't like. Or maybe to photograph events of things you'd rather not remember. Its basically awful at everything a digital camera should do easily. Stay away!
Auto metering underexposes everything. Annoying delay in firing flash. Slow autofocus, Slow start up time, High noise levels, Poor contrast, poor colour (I could continue...)
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