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Design

All round view (click for larger image)

The design of the S10 leans heavily towards their traditional compact digital camera look, with the same dimensions as the A50 / A5 it has a solid metallic feel in the hands with a reassuringly over-engineered metal lens housing and automatic lens cover. This is one camera you won't find yourself fretting over, just drop it in your bag or carry it around in your hand, it's as tough as nails.

S10 in hand (click for larger image)Holding the camera in your right hand the small plastic notch on the front helps grip, but the lack of a real hand grip does mean that holding the camera firmly can be less easy than cameras featuring one (such as the Nikon Coolpix 800). That said, carrying the camera is easy, it's just the right size to be held in the palm of your hand or in a belt case (none supplied).

Controls feel well made if a little plastic and a little lose. The shutter release button feels good and it's easy to feel when you've reached the half-press auto-focus position.

Some nice other nice touches are the plastic covers to the connectors, rotating hand strap connector and tightening clip on the hand strap (which means the strap won't slip off your wrist).


Compared to Nikon Coolpix 800

Dimensionally, the S10 is smaller, its retracting lens and automatic lens cover mean that it's easier to carry either in hand or in a bag, it feels sturdier, neater and better built. However, the 800 does have some positive sides, the decent size hand grip fits well and means holding the camera in one hand is natural. Weight wise, they're equal. Compared to Nikon Coolpix 800 (click for larger image)


Rear LCD Display

The rear LCD is of the same quality as used on the Pro 70 with a VERY low reflection coating and bright image it's easy to use in any lighting conditions, add to that it's high resolution and extremely fast refresh rate (the displayed image is one of the fastest I've seen, bettered only by Sony digital cameras) and you've got an excellent little LCD.

Two different display modes are available, live preview image display or live preview with overlaid settings information, just hit the DISPLAY button to switch.


Top information LCD

Display details clockwise from top-left:

Flash status Auto, On, Off, Anti Redeye
Continuous Single, Continuous
Remaining image capacity (counter)
Image quality Super-fine (~1,459KB @ 1600 x 1200)
Fine (~580KB @ 1600 x 1200)
Normal (~300KB @ 1600 x 1200)
Resolution Large (1600 x 1200)
Medium (1280 x 960)
Small (800 x 600)
Beep on, off
Battery status Low battery indicator
Exposure Compensation on, off
White balance override WB indicates override
Macro mode on, off
Self Timer on, off


Viewfinder

The viewfinder is positioned above the LCD, the camera is small enough not to suffer from "nose smear" using either your left or right eye (well, at least for me). The viewfinder doesn't feature any parallax correction lines but does have a pair of center brackets for composition. The indicator lights (described below) are positioned close enough to the viewfinder to be visible when using the finder. I personally found the LCD good enough, although not one of the newer reflective "super LCDs" such as found on the Sony DSC-F505.

Rear light indicators show status of:

Green Ready to record
Flashing Green Recording / Reading CF card
Red Ready to record with flash Flashing
Red Camera blur warning (low light warning)
Orange Macro mode

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