Pentax Optio E10 review
This camera is cursed! I had used a Pentax Optio 450 and 550 before, where you can assign types of controls to the four-way controller. Here this entry-level camera has no direct control of aperture or shutter-speed. It pre-assigns some controls to the four-way directional button: flash setting, EV, focus mode (standard, infinity, macro), and drive mode (single-shot, delayed shots, etc.). For menus, the camera's "Simple" mode allows you only to change picture resolution when you hit the menu button. "Program" mode let you run through 3 menus with tabs at the top, all options clearly visible. It's easy to run through and make a choice, but often-used controls are right on the directional button without having to go into a menu. I rate it highly for ease of use.
One shock is that there's no sound speaker on-board to play back the sound of video while in the camera. I was shooting some musicians, and you have to connect it to a TV or computer to get sound. Projecting the camera's AVI video on a large screen shows lots of artifacts and pixellated lines around moving people.
The next shock is that this camera refuses to take decent focus except in strong light! It insists on a "near sighted" rendering of objects even right in front of it, in macro mode. Combined with the fact the camera is rather light, and smoothly transfers involuntary motions of the hand, you are guaranteed blurry indoor pictures. Guaranteed! What is the point of having 6 megapixels if you can't focus the camera? The other Pentaxes I had also had trouble focussing in low light and this one proudly extends the tradition. Even if I switch to "infinity" focus, it insists on going near-sighted again!
A POSSIBLE SOLUTION: the "jump-back" in focus doesn't seem to happen if you bring the zoom down (widen) as far as it will go. There is some kind of "looseness" at the wide end? Does zooming throw off the focus?
Pentax seems to be "burying" its mistakes with all the fervor of a cat covering up after itself, and came out with the E20 later this year. I'd like to see if their way of fixing problems is to just create a confusing haze of new models rather than work on the existing models. The E10 camera lets you see the firmware version in its menus and taunts you by showing it's stuck at 1.0 despite obvious problems. I am growing convinced that Pentax has some sort of retarded child with magical powers running their design division, and they are too afraid to oust this joker but have to go on selling the junk he produces. I'm quitting this brand completely; they are NOT interested in selling working cameras.
THE MANUAL: Some people say they are confused by the manual. They say it is too brief. The printed manual in the box is just a Quick Start manual. The more detailed 91-page manual in different languages is found on the CD-ROM included with the camera, or you may download it as an Adobe file from the Pentax web site for customer support.
No sound on-board for video playback, refuses to focus properly except in strong light, light construction for 6 MP encourages camera blur, slow to take picture in red-eye mode (missed moments).