Pentax Optio A10 Review
As well as the default auto setting, the A10 has four white balance presets (daylight, shade, tungsten, and fluorescent) and a manual/custom setting that can be used with a white or gray card to accurately measure the color of light in a scene. Our standard studio tests showed the A10 to be fairly reliable, and real-world shots rarely suffer from white balance problems though inevitably in low incandescent lighting there is a distinct orange cast).
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 6.3%, Blue -10.8%
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red 2.3%, Blue 0.6%
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red 1.7%, Blue -3.9%
|Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red 0.9%, Blue 0.8%
No real complaints here. The range is acceptable for short range social shooting (around 0.20 ft - 16 ft using auto ISO), and color and exposure very reliable. The flash throttles down fairly well at short shooting distances, and you can turn down the power using the 'Soft Flash' setting for closeups. The positioning of the flash so near to the lens means red-eye is fairly common unless you use the red-eye reduction system (there is also the option to remove red-eye from saved shots), and our only real problem is that fairly pedestrian recycle time.
|Skin tone Excellent color and exposure||Color chart Excellent color and exposure|
The A10 has two macro modes; standard macro (closest focus 12cm / 4.7-inches), usable only in the wide to mid-zoom range (up to about 55mm equiv.), and super macro (closest focus around 6cm). The Super Macro mode fixes the focal length at the wide end, but does allow some pretty impressive close ups for such a small camera.
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
The A10's 35-105mm equiv. lens exhibits noticeable barrel distortion at the wide (38mm equiv.), but at around 1.1% it's not serious enough to mar 99% of normal real-world shots. The distortion gradually falls as you move up the zoom range, but there is still a small amount (0.4%) of measurable barrel distortion at the long (105mm equiv.) end of the zoom range. Considering the unique sliding design of the lens distortion is very well controlled at all but the widest zoom setting.
|Barrel distortion - 1.1 % at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 38 mm
|Barrel distortion - 0.4% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 114 mm
Specific image quality issues
Overall the A10's results - when it gets everything right - are superb; detailed, clean, sharp (without being over-sharp) and with fairly subtle processing and natural color that mean the images are well-suited to post processing. The contrast is less steep than we tend to see in this class (so burnt out highlights are less common), and default saturation and sharpening levels are more or less spot-on. There is very little evidence of color fringing or chromatic aberration, edge-to-edge sharpness is excellent and at ISO 50 particularly, the results are very clean indeed.
Of course it's not all good news; the A10 suffers from slow focus, meaning i got a higher than average number of out of focus shots (due to simply pressing the button too quickly), especially in low light, and the exposure system is far from foolproof, often producing mild under or over exposure with unusual subjects. The former is easily fixed in Photoshop, but overexposure is never easy - or even possible - to fix. I would estimate my failure rate with the A10 to be around 10 per cent; higher than I'm used to in this type of camera.
Other minor niggles include a propensity to use very small apertures rather than high shutter speeds in good light (in program mode), meaning softer results due to diffraction effects and the danger of mild camera shake. This is a camera that produces its sharpest results with the lens near to or at full aperture, so it may be worth trying it in 'sport' mode if you find it choosing F9 when you'd rather have F4. Finally, as noted below, the Shake Reduction system - occasionally - fails completely, which doesn't inspire confidence (this happened in around 1 in 80 shots).
Unlike some of its competitors (which clip highlights in virtually every bright scene), the A10 manages to hang onto highlight detail fairly well, but there's only so much dynamic range in this sensor, so inevitably you will see some burning out of bright areas on occasion.
|100% crop||38 mm equiv., F2.8|
It's unusual for us to mention camera shake in the image quality section, but there are times (fairly rare, thankfully) where the Shake Reduction system appears to get it completely wrong; the examples below are surprisingly shaky given the shutter speed and focal length combination. We failed to recreate this in the studio, and I suspect it happens when you shoot too quickly.
|100% crop||114 mm equiv., 1/200 sec|
|100% crop||38 mm equiv., 1/160 sec|
The Optio A10 is the first Pentax compact to offer mechanical image stabilization (Shake Reduction) using a very similar CCD-shift system to that used by Konica Minolta in its Dimage series. By placing the CCD sensor on a movable platform the system can compensate for a certain amount of the blur caused by camera shake at lower shutter speeds and longer focal lengths. The system works by analyzing input from two internal gyro sensors and producing an inverse movement in the CCD.
In use we found the system to be effective, though by no means foolproof, and certainly not as consistently capable of reducing the effect of camera shake as other systems we've tested, particularly those that use moving lens elements rather than a moving CCD. There is no doubt that the system reduces blur, but it just doesn't inspire total confidence, especially at longer focal lengths. It also seems much more effective when the shake is in a single direction (up and down or left to right) than when it is more random.
This is in stark contrast with the optical stabilization systems used, for example, by Panasonic, which allow shots at 1/15 sec at much longer focal lengths. We also found the system to occasionally (though thankfully rarely) fail dramatically (see above). There is no doubt that SR works, and it significantly decreases the proportion of shots ruined by camera shake, but having looked at the results when I got back after a day's shooting I wouldn't say I would trust it unquestioningly.
Below are a couple of comparative 'real world' examples. Note also that all the images in the samples gallery are hand held.
|114mm equiv, 1/13 sec|
|Shake Reduction on||Shake Reduction off|
|114mm equiv, 1/4 sec|
|Shake Reduction on||Shake Reduction off|
|38mm equiv, 1/4 sec|
|Shake Reduction on||Shake Reduction off|
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.