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Pentax Optio S10 compact camera

Small and perfectly formed

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The Optio S10 may be small, but it does offer a lot beneath its compact exterior. You get a ten-megapixel, 1/1.8in CCD; 3x optical zoom that’s equivalent to 38-114mm in a 35mm film camera; 22MB of internal memory; a 1/2000s to 4s shutter speed range; a sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 1600 (ISO 64-800 in auto mode); 18 pre-set shooting modes; manual focus and white balance; and exposure setting from -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 steps. Oh, and it also records movies in the DivX format.

We’ve long been impressed with the ease of use offered by Pentax compact cameras and the Optio S10 is no exception. It soon powers up and is ready for shooting - and the LCD display isn’t cluttered with meaningless icons. The small size does mean there’s an increased risk in camera shake, but the S10 feels fairly solid in your hands and there is a (sort of) shake reduction system.

Pentax Optio S10 compact digital camera

LCD is a lovely size, but tricky to see in sunlight

Press the menu button and you can quickly change a number of parameters, including the number of recorded pixels. The 10MB setting gives a resolution of 3648 x 2736 pixels and you can go down to 640 x 480. You can also adjust the white balance, auto-focus setting, AE metering, ISO and exposure.

The multi-controller gives quick access to the flash mode; focus mode, including super macro, pan focus and manual focus; the timer; and the program modes. The latter include auto, night, pet, sport, food and natural skin tone.

But it’s not all tickety-boo. Yes, the LCD screen is a lovely size, but you really struggle when using it in bright sunlight. All LCD screens suffer from this problem, but the Optio S10’s was particularly bad. The focus system takes a while to lock on, and we missed a number of shots that required a fast response from the camera.

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