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  DSLR Tips

Pentax Optio Z10 Gordon Laing, January 2008

Pentax Optio Z10 gallery

The following images were taken with the Pentax Optio Z10. The Z10 was set to 8M *** mode with Auto White Balance, Multi-Segment metering and the default settings for Sharpness, Saturation and Contrast.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Landscape: 2.74MB, Program mode, 1/200, f7, ISO 64, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Our first sample was taken on a bright day with the Z10 zoomed-out to wide angle and set to its lowest 64 ISO sensitivity. As such this represents perfect conditions.

The crops show a fair degree of detail, although high contrast areas can exhibit a little purple fringing as seen in the first and third crops.

The first crop of the distant boat also shows a loss of ultimate detail, especially in the foliage areas which appear fuzzy.

It's an ok result though so long as you don't examine it too closely.

Landscape: 2.94MB, Program mode, 1/320, f7, ISO 100, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)

Here's another shot taken on a very bright sunny day, again with the lens zoomed-out to its widest equivalent of 38mm, but this time with the sensitivity increased a notch to 100 ISO.

As you'd hope this slight increase in sensitivity hasn't had a negative result on noise levels and the crops remain clean and fairly detailed.

Dedicated pixel peepers may notice the finest texturing through noise or processing, but it's really barely visible.

Landscape: 2.79MB, Program mode, 1/25, f3.5, ISO 100, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)

Our final 100 ISO sample here was again taken with the camera zoomed-out, but under very dim conditions.

Once again the crops are fairly detailed and there's little concern over noise or processing. More obvious here is the purple fringing in high contrast areas, like the waterfall, although this is barely visible on most prints.

On the downside, the lack of optical or sensor shift stabilisation prevented us from hand-holding a slower exposure to blur the water.

Portrait: 3.08MB, Program mode, 1/250, f8.4, ISO 200, 6.3-44.1mm at 21mm (equivalent to 127mm)

This portrait shot was taken with the Z10 zoomed about halfway-in to an equivalent of 127mm and the sensitivity increased to 200 ISO.

If you stand back a little and zoom-in further, it's possible to better throw the background out of focus.

The increase in sensitivity has however resulted in a noticeable increase in noise and processing artefacts on the crops wehn examined at 100%. It's fine for prints, but pixel-peepers won't like it.

Landscape: 3.10MB, Program mode, 1/320, f5.4, ISO 64, 6.3-44.1mm at 44.1mm (equivalent to 266mm)

  The key selling point of the Pentax Z10 is its longer than average optical zoom range: 7x with an equivalent of 38-266mm. Here it's zoomed all the way in, allowing us to capture town details from a high location.

Impressively there's only the slightest evidence of coloured fringing, but sadly the crops reveal noticeable noise and processing artefacts when viewed at 100% - and this is at the lowest 64 ISO sensitivity.

It's also worth mentioning the lack of optical or sensor stabilisation makes the 7x zoom less useful than it could be.

: 3.35MB, Program mode, 1/250, f5.4, ISO 100, 6.3-44.1mm at 44.1mm (equivalent to 266mm)

    A second shot taken with the Z10 fully zoomed-in. it was an opportunist moment, taken while shooting a wide landscape and illustrates the flexibility of having a longer range at your disposal.

Like most compacts the Z10 isn't that quick to respond, but we still managed to grab this shot of a bird preparing for take-off.

Unlike some of our earlier shots, noise and processing artefacts are quite visible even at 100 ISO if you're examining on-screen at 100%.

Macro: 3.06MB, Program mode, 1/320, f7, ISO 400, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus.

As you'd expect there's another slight increase in noise over the 200 ISO setting, but this particular subject matter is reasonably forgiving.


Indoor: 3.08MB, Program mode, 1/40, f3.5, ISO 400, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)


Another shot at 400 ISO, this time taken in dimmer indoor lighting conditions.

As with the sample above, there's certainly noise visible, especially in shadow areas, but it remains acceptable for most situations unless you're a dedicated pixel-peeper.

The big drop on the Z10 occurs at 800 ISO as seen below...


Indoor: 3.05MB, Program mode, 1/13, f3.5, ISO 800, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Our 800 ISO sample here reveals a significant increase in artefacts from noise and noise reduction when viewed at 100%.

The crops show noticeable speckling, making 800 ISO only acceptable to those who make smaller prints or don't examine their images too closely.

To be fair, this is par for the course on a compact these days, but working against the Z10 is its lack of optical or sensor shift stabilisation, forcing you into higher sensitivities to avoid camera-shake.

Indoor: 3.21MB, Program mode, 1/80, f3.5, ISO 1600, 6.3-44.1mm at 6.3mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Our final high sensitivity indoor shot was taken with the Z10 set to 1600 ISO, and as you'd expect there's a significant increase in noise and loss of detail.

Like most compacts, 1600 ISO on the Z10 is really only for emergency use, although as mentioned above, you may find it a necessary evil in dark conditions given the unforgivable lack of optical or sensor-shift stabilisation.

The Z10 also has a 3200 ISO mode if you're feeling really ambitious - see our Z10 Outdoor noise results.

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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