As a result the W10 is noticeably quicker to start up that the WPi, being ready to shoot in about two seconds. Focusing is also a bit quicker, although it is still slower than many other cameras in its class. Like both the original WP and WPi the W10 has no AF illuminator, but its low light focusing is among the best I’ve seen. It also features continuous AF and tracking AF, so it can follow moving subjects more easily, and the 9-point multi AF system seems to be much better at locking on to off-centre subjects than the previous models.
Another new addition is face-recognition AF/AE in Portrait and Natural Skin Tone modes, which can lock onto a human face in a scene, focus on it and adjust exposure accordingly.
Despite its underwater capabilities, the W10 is at heart a point-and-shoot compact, and its range of features reflects this. It has no manual options, but it does offer 25 programmed shooting modes on an easy-to-use menu, three more than its predecessor, however some of them do look like they were added just to fill up space on the menu screen. For example “Report Mode” shoots at an image size of 1280 x 960 pixels, because apparently this is the right size for “reports”. Er, yeah…
There is a portrait mode, but then there is also a Natural Skin Tone mode, which is supposed to produce more beautiful results than the portrait mode. So why have both?
And then there’s the Frame Composite mode, which I have cruelly mocked in other Pentax cameras, and will gladly do so again here. I really can’t understand why anyone would think that adding a frame of badly cut-out roses or a ghastly lace heart shape to their pictures is a good idea, and as for the yellow frame with stars, curtains and a cartoon face saying “Happy!” words fail me. Just don’t even go there. (um… kids might like it.. ed).
However some of the new options are actually both clever and useful. Most modern digital cameras allow the recording of audio captions for still images after they are taken, but the W10 goes one better with Synchro Sound Recording, which records a 20-second audio clip from 10 seconds before to 10 seconds after the shot is taken, so you get the ambient sounds from the pictures scene.