Like the R8, the R10's body is all aluminium, and is built to Ricoh's usual high standard. The overall design is pretty much identical to the R8, apart from the larger screen size, an extension to the rubberised handgrip on the front and a slight re-shaping of the thumbgrip on the back. The back of the camera also sports an extra button, a user-programmable Function button which is set to AE-lock by default, but can be set to one of seven options, including AF target selection, setting minimum aperture, and a selection of bracketing options. It can also be set to activate one of the R10's other new features, optional stepped zoom.
Normally stepped zoom is found on cheaper cameras, and the R10 normally has a nice continually-adjustable zoom control, operated via a rotary bezel around the shutter button. However it also has the option to use stepped zoom, with the steps set at commonly used focal lengths, including 35, 50, 85, 105 and 135mm (equivalent). This is useful if you want to simulate the magnification of a prime lens.
The R10 has the same brilliantly simple customisable user interface as the R8 and R7, with a small joystick-like button that is used both for main menu navigation and in Adjustment mode to quickly alter up to four shooting options. The parameters that are available on this quick menu can be changed in the main menu, with a wide range of alternatives including ISO setting, exposure compensation, white balance, image quality, focus mode, metering mode, drive mode and others, providing a welcome degree of user customisation and easy controllability.
One extra addition is the inclusion of an idiot-proof Easy mode on the main dial, although with such an easy-to-use interface it hardly seems necessary. In this mode the only adjustable parameter is picture quality, and most of the main menu options are disabled.
One feature that I do like a lot is the on-screen digital spirit-level, a small match-needle display that tells you straight away if the camera is tilted, which way and by how much. It works in both horizontal and vertical formats, flipping automatically as the camera is turned. If more cameras had this feature it could mean an end to tilted horizons and sloping oceans. Another addition to the display is the minimum focusing distance available in macro mode, which varies according to the current focal length setting.
Most of the other features of the R10 are identical to the R8, including sensor-shift image stabilisation, multi-point autofocus, 256-segment evaluative metering, VGA 30fps video recording and optional manual focusing.