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Review Price £99.00

The past couple of years have seen the increasing popularity of long-zoom compact cameras, or “travel cameras” as they are often known. Typically these have a lens with at least 10x zoom, usually with a wide-angle of 28mm or wider, but in a body not much bigger than a pocket ultra-compact. Most are premium models loaded with extra features such as manual exposure controls, full HD video with stereo sound, built-in GPS tracking, stored travel guides and more, and as a result they are usually very expensive. The benchmark model for this type of camera, the Panasonic TZ10, costs around £240, while its Canon rival the PowerShot SX210 IS is currently selling for around £210.

Pentax has seen a handy gap in the market here, and has launched the Optio RZ10, a cut-priced compact that has a long-zoom wide-angle lens and HD video recording, but does without the extraneous bells and whistles, and as a result costs only around £130. As well as a 10x zoom f/3.2 – f/5.9 lens, equivalent to 28-280mm, the RZ10 is equipped with a 14-megapixel 1/2.33-inch CCD sensor, a 6.86cm (2.7in) 230k LCD monitor, 720p HD video recording and sensor-shift image stabilisation, really a pretty impressive inventory for the price.

Apart from the lacklustre and unsuccessful Optio Z10 launched three years ago, the RZ10 is Pentax's first attempt at a modern long-zoom compact, and it has taken a slightly different approach to most of its market rivals. The camera is available in a range of bright colours as well as black or white, and its design has a slightly toy-like quality that is rather appealing. Upon handling however it turns out to be a solidly made little camera, very easy to use with surprisingly good handling and decent performance.

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December 2, 2010, 9:22 pm

Why oh why are they intent on devaluing the brand? Not content with releasing endless sub-par cheapo compacts when they have proved time and again they can do much better; now even when they make a decent one they have to ruin it by making it look like something that came out a Christmas cracker... at the same time they're trying to regain part of the professional market with the 645D, is it really helpful to present a "cheap and cheerful" image with the entire compact range? The same applies to their dSLRs - as usual well-made cameras with excellent lenses, but now they have to make them in garish colours - as if there is a crossover between the market for SLR systems and the market for bright red cameras (who drew up that Venn diagram?). Honestly, sometimes I wonder if someone in Hoya or Pentax management is trying to sabotage the company :s


December 3, 2010, 5:03 am


I think it has something to do with brand recognition. Tell me, when the average consumer goes to a shop/online what brands do they have in their mind? Canon, Nikon, Sony etc etc. They don't even consider pentax. So they're trying to get noticed. From the TR score this isn't a bad little camera, and the colours set it apart from the rest. The DSLRs are, again, about recognition. Obviosuly a pro/semi-pro knows what Pentax are about, but the average joe who's buying their first DSLR probably doesn't. The colours set them apart. Not to mention that Pentax are much bigger in the East and they like their things a little... funky.


December 3, 2010, 6:11 am

@Cliff Smith - Any idea on when you'll be reviewing the Panasonic GH2?


December 3, 2010, 8:49 pm

Good review for a camera I would not buy, but that I understand in its target market. 8 out of 10 everywhere, that's an overall 10. It cannot be easy to write a review of a product that will be "beneath" the desires of most of the readers. Neat and tidy marketing by Pentax; all it needs now is to get noticed.


December 3, 2010, 10:08 pm

I can understand why the camera hobbyists wouldn't like the multi-coloured bodies as there are similar things I dislike in the spheres with which I am more familiar. But the reason why I came to look at this article was the colourful camera bodies; I might actually buy one!!! As long as there is a black one in the range I think everybody will be satisfied.


December 3, 2010, 11:03 pm

A question about the ISO tests. It says they are done in filtered natural light, which is fine, but light levels can be lower in the winter and therefore shutter speed and aperture may vary considerably. Has this been taken into account?

The main reason I ask is that my own camera in another review showed considerable increase in noise as the shutter speed got slower (it's something I've also noticed, once alerted admittedly, when using it) and this may be the case with other cameras.


December 13, 2010, 11:47 pm

Dear Pentax

I had a closer look to the test shots of the facade of the Exeter cathedral. The Pentax optio rz10 shows the best sharpness from corner to corner among all point-and shoot cameras! Pentax, why do you spoil the results of your excellent lens by putting an extremely small sensor with 14 megapixels into this camera? 14 megapixels with this small P&S camera is useless and only creates the very ugly noise visible in most of the shots, even at the lowest iso-speed (80). 8 or 10 megapixels is enough! Other camera makers think that they find the solution for the problem with an excessive noise reduction - also useless, this creates loss of details. The only solution is: step back to sensors with less megapixels!

(First, I wanted to buy this small camera with its good zoom range - after studying the test shots, I will choose another one).

tomislav Croatia

March 1, 2014, 2:20 pm

I have Pentax optio rz 10 in 2 years, fantastic ,,for evereything, always in my pocket,
very good photos and excelent video with amazing sound, concerts in club, for everymoment if you making video ; growing your child..


January 1, 2015, 3:43 pm

A very late review, I know, but thought I'd share my two cents. For SLR's, I have used Minolta, Nikon and Sony. For compacts. I have the usual Sony, Canon and Casio. So when I was looking for another compact, specifically one with higher resolution, I made the rare mistake of following the advice of the salesman. In the four years that this camera sits at my home, none of my children has ever taken it out to use. After taking a few shots at home, they looked at the resulting pictures with disgust. I tried taking landscapes with it and found the resolution is closer to 2 megs and definitely not the 14 megs it claimed. I think this camera has taken less than 50 pictures, with none worthy of viewing. Why am I now writing this review? I have hoped to locate a camera firmware that allows one to choose the amount of compression the software used. With newer high capacity SD cards, I could go with zero compression and take full advantage of the 14 megapixels this camera is supposed to have. No such luck, even today. Why Pentax use such high compression after using a 14 megapixel sensor is anyone's guess. So this will be my first and last Pentax.

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