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Pentax Optio RZ10 - Design and Features

By Cliff Smith



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Although the design looks like it belongs in an Early Learning centre it's actually cleverer than it first appears. The basic shape of the RZ10 is a no-nonsense flat-sided box with heavily rounded corners, a motif of concentric circles and a two-colour palette. It has a simple resin-coated handgrip on the right hand end, although a closer look will reveal that the top-right end of the body flares up slightly, just enough to provide a bit of extra grip, while the layout of the rear controls leaves plenty of room on the back for your thumb.

The build quality is up to Pentax's usual high standard, and although the RZ10 has a plastic body it feels robust and well made. The battery hatch is very flimsy and the tripod bush is soft plastic, but other than that the quality is excellent, with tight panel joins and no embarrassing creaks. The controls are clearly labelled, solidly mounted and well spaced out, so even spade-handed clods like me will have no problem operating them.

The monitor screen could be a little better. It is well recessed to keep it out of harm's way, it has a good fast refresh rate and it is bright enough to use in daylight, with a good anti-glare coating to reduce reflections However the viewing angle is good in every direction except downwards, a problems if you want to hold the camera above your head to shoot over a crowd.

The RZ10 manages without some of the more exotic features of other cameras in its class, but it has all the basics plus a few extras. Shooting modes include Full Auto, program auto and a range of useful scene modes. The control interface is simple but effective, with a three-page main menu, as well as Pentax's programmable Green Button. In its default setting the green button activates an easy-to-use Auto mode with scene recognition, face detection and other automated features, however more sophisticated users can re-purpose the green button to provide fast access to up to four camera parameters, such as ISO setting, white balance, focus area, exposure compensation and more.

Other menu options include adjustable sharpness, saturation and contrast, selectable highlight and shadow correction and blink detection. The face detection option has its own dedicated button, and includes smile capture. There are further options in playback mode, including cropping, resizing, a wide range of digital filter effects and of course Pentax's woderful Frame Composite mode, which can add one of a wide and varied selection of super happy fun-time graphical frames to your picture, should you so desire.

The video recording mode gets the job done, but it's fairly unspectacular by recent standards. It records in 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 30fps with mono sound, but the optical zoom cannot be used while recording.


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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