It has to be said that the J10 is not exactly overburdened with advanced features. It’s one of the few cameras I’ve seen recently that doesn’t have any sort of face detection. It also has no real image stabilisation, just an ISO-boost function that increases shutter speed to reduce blur. It lacks even the most basic manual options, such as selectable autofocus modes or exposure metering options. It even lacks a continuous shooting mode, instead making do with only a fairly slow ‘Top 3′ feature. The only shooting options are an idiot-proof Auto mode, a slightly less restricted manual mode, and 14 scene modes covering the usual eventualities. There are no unusual options in playback mode either, and the movie mode is the now standard VGA resolution at 30fps. The zoom lens, unsurprisingly, cannot be used while filming.
Given its rather limited specification and list of features it’s no surprise that the menu system is also extremely simple, but what is surprising is how awful the navigation control is. It is operated by an unremarkable-looking circular D-pad, but it is extremely fiddly and annoying to use. Unless you take care to press the pad precisely downward it instead think you pressed right and goes into the next sub-menu. This makes operating the menu, incredibly basic though it is, needlessly annoying, and is a worrying sign of the quality of components used in this camera. If it works so badly when it’s new, how long is it going to last?
The zoom control is also a bit below par. The zoom action is stepped, with just six very broad steps between minimum and maximum. Zooming in is smooth enough, but zooming out is very slow and jerky.
Other than those annoyances the J10 is quite a pleasant camera to use. It is quite attractively designed and looks more expensive than it actually is. It’s small and light enough to take anywhere, it is comfortable to hold and use, and the monitor screen, while not particularly sharp, is at least bright enough to use in daylight and has a reasonably good refresh rate.