Pentax A10 Review

 
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Pentax Optio A10 Operation

The Pentax Optio A10's user interface is fairly similar to previous Optio models, although it has been restyled somewhat. Colorful cartoon-like icons that represent scene modes were added a couple generations back and they're still effective. For such a compact camera, there's a fairly good selection of external controls and - for the most part - a concise LCD menu system. The most basic features such as flash, focus mode, drive mode, and zoom are all adjusted via external controls. Exposure modes are selected from the Capture Mode Palette, called up by pressing the Down arrow on the Four-Way Arrow pad when in record mode.

When delving into the LCD menu system, two menus, each three pages long, are available delineated by subject tabs at the top of the screen. The keys of the Four-Way Controller pad scroll through each selection, and the OK button in the center of the pad confirms any changes. Overall, menus were clearly labeled, attractively designed, and efficient to use.

Record Mode Display
By default, the Pentax Optio A10's display shows the central autofocus area along with currently-selected options for shooting mode, flash mode, drive mode, focus mode, shake reduction setting and warning, digital zoom, memory status, storage remaining, battery status, key lock, exposure compensation, date and time, and world time setting. By pressing the central OK button, you can also have it show a more detailed display which adds a live histogram, shutter speed, aperture, image size and quality, white balance, and sensitivity. By pressing the OK button again, you can dispense with everything but gridlines and the focus frame. Another press just offers the focus frame, and another press disables the LCD altogether to save on battery power. Finally, one last press of the OK button returns you to the default normal display mode.

Playback Mode Display
In Playback mode, you can press the wide-angle side of the zoom toggle to show images on the memory card in the form of thumbnails, nine at a time. Pressing it once more takes you to a view of all top-level folders on the flash card. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom toggle zooms in on the image as much as 8x. Pressing the Display button cycles between Normal Display (which displays the folder number, file number, protect icon, voice memo icon, volume icon, memory status, key lock icon, capture date and time, and four-way controller guide), Histogram + Info (which adds a histogram, image size and quality, white balance, sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture), and No Icons (which shows only the four-way controller guide).

 

Pentax Optio A10 Modes and Menus

Shooting Modes: In Record mode, the camera can capture still images, movie files, or audio clips. Available Record modes include Green Auto Picture, Program, Night Scene, Movie, Voice Recording, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Candlelight, Surf & Snow, Sport, Pet, Text, Food, and Frame Composite, and are selected from the on-screen Capture Mode Palette menu called up with the Down arrow portion of the Four-way Arrow Pad. Most of the preset scene modes are fairly self explanatory, though the Frame Composite mode deserves a small mention. In this mode, you can select from a series of three available image borders, and you can download additional borders from a computer. Playback mode, where you can browse recorded still images, movie files, and audio clips, is activated by pressing the Playback button.

 

Record Menu:

Record Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Recorded Pixels

- 8M ( 3,264 x 2,448)
- 5M (2,592 x 1,944)
- 4M (2,304 x 1,728)
- 3M (2,048 x 1,536)
- 2M (1,600 x 1,200)
- 1024 (1,024 x 768)
- 640 (640 x 480)
  

 

 

Quality Level
- * (Good)
- ** (Better)
-*** (Best)
   
White Balance
- Auto
- Daylight
- Shade
- Tungsten
- Fluorescent
- Manual
  
   
AF Setting
- Focusing Area
- Focus Limiter
- Aux. AF Light

Focus Area:
- Spot
- Multiple

Limiter:
-On
-Off

Aux AF Light:
- On
- Off

Focus Limiter limits the AF area to macro or normal settings, to speed up processing

 

AE Metering
- Multi-Segment
- Center-Weighted
- Spot
   
Sensitivity
- Auto
- 50
- 100
- 200
- 400
   
EV Compensation
-1/3-step increments from -2 to +2

 

 
Movie
- Recorded Pixels
- Quality Level
- Movie Anti-Shake

Recorded Pixels:
- 640 x 480
- 320 x 240

Quality Level:
-* (Good)
- ** (Better)
- *** (Best)

Anti-Shake:
- On
- Off

 
Shake Reduction
- On
- Off
   
Digital Zoom
- On
- Off
   
Instant Review
- Off
- 1 second
- 2 seconds
- 3 seconds
- 5 seconds
   
Memory
Select settings
 
Marks which settings are remembered when the camera is powered off
Green Button
- Auto Picture
- Shake Reduction
- Initialize Rec. Mode
- Movie Mode
- Fn Setting
 
Sets the function of the Green button on the rear panel
Sharpness
- Normal
- Hard
- Soft
   
Saturation
- Normal
- High
- Low
   
Contrast
- Normal
- High
- Low
   

 

Setup Menu:

Setup Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Format
- OK
- Cancel
 

Erases all files from either SD/MMC card or internal memory, even protected images

Sound
- Operation Volume
- Playback Volume
-Start-up Sound
- Shutter Sound
- Operation Sound
- Self-Timer Sound
 
Adjusts volume for specific camera sounds, also lets you assign sounds to camera functions
Date Adjust
- Set Date and Time
- Select Date Style
  
   
World Time
- Select time, Home or Away
- Destination
- Hometown

Destination and Hometown:
- Choose from 70 cities worldwide for each, and designate Daylight Savings Time

 

 

Language
- English
- French
- German
- Spanish
- Portuguese
- Italian
- Swedish
- Dutch
- Russian
- Thai
- Korean
- Traditional Chinese
- Simplified Chinese
- Japanese
   
USB Connection
- PC
- PictBridge
   
Video Out
- NTSC
- PAL

 

 
Brightness Level
- Set LCD brightness in seven steps

 

 
Power Saving
- Off
- 5 seconds
- 15 seconds
- 30 seconds
- 1 minute
- 2 minutes
 
Automatically dims LCD monitor after period of inactivity
Quick Zoom
- On
- Off
 
If enabled, zooms straight to 8x when Playback zoom button is pressed
Quick Delete
- On
- Off
 
If On, preselects "Delete" when Erase menu is displayed
Auto Power Off
- Off
- 3 minutes
- 5 minutes
   
Guide Display
- On
- Off
 
If On, displays current mode information and Green button functions
Reset
- Reset
- Cancel
 
Restores all camera settings to their defaults

 

Playback Mode Palette: Listed below are the options that come up when you press the Mode button in Playback mode.

Playback Mode Palette Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Slideshow
- Interval
- Screen Effect
- Sound Effect

Interval:
-3 seconds
- 5 seconds
- 10 seconds
- 20 seconds
- 30 seconds

Screen Effect:
- Wipe
- Fade
- Shrink
- Off

Sound Effect:
- On
- Off

 

Resize
- Recorded Pixels
- Quality Level

Recorded Pixels:
- 8MP
- 7MP
- 6MP
- 5MP
- 4MP
- 3MP
- 2M
- 1024
- 640
- 320

Quality Level:
-* (Good)
- ** (Better)
- *** (Best)

 
Trimming

  
 
Lets you crop captured images and save as new files
Image/Sound Copy
Select image or sound file

 

Copies files between internal memory and memory card
Image Rotation
   
Rotate captured images in 90-degree clockwise increments
Color Filter
- Black and White
- Sepia
- Color Filter (Bar display, Eight colors)
- B&W + Red
- B&W + Green
- B&W + Blue.
   
Digital Filter
- Soft
- Illustration
- Special Effect 1
- Special Effect 2
- Slim

 

 
Brightness Filter
- Adjust overall image brightness level

 

 
Movie Edit
- Save as Still Image
- Divide Movies
- Extract
- Cancel
 

Save as Still Image lets you save a frame from the movie file

Divide option divides movie file into two segments

Extract lets you pull a set of frames from movie and save separately

Red-Eye Compensation
- OK
- Cancel
 
Corrects red-eye and lets you save a new file or overwrite
Voice Memo
- OK
- Cancel
 
Records up to 30 seconds audio and saves with image file
Protect
-Select image
 
Marks images for protection, or removes mark
DPOF
- Select image
 
Marks images for printing, or removes print mark
Start-up Screen
- Select image
 
Selects image for start-up display
Frame Composite
- Select border
 
Overlays a graphic border on captured image

 

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