Pentax Z10 Review

 
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Pentax Optio Z10 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A long 7x optical zoom range, with good performance at full telephoto, but strong distortion at full wide angle. Digital zoom performance is about average these days.

38mm 266mm 5.1x Digital Zoom

The Pentax Optio Z10's optical zoom covers the equivalent of 38-266mm, a nice, long zoom range. At wide angle, details are fairly sharp at the center of the frame, though there is moderate blurring in the corners, along with strong coma distortion and strong chromatic aberration. Results are better at telephoto, though there is again evidence of blurring in the corners and a small amount of chromatic aberration visible. Digital zoom performance is about average, with losses in fine detail and resolution, but still a decent job of holding onto some of the smaller details in the tree leaves.

Macro
An average-size macro area with good detail and high resolution. Closest focusing distance is too close for the flash.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Pentax Optio Z10's macro setting performed about average, capturing a minimum area of 3.04 x 2.28 inches (77 x 58 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both good, though there's a moderate amount of softening in the corners from the lens, as well as some noticeable chromatic aberration not far from the center. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode, and it's not totally surprising to see chromatic aberration in a 7x lens's macro mode.) The Optio Z10's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area and was partially blocked by the camera's long lens, resulting in an uneven exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the Optio Z10.

Distortion
High barrel distortion, and very high pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.8%
Pincushion at 266mm is 0.8%

The Pentax Optio Z10's 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is only a little higher than average, but we think this level is too high. At the telephoto end, the Optio Z10's 0.8% pincushion distortion is incredibly high, and quite noticeable in its full telephoto images. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic aberration
Very high and bright at wide angle, though lower at telephoto. Very noticeable effect on some images in the corners and edges toward full wide angle.

Wide: High and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Very bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Lower and less bright,
top left @200%
Tele: Lower,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is high at wide angle, showing several very bright pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. The effect extends along the edges of the frame as well. However, at telephoto, the effect is lower and less bright. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) This distortion was quite noticeable in several of the Optio Z10's wide angle images.

Corner Sharpness
Noticeable blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, and a moderate amount at telephoto as well.

Wide: Quite soft in the
corners (upper left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Softer in the
corners (lower left)
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Pentax Optio Z10 produced soft corners of the frame at full wide angle, and the effect was very noticeable in the camera's full wide angle images. At full telephoto, blurring was also present, though a little less strong. Also at telephoto, the lower left corner showed the least amount of blurring.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., LCD 266mm eq., LCD

The Pentax Optio Z10's LCD monitor showed about 100% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 96% at telephoto. Good results, though a tad tight at telephoto.

 

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