Pentax Optio RZ10 review

Daniel Bell reviews the Pentax Optio RZ10 with a 10x optical zoom lens and 14Mp sensor.

24/01/2011 - 14:15


Pentax Optio RZ10
Daniel Bell reviews the Pentax Optio RZ10.

Announced in September 2010, the Pentax Optio RZ10 has a 14Mp sensor and a large 10x optical zoom, aimed to be ideal for both landscapes and fast action sports shots. It is available in five colours including blood orange, pure white, lime, violet and classic black, the colour of the camera on test here, and will set you back around £140. Similar cameras to consider at this price range are the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500 and the brand new Olympus VR-310, both sporting a 10x optical zoom lens and a 14Mp sensor.

Pentax Optio RZ10: Features

  • Wide-angle 10x optical zoom lens, (28-280mm, 35mm equivalent)
  • 14Mp sensor
  • Sensor-shift shake reduction
  • Compact and lightweight
  • HDTV-proportion movie recording
  • Burst Shooting of up to 40 images at a maximum speed of 9.1 images per second.
  • Digital filters
  • D-Range setting
  • Digital Panorama mode
Pentax Optio RZ10 key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio RZ10 rear   Pentax Optio RZ10 lens
On the rear is a 2.7in LCD monitor.   The 10x optical zoom is equivalent to a 28 - 280mm lens in 35mm.
Pentax Optio RZ10 battery compartment   Pentax Optio RZ10 top
The RZ10 is powered by a rechargeable D-LI92 Lithium-ion battery.   The lens doesn't extend far from the camera even at its longest length.

Pentax Optio RZ10: Handling
The RZ10 is a remarkably small and light-weight camera especially considering it has a 10x optical zoom. At the full telephoto length, the lens does not extend far out of the camera and doesn't make it any more difficult to hold. Gripping the camera is easy and is made even easier by the barrel which appears to look like an old film chamber.

The buttons are easy to press and the camera's menus are easy to navigate, if not the most graphically advanced. The RZ10 is ready to take pictures in around one second after switching on, which is excellent. The black camera on test here is a traditional colour that some may find dull, if so the other unusual colours offered will appeal more.

Pentax Optio RZ10: Performance
Wide-angle images are good, but objects in the distance do not retain as much detail as those nearest to the lens. The images taken at the longest telephoto length are particularly impressive with plenty of detail retained everywhere except around the edges of the pictures. Colours are reproduced well by the RZ10.

Trying to capture moving subjects is difficult and more often than not images weren't sharp at all. Things didn't improve when using burst shooting as the camera struggled to focus on the moving subject. Also, you can't see what you're shooting as the screen goes black, so it is possible for your target to move out of shot without you even noticing.

Pentax Optio RZ10 Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio RZ10 wide-angle   Pentax Optio RZ10 telephoto
Wide-angle.   Telephoto.

ISO and noise performance
At IS080 and ISO100 there is no apparent noise and the images produced are very sharp. At ISO200 noise can be seen but there's not enough to be worried about, which can also be said for ISO400. However, ISO800 is where noise really starts to have an impact on the detail in the images but the photos produced are still OK. From ISO1600 upwards noise really comes into play and images produced here are likely to be good enough for the web only. At ISO3200 and ISO6400 there is plenty of noise and there is a limit on image size of 5Mb.

Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO and noise performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO80
Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO80 Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO100 Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO200 Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO400
ISO80 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO800 Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO1600 Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO3200 Pentax Optio RZ10 ISO6400
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200 ISO6400

AWB performance by the RZ10 is excellent and the average compact camera user is unlikely to drift away from this setting. Under our tungsten lights in the studio the AWB gives warmer looking images with the tungsten setting doing an excellent job. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB gives a better looking image than the fluorescent preset, this giving an orange tint to the image.

Pentax Optio RZ10 white-balance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio RZ10 Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting   Pentax Optio RZ10 Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting.   Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting.
Pentax Optio RZ10 Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting   Pentax Optio RZ10 Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting.   Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting.

Modes, digital filters and frame composite
The RZ10 has a large range of modes available to assist the photographer, which are as follows: portrait, night scene portrait, night scene, landscape, blue sky, sunset, flower, sport, pet, digital sr, natural skin tone, kids, fireworks, party, food, candlelight, text, surf and snow, digital wide, digital panorama. As well as these scene modes there are also various digital filters to apply to your photographers which are: black & white, sepia, toy camera, retro, colour, extract colour, colour emphasis, high contrast, starburst, soft and brightness. If all this wasn't enough, you can also chose from one of the many frames to put round your pictures.

In use, the modes are certainly going to help you get the most out of the RZ10 and the filters are an excellent way to add some variety to your images and are also good fun to play around with. The frame composite mode is a feature which will appeal more to kids than adults.

Pentax Optio RZ10 modes, digital filters and frame composite: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio RZ10 landscape mode   Pentax Optio RZ10 text mode
Landscape mode.   Text mode - this took a few attempts but the text is clear.
Pentax Optio RZ10 portrait mode   Pentax Optio RZ10 black and white and frame
  (Left) Portrait mode.

(Above) Black & White and frame.


On the Pentax Optio RZ10 videos can be recorded in 16:9 HD. Below is a sample of a video recorded on the RZ10.

 Sample video

Pentax Optio RZ10: Verdict
There are a large number of compacts around the price of the RZ10 that are limited to a 5x optical zoom, so if you are in the market for a longer length lens from a compact then the RZ10 is likely to appeal. If it's sports you are interested in photographing then it would be difficult to recommend this camera, the 10x optical zoom is likely to be put to better use when shooting candid pictures. Image quality is acceptable for a compact in this price bracket and the range of filters are certainly a bonus, particularly if you are not a fan of editing images on a computer.

Pentax Optio RZ10: Pros
Pentax Optio RZ10 Digital filters
Pentax Optio RZ10 Low noise between ISO80 and ISO800
Pentax Optio RZ10 10x optical zoom lens

Pentax Optio RZ10: Cons
Pentax Optio RZ10 Poor focusing on moving subjects

FEATURES Pentax Optio RZ10
HANDLING Pentax Optio RZ10
OVERALL Pentax Optio RZ10

Pentax Optio RZ10: Specification

Price £141.99
What comes in the box AV cable, USB cable, AC cable, Li-ion battery, battery charger, strap and software
Lens 5.0 - 50.0mm, f/3.2 - 5.9, equ. to 28 - 280mm in 35mm
Resolution 14 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.33in
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4288x3216
Focusing system TTL Contrast detection Autofocus system
Focus modes 9-point Multi‐AF, Spot AF, Auto‐tracking AF (anticipating moving subject)
Focus distance Normal : 0.4m - infinity (at wide setting), 0.9m - infinity (at telephoto setting)
Macro : 0.1m - 0.5m (at wide setting), 0.3 m - 0.5m (at medium magnification length)
Super macro : 0.01m - 0.3m (at focal length of 7.3mm)
Infinity-landscape, Pan Focus, Manual Focus: available
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80-6400
Metering modes Multi-segment metering, Centre-weighted metering, Spot metering
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV (1/3EV steps)
Shutter speed range 1/2000 - 1/4 sec. 4 sec at most. (Night Scene mode setting)
White-balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light, Manual setting
Frames-per-second L: approx. 3.7fps for up to 14 frames at 5MP
M: approx. 6.3fps for up to 20 frames at 5MP
H: approx. 9.1fps for up to 40 frames at 5MP
Movie mode HDTV (1280x720), 30/15fps
VGA (640x480), 30/15fps
QVGA (320x240), 30/15 fps 
Image stabilisation CCD-shift Shake Reduction
Monitor 2.7in (6.86mm) colour LCD, extra wide angle viewing
Media type Compatible with SD, SDHC, and Eye-Fi wireless memory cards
Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, PC/AV output (PAL/NTSC, mono)
Power Rechargeable D-LI92 Lithium-ion battery
Size 61 x 97 x 33mm
Weight 178g

The Pentax Optio RZ10 costs £141.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Pentax Optio RZ10

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