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Survey: 10 stabilised digital cameras
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on May 18, 2006

Pentax Optio W10
Pentax makes you want to buy a new camera. And if other manufacturers’ new series looks very much alike year after year, here the improvements are obvious. The design of the Optio WPi and its substitute the W10 are pretty much identical, however, we tested both and interior changes are amazing! The Wpi was slow, had very high noise levels and the video mode was only 320 x 240 pixels. The new W10 is two times faster to switch on and the noise level is much better. Video mode increased to VGA @ 30fps and it is said to have image stabilization (video mode not the camera) and once again this it’s a software type. In addition, and this is the reason why the W10 is so interesting, this camera is waterproof.

Image Stabilization
Even if there is no real image stabilization in the camera, Pentax has diminished the noise level. Surprisingly, this isn’t the W10’s main selling point. Pentax mostly talks about being waterproof up to 1.5 meters (like the WP1, this is also half that of the Olympus 720 SW), improvement of video, and a new 800 ISO sensitivity. We never found indications about ambient noise level in pictures, nevertheless the improvement seems obvious:

Pentax Optio WPi

Pentax Optio W10

It’s undeniably better… but unfortunately a little insufficient. The Pentax lacks real image stabilization Indoors, without a flash we had to take all our pictures at 800 ISO. At 400 images are blurred and unusable. We can see below, the 800 ISO mode has very high level of noise and even the one with the highest level in this survey as seen on the test portrait without flash.

This is an outdoor camera, not indoors or with a flash and with unnatural colors. Pentax has slightly improved reaction time but there’s still some progress to be made. We are still close to 2 seconds to switch on and between pictures. In short, we already dream of the W10’s successor that would be faster and with optic image stabilization.

Now, if you are looking for a waterproof camera for your next vacation and you hesitate between this W10 and Olympus 720SW, our preference goes to the Pentax because of the better results in flash, the exceptional macro and the better video.

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