Pentax Optio E90, H90 and I-10 Hands-On

by on January 25, 2010

in Pentax

Pentax Optio I-10

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down briefly with the new Pentax Optio cameras that were just announced.

The most interesting of the new cameras was the Optio I-10, which has a rather retro look to it as a throwback to Pentax SLRs of yesteryear. Interestingly, Pentax went with a 16:9 display ratio on the I-10, which translates well for video recording; however, you lose screen real estate for still images.

Pentax Optio I-10

I must admit though, that I am a fan of the retro-styling on the I-90.  It’s just a cool little camera. It feels good in the hand – the raised grip on the right side works well and adds a little bonus to the SLR look and feel.

Pentax Optio I-10

The I-10 is capable of delivering a lot of control into the photographer’s hands with Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority and Manual shooting modes. The I-10 covers an aggressive sensitivity range of ISO 80-6400 (with ISO 3200-6400 available only at 5MP and 3.8MP).  The I-10 is also the only new camera in the Optio series that offers Sensor-Shift SR to correct camera shake blur. The 5x zoom lens on the I-10 works out to an equivalent range of 28-140mm.  The camera has a number of autofocusing modes and manual focusing capability.

Pentax Optio I-10

Obviously, image quality is a key concern; however, these were preproduction models from which I could not obtain image samples.  As a result, I will have to reserve judgment until I see what kind of images the camera produces.

Pentax Optio E90

The Optio E90 is targeted toward the budget-minded crowd with an MSRP of just $99.95.  For the price, I was pretty impressed with how solid the little booger felt in my hand.  It has a rubberized coating that takes away some of the cheap plastic feeling that you commonly find in sub-$100 compact cameras.  As an added bonus it is powered by 2-AA batteries, which, according to Pentax, should give you 600 shots.  The E90 will also record VGA quality video at 30 fps, making it an attractive little do-it-all camera on the cheap.

Pentax Optio H90

The Optio H90 is more of the mainstream, traditional point and shoot camera, with a 5x optical zoom lens and the ability to record 720p HD video.  The H90 has nice aluminum accents on the body, giving it a robust and higher-end feel.  The Optio H90 reminds me a lot of what Panasonic has done with its point and shoot cameras.

Pentax Optio H90

The H90 is definitely a pocketable camera, being both thin and small.  It is also  full of several shooting modes that will be welcomed by more advanced photographers.  The H90 offers P, A, S and M modes and the ability to manually focus. The H90 offers a standard sensitivity range of ISO 80-1600 and can be pushed to ISO 3200-6400 at 5MP or 3.8MP reduced resolutions.

Pentax Optio H90

With the obvious issue of image quality still a variable that will affect my overall impression of these new cameras, I think that each camera fits well into its place in the market and that Pentax has delivered a nice offering of new point and shoot cameras without giving us several variations of the same camera.  Kudos to Pentax for giving us 3 and not 12 new point and shoots.

Each one seems to serve their purpose fairly well. Even with some overlap on the H90 and I-10 in terms of features, the I-10 is different enough in its styling to command a separate place on the shelf.  However, the market will let us know whether the addition of Shake Reduction and a retro look and feel is enough to command an additional $120 over the Optio H90.

If and when I get my hands on some production models, I’ll update you with my final thoughts on these cameras.

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{ 5 comments }

1 Justin February 6, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I’ve had great luck with Pentax cameras in the past. Looking to upgrade from a seven year old Optio S 3.2 megapixel. Leaning toward the H90. I know this is subjective, but in person, which color scheme looks the best? From pictures, I’m thinking the black sliver?

2 Eric February 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm

@Justin – I was a big fan of the orange color. All of them look pretty slick though.

3 Justin February 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

What do you think about the lack of optical/sensor image stabilization in the H90? Would this fact alone prompt an upgrade to the I-10?

4 Eric Reagan February 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

@Justin – Yeah, that’s a tough one. I otherwise really liked the look, feel and function of the H90. I think the lack of image stabilization hurts it, but given the price point of the I-10, I think a lot of people will be looking at other brands that offer less expensive cameras with image stabilization instead of stepping up to the I-10. That’s just too big of a jump in price to be a logical step up from the H90.

5 rj February 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Does the Optio I-10 shoot raw, or is it jpeg only?

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