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

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.



  1. Justin says

    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. Justin says

    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?

    • says

      @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.