on Aug 24, 2006
I mentioned how my wife feels about gifts. For her birthday I got her a Pentax Optio E10. I saw that it was $100 cheaper than the one she wanted, and that it had another megapixel of resolution. The features it was missing were mostly advanced-user manual settings type stuff, which she didn’t really want or need. She was very grateful, but it turned out to be an unfortunate mistake.
- By far the biggest flaw was the energy needs of the camera. We would slap in brand-new batteries and they would last ten minutes. That is, tens minutes not using the flash. One or two flash pictures would kill a set of batteries.
- Not that these batteries were truly dead. They could power other devices – even other cameras – without trouble. If the camera would turn on, the battery power display would go from full to empty to halfway to depleated, seemingly at random. Then the camera would shut off and refuse to turn back on.
- If it couldn’t turn on, it wouldn’t give an error message saying “not enough power captain”. It would turn on, beep mysteriously, then turn off again. Took us a while to figure out what the problem was.
- The exposure times were ridiculous. It was like trying to take pictures with a tinted lens. Outside, in broad daylight, pictures were both too dark and blurry. It couldn’t get a picture fast enough or bright enough. Usually it’s a tradeoff between the two, but this was ridiculous. Note that I’m talking motion blur here, not incorrect focal settings. But while I’m on the subject…
- I understand that auto-focus is a bit of guesswork on the part of the camera. It has to pick out an element somewhere to focus on, and sometimes the software will make the wrong guess. But this camera was hopeless at the job. Four-fifths of the time it would lock onto nothing and everything would be a total blur. Did I need to take my camera to an optometrist? Maybe get it a contact lens?
Happy birthday sweetheart! I hope you like crap!
I would think that I just got a defective unit, but our previous camera was also a (much older) Pentax Optio of some sort, and it eventually developed these problems. It started out fine, but after a couple of years it started eating batteries like popcorn, acquired myopia, and refused to turn on. In fact, we got the new camera because of these problems, only to find the new camera has all of these same problems right out of the box!
(I strongly suspect that all of the problems are power related. I’m guessing that if I were to get an adapter and plug the thing in, the pictures would be in-focus and adequately exposed.)
We finally gave up on the thing and she took it back. I hate taking gifts back. She exchanged it (and a bit more money) for the Canon Powershot A530, which is nicer in almost every way imaginable except that it costs quite a bit more. Not unreasonable, but after getting such a deal on the Pentax the price of the Canon kind of stung. The Canon may even be a bit too much camera for our needs. Still, my wife is now happy and taking beautiful pictures, which makes me happy.
Lesson learned. No more Pentax for us.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.