Pentax Optio E10 (Sucks)

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 24, 2006

Filed under: Rants 10 comments

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.


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10 thoughts on “Pentax Optio E10 (Sucks)

  1. BeckoningChasm says:

    I’m a Nikon person myself, which can run into serious money. But you can’t really go wrong with Canon either.

    Sometimes the world’s best thing, which got great reviews and is beloved by your friends and/or arch-enemies, can be a dud right out of the box. Sometimes it’s just the one bad one out of the thousand great ones. Doesn’t much help if you got that one.

  2. Don says:

    It’s a pity that the new Pentax was such a lousy camera. I had a lot of fun with a K1000 back in ancient times.

    My go-everywhere camera is a Canon A430, a step below your wife’s new toy. It’s a nice little camera, easy to use and so far quite reliable.

  3. Zenja says:

    There is an old adage – if you dont know what’s good, you know what’s expensive. (its true in most cases). Pft Pft Pft Shamus, trying to be a cheapstake, and you got bitten by crap.

    Canon 4 life

    (not that I have anything to do with Canon, it’s just that I’ve ALWAYS had great experience with them)

  4. frank says:

    I was cheap, (saving a hundred bucks) and settled for a PENTAX Optio 55. The only thing I liked about this camera was its size. Everything else sucked starting from picture quality in less than ideal light, the rechargeable battery, and so on….. 35 days into our ownership of this piece of crap, the LCD display just broke and stopped displaying the images. It sort of ‘shattered’ from the inside, kind of like when you put an ice cold glass under hot water… No, that is not what I have done with this camera…but after mailing it to Pentax tech support, they suggested that I caused damage to the casing of the camera and broke the liquid crystal screen and circuitry…. BUT OF COURSE. That’s what a grown man does… Interestingly there is not a scratch on the outside of it. But at this point there is nothing I can do other than staying away from this piece of crap product, and their crapy service. I would love to know though, what is the percentage of free repairs of all returned Pentax Products? Anyone wants to guess?

  5. Laureen Adam says:

    I can’t believe not even one person has had any luck with the Pentax Optio. I’ve just received mine,a Pentax Optio 55 as a birthday present and in two days, i’ve used more money buying batteries than i would have used to buy myself a top of the range digital camera. To start off with the manual is in swedish throughout.I have to do guess work and hope i’m able to figure out how to take a photo before the batteries go flat.

  6. Cathal says:

    I arrived at this site looking to see if my Pentax Optio 55 was unusual in the fact that it eats batteries like nobody.
    I hadn’t noticed for a while because I hadn’t been using it but now it has got to the stage where it won’t even turn on unless it has the most expensive lithium batteries that one can buy. Then it will last about 20 pictures or so.
    I have obviously come to the conclusion that I am not alone and this thing is a piece of sh*t. Unfortunately it was a present bought overseas and cannot be returned……..

  7. Fuloydo says:

    Cannon for point and shoots, Nikon for DSLR’s, Cannon for Professional level DSLR’s. Although I understand that Nikon just release the D3 which looks to compete with the high end Cannons.

    I should note that the reason I say Nikon for DSLR’s is simply because I like their control setup better. They both take great pictures. On the DSLR end, either is great. On the point and shoot end….Go with Cannon.

    I just recently decided to get back into serious photography, as opposed to snapshots. (I’m a hobbyist whose experience is film, rather than digital) After a lot of research I picked the low end Nikon D40. I’ve had it for a few weeks and I love it.

    Prior to that I had a Cannon Powershot which I also loved. I broke it, it failed the drop test, and that triggered my decision, since I was buying a new camera anyway, to go ahead and spend the money for a DSLR.

    Since everybody also needs a small pocket camera for those times when lugging around that big one isn’t an option I figured I’d go with Nikon for that, too.


    Cannon for the point and shoots. That little Nikon Coolpix I bought blows goats.

  8. Eric says:

    I have a pentax e10 when i turn the camera on it just shows the pentax on the display then turns off anyone know how to fix this problem?

  9. Pentax says:

    Same problem with my Pentax E10. Any solutions?

  10. TWorlock says:

    I know this is an old post but reading it makes me worried. The glasses I wear are based on pentax lenses, my eyes are ‘apparantly’ getting worse every few months. Maybe the lenses are just as shoddily made as this camera appears to be.

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