Product Type: Pentax digital cameras
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Pentax Optio S5i
Member Name: johnnyho
Pentax Optio S5i
Date: 06/03/05, updated on 22/03/05 (480 review reads)
Advantages: Ultra small and light, 5 Megapixels and great quality photos, Great zoom
Disadvantages: Stand doesn't allow USB connection, Time between photos can be long
I have owned this camera now for around two months. I first started looking for a camera just before getting to university. My main points were that it had to be ultra small, as I would like to carry it around with me, especially on nights out with my friends. I also needed a decent picture quality, with a decent pixel count.
It wasn't until just after Christmas that I started looking around for one. So there I was, searching the internet like crazy, reading reviews, finding prices, looking at sample pictures etc etc. After about a week, I narrowed my search down to a few cameras. I saw a good offer on a Casio Exilim EX-Z3, but as it was an old model, there was no stock. I originally wanted to spend around £120-150, but as I started looking, my budget just went higher! So on my final list, there were 4 cameras. I had the Pentax Optio S50, the Casio EX-Z40 and Z50 models, and of course this one, the Pentax Optio S5i.
I found some good prices on the net, and so decided to buy it there. But I needed to have a look at the cameras in real life, playing around with them was also worth it. So there I was in Jessops, looking at these cameras. I finally chose this one because it was the smallest, nicest to use in my opinion, and also the lightest. I had also heard that even though it was the cheapest model, the Pentax Optio S50 had a much poorer image quality than the others. The Casio models used the same Pentax lens as used in the Pentax models, so another reason why I chose the Pentax. I actually bought the camera from Jessops, as they price matched the internet price I had found!
In the box came the camera, a wrist strap, a charging stand, a USB cable, instruction manual and software CD's. The camera itself is very, very small and very, very light. The full aluminium body is also great; it feels so amazingly built, especially compared to some other cameras that I had looked at. Features of the camera include a 3x optical zoom, one of the major reasons that I bought this camera, a decent sized screen (1.8 inches, which may not sound like too much compared to some you can get, but great as the camera is so small), 5 mega pixels, movie mode with sound recording, a decent flash (excellent for a camera this size) and takes SD memory cards.
There are many modes of the camera, a 'green' mode, which is basically everything automatic apart from flash on/off and zoom. Then there is a Program' mode, which allows you to control much more than in green mode. Other modes include Night Scene, Movie, Panorama Assist (allows you to take panoramic pictures, that can be joined together by the software provided), and many others. I do like the fact that this camera has a macro mode, which means you can be very close up to an object (or person!) and it will take a beautiful photo, with a flash! It also has a super macro mode, but this is for very close shots, and with this, the flash is disabled. The camera is able to take photos in a variety of quality and pixel settings. Quality can be set on 1, 2 or 3 stars, with 3 being the best. Pixel settings go from 5 mega pixels, 3 mega pixels, 2 mega pixels to 0.8 mega pixels, and 0.3 mega pixels being the lowest. Movie mode is also great, but the optical zoom can only be set before recording starts, after which only the digital zoom can be adjusted.
The camera is very easy to use, literally just switch in on, and take a photo. One thing that I don't like about the camera is that is has no memory buffer, it takes quite a long time to save a picture, and this must be done before you can take the next picture. Things are much improved though if a high speed SD memory card is used (these are fairly cheap nowadays - check out Amazon or any other Computer/Electrical store). Charging the camera is very easy as it comes with a charging stand. If you bought a spare battery, you could also charge the spare battery, at the same time that the battery in the camera is being charged. However, I think that the charging stand should have allowed for USB connection for the transfer of photos. You must connect the cable separately into a port on the camera, which can be quite fiddly.
The camera takes excellent photos, but I have not had the chance to use all the features, or take pictures in many different conditions. The battery life on the camera is actually quite astonishing; I had a night of taking around 90 photos in about 3 hours. During this time, the camera had been switched on and off repeatedly, the flash was used in every single photo and the screen was also on. By the end of it, 250MB worth of photo had been taken, along with some video clips, and the battery indicator still showed up as 3 bars out of 3!
The photo quality of the camera is truly great for a camera this size. This camera does what it is meant to do, point and shoot. But you can also do many other cool things with it too, which I have not explored with yet!
I would definitely recommend this camera to anyone looking for something similar. It really is one of the best gadgets I have purchased in years! I would however, definitely recommend a large, high speed memory card - as each photo I have taken has been around 2.5-3.5MB each, on best quality and highest pixel setting. Also, a good case should be purchased, as the camera does not come with one, not even a pouch. All in all, a very good buy, which I am sure will get much use as a student!
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