Review posted for Pentax Optio S!!|
(Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 00:56 EDT)
This is definitely one of the most interesting cameras to hit the market this year.
The eye-grabbing part of it is that it's small enough to fit into an empty Altoids tin. The bigger news though, is the surprisingly good image quality and exceptional range of features the Pentax engineers managed to cram into such a tiny case. I have to admit that I had rather negative expectations when I first approached the camera. I've become accustomed to seeing significant compromises in image quality and feature sets, in order to cram cameras into ever-smaller packages. To my great surprise though, the Optio S seems to have avoided almost all such compromise, delivering very good color and image quality, along with a really surprising level of features and special functions.
Some compromise is evident in the lens design in that it isn't as sharp when shooting at close distances (say, out to 10 feet or so) as it is when shooting at a distance, but the amount of softening isn't too severe, and overall optical performance is very good for a ultra-compact digicam. The one really significant tradeoff in performance is in cycle time - There's no buffer memory, and the shot to shot cycle time averages fully 8.3 seconds at maximum resolution and image quality. So, if you're looking for a camera to handle fast-paced action, the Optio S wouldn't be your first (or probably even second) choice. (If you aren't worried about multiple shots in rapid succession though, the Optio S' shutter response is much faster than average, another surprise for a subcompact digicam.)
Apart from the sluggish cycle time, the Optio S is an amazingly full-featured camera, delivering very good image quality, in an incredibly tiny package. If you're looking for the ultimate in a "take anywhere" camera, the Optio S could be just what you've been waiting for. While I generally avoid rating cameras, this one's definitely deserving of a "highly recommended" accolade. Big kudos to the engineers at Pentax!
Check out the full review for more details...