Digital Camera Home > Digital Camera Reviews > Pentax Digital Cameras > Pentax Optio S
"Picky Details" for the Pentax Optio S digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 01 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Pentax Optio S:

NOTE: My qualitative characterizations of camera performance below (that is, "reasonably fast," "about average," etc.) are meant to be relative to other cameras of similar price and general capabilities. Thus, the same shutter lag that's "very fast" for a low-end consumer camera might be characterized as "quite slow" if I encountered it on a professional model. The comments are also intended as only a quick reference: If performance specs are critical for you, rely on the absolute numbers to compare cameras, rather than my purely qualitative comments.

Pentax Optio S Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.72
Pentax startup screen appears and lens extends forward. About average.
Shutdown
1.71
Lens retracts. Fairly fast.
Play to Record, first shot
1.31
Time until first shot is captured. About average.
Record to play
0.67
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Fairly fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.57/0.68
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Both numbers are a good bit faster than average. (Average is in the range of 0.8-1.0 seconds.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.037
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Extremely fast. (!)
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
8.3 / 1.44
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. The camera displays an auto review of each shot, which cannot be canceled, and there doesn't appear to be any buffer memory. Very slow by current standards.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
5.97 / 1.24
First number is for large/fine, second set for small/basic files. Quite slow by current standards.

Performance-wise, the Optio S is something of a mixed bag. Its autofocus delay and shutter lag is better than that of the vast majority of digicams currently on the market, but its shot to shot cycle time is glacially slow by comparison. It doesn't appear to have any buffer memory, and its write speed to memory (whether card or internal) seems quite slow besides. As a subcompact camera with surprisingly few design concessions made to achieve its small size, cycle time performance was clearly one of them.

Power
The Optio S uses one Li-ion rechargeable battery for power.

The table below shows the Optio S's power consumption in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based a single Li-ion battery with a (true, not advertised)710 mAh capacity:

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@4.5 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(one 710 mAh Li-ion cell)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
375 mA
93
Capture Mode, no LCD
265 mA
132
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
378 mA
93
Half-pressed w/o LCD
276 mA
127
Memory Write (transient)
369 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
448 mA
n/a
Image Playback
267 mA
131
Capture mode, but "sleeping" 89 mA 6.6 Hours

Battery life on the Optio S is surprisingly good for such a tiny camera. Worst-case life (capture mode with the LCD turned on continuously) is about 93 minutes. With the LCD off, continuous run time stretches to over two hours. Best of all, when the camera is in "sleep" mode, its power drain drops dramatically, to the point that it will run for well over 6 hours. Still, my standard recommendation of purchasing a second battery at the same time as the camera stands.

Storage Capacity
The Optio S stores its photos on SD memory cards, or in its 11 MB of internal memory. No card is included with the camera, but I strongly recommend buying at least a 64MB card, preferably a 128MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the 11 MB internal memory at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
11MB Internal Memory
Fine
Normal
Economy
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
5
2,065KB
9
1,143KB
14
771KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 8:1 12:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
8
1,231KB
15
719KB
21
516KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 8:1 11:1
1,024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
19
566KB
35
308KB
46
236KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
8:1
10:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
42
257KB
67
164KB
89
123KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
6:1
8:1

 

Download Speed
The Optio S connects to a host computer via a USB interface. I clocked it at 398 KBytes/second on my 2.4 GHz Sony VAIO desktop, running Windows XP. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

 

OS Review
OS Test Images
OS Specifications
OS "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

Reader Comments!
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Pentax Optio S, or add comments of your own!


Follow Imaging Resource:

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS3 digital camera
Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate