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"Picky Details" for the Pentax Optio S5i digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)



When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time or delay before the shutter actually fires. This corresponds to the time required for the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras I test, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Pentax Optio S5i:

Pentax Optio S5i Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. About average.
2.5 - 6.5
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case time, with camera writing to the memory card. Fairly fast.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Very fast.
Record to play
4.5 / 0.4
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card. First time is rather slow, second is quite fast. (Note though, that the Instant Review feature does display the just-captured image almost immediately, within a half-second or less.)
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.44 / 0.83
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. First time is very fast, second is a little faster than average. (Both are very good for a subcompact digicam.)
Shutter lag, manual focus

Time to capture, manual focus. A good bit faster than average.

Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Blazingly fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

4.74 /

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer clears after each shot regardless of resolution. Both times are quite slow.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 3.46 / 0.99
(0.29 / 1.01fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer clears after each shot regardless of resolution. Both times are rather slow.

Surprisingly fast shutter response, slow shot-to-shot cycle times. With full-autofocus shutter lag ranging from 0.44 - 0.83 seconds, the Pentax Optio S5i is surprisingly quick for a subcompact digital camera. (Although 0.83 seconds is still way too long to have to wait, if you care about fast-breaking action.) At 0.14 seconds, its manual-focus shutter lag is better than most, and its lag of only 0.011 second when "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button prior to the shot itself is positively blazing. Alas, like most subcompact digital cameras, its shot to shot cycle times are downright lethargic, at an average of 4.7 seconds between shots for large/fine images, and 2.1 seconds for small/basic quality ones. Continuous mode is only slightly faster, at 3.5 seconds/frame for large/fine images, or 0.99 seconds/frame for small/basic ones. Bottom line, not bad for fast action, as long as you don't mind waiting a while between shots.



The Pentax Optio S5i uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. Because it uses a custom external power connector, I was unable to conduct my usual direct power consumption measurements. I did time how long a fully-charged battery pack took to run down in the worst-case power consumption mode (record mode, with the rear-panel LCD illuminated), and found it to be a (very) respectable 111 minutes. While I always advise readers to purchase an extra battery right along with their digicams, the S5i's battery life is quite good, especially for a subcompact model.


Storage Capacity

The Pentax Optio S5i stores its photos on SD memory cards or approximately 10.2MB of internal memory. No memory card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 MB one, to give yourself enough space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored in the internal memory at each size/quality setting, underscoring the need for a separate memory card.

Image Capacity vs
32 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2560 x 1920 Images
(Avg size)
3.4 MB
1.7 MB
1.0 MB
4:1 9:1 14:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
2.0 MB
1.1 MB
768 KB
5:1 8:1 12:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
1.2 MB
716 KB
511 KB
5:1 8:1 11:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
563 KB
307 KB
235 KB
4:1 8:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
256 KB
164 KB
123 KB
4:1 6:1


Download Speed

The Pentax Optio S5i connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop computer running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at a relatively fast 763 KBytes/second. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast v1.1 interfaces run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces run as fast as several megabytes/second.)

S5i Review
S5i Test Images
S5i Specifications
S5i "Picky Details"
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