Pentax Optio S1: Performance

June 14, 2011 by Andy Stanton Reads (3,668)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 5
    • Features
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Expandability
    • 0
    • Total Score:
    • 5.20
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

I was generally pleased with the performance of the Optio S1. The camera is quick in starting up and shutting down. Menu operations are quick and accurate. Shot-to-shot time without the flash is good, from one to two seconds. Shooting speed slowed considerably with the flash in effect, to about five seconds.

Shooting Performance
When using the Optio S1 I felt its shooting performance was good. The camera seemed to acquire focus quickly and accurately, even in low light. However, this is contradicted, to a degree, by the findings of DCR’s labs. As shown by the performance tables below, the camera measured 0.20 seconds for shutter lag (the time between pressing the shutter and taking the shot) when the camera is pre-focused, and 0.55 seconds without pre-focusing. Both times are slow, especially 0.20 seconds for shutter lag.

Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)

Camera Time (seconds)
Sony Cyber-shot WX9 0.01
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 0.01
Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS 0.02
Pentax Optio S1 0.20

AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 0.20
Sony Cyber-shot WX9 0.25
Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS 0.36
Pentax Optio S1 0.55

Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate*
Sony Cyber-shot WX9 10 9.8
Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS 3 3.8
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 1.3
Pentax Optio S1 0.9

*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

The camera’s continuous shooting speed is also slow, at only 0.9 frames per second, but there is no limit on the number of shots the camera can take in continuous shooting mode (until the memory card is full). The Optio S1 also has a high speed continuous shooting mode which will take a 10 shot burst at 3.2 frames per second but only at five megapixels of resolution.

According to Pentax, battery life for the Optio S1 is 180 shots. This figure will be less if the user frequently accesses the menu and/or takes movies. Thus it would be wise to purchase a second battery for backup if you plan to go out for a day’s worth of shooting.

Lens Performance
The Optio S1 has a 5x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 28-140mm (35mm film camera equivalent), with an aperture of f/3.9-5.7, which is on the slow side. The lens range can be extended with digital zoom, which due to the large number of megapixels can provide decent results if not overused.

Pentax S1 Sample Image
Wide Angle
Pentax S1 Sample Image

The camera produces images that are sharp in the center but are sometimes blurry in the corners. I did not notice any vignetting (darkened corners), but chromatic aberration (fringing) in high contrast areas can sometimes occur. These issues are present in the image below:

Pentax S1 Sample Image

There is minimal barrel distortion at wide angle and no pincushion distortion at maximum telephoto.

Pentax S1 Sample Image
Wide Angle
Pentax S1 Sample Image
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