Pentax Optio S1: Video and Image Quality

by Andy Stanton Reads (369)
Editor's Rating
5.20

TG Ratings Breakdown

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

Video Quality
Although the Optio S1 can produce HD video at 1280 x 720, at 30 frames per second, there are two significant problems with it. One is the presence of overexposure when shooting outdoors in bright conditions. Another is that only digital zoom is permitted during video, although it does not work smoothly and is best avoided. Both of these problems are illustrated below.

Image Quality
The Optio S1 produces punchy images with strong, but realistic colors. I especially like the way it reproduces the colors of flowers.

Pentax S1 Sample Image

However, as I found when shooting movies, the camera tends to overexpose when shooting outdoors under bright skies. This causes images to look soft and washed out. This can be compensated for, to a degree, by the judicious use of the exposure compensation control.

Pentax S1 Sample Image

The flash has settings for auto, on, auto plus red-eye and on plus red-eye. The use of red-eye activates a pre-flash. Other options include slow synchro (brightens the background) and off. There is no flash setting for red-eye reduction. Flash coverage is approximately 12 feet at wide angle and 8.2 feet at telephoto. The flash gives appropriate brightness to the subject without overdoing it.

Pentax S1 Sample Image

The Optio S1 has white balance settings for auto, daylight, shade, tungsten, fluorescent and manual. I used auto white balance for all my pictures, which seemed to work well.

Pentax S1 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

ISO test results shows good color, sharpness and minimal noise through 200 ISO, but by 400 ISO noise reduction has softened the image and dulled the colors. The image is minimally acceptable at 800 ISO while 1600 ISO (and higher using certain scene modes) should be used only in emergencies.

Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 64
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 64, 100% crop
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 100
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 200
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 400
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 800
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 1600
Pentax S1 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop

Additional Sample Images

Pentax S1 Sample Image Pentax S1 Sample Image
Pentax S1 Sample Image Pentax S1 Sample Image
Pentax S1 Sample Image Pentax S1 Sample Image


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