The Pentax Optio S1 is a very stylish camera with the features you would expect at its price point – with the exception of a panorama mode – plus it has a remote control receiver, a feature few Point and Shoot cameras have. The camera is solidly built and seems like it will stand up to normal use (and even some abuse).
Its menu system is logically laid out and works well. I like the fact that it includes color filters in playback mode, which gives users the option of making changes to their photos after they are taken. While our lab test shows rather slow shooting performance, I did not find this to be a problem and most users won’t either. My only criticism of the camera’s performance is that flash recovery time is somewhat slow, at about five seconds.
However, I did also have some issues with the camera’s image quality and movie quality. While the camera produces very pleasing colors, overexposure in bright outdoor conditions is sometimes a problem, both with still images and movies. While sharpness is good at the center of the image, it tends to drop off at the corners. Images lose definition and color at higher than 400 ISO. Finally, optical zoom cannot be used when shooting movies and it would be best to avoid using digital zoom.
Another problem with the Optio S1 is that its competition is fierce. I recently reviewed the Canon ELPH 300 HS, Panasonic DMC-FH27 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9, three small cameras all of which are in the general price range of the Optio S1. I would recommend them all over the Optio S1.
- Attractive, reflective aluminum body
- Solid build quality
- Produces strong but realistic colors
- Numerous interesting filters
- Overexposure in still images and videos
- No optical zoom during video recording
- Image sharpness drops off at the corners
- Image quality declines above 400 ISO