The Pentax Optio S1 is a small, stylish, compact camera that is the latest version of Pentax's venerable Optio S series. It is apparently designed to compete with Canon's ELPH and Nikon's "S" series of small cameras.
My previous experience with a Pentax camera was with the Optio I-10, an interesting Point and Shoot camera shaped like a small DSLR (or a retro toy camera) which I reviewed for this website about a year ago. While there was nothing outstanding about the I-10, I found it to be a quite competent camera in all respects, with surprisingly good image quality. So I expected good things from the Optio S1.
The Optio S1 has a striking appearance. The chrome model I reviewed has an aluminum skin that is reflective, like a mirror. Several people who saw me using it remarked that they found it very attractive. Its specifications are pretty standard - 14.1 megapixels, a 5x optical zoom lens covering a range of 28-140mm (35mm equivalent), a 1 /2.3-inch CCD sensor, sensor-shift image stabilization, macro focusing as close as 1 cm, HD movie ability at 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second and a 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot LCD screen. The Optio S1 does include a feature rarely seen in compact digital cameras - a remote control receiver which, when combined with a Pentax remote control transmitter, enables wireless operation of the camera's shutter.
While the Optio S1 does not allow independent control of shutter speed or aperture, it does have a program mode which permits considerable control over image quality and other camera functions, including image sharpness, saturation and contrast. The Pentax website shows the Optio S1 with a list price of $199.95 but it can be purchased for substantially less.
The Optio S1 comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a USB cable and wall attachment for plugging in the cable for recharging, a wrist strap, a 222 page paper operating manual (a rarity these days), a CD containing ArcSoft MediaImpression image organizing software and an A/V cable. The Optio S1 can use SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards and contains 97MB of internal memory. In addition to chrome, the Optio S1 is available in blue/green and black.
The Optio S1 is certainly a good looking camera, but let's see how it performs.
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