DigitalCameraReview.com
Users speak out about the Pentax Optio S5i digital camera
by Ben Stafford -  3/26/2005

Welcome to another installment of "Users speak out..."  This time, we're going to take a look at the Pentax Optio S5i The opinions will be chosen based on the value of the information (in our opinion) to our readers.  We won't necessarily pick only the "positive" opinions or only the "negative" opinions.  We'll pick the opinions that we think will be most helpful to you as you shop for and compare cameras.   To see all opinions, click through to the product detail, and click the "View Opinions" link.

The Optio S5i has a 5 megapixel sensor, 1.8 inch LCD and and optical 3x zoom.  The S5i is an upgrade from the popular S4i and became available mid-late 2004.  Below are some opinions from users of the camera.

Opinions

digicam for extreme fun
Pros: i bought this camera one month before (pentax is a german company, that is why i got the cam earlier). what is especially cool on this camera is the unique design together with the 3x optical zoom, the camera is only 2 metric cm thick, and therefore as slim as your briefcase, so you can take it anyways, especially when you are out in the evening for clubbing, partying or anything. You will make great shots of excellent quality. What is nasty about this cam is the fact of many unnecessary features which prevent you from finding the required option at anytime ;-).
Cons:

Awesome Size, Quality
Pros: This is my first digital camera, I decided on this over the pentax 750Z, I opted for 2 less megapixels and less optical zoom, for the size. This camera is tiny, you can carry it with you like your cell phone (it weighs less than a cellphone). Good Flash, great software, nice charging base.
Cons: you are getting the best you can in a small camera. Flash is best I have seen in this size (better than sony and casio), but not as good as a larger camera. Pictures in day light are awesome, pictures in dark areas even with flash leave something to be desired. I would still take this camera over a larger one anyday.

Performance and size!
Pros: very small and light. Everything from point and shoot to fully manual. For the size, it is able to take amazing high-quality pictures! The battery life seems to be relatively long. The charging cradle is nice, too, with the ability to charge both the camera and a spare battery at the same time.
Cons: Very little built in memory (3 pictures on the best setting), movie mode could be a bit higher resolution but it still is very good. For the size, these are only minor things.

Great quality in a tiny package
Pros: This appears to be the smallest, lightest full-functioned digital camera on the market. It's extremely convenient to carry around--I end up missing far fewer photo ops. Many useful shooting modes, easy controls (even for my big hands). The LCD screen is ample for the camera's small size. Used with care, the S5i takes excellent photos--sharp and well saturated, with good color balance. Even without a fully manual setting, the camera gives creative amateurs enough control to have a blast.
Cons: Short battery charge (you'll need two). Power button poorly placed.

Tiny Camera packs a Punch
Pros: With a little practice the camera can take some wonderful shots. I have taken indoor portraits with no problems. The AF system works very well in low light. Sharpness is better than I expected for such a tiny lens. The camera's size means it can go anywhere, even a shirt pocket. In daylight the Optio excels and there are plenty (19) of scene modes to play with. It also has a built filtering system with 9 colors and even a effects for slimming a subject! The camera also has a Program mode with WB, Focus and metering options. It allows for an unusual amount of control for such a compact P&S. You'll even find a manual focus mode that works better than the one on my expensive Nikon. Pentax also sells a tiny remote control (20 bucks) for the camera and a underwater housing! While the cradle has no USB connectivity, it does allow you to charge two batteries at once. Nice. Overall the Optio S5I is well done, but a better screen and ergonomics would have been welcome. Casio sells the Z50 and Z55 which are just a hair larger, but feature better screens and ergonomics. Panasonic has a new camera of the same size with image stabilization, but the screen quality and battery life appear to be poor compared to the Pentax and Casio. If you want the smallest 5MP unit around, I doubt you'll be disappointed in the Pentax, but I'd still hesitate to recommend it as a primary camera simply because a larger lens set will give you better shots for the same money. Good luck! Capt RB
Cons: Use your head when buying one of these tiny cameras. 5 MP does not mean you are buying a super high res camera. There are plenty of 4 MP units with larger lenses that can outperform a camera like this. I got the Optio S5I as a SECOND camera to supplement the bulky 8 MP Nikon that I also use. Let me start with the negatives: I think the 1.8 display is so-so at best. I don't think you can judge 100% when a reviewed pic is sharp or not. It shows some noise. Clearly they didn't go crazy over the screen quality. Camera is actually smaller in height and width than a credit card. It can be tough to hold, but you WANTED a tiny camera! No focus assist lamp for very low light work. Mediocre movie mode. Button placement is less than intelligent. Some folks will wonder why pentax put the power button next to the shutter release. It's fine once you train your fingers. Cradle does not sync via USB...duh! Why have a cradle at all? Built in memory is just an excuse to ship the camera with no SD card. The built in 10 meg will let you take 3 pics, so buying at least a 256 is a must.