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Pentax launched the Optio RS1500, the follow up to the RS1000, into its Chameleon camera range in March 2011. The unique feature of the RS1500 is the ability to change the cameras skin to match your mood or outfit. The camera comes with a range of skins, but there are also some blank ones with which you can design your own. Available in the silver and black, the RS1500 is available for £70.
Images are taken using the 14 megapixel sensor and 4x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 27.5 - 110mm. To make picture taking easy the camera has Auto Picture mode, which selects the shooting mode and camera settings. To make more creative pictures the RS1500 has nine digital filters, including: B&W, Sepia, Toy camera, Retro, Colour, Soft, Starburst, Fish-eye, Brightness.
The RS1500 also has Face Detection which automatically detects up to 10 faces to keep them focused sharply and correctly exposed. There is also Smile Capture mode which releases the shutter when the camera detects your subject smiling.
Other features include Digital Blur Removal, Burst Shooting at a speed of 16 images in two seconds (fixed at 640 x 480 pixels), Auto-tracking Autofocus, Digital Panorama mode, Green mode and Frame Composite function.
The RS1500 shoots HD videos at 720p with Shake Reduction to minimise camera shake during recording.
- Customisable skins
- 14 megapixel sensor
- 3 inch LCD monitor
- 4x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 27.5 - 110mm)
- Auto mode
- 720p HD movie recording with shake reduction
- Automatic face detection
- Smile Capture
- Digital filters
- Digital Blur Removal
- Burst Shooting
- Auto-tracking Auto Focus
- Digital Panorama Mode
- Green mode
- Frame Composite
Creating your own skins is done on the Pentax website. It's easy to do, there are a range of background colours to use, and you can also add your own images, text and drawings to create your perfect design.
The buttons are well spaced and easy to press, with a dedicated one to switch between Face Detection and Smile Capture, as well as a green button, which can be designated to change a setting of your choice from Movie, EV compensation, sensitivity and recorded pixels. The screen is clear with good colours and didn't prove an issue to view in bright conditions.
The camera's battery has a CIPA rating of 210 shots. Although this figure is fairly low, during testing there was no reason to believe it couldn't achieve this number of shots. After switching on the camera it is ready to snap away after a couple of seconds and focus speed is good for a camera in this price range. There are three methods for continuous shooting. For full size images, the camera can shoot at around 0.6fps. Switch to burst shooting and 16-frame shooting and you get a smaller images at 3fps and 7.5fps respectively.
|Wide-angle, ISO100, 1/1000, f/3.2, 4.9mm (35mm equiv: 27.5mm)||Full 4x optical zoom, ISO100, 1/400, f/5.9, 19.6mm (35mm equiv: 110mm)|
|Digital zoom, ISO100, 1/500, f/5.9, 19.6mm (35mm equiv: 110mm)||Macro, ISO100, 1/320, f/3.5, 6mm (35mm equiv: 32mm)|
Even at ISO100 there is some noise in the images which gets worse at ISO200. Noise is again worse at ISO400 but it is ISO800 where image quality starts to suffer. At this ISO speed there are some random marks on the images. Moving on to ISO1600, detail and sharpness is becoming quite poor. Noise has taken a firm grip at ISO3200 and ISO6400, but the image size is limited.
If you enjoy shooting portraits, the Optio RS1500 has the ability to fix red-eye in your images using red-eye compensation, which can be done via image editing, available when viewing your photos.
|Portrait, ISO159, 1/100, f/5.4, 16mm (35mm equiv: 92mm)||Portrait with red-eye fix, ISO159, 1/100, f/5.4, 16mm (35mm equiv: 92mm)|
Below are images taken using some of the scene modes available.
|Landscape, ISO100, f/3.2, 1/1000, 4.9mm (35mm equiv: 27.5mm)||Landscape with building, ISO100, f/3.2, 1/1000, 4.9mm (35mm equiv: 27.5mm)|
|Sport, ISO100, f/3.2, 1/640, 4.9mm (35mm equiv: 27.5mm)||Text, ISO302, f/3.5, 1/25, 6mm (35mm equiv: 32mm)|
When testing the camera's white-balance performance in our studio, there is very little difference, whether using auto white-balance or the incandescent and fluorescent presets under the respective lighting setups.
The camera has a range of digital filters which can be applied when editing your photos in camera. Examples using each are shown below.
Video ModeThe RS1500 shoots videos at 720p HD and allows the use of both optical zoom and digital zoom, taking it to 26.8x zoom. The camera can also shoot VGA (640x480) and QVGA (320x240) quality videos.
Value For MoneyThe Pentax Optio RS1500 is available for £69.99. With a similar set of features there are plenty of other cameras to consider, including: Fujifilm FinePix AV200 at £58.99, Sony Cybershot W530 at £109.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS16 at £119.00, Fujifilm FinePix JV200 at £74.99 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 £98.99. After a recent drop in price, the Nikon Coolpix S3100, with a 5x optical zoom lens, is now available for £64.99.
Pentax Optio RS1500: ProsValue for money
Good colour reproduction
Changeable skins are unique
Pentax Optio RS1500: ConsNoise performance is poor
Skins could easily be damaged
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Optical zoom||4x optical zoom, 4.9 - 19.6mm (35mm equiv: 27.5 - 110mm), f/3.2 - 5.9|
|Sensor size||1/2.33 inch|
|Max image size||4288 x 3216|
|Focusing system||Contrast detection TTL Autofocus system<|
|Focus points||Multi-AF 3-point zone, Spot AF, Auto-tracking AF (anticipating moving subject)
Infinity-landscape, Pan focus
|ISO sensitivity||ISO100 - 6400|
|Metering system||Multi-segment metering|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2EV (1/3EV steps)|
|Shutter speed range||1/2000 - 4 seconds|
|Image stabilisation||CCD-shift Shake Reduction|
|Movie mode||HDTV (1280x720), 30/15 fps
VGA (640x480) 30/15 fps
QVGA (320x240), 30/15 fps
|Monitor||3 inch colour LCD monitor, 230,000 dots|
|Media type||SD, SDHC|
|Interface||USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, PC/AV output|
|Power||Rechargeable Li-ion D-LI108 battery|
|Box Contents||Leather or neoprene cases, leather strap, AC adapter kit|
|Size||56mm x 92mm 22.5mm|
|Weight||127g loaded and ready|