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Available in chrome (used in our preview here), black and aquamarine green, the Pentax Optio S1 was launched in March 2011 and is currently available for just £99.99. Read on to find out what you get for less than £100.
Other shooting modes available are Auto, P mode, Blue Sky, Landscape, Flower, Sunset, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Portrait, Natural Skin Tone, Food, Digital SR, Kids, Pet, Sport, Surf & Snow, Fireworks, Frame Composite, Party, Candlelight, Text, Miniature Filter and HDR.
The Optio S1 can also do some photo editing, such as rotation, red-eye compensation, resize and cropping as well as applying digital filters such as black & white, miniature, HDR, sepia, toy camera, retro, colour, extract colour, colour emphasis, soft and brightness.
The Optio S1 records videos in 16:9, 720p HD format as well as VGA (640x480) and QVGA (320x240) at 30 or 15.
- 14 megapixel sensor
- Wide angle 5x optical zoom lens (28-140mm)
- 2.7in screen
- Sensor shift SR Shake Reduction system
- 720p HD Video recording at 30fps
- 5cm Super Macro mode
- 3.2fps continuous shooting
- Face Detection, Smile Detection, and Blink Detection
- HDR mode for high dynamic range
- SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card support
- In camera charging via USB
- 91mm x 53mm x 20mm
The CIPA rating for the battery is 180 shots and during testing this seems about correct, if you are going out shooting for a whole day, it is worth considering carrying a spare.
Under drive shooting, the camera has a self-timer of 2 or 10 seconds and you can also use a Pentax Remote Control, which can be instant or on a 3 second delay. There is also Continuous and Burst Shooting. Continuous Shooting takes full size images when the shutter is held down and in testing was capable of 0.9fps. Bust Shooting reduces the resolution to 5 megapixels but shoots at 3.3fps.
|Wide-angle, ISO64, 1/50, f/10.8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Full optical zoom, 1/250, f/5.7, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)|
|Digital zoom, ISO64, 1/250, f/5.7 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)||Super macro, ISO64, 1/125, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
Although very minimal, there is some noise at ISO64. At ISO100 it doesn't worsen much. Noise is clearly worse at ISO200 and ISO400, but the images taken at these levels are still good. Patches of detail start to get lost at ISO800 and is much worse at ISO1600. Although the noise is very bad at ISO3200 and ISO6400, the images are restricted to 5 megapixels and these ISO levels aren't commonly available on compact cameras at the price of the Optio S1.
Using either portrait or natural skin tone modes, the Optio S1 takes a very pleasing portrait with excellent skin tones. Landscape mode also takes good pictures, with a boost given to the blues and greens in the images.
|Portrait, ISO800, 1/80, f/5.3, 17mm (35mm equiv: 93mm)||Natural skin tone, ISO800, 1/80, f/5.3, 17mm (35mm equiv: 93mm)|
|Landscape, ISO100, 1/50, f/10.8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Landscape with building, ISO64, 1/60, f/10.8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
The camera has D-range mode, where you can apply highlight and shadow correction when shooting. It isn't easy to see in the thumbnails below, but when viewing large it is clear there is more detail in the shadows of the trees when switching the D-range setting on.
|D-range on, ISO125, 1/320, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||D-range off, ISO64, 1/320, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
|Flower mode with super macro, ISO100, 1/40, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Text, ISO400, 1/15, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
Auto white-balance generally does a good job, under the incandescent lighting in our studio, the images produced using AWB and the incandescent preset are very similar. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB setting does the best job, with the fluorescent preset giving a slight orange cast.
Here are examples using some of the scene modes available on the Optio S1. The Frame Composite example is just one of three available.
|Miniature, ISO64, 1/250, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||HDR mode, ISO64, 1/320, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
|Frame composite, ISO64, 1/320, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)||Blue sky, ISO64, 1/320, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)|
Digital FiltersThe following images are examples of the digital filters that can be applied when editing photos. Some of the filters have varying levels and colour options.
|Miniature||HDR||Black and White|
|Sepia||Toy camera||Retro (Blue)|
|Retro (Brown)||Colour (Red)||Extract colour (green)|
|Colour emphasis (green)||Soft||Brightness|
Video ModeBelow is an example of a video shot at 720p HD. The camera can also shoot VGAs (640x480) and QVGAs (320x240) at 30 or 15fps.
Value For MoneyThe Pentax Optio S1 is currently available for £99.99. Over the last few months we have looked at a number of cameras of similar performance and price level. Scoring four out of five are the Nikon Coolpix S3100 for £99.99, Nikon Coolpix S2500 for £78.99 and the Canon PowerShot A3200 IS for £104.99. Scoring three and a half are the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS16 for 119.00, Nikon Coolpix L23 for £55.49, Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 for £98.99, Samsung ST95 for £126.99 and Samsung ST6500 for £147.39.
Pentax Optio S1: ProsReally small camera and stylish design
Large ISO range
Easy to use
Pentax Optio S1: ConsBattery life only rated at 180 shots
Pictures are poor using some of the modes, such as HDR
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Optical zoom||5x optical zoom, 5 ‐ 25mm (35mm equiv: 28 - 140mm), f/3.9 - 5.7|
|Sensor size||1/2.3 inch|
|Max image size||4288 x 3216|
|Focus points||9-point Multi‐AF, Spot AF, Auto‐tracking AF (anticipating moving subject)|
|Focus type||TTL Contrast detection Autofocus system|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO64 - 6400|
|Metering types||Multi-segment metering, Centre-weighted metering, Spot metering|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2EV (1/3EV steps)|
|Shutter speed range||1/6000 - 4sec|
|Image stabilisation||CCD-shift Shake Reduction|
|Movie mode||HDTV 720p (1280x720), VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240) at 30 or 15fps|
|Monitor||2.7 inch colour LCD, extra wide angle viewing with AR coating|
|Media type||SD, SDHC, SDXC|
|Interface||USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed), PC / AV terminal (PAL / NTSC)|
|Power||Rechargeable D‐LI78 Lithium‐ion battery (180 shots)|
|Box Contents||AV cable, USB cable, Li-ion battery, power adapter, strap and software|
|Size||90 x 54 x 20mm|
|Weight||126g with memory card and battery|