Pentax Optio S5n review

Started May 7, 2005 | User reviews thread
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rpgurd
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Pentax Optio S5n review
May 7, 2005

This is an extremely practical and well thought out 5MP point and shoot camera, with excellent still photo capability and a well featured movie mode, using regular TV resolution and with the option of doing time lapse. It is truly pocketable and delightfully light.

Although there is no optical viewfinder, the 2 inch lcd is quite viewable and usable in direct sunlight. It only gains up in night mode, though. The display, which overlays the current picture, can tell you everything you need to know about the picture you are about to take or have just taken. There are several levels of detail in each mode.

The camera can focus in the dark, thanks to the autofocus assist lamp, as long as the subject is close enough to be illuminated enough by the light. The red-eye reduction pre-flash mode works well.

Although I was told by the camera store that a standard SD flash memory card would be sufficient to handle even long movies, I sprang for a 60x card (ATP brand). Compared with the performance of the internal memory, the ATP SD card was seriously faster. The benchmark was to take a picture, then switch immediately to playback mode to look at the picture at the best resolution, and see how long it took before the picture came up. Using the internal memory, there was a pause of 2-4 seconds while I was treated 6 times to a flashing message announcing it was waiting for a write to memory to complete. With the 60x card, the flashing message came up only twice.

For long exposures (up to 5 seconds), the camera must be in "night mode". Otherwise, it appears, the maximum shutter speed is kept to a 1//4 second.

In addition to regular autofocus, the S5n has set set of focussing modes for every occasion. Macro photograpy is handled with the macro (really close) and super macro (really, really close) modes. Pan focus turns off the autofocus and sets the camera's focus point to an intermediate point a few feet away, so you can catch fast action nearby nearly instantaneously.

To my eyes, photo sharpness is excellent, but you really have to be at 1/60th of a second or faster to get a sharp photo.

The camera supports a variety of shooting modes, most of which basically make minor weaks to the exposure (+/-), sharpness, saturation and or/ contrast settings, as you can see by looking in the shooting mode menu after you have changed to a new mode.

Problems:

None.

rpgurd's score
5.0
Average community score
4.6
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