Pentax Optio S5i review
My first acquaintance with this little gem was during a Caribbean cruise where I was shooting with a Leica M. THe folkas on the boat were promoting it with a couple of freebies (leather case and 256 SD card) I was so amazed by it that I got one on the next stop at St. Thomas and got an even better deal with an extra battery, a 512 card, instead of 256 and a useless mini tripod.
In actual use, it's extremely easy to use. Actually very intuitive. I had mastered most of the features after only 15 or 20 minutes of use. My only disapointment is that I could use a slightly wider coverage; say, equivalent to a 28mm in 35 format. My other disapointment is with the lens quality, although this is quite consistent and expected on such a small camera. The lens has quite noticeable distortion and is, by any standard, soft overalll save for a "sweet spot" in the center covering about half of the vertical area.
On the other hand, the diminutive take anywhere size, much as a stack of credit cards, lets me carry it with me all the time unnoticed. Contrary to other digital P&S, it boots-up ver fast and has negligible shutter lag, almost non-existant. It's a super everyday companion.
Another advantage that will be of interest to a few, is that Sea&Sea, the manufacturer of underwater cameras and housings, makes a dandy little housing for it that accepts a full array of submersible strobes and accessory lenses, from a 16mm super wide angle to a 2:1 macro. Until now, I've been diving with a housed 35mm SLR and/or a Nikonos V. The superb convenience and small size of the Optio housing made me a very happy diver and the picture quality is more than acceptable.
It's very succeptible to humidity. I got some mottled discolorations on the LCD by trapped humidity after some raindrops fell on it one day. They disappeared after three or four days tho. In any case, I've got an underwater housing for it now. Perfect for anything from rafting, camping to scuba diving.
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