Pentax Optio 550 review
Great little camera, though not without its flaws. I've taken a great many photos
since I bought it 2-1/2 months ago. Very solid feel. Compact so it goes everywhere
with me. Excellent zoom range for its class. Crisp, clean photos at lower ISOs.
The plastic tripod mount, though cheesy looking, works fine. Though keeping the
tripod baseplate on the camera blocks access to the battery/SD card compartment.
Not a big deal; some concessions are to be expected with a camera this small. Some
vignetting at full wide angle. This can be remedied (sort of) by zooming a little and
using Stitch Mode. However, the ACDSee software does not include stitching
capability for Mac users. Apparently, we never need to use this function. Some
shutter lag requires advanced thinking when shooting, also. I would like a greater
f-stop range and shutter speed range for those photos that require long exposures.
The Macro Modes are nice, but focusing in them can be tricky, even with spot
By far, the worst problem is red-eye. It doesn't matter if the red-eye reduction
feature is enabled or not; almost every photo of people results in significant red-eye.
This camera is great for photos that give you some time to set up the shot, but if
you shoot lots of photos of people, I would suggest a camera that has a hot shoe for
a flash (and a filter for the flash to eliminate red-eye).
Overall, I love the 550. I'm glad I waited to get my first digital. It suits me for 90% of
the pictures I take. And the other 10% can easily be covered by my 35mm. If you
want to see some samples of its capabilities, visit
http://www.sticksandstonesdesign.com/photography/things.htm (keep in mind,
though, that most have been embellished with Photoshop). If I lost this camera, I
wouldn't hesitate to buy another.
No real problems, but the flimsy lens cover did bind up once when powered up. But a
little jiggle fixed it.