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Pentax Optio S Review

May 2003 | By Phil Askey


Review based on a production Optio S, firmware V1.00

Pentax announced the ultra-compact (in the most accurate sense of the phrase) Optio S at CES 2003 in January 2003. The Optio S measures just 83 x 52 x 20 mm (3.3 x 2.0 x 0.8 in) and weighs in at just 115 g (4.1 oz) ready to shoot, specifications we'd expect to see from an ultra-compact fixed lens digital camera, all the more amazing then that it has a three times optical zoom lens. Pentax has achieved this feat of miniaturization by altering the lens design so that when retracted three of the lens elements actually move upwards allowing the lens to take up less space. The only hint of this design from the outside is the vertically offset front lens element. The Optio S has a three megapixel sensor, lightweight Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and stores images on SD / MMC cards.

Pentax Optio S sliding lens design

Lens at power off, note that three elements slide upwards out of imaging path thus a thin profile can be maintained
Lens at wide angle (elements back in the image path)
Lens at telephoto


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2003 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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