As you can see the Optio S has very tiny proportions, thanks to that clever lens design the body is very thin. From a styling point of view the Optio S is quite distinctive, radiating circles etched into the front (from the lens barrel) and rear (from the 4-way controller) look good and make the camera easier to grip. As you can see the front of the camera is completely flat, and the rear virtually flat which means that the Optio S really is a 'top pocket' digital camera. Construction is good, the camera feels extremely light but solid and without creaks or rattles.
Side by side
At last a three times optical zoom three megapixel digital
camera which makes Minolta's DiMAGE X/Xi/Xt look big! The Optio S is exactly
the same 'thinness' as they DiMAGE X/Xi (20 mm) but is notably smaller
from the front. The Optio S has a volume of 86 cm³ and ready to shoot
weighs 116 g, the DiMAGE Xi is 122 cm³ and 155 g. With the introduction
of the Optio S Pentax has stolen the 'smallest, lightest, three megapixel,
three times zoom digital camera' title from Minolta.
In your hand
The pictures below probably go even further to emphasizing the size of the Optio S. Despite its small proportions it is remarkably easy to hold and shoot with, the etched front and rear provide good grip and an indentation on the rear is designed to fit your thumb.
The Optio S has a 1.6" TFT LCD monitor which is bright and has fairly good resolution (although the actual resolution is not reported by Pentax). The screen has an anti-reflective coating which helps greatly outdoors. The LCD monitor provides 98% frame coverage in shooting mode and 100% in play mode.
As we see on so many digital cameras the Optio S has a standard 'optical tunnel' type viewfinder, the view through it is like looking down a square shaped paper tube. There are no focus area or center of frame indicators nor are their parallax correction lines for closer shooting. This viewfinder would be fine for occasional snapshots but not for correct framing which must be done using the LCD monitor. The viewfinder offers just 75% frame coverage.
The two lights beside the viewfinder indicate the following:
|Green Steady||Good AF Lock|
|Green Flashing||Can not AF Lock|
|Red Steady||Flash is charged, will be used for next shot|
|Red Flashing||Flash charging|
|Green & Red Flashing||Writing image to SD / MMC card|
Battery & Storage Compartment
Supplied with the Optio 550 is the D-BC8 battery charger, its design incorporates a battery slot in the top of the charger unit, meaning you must remove the battery from the camera to charge. A full charge from flat takes approximately 1.5 hours (thus an approximately 500 mA charge rate).