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Pentax Optio S5i Review

December 2004 | By Simon Joinson

Review based on a production Pentax Optio S5i

Announced in August 2004, the Pentax Optio S5i is an upgrade of the popular S4i with an extra million pixels, some minor styling changes and a couple of new features. The S5i is almost unfeasibly small — thanks in part to the innovative sliding lens first seen at the start of 2003 in the Optio S (and since in several Pentax and Casio models) — yet is more feature-packed than most other ultra-compacts. In an ever-growing market, and with a handful of outstanding competing models (see recent reviews of the Canon PowerShot SD300 and Panasonic DMC-FX7 for example), does the Optio S5i have what it takes to become the pocket camera of choice? Let's find out. Here's a few of the S5i's headline features to get us started:

  • 5.0 million effective pixels
  • 35-105mm equiv. sliding zoom lens
  • 1.8-inch LCD monitor
  • 21 shooting modes, including new Sports mode
  • New Pan Focus mode
  • 0.01-second shutter lag time
  • SD card-compatible and 10MB internal memory
  • Live histogram
  • 6cm Super Macro mode
  • Battery charger stand can charge two batteries at once

Pentax Optio S5i Key specifications

Street price • US: $360
• UK: £250
Body Material Metal
Sensor • 1/2.5" CCD, 5.25 million total pixels
• 5.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes

• 2560 x 1920
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480

Movie clips

• 320 x 240 (15 fps)
• With audio
• AVI Motion JPEG


• 35.6 - 107 mm equiv. (3x zoom)
• F2.6 - F4.8


• TTL autofocus
• 7-point mutli/spot AF
• 49 selectable AF points
• Pan focus, manual focus and infinity focus options
• Normal: 0.4 m - Infinity
• Macro: 18 cm - 50cm
• Super macro: 6cm - 20cm

Shooting mode

• Portrait
• Flower
• Self-portrait
• Sports
• Surf and Snow
• Autumn colors
• Landscape
• Sunset
• Museum
• Text
• Food
• Sport
• Green (auto everything)
• Program
• Soft focus
• Night scene
• Movie
• Panorama assist
• 3D
• Digital filter
• User
• Marine
• Marine movie
• AE Compensation +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
White Balance • Auto
• Cloudy, daylight, incandescent, shade, tungsten light, fluorescent light (neutral white and white), fluorescent light (daylight) and manual (custom)
Image parameters • Sharpness (5 settings)
• Saturation (5 settings)
• Contrast (5 settings)

0.3 fps

Flash • Built-in flash
• Auto, on/off, auto + red-eye reduction, on with red eye reduction
• Range (ISO 200): Wide 0.2m - 3.5 m (0.65 - 11.5 ft) /
Tele 0.2m - 2.0m (0.65 - 6.6 ft)

Approx 10MB internal memory

Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 1.8 " TFT LCD
• 85,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 1.1
• A/V out
Power • D-L18 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Battery Charging Stand D-BC25 included
In the box*

• Optio S5i camera
Battery Charger
Battery Pack
AV Cable
USB Connection Cable,
Hand Strap,

Other features

• Multi-segment, center-weighted and spot metering
Record and playback histogram
• Optional remote control
• 2/10 second self-timer
• Panorama assist and 3D assist modes

Weight (inc batt) 120 g (4.2 oz)
Dimensions 88 x 52 x 20.5 mm (3.4 x 2.0 x 0.8 in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (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.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

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 article is Copyright 2004 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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