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Conclusion - Pros

  • Very compact
  • Incredibly light - carry anywhere without even noticing
  • Excellent handling for such a small camera
  • Fairly low noise at ISO 80-100, not bad at 200-400
  • High quality construction, lovely design
  • Good resolution and edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Fast focus, very short shutter lag
  • Lots of control and some customization
  • Good macro mode
  • Comprehensive focus and metering modes
  • Easy to use

Conclusion - Cons

  • Slight underexposure
  • Images a bit on the soft side
  • Some focus problems in low light (esp. at long end of zoom)
  • Default contrast a little high
  • Poor shot-to-shot performance
  • No AF illuminator
  • Screen doesn't 'gain up' in low light
  • Movie mode unimpressive
  • Red eye quite common

Overall conclusion

In an ever-growing sub-compact market the Optio S5i has much to recommend it; it's probably the lightest - and one of the smallest - in its class, has fast focus, no discernible shutter lag, lots of useful features and is a real joy to use. It's also very well priced for a 5MP compact. On the downside the image quality is good, but not great, the low light focus is a little hit and miss (though better than you'd expect given the lack of an illuminator) and the LCD can be difficult to see in dim conditions. That all said, my only serious problem with the Option S5i was the poor shot-to-shot performance and unimpressive burst mode.

As with all these ultra-compact cameras I'd suggest downloading some of the samples - as well as those for the Nikon Coolpix 5200, Panasonic FX7 and Canon PowerShot SD300 - and decide for yourself whether the image quality is up to your standards; I would personally be more than happy to slip the S5i into my pocket on the days I didn't want to carry a bigger camera.

Highly Recommended

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