Pentax Optio S5i review

Started Oct 31, 2005 | User reviews thread
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beege New Member • Posts: 2
Pentax Optio S5i review

I own or have owned five digital cameras. My first one was an early Pentax EI 100 that was subsequently given to my daughter to take photos of our grandchildren. It has operated without a hitch for more than five years. I still own and use (on rare occasion) an early Spotmatic 35mm camera. This camera is about 40 years old, one cleaning about five years ago is the total maintenance. With such experience with Pentax products, I purchased this S5i, anticipating continued satisfaction.

Ease of operation, quality of images, general convenience, are all pluses. I carry the camera in a small padded pouch virtually all the time since it is so small.

Complaints? Yes, a few: the power button is located in a position that invites turning off the camera instead of taking a picture. I have become accustomed to the poor position, at the top end of the camera and now rarely have a problem for me....but when given to another person, including my wife to take pictures, almost always find that the button is pressed!

The low light focusing does cause a difficulty; if a high contrast area can be found at approximately the same distance from the principle subject, the camera can focus by pressing the shutter release 'half way' and then recomposing. This is not always possible resulting in out of focus images.


The butterfly diaphram that acts as the lens cap has malfunctioned. There are two leafs, a larger top on and the smaller lower. When turning off the camera, the top moves into position but the smaller bottom one does not. A slight touch on the top leaf with a finger makes the bottom snap into position.

I called customer service at Pentax, they thought it might be a bit of dust caught. They suggested that I blow it out with an air bottle of the type used to clean any fine quality equipment. After several attempts, this did not work.

Again calling customer service and discussing the problem and referring to past service with previous Pentax products was told: "they don't make 'em like they used to!" It would be necessary for me to return the camera for repair. It is there now, and I am waiting for its return in the 4 to 6 weeks necessary.

When researching the purchase of a micro-mini camera, I found a competors model that had the low assist focus system but after reading reviews on this site saw that a common malfunction was reported in almost 40% of the reviews. I bought the Pentax because of previously experienced reliability... I'm not too happy.

Pentax Optio S5i
5 megapixels • 1.8 screen • 36 – 107 mm (3×)
Announced: Aug 24, 2004
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