Pentax Optio S4i review
Don't get this camera if you are interested in high quality images and decent indoor performance.
Buy it if you will only ever take outdoor pics, will never print anything larger than 4 x 6", and want a small lightweight camera.
Hmmm... how realistic are the caveats for your average user? Hardly I think is the answer.
I happen to own the Canon S410 as well and bought it around the same time as the Optio. As an owner of both, I can claim to have the highest authority in comparing the 2. If you want good images and good performance in low lighting, get the canon. Please don't waste your well earned on the Optio.
The optio has slightly more pixels, but when you zoom into the optio pix vs the canon pix... man... the canon's images are still very smooth. The optio on the other hand seems to have 'blocky' and blotchy pixels. I have no clue where these "artefacts" come from... and it's a consistent flaw irrespective of the setting you are photographing. This evaluation is coming from 3 months worth of picture taking in a very wide variety of settings. I have taken 4 months worth of pix with the canon. Both have had heavy use.
I haven't printed out the photos, but I would be loathe to do large prints with the Optio... but very confident with my Canon's pix. I've printed those out and stunned a lot of my friends.
Optio does very poorly indoors in low lighting. The canon's flash range is significantly better. Even if I use an ISO setting of 400 with the flash, the useful range is only about 1 metre. After that, there is a very significant difference between the light captured by the canon vs Optio... and the optio does very badly. I was quite surprised & disappointed at the gap between the two.
I unfortunately returned to the US with the Optio (for its small size) and left the Canon at home... I really wish I had brought the canon instead. At the time I didn't realise the performance would suck in daylight as well. Now I'm stuck with it!
The only thing going for the Optio is its compact size. If you are only going to use the Optio for outdoors photos and small size & lightweight is top priority, then this is the camera for you... otherwise you would be very unhappy with this purchase.
The software that comes with the Optio is great though.
Bad pixelation and picture quality.
Poor low lighting performance compared to other subcompact cameras.
Reading the other reviews... looks like I wasn't the first to notice these!