Pentax Optio SV review
I have used this camera for approx 6 months. I just dropped it from my car (at high speed) and smashed it into a million pieces. I will be replacing it with another of the same. Here's why...
I use a Canon Powershot S45 regularly as my main camera. I was looking for a second camera that would take decent snaps, have good manual overrides, and be small. The Optio SV is all of these things.
I agree with other reviews that it is a complex camera that requires lots of learning. For example, I could not get it to focus reliably until I overrode one of the focus settings, which I think allows 2 or 3 fields for the focus calc (I can't tell you exactly because the camera is in lots of bits...). I use lots of manual overrides when shooting, so this was what I expected from the camera.
The image quality is fine for my purposes. I've never noticed it being any worse than my Canon S45.
Some other reviews mention build quality as being a problem. It seems fine to me. I didn't really expect it to survive a 60mph roll down the road, but prior to that it seemed tough enough and felt solid to me.
Subject to the problems listed below, this camera does exactly what I want. But then when I want really good, fast, reliable pictures I would always reach for the Canon S45 which does everything better at the expense of size and weight. The Optio is for me a compromise that works as a second camera to slip in my pocket.
My main gripes:
1. The camera was very poor at focusing until I changed the default focusing mode from sampling a large part of the picture to a smaller part. Then focus was fine. Once I had done this, even low light focus was OK (though not as good as the Canon S45 which has a focus light to assist, but then again the Optio is nice and small). So, for some weeks I believed that the camera was a poor focuser. But now I am happy with it.
2. Shutter delay time is really poor/slow, to get from no-press to half-way (I think others have referred to this as focus preset). This makes the camera unusable for anyone who has not learned to preset the camera. It took me some weeks to get used to this. Once I did, I ceased to regard this as a problem, and my timing of shots - even with fast-moving action - is fine. In other words, from half-way to shutter-release is quick.