Pentax Optio S5n review

Started Apr 22, 2005 | User reviews
Mr PJB New Member • Posts: 2
Pentax Optio S5n review

I was looking for an ultracompact digital camera and purchased the Pentax Optio S5n. After a couple hundred pictures here is my first ever camera review.

Amazingly small camera with beautiful 2" display that has worked well for me even outside on a sunny day.

The rubber thumb grip (strip) really helps me hold this tiny camera. The sliding doors on the two interface ports seem to work better than the plastic plug-type covers on my other camera.

The camera is so light it is no burden to take it anywhere, however, if in the future the designers at Pentax use more metal in the body I wouldn't complain about a little extra weight.

The spring-loaded battery/memory card door that swings and stays open even when holding the camera upside down works well.

The camera is amazingly configurable for an ultracompact P&S. Even though you can't directly set shutter speed and aperature you can effect similar changes using the menu icons.

My two favorite features are the power-off checklist and the green "Quick" button on the back.

Yes, you can actually go through a list of camera controls and "check" whether you want the camera to remember its setting after power down.

The green button on the back can be linked to several different types of functions. My Optio S5n is now configured such that with two clicks I can change the ISO from 200 to 400, or if I want, EV +2.

The camera has two excellent macro modes. The instruction manual recommends not using the flash for the closest macro mode, however, I haven't found any exposure problems and have taken clear flash pictures of business cards, book bindings, flower petals, and serial numbers labels.

I thought I would miss the optical viewfinder. I was wrong.

Image Quality:
I'm very happy with the image quality. (My evaluation is based on "people snapshots" photo-printer printed 8x10 (1440dpi glossy). I cannot really tell the difference between snapshots taken with my digital SLR and the Optio S5n).

Ease of Use:
Definitely an easy camera to use. Turn it on, aim, shoot, and review. The very quick 8x zoom really helps confirm you got the shot you want.

After using the camera for a week, I found it very easy to make setting changes quickly. It has reasonable button layout given such a small camera.

However, I could not figure out how to set up the "quick" button the way I wanted without having to refer to the manual several times.

The weakest part of the entire Pentax Optio S5n package is the manual. As far as manuals go it isn't necessarily unclear, it just looks rushed. Even the cover has a typo: "Operating" spelled "Operatin".

My favorite quote from the manual: " not look into the emitter from a very short distance since you may feel dazzlingly."

Value for the money:
I went to the camera store with my budget ready to purchase a more popular 4M ultracompact. After taking some in-store pictures with both I bought the Optio S5n for the exact same price.

For the money, you get a super small 5M camera, a rechargable battery good for about 150 pics (half the time using flash), a nice cradle that holds both a camera and an optional spare battery for charging. The software is ACDSee for Pentax.

This camera exceeded my expectations so much that I went to the effort of creating this review. I hope you find it useful. Thanks DPReview.


One back-lit macro photo of a red tulip turned out very orange and oversaturated.

I haven't experienced any other problems with the camera.

Pentax Optio S5n
5 megapixels • 2 screen • 36 – 107 mm (3×)
Announced: Feb 13, 2005
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