Pentax Optio S40 review

Started Nov 9, 2004 | User reviews
wy2lam Veteran Member • Posts: 3,192
Pentax Optio S40 review

I've had problems with a Canon A80 regarding to built quality (burnt pixel, poor lens door, warranty work did nothing) and, after hearing about E18 errors, I decided an exchange to something not Canon. Since I'm getting a DSLR soon, I want something tiny and light, with great construction. The Pentax did not disappoint.

Comparing the 2 models, I found...
1. The Canon costs almost twice as much
2. The Canon offers higher image quality (less noise, sharper) when viewed on screen. But for printing on 6"x4" there is no difference. Maybe I'll try bigger.
3. The Canon focuses faster with 9 point AF vs 5 point on the Pentax.
4. The Pentax feels much more solid than the Canon, which feels it can break with its filmsy plastics. (both are far better than some Panasonics, e.g. LC 80)
5. The Canon has a better LCD, and swivels too.
6. The Canon offers direct control over aperture and shutter.
7. The Pentax interface is better designed, e.g. Shooting priority, Function button.
8. The Pentax lets you use CR-V3 batteries but the Canon blocked that option by having a stupid battery compartment shape.
9. The Pentax has a non-crippled movie mode - you can use the digital zoom and the movie can fill the whole SD card.
10. The Pentax has a lot of bogus waiter modes I don't use.

Some of these points seem to go against the S40, and they do. However, I can truely carry the Pentax everywhere, not so for the Canon. Ultra-compact is really the way to go if you plan to go for a DSLR later.

The Image quality is good enough for 6"x8" - if I want anything the size of 8"x10" I'd use the DSLR. For this price the camera is a really a steal.


1. AF slowness, needs AF illumination badly
2. Viewing the images on screen at 100% can be irratating sometimes due to the noise. A 1/1.8" sensor is really needed.

 wy2lam's gear list:wy2lam's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix HS35EXR Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +8 more
Pentax Optio S40
4 megapixels • 1.6 screen • 35 – 105 mm (3×)
Announced: Feb 2, 2004
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