Optio S5i Digital Camera (5.3MP, 2560x1920, 3x Opt, 10MB Internal Memory) - Security Camera User Rating
Manufacturer: Pentax
Model: 18343
Max Focal Length: 17.4 mm
Max Horizontal Image Resolution: 2560 pixels
Max Aperture: 4.8 1/f
Installed Memory: 10 MB
: Number of User Reviews: 13

Reviewed by: bigbearsfan from OH on May 4, 2005

Experience: 1 Months

Strengths: Compact. Great battery life. Great pictures. Big LCD screen. Tons of settings with which the novice can play. Very good looking housing.

Weaknesses: Shot to shot, a little slow when trying to catch action. A little tricky to handle for big hands or long finger nails. Need to take the charger base when traveling. Low light shot are not very good.

Summary: I love this camera. If you are a novice photographer, like me, this is a great point and shoot camera. It has lots of settings that you can play with and enjoy. However, I highly recommend reading the manual. The manual is not very interesting and most of the features of the camera you will never use but you absolutely need to understand the different settings so that you know what your options are and you know how the camera is responding to the different settings. I owned a Canon Powershot prior to this camera. I never read the manual for the Canon and was very frustrated until I read it and understood what I was doing.

The on-screen menu for settings can be a little confusing at first but you will get used to the variety of options. The 1.8" LCD is pretty big but can become useless in moderately bright light and the view finder is pretty much useless, as is the case in most cameras of this size (you can only get so much into a camera this small).

The pictures are very good. The edges can get a little soft, especially if you try to blow up the picture to sizes above 4x6. Low light pictures are adequate and the camera will take a long time to focus and shoot under low light conditions. However, most people will not notice this at all. This camera will work great for the person who prints off their own 4x6 prints or goes to a retailer to have them printed.

I highly recommend a 1GB SD card if you travel a lot or don't frequently upload pictures from your camera to your computer. I prefer to take pictures at maximum resolution and with a 1GB card I get about 160 shots. You have to remember that this camera is taking a very highly detailed picture at max resolution so you have to have a big memory card. You can adjust the resolution of the shots to a lower setting and get more shots on a card, especially if taking the absolute best picture is not your primary goal. The Sandisk Ultra II card is very fast at recording pictures and highly recommend this card or the Sandisk Extreme III which is even faster.

On matters of practicality, my big hands struggle a little with the camera, as it does with all cameras as small as the S5i. My fiancee also struggles because she has long fingernails that are coming off after the wedding in June. Just make sure you attach the included wrist strap and use it when taking pictures. I have never dropped my camera but I have started using the wrist strap after a close call.

If you use your camera frequently and don't often have time for the charger to recharge the battery, get a second battery (the lowest price I have seen is 26.99 for a Pentax brand battery). The charging base has a slot for charging a second battery. When going on vacation, be sure to take the included charging base. The battery will last a long time, even with the flash, but you don't want to be caught off guard.


Reviewed by: igornys from NJ on Dec 16, 2004

Experience: 2 Months

Strengths: Ultra compact and light. Fast focusing/Small shutter lag Good battery life Good picture quality.

Weaknesses: None for camera of this size.

Summary: (Edited January 27th by igornys) Definitely the best camera in the class!

Checked a couple of cameras (including comparable Canon Powershots). Below is a short summary:

What you should NOT expect from this camera:
- It is not a digital SLR and not a high-end professional camera. Optic is good comparing with other cameras in this class; you can expect excellent regular sized prints, not printing a high-quality 10x10 feet posters.
- This is not a Video camera. Yes, you can take a small movie and the quality will be much better then from the sell phone camera, but don¡¯t expect to much
- You can not start using camera without buying an extra SD card. Build-in memory can hold just couple of shots.

What you CAN expect:
- Excellent camera in the class, easy to take with you, easy to use.
- The camera is really fast when taking pictures. No annoying delay between pressing the button and making picture.
- Auto focus system does well, picture quality is great!
- Long battery life, extra battery is rather nice to have ¨C battery enough for the whole day of taking pictures (but I still have an extra battery).

Recommendations based on my experience:
- Do not save on a ¡®cheep¡¯ SD card (I made this mistake initially) and buy a high-speed card like a SunDisk Ultra II. Card performance significantly affects delay between pictures.
- Set maximum resolution/quality for the picture. Buy at 512 MB or more SD card (will cost you another $75). Overage picture is 2.5 MB (max quality/size) and movies tend to be really big.
- Don¡¯t be afraid to make an extra picture ¨C you can always delete it afterwards.
- Focusing takes time (even if this camera is faster then most others). If you really need to make a shot of a fast moving object or in the bad light condition, just set manual focus mode. It is not as difficult as it sounds ¨C you can just put infinity if distance is over 10 feet.
- Turn off digital zoom. You can trim it later using any photo editing software or build-in camera functionality.
- Program the ¡®Green¡¯ quick button to switch to the ¡®movie¡¯ mode (the button will then switch between movie and still picture)
- Camera has a build-in memory that is enough to hold couple of shoots ¨C can be convenient used as kind of clipboard to move your favorite photo to your friend¡¯s SD card.

Reviewed by: steveheuer on Nov 27, 2004

Experience: 5 Days

Strengths: Compact, nice LCD, easy to use, great features.

Weaknesses: Can't manually adjust F-stop or shutter speed.

Summary: I'm a film guy and this is my first digital still camera, so I am quite critical. For the size and price this is an outstanding camera. It is packed with features that will allow it to be suitable in most all shooting conditions and even has a cool underwater housing available for it. I was also extremely pleased to find that my remote for my Pentax film point and shoot also works with this digital camera. My only wish is that it would allow you to adjust the F-stop and/or shutter speed manually....but that's allot to ask for a point and shoot especially of this size and price point. You are able to make adjustments with the EV control. So far I have no complaints with the image quality. I have already recommended this camera to numerous friends and family.

Reviewed by: mrzero009 from VA on Nov 14, 2004

Experience: 5 Days

Strengths: Ultra compact and light. Good picture quality. Fast operation. Sports mode(seems like shutter priority mode). Pan focus mode. 3x optical zoom. 5 mega pixel. Fast focusing.

Weaknesses: No interval shooting mode. Docking station has no USB connection to PC. Loose Directional key.

Summary: I was looking for a really small and light digital camera for taking picture of my living anytime and anyplace. There are a tons of compact ones. Picture quality didn't seriously matter to me since I believe most of them have good quality and it's true. I'm taking dozens of pictures every single day with my S5i and all results satisfy me. Ultra compact size and light weight make you forget the camera in your pocket. Focusing performance is great even in a lower light situation. Someone says that an additional battery is required but I don't experience battery shortage yet. Voice recording mode helps me to memorize important thing without a pen and paper. When I need to copy some papers, instead of walking to a copy service store and paying a fee I take pictures of them with S5i. You may find additional weaknesses of S5i not listed above but I bet strengths overwhelms such weaknesses.

Reviewed by: jeshourt from CA on Dec 5, 2004

Experience: 4 Weeks

Strengths: Size, Weight, Ese of use, Quality of pictures, Excelent Focus, Excellent Exposure, Excellent Color Balance, Good Battery life.

Weaknesses: Flash very weak, lack of manual shutter speed and f stop. LCD hard to see in bright daylight.

Summary: This is my 3rd Optio. I keep selling my current one to friends when they see the quality of the pictues and ease of use. I like the size and weight combined with both easy use and almost professional features. I rate it above the Cannon Rebal and Minolta A2 at 1/3 the price. and 1/5 the weight and size. The Optio S5i's ability to set focus, exposure and color balance is superior to other cameras in its class and above.

I can not say enought about the superior in camera processing of images for skin tone and color reporduction. This camera does not have the best resolution or best shadow noise, however I prefer it over any other camera below $1000.00. If you shoot people pictuers and have available light you will love this camera.

I expecially like the easy settings for shooting different types of subjects like people, sunsets, flowers, landscapes, food, documents and many more. These setings vary the saturation, shapness, contrast and exposure compensation for the type of subject and make adjustments in our PC almost unneccesary.

I keep the camera with me 24X7 as it fits in my pocket. I never miss a shot except in the case of start up time. The Optio is slow to 1st picture after power on, about 1.5 seconds and has about 1/4 second focus setup time or shutter lag but I am used to it now and can every shoot sporting events by shooting before I want the picture.

The only thing I would change would be to add manual control of the shutter speed and f stop. That would really help in shooting multi picture panoramas. It does have manual focus but the autofocus is so precise and reliable that it is easier to focus exactly on the spot you would focus manually on by depressing the shutter part way and then framing and shooting.

This historgram diagram before shooting and after shooting is so easy to use the I have taught other to compensate tricky exposure situations with only 2 minutes of instruction. Using the default setitng of the rt/lf buttons to move the exposure 'mountain' to the right or left inside the histogram to override the autoexpure setting is so easy and intuitive that anyone can shoot like a pro every time.

The other thing I would cange if I could would be to make the LCD better in daylight by using a combination front/rearlight LCD for the camera.

The most useful accesory for the camera is the remote control and a $5.00 tripod (the kind with flexable wire legs). I use the remote as shutter release. It seems to work up to about 16 feet in daylight. The remote is about the size of 5 short match sticks and fits in the Optio's leather pouch, a must have accessory. The pouch also holds extra flash cards and extra battery for about 400 exposures.

The night setting seems to work with exposures up to about 30 seconds and is really cool for available light. You do need the tripod for support but you can shoot subjects with 1 candle at 5 feet with about a 1/4 second exposure. The results are really cool.

Reviewed by: ynotlee from IL on Dec 16, 2004

Experience: 2 Weeks

Strengths: Large LCD considering how compact the camera is/simple point and shoot setting/long battery life/docking station for charging the battery/easy red-eye setting/nice zoom capability.

Weaknesses: None

Summary: Before owning this camera I tried the CoolPix 5200. Hands down, Pentax provides an easy and "fun to use" camera that takes great pictures. A common weakness has been pictures that are dark because the subject is beyond the distance covered by the flash. That doesn't happen with this model. They come out so good, you would think there were extra lights set up. It's easy to change the scene modes to adjust to the environment as Pentax uses icons on the LCD instead of icons on a turn wheel. Can't beat the docking station, ensuring a fully charged battery. A strong recommendation for this model. You will be ecstactic.

Reviewed by: gitak from NY on Nov 11, 2004

Experience: 2 Days

Strengths: Tiny camera for resolution of this size, includes docking station.

Weaknesses: Battery life, directional buttons in back don't seem very sturdy.

Summary: I researched for nearly a month and narrowed it down to this camera. I was comparing this to the Sony T-1, Canon SD20, and the Casio Exilim EX-Z50. It wasn't the most expensive, had an optical viewfinder and optical zoom. The Casio seemed to have problems with the zoom lens getting stuck. Also, the SD memory is much cheaper and very fast. I've only used the camera for 2 days, but the picture quality seems very good. The size of the camera is amazing!

Reviewed by: vcarchy from NY on Dec 31, 2004

Experience: 3 Months

Strengths: Small, lightweight & looks good........

Weaknesses: Just that it doesn't have all the flexability of a larger camera, but i bought it for its size.

Summary: I love this camera, I also owned the 4mp veision, Optio S4i & also loved that one. I got my cousin to buy one & I gave mine to my sister (thats why i'm buying the 5MP one). Both of them both love the compact size & the suprising amount of features packed into this well designed, compact camera. I would recommend this camera to anyone looking for a good, compact camera.

Reviewed by: cme4brain from VA on Feb 9, 2005

Experience: 3 Weeks

Strengths: compact size, focus and expsoure accuracy, quality construction, ease of menu use, battery life

Weaknesses: None for camera this size and expense; would be nice to have more manual control over shutter speed and f/stop but that is unexpected for this class

Summary: I have owned a Pentax OptioS (3 MP- the first one out) for quite a while and sent it to my brother when the S5i became available. This is a wonderful camera and I highly recommend it. The images are incredible, the autofocus never makes a mistake, the software is easy to use. The fact that the camera fits in an Altoid Tin is amazing- the altoid tin makes the perfect camera case to protect the camera. I made a felt-lined Whitman sampler tin (slightly larger) the camera case for me as this holds the SD card as well- I slip the tin with the camera inside in my pants pocket and forget about the camera until I need it. Being a film amateur photographer, I am wanting more manual control, but no camera near this price point will have that. The lens is great but it is "soft" at the edges when the camera f/stop is wide open. This is perfectly corrected when the f/stop becomes small, say f/6.3 or greater, but it is difficult to get the camera to do this as none of the 20 picture taking modes will change the f/stop enough to suit me. THe fill flash mode is amazing! I cannot imagine using a larger camera as size does matter to me here- the smaller the better for convenience.

Reviewed by: elizabethro50 from PA on Jan 4, 2005

Experience: 1 Days

Strengths: Easy to use right out of the box, size

Weaknesses: None yet

Summary: This camera was recommended to me by a friend who has the same model. She knew that I was interested in a small, easy to use camera (this being my first digital), and is very happy with the performance of hers.

I was impressed first with how small the camera is. Secondly, I was able to take pictures immediately, without reading any instructions, which also speaks to the camera's ease of use. Obviously there are many addtional features to utilize once I do get around to reading the manual.

I haven't printed any of the pictures yet, but am so far pleased with the clarity of images I have taken.

Reviewed by: apapad from CA on Feb 5, 2005

Experience: 7 Days

Strengths: compact camera, good price, fast shooting compaire to my old Optio s40 .

Weaknesses: None yet .

Summary: Overall very pleased. Very small and light, I can carry that camera with me all the time. I like also the 1.8 LCD

I will recommend it for beginners since it's easy to use.

Reviewed by: chiajung from WA on Dec 18, 2004

Experience: 3 Days

Strengths: very small; it's purple

Weaknesses: the sound recording is confusing

Summary: the power button is set next to the shutter button, this is very confusing to me and incovenient if i want to take my own picture. i wish pentax has offered an online photo album like sony does. it would make it much easier for me to upload the pictures.

Reviewed by: ccap from DC on Apr 18, 2005

Experience: 2 Months

Strengths: Excellent camera, very compact and stylish. The LCD screen is just great as well.

Weaknesses: Some of the functions are not so easy to find out, so you need to read the manual and somethings you don't find right away.

Summary: (Edited April 18th by ccap) I would highly recommend this camera, especially to those that want something compact and that can be carried to all sorts of events and places.

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