Ideal for those who just want to point and click

Apr 14, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Size, ease-of-use, competitive feature list, long battery life

Cons:Small buttons, takes long to auto-focus.

The Bottom Line: Recommended for the person who just wants to take the camera out of the box and start shooting, pocketing it when done.


I picked up the Pentax Optio S on sale after Christmas to replace my trusty Canon Digital Elph S100. While the Canon had its reign as the smallest digital camera (not counting those cheap cameras with the resolution of a webcam) the Pentax is considerably smaller. You notice it in its pocketability and weight.

I'm not a serious photographer, using my digital camera only to capture pictures of friends, family and anything interesting I spot.. as well as taking pictures of things I post on eBay. The Pentax takes decent pictures without the need for me to manually adjust settings or fiddle with anything. Since I usually only post my pictures on the web or e-mail them a higher megapixel count isn't all that important to me. I was satisfied with the Canon's 2-megapixels.

Other than the size, other things I really enjoy about the Pentax over the Canon are the extra 1X zoom (3X on the Pentax), the ability to record short movies with sound (though I haven't really found a need for this feature) and, most of all, the much longer battery life. I can use this camera for several outings before having to charge the battery whereas with the Canon I had to always carry around several batteries.

Weak spots of the Pentax are its minute buttons (even with my relatively small fingers I have trouble controlling the directional button, causing me to record unwanted voice memos sometimes, accidentally deleting a photo other times) and how it at times takes too long to auto-focus before taking a picture (you basically have to hold the button down until it takes the picture... sometimes it's almost instant, sometimes it takes a few seconds).

One thing that may appear to be a weak spot is the battery/memory card cover. It's attached to the camera by flexible rubber so it seems flimsy but because it allows for so much movement you probably aren't likely to break it off.

Overall I'm quite happy with the simplicity of this camera and how it offers a decent assortment of features in such a small device.


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