Pentax Optio S1 review

Chic 14-megapixel compact digital camera
Photo of Pentax Optio S1
£119.99

The Pentax Optio S range has always been popular, because it combines stylish good looks with a solid build and high-quality photo images. You won’t be surprised to learn that the Optio S1 continues in the same tradition.

It’s been three years since we saw the last in the range – the S12 – and Pentax has predictably incorporated many of the features that shine in its other compact digital cameras. Yet we still have that ‘snug in the hand’ feel (it’s only 20mm thick and 120g in weight) with smooth curves, sturdy aluminium casing and three chic colours: cool chrome, jet black and aquamarine (the latter two with extra gloss coating).

Bigger zoom
All of the S1′s controls are clearly labelled and simple to use. They include a dedicated video record button for filming 720p HD movies at 30 frames per second (although there’s no HDMI output). Since the S12, megapixel size has been expanded from 12 to 14, the optical zoom has grown from 3x to 5x (equivalent to 28‐140mm) and the LCD is slightly larger at 2.7in.

There’s now triple anti-shake protection, using a mixture of CCD-shift-type SR, automatically boosting ISO sensitivity in low light, and Movie SR, which digitally narrows the angle of view. There are hordes of scene modes (22 in all), including Auto Picture which will detect 14 of them, plus upgraded face detection.

In addition, a set of filters and effects has been included that can be added to your finished shots (or pre-set, in the case of Miniature and HDR filters), plus an extremely effective Super Macro setting for close shots from between 5 and 30cm. As you’d expect, the images are uniformly crisp and colours vivid in daylight conditions – and as long as you avoid very high ISO settings, you’ll get surprisingly good results in dim conditions.

Company: Pentax

Contact: 0870 7368299

Positives
  • Range of new and upgraded features.
Negative
  • No HDMI output for HD movies.

Verdict

The Optio S1 maintains the smart looks, high performance and solid build of its predecessors, while upgrading the detail and zoom and adding a host of new filters and system improvements.