Pentax Optio S55


      In summary

      Visibly larger and thicker than its more expensive ‘cousin’ the Pentax Optio S55 has more user-adjustable settings than the S5z and is, therefore, more likely to appeal to keen photographers. With the same sensor, lens and LCD monitor as the S5z but a top-mounted mode dial with seven still photo settings plus movie and voice recording modes. . . [more]

      Full review


      Quality rating (out of 10) Build: 9.0Ease of use: 8.5Image quality: 8.0Value for money: 8.5

      Visibly larger and thicker than its more expensive ‘cousin’, the S5z, the Pentax Optio S55 has more user-adjustable settings and is more likely to appeal to keen photographers. It has the same sensor, lens and LCD monitor as the S5z, with a top-mounted mode dial for seven still photo settings plus movie and voice recording modes.

      Still shooting modes include the standard Program AE plus portrait, landscape and night scene settings; plus a ‘Picture’ mode that accesses nine scene presets. A smiley-face icon denotes the auto setting for point-and-shoot users, while the ‘Digital Effects’ mode lets users choose from eight colour filters, capture stitchable panorama shots or record ‘two-in-one’ shots where each half of the frame is captured in sequential exposures. Some filter effects can be added post-capture in the editing mode, which also allows users to modify image size and quality.

      Travellers should enjoy the World Time function as it makes adjusting date and time settings easy. Gadget enthusiasts will appreciate some of the neat graphics that display scene mode selection, when the self-timer is activated, and when pictures are shot and stored. Photographers will value the on-call grid, settings and histogram displays – although you can’t have all three at once! They will also admire the easy customisation of frequently-used camera settings.

      The test camera’s picture quality was good and colours were accurate, although image contrast was slightly high.This was beneficial in shots taken with the super macro setting, which were superb. Imatest showed resolution to be above average but detected low levels of lateral chromatic aberration. The white balance handled most lighting adequately, performing best when the custom measurement setting was used. Low light shots had no stuck pixels and were relatively noise-free at ISO 400. The flash could illuminate subjects up to 3.5 metres at ISO 200 but required ISO 400 for greater distances.

      We measured an average capture lag of 0.9 seconds, which reduced to 0.25 seconds with pre-focusing. The burst setting recorded five high-quality 1600 x 1200 shots at 1.4 second intervals. [24]





      Image sensor: 5.34 x 4.01mm interline transfer CCD with 5.36 million photosites (5.0 megapixels effective)
      Lens: smc Pentax power zoom 5.8-17.4mm f2.6-4.8 (35.6-107mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3x optical, up to 2.6x digital
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 89 x 58.5 x 27.5mm
      Weight: 135g (without batteries and card)
      Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies – AVI (MPEG-4)/WAV
      Focus system/range: TTL contrast-detect AF; range – 40cm to infinity; macro 18-50 cm; super macro 6-20 cm
      Exposure metering/control: TTL metering (multi, centre-weighted & spot); Auto, Program AE plus 12 scene modes and 10 digital effects.
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light, Manual
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Flash-off, Flash-on, Auto + Red-eye reduction, Flash-on + Red-eye reduction; Range: Approx. 0.2-4.9m (5.8mm at ISO 400)
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 50, 100, 200, 400
      Sequence shooting: 1.4 second intervals; shot count determined by image size/resolution
      Storage Media: 11MB internal memory plus SD card slot; internal memory holds 3 high-resolution images or up to 92 VGA shots
      LCD monitor: 2.5-inch, TFT colour LCD; Approx. 115,000 pixels
      Power supply: 2x AA batteries or 1x CR-V3 lithium battery





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