Pentax Optio S55
- Reasonable image quality
- Bulky, mediocre feature set
This is a very ordinary camera with very little to make it worth recommending. Look elsewhere.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Pentax is a name that many people consider synonymous with photography, thus we would have expected it to do a little more with the Optio S55. It's not that the S55 is an awful camera, but it just doesn't offer the same performance as many of the other cameras we've reviewed.
It feels reasonably solid, constructed of brushed metal and plastic. It is, however, a fair bit larger and bulkier than we'd like. Part of the reason it is so big is that it uses rechargeable AA batteries, rather than a lithium ion battery. The boxy, traditional design of the s55 just won't cut it with style-conscious consumers.
There's a large, 2.5" LCD on the back of the camera. As a fan of large screens on cameras, we were pleased to see it, but it seemed to respond very badly at any sort of angle. All LCDs have a limited viewing angle, and begin to darken when you go outside that range, but in the s55's case it seemed to be much lower than comparable models.
Its picture quality was quite decent. While it wasn't the best camera we have looked at in terms of images, it definitely wasn't the worst. The images were reasonably sharp and showed good contrast. They did, however, suffer from blurring around the edges (which seems to be quite a common problem with cameras in the five megapixel range) and looked a little washed out on the default settings. Nonetheless the images would be more than good enough to please most people.
One big problem we had with the S55 was the flash recharge. While the save-time for images was minimal, after every shot the flash has to recharge, which took anywhere from five to seven seconds during our testing.
The S55 gives you control over exposure, contrast, sharpness, saturation, white balance and ISO, which is the minimum you would expect from a recent point-and-click model; however, it lacks the full manual controls that some of its competitors have. There are also only 12 preset picture modes, which is slightly below average, but enough to sate most people.
The other thing the S55 has going for it is its price. It's considerably cheaper than many of its competitors.
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