Pentax Optio S1 Brief Review


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  • 14 megapixels
  • CCD sensor
  • 5x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilization (sensor-shift)
  • 2.7-inch LCD
  • Max ISO 6400
  • 72p HD video
  • Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Release Date: 2011-03-31
  • Final Grade: 84 4.2 Star Rating: Recommended

Pentax Optio S1
14 megapixels; CCD sensor; 5x optical zoom; Optical image stabilization (sensor-shift); 2.7-inch LCD; Max ISO 6400; 72p HD video; Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
By , Last updated on: 9/29/2014

The S1 is Pentax's latest ultra-compact (and as far as we can tell, the only one that will see the light of day in 2011). It looks an awful lot like a Canon ELPH from the outside, but don't judge a book by its cover: Pentax point-and-shoots are known for unimpressive image quality and uninspiring performance. The specs do seem decent: 5x optical zoom, 720p HD video, and optical image stabilization (sensor-shift). But in this day and age, none of that is enough to justify its $200 price tag, especially paired with the pedestrian 14 megapixel CCD sensor. We love Pentax dSLRs, but unless Pentax surprises us (and the rest of the world) with some unexpected performance boost (we won't hold our breath), we can't find a good reason to recommend the S1.

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Pentax/Ricoh Reviews

Pentax, who just recently merged with Ricoh, has long been a sort of underdog—but not necessarily in performance or quality. Pentax/Ricoh offers some quirky cameras, but for the most part, we've found that to be a good thing.

The Pentax/Ricoh DSLR’s are mostly weather-sealed, giving them a unique advantage over competing manufacturers that don't offer anything similar. When we tried out models like the K-50, we were quite impressed with the image quality. The autofocus was a bit noisier than a Nikon, but the weather-sealing and often better price is hard to resist when the image quality is so good. Pentax continued to add in innovations by adding an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off to the 2013 K-3.

Pentax hasn't jumped into the mirrorless battle too much, but they do offer the tiny and colorful Q7. With a smaller sensor and a smaller price point, the Q7 and similar models are more of a consumer mirrorless than one for the enthusiasts, but it's an extremely small camera with a whole lot of color options.

Pentax has a few solid compact models out too. The Pentax MX-1 earned our Best Budget Advanced Compact for 2013 for its advanced features yet small price tag. They offer a waterproof line that includes macro ring lights built in, something unique to the WG cameras.

Pentax/Ricoh may be a bit quirky, but many of their cameras are well worth a look and offer excellent image quality for the price.

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