The 5-megapixel Pentax Optio S5i is lightweight and compact, and its 3.7-ounce aluminum alloy body feels solid enough. It’s a true pocket camera, but its picture quality is only average.
The 1.8-inch LCD is somewhat dark and grainy, but the menus are easy to navigate and a live histogram helps you gauge exposure.
There are 21 picture modes, including Panorama, and a user mode for saving custom settings. A unique 3-D mode captures two images to a single picture that, when viewed correctly, gives the illusion of having three dimensions. The Optio S5i’s manual controls are limited to exposure compensation which is set by using a menu and which won’t let you preview your subject as you make adjustments; white balance, including custom white balance; ISO, from 80 to 400; and manual focus. The aperture is a relatively wide f2.6-f4.8 and the lens can focus to 2.36 inches in Super Macro mode. There’s a continuous mode, but it’s too slow to be useful.
The Optio S5i’s movie mode is only 320-by-240 pixels and 15 fps, but you can record continuously to the memory card’s capacity. You can speed up the action (up to 100 times) using a special time-lapse mode, as well as record unlimited audio, or attach 30-second audio annotations to your pictures.
We judged the color reproduction Very Good, but images were a bit dark with a slight purple cast. They were also somewhat soft and there was quite a bit of noise. We also noticed significant barrel distortion.
The Optio S5i has 10MB of internal memory, which comes in handy for catching a few more memories even after your memory card is full. It comes with a cradle for charging the battery and transferring pictures to your computer, but the cradle isn’t required for transferring pictures.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
The Pentax Optio S5i may be compact and lightweight, but its dark, noisy images mar this otherwise promising camera.
Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable
Pentax Optio S5i
||3.0x Optical (36mm to 107mm)
||3.33 inches x 2.0 inches x 0.8 inches