Pentax Optio 550 Review
Record Screens & Menus
Program AE mode, the camera selects both shutter speed and aperture automatically.
The "70" indicates the number of pictures remaining.
The white AF target marks in the center indicate Spot focus mode, they turn green for an AF
lock or red when the auto focus fails. There are icons here for flash mode, selftimer,
macro focus, battery level, exposure compensation, date and time.
Pressing the DISPLAY button enables a realtime histogram and display of the current
image size, image quality, white balance, metering and ISO value. The shutter is
half-pressed and the AF is locked, the shutter speed and aperture are displayed on the
Record mode options::
Quality Level - TIFF, *** (Best), ** (Better) or * (Good)
White Balance - Auto, Sunny, Shade, Incandescent, Fluorescent or Manual
Focusing Area - Wide (default) or Spot
AE Metering - Matrix, Center-weighted or Spot
ISO Speed - Auto or fixed at 64, 100, 200, 400 equivalents
Digital Zoom - Enable or disable digital zoom feature
Instant Review - Post-capture revew time: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 secs or Off
Interval Shoot - Set start time (0 min to 23 hr 59 min), delay time (10 secs to 4 mins) and # of frames (2-99) for time-lapse recording
Fast Fwd Movie - Off or run a set of sequential recorded frames in order as a short film, selection of X2, X5, X10, X20, X50, or X100 recording speeds.
3D Mode - Parallel or Cross mode
Sharpness - Settings for soft, normal, hard
Saturation - Settings for soft, normal, hard
Contrast - Settings for soft, normal, hard
USER - Setup the parameters of the USER position on the Mode Dial
Manual mode, you set both the shutter speed and the aperture manually.
The camera will display the metering icon to indicate over- or under-exposure with
Shutter-priority AE, you select the desired shutter speed and the camera will
select the best aperture setting automatically. Slower shutter speeds can give moving
objects a motion-blur effect, faster speeds will "freeze" a moving object.
Aperture-priority AE, you select the desired aperture value and the camera will
select the best shutter speed automatically. Small aperture numbers yield less depth
of field (range of focus), large aperture numbers yield greater depth of field.
PICTure Mode (called Scene mode on
other cameras) has selections for: Landscape, Night scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf
& Snow, Autumn color, Sunset, Fireworks and Text. You choose the scene that best suits
the conditions you are shooting in and the camera makes the best settings for you.
The Digital Filter mode gives you access to color creative modes that include:
Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple and Soft Focus.
Panorama Assist mode helps you capture up to 10 frames (top to bottom, bottom to top,
right to left or left to right orientation) with the proper inter-image overlap to create a
panoramic image to be stitched together later in ACD Photostitcher software
(English and Japanese models only).
The 3D capture mode is rather unique. You select either the parallel or cross
method and then capture your first image. Similar to a panorama assist mode, the
LCD shows a "ghost" image outline of the edge of the first image which you use
to line up the camera when you move it right for the second frame.
You take this side-by-side 3D image and print it out (4-5 inches wide) and
view it with the
supplied 3D stereographic viewing aid.
The Macro focus mode is excellent with coverage down to about six inches in
normal Macro. You have use of the zoom so you can back away from your subject
to avoid wide angle barrel distortion - see the next example of super macro.
The Super Macro mode will get you as close as .79 inches but as you can see,
the wide angle barrel distortion is very visible. The focal length is fixed,
the zoom cannot be used.
The user can manually select the AF focus point. Choices are center (default), top,
bottom, left or right.
Press the Focus mode button 3 times to enter the Manual Focus mode. A sliding scale is
shown while you are adjusting the
distance and the display is enlarged so you can visually "see" the focus change.
Movie mode record up to a maximum of 10 minutes (depends on capacity of memory card) of 320 x
240 motion video at 15fps with audio. Movie clips are saved as QuickTime MOV format video
files. The optical zoom cannot be used during movie recording, you can use the
digital zoom but expect a certain amount of image degradation.
And finally, you can Record Audio. The length is limited only by the amount of space that is on your memory card. The display here says we can record up to 8 hours, 19 minutes and 46 seconds of audio - there is a 256MB SD card in this camera. Audio recordings are saved as Windows WAVE format files.
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