Pentax Optio S50 Review

By Movable Type Admin

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Review posted 11/5/2004

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Optio S50
Click on the Optio S50 to take a 360° QuickTime VR tour


The new Optio S50 is a compact camera that packs a 5 megapixel imager and a 3X optical zoom lens in a sleek aluminum design. It featuring a smc Pentax lens coupled with their Sliding Lens system that allows the lens to fully retract inside the camera when it is turned off. Equipped with PictBridge technology, the S50 connects directly to any PictBridge compatible printer so you can print images without the use of a personal computer.

Pentax made it easy to select shooting modes with the S50's handy mode dial. Simply set the mode dial to one of the eight desired record modes. For customized operation the S50 allows users to program frequently used functions (recording size, image quality, exposure compensation, metering, white balance, ISO and AF area) to the left and right elements of the four-way controller for access when the dial position is set in modes other than Auto, Movie, and Voice recording. In addition to placing Portrait, Landscape, and Night scene modes directly on the mode dial, the S50 also offers 8 picture modes that provide fully-automatic exposure for select shooting conditions. A useful Help function can be easily accessed when in both recording and playback modes, displaying simple explanations of all button functions on the screen.

The S50 features six image size choices (640x480 - 2560x1920) with three different quality settings. You can record motion video at 30fps or 15fps with sound, with lengths limited only by the capacity of the memory card. The voice recording mode allows users to attaching 30-second memos to selected images. It features a 1.8-inch color LCD monitor with 100% coverage, selectable metering modes, white balance settings, exposure compensation, optical viewfinder, approximately 11MB of built-in memory expandable with any size SD card, audio-video output for display on TV sets and USB connectivity with your computer. The S50 also features an optional acrylic waterproof housing that allows users to explore the world of underwater photography.

Optio S50 Features:

  • Ultra compact 3.5 x 2.3 x 1 inches, weighs just 4.4 ounces
  • Stylish and durable aluminum alloy body
  • 3x Pentax zoom lens (35.6-107mm in 35mm equivalent)
  • 5.0-megapixel CCD imager for images up to 2560 x 1920 pixels
  • 320 x 240 motion JPEG with audio at 30/15fps, length limited to media capacity
  • 30 second voice memos can be attached to images
  • Shooting modes selected from a convenient mode dial
  • Super macro mode coverage down to 2.4 inches
  • Three metering choices: multi-segment, center weighted and spot
  • 28-zone, 62-city, world time with alarm clock.
  • Audio-Video output for TV display
  • 1.8" color TFT LCD monitor with 100% coverage
  • Powered by CR-V3 or 2xAA batteries
  • 11 MB of internal memory plus SD card slot
  • PictBridge, Epson PRINT Image Matching II and Exif Print compatible
  • USB Mass Storage compliant


As with all newer PENTAX Optio digital cameras, the Optio S50 includes the latest version of ACDSee™ 5.1 software. With a $150 value, ACDSee™ digital camera software makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share your digital photos. The Optio S50 will ship along with the software to major camera retailers in September 2004 for a suggested retail price of $299.95.




Physical Views



Pentax Optio S50

Pentax Optio S50

Pentax Optio S50 Pentax Optio S50

Pentax Optio S50

Pentax Optio S50





Optio S50

The Optio S50 compared in size to a standard CD.





Optio S50

Compare the size of the Optio S5i the Optio S50.






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Optio S50 Specifications

Effective Pixels 5.0 megapixels
Image Sensor Type - 1/2.5 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
  Total Pixels - 5.36 megapixels
  Color Depth - 12 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels 2560x1920, 2304x1728, 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1024x768, 640x480
Focus System Type - TTL contrast detection autofocus system
  Autofocus - 5 point AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
  Manual Focus - 2.4 inches (0.06m) to Infinity
  Focusing Range - Normal: 1.31 ft (0.4m) to Infinity; Macro: 7.1 inches (0.18 m) to 1.64 ft (0.5m); Super Macro: 2.4 inches (0.06m) to 7.9 inches (0.2m) at 10.2mm
Lens smc PENTAX power zoom
  Focal Length - 5.8mm- 17.4mm
  35mm Equivalent - 35.6mm-107mm
  Aperture Range - f2.6- f4.8
  Construction - 6 elements in 5 groups (2 dual-sided aspherical elements)
  Optical Zoom - 3X
  Digital Zoom - 2.6 X
  Combined - 7.8 X
Exposure Control Light Metering Method - TTL metering with choice of: Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot meter
  Sensitivity - Auto, or user select ISO 50, 100, 200, 400
  Exposure Control Method - Program AE
  Exposure Modes - Mode dial: Auto Select mode, Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Movie, Voice recording, Digital Effect, Program, Picture
  Exposure Compensation - +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Shutter Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter. Shutter Speed - approx. 1/2000 - 4 second
White Balance White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance
  Available Settings - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual
Flash Operation Modes - Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction; Effective Range -Approx.0.65ft - 11.5ft (0.2m - 3.5m) (5.8mm at Sensitivity 200) Approx. 0.65ft - 6.6ft (0.2m - 2m) (17.4mm at Sensitivity 200)
Viewfinders Optical Viewfinder - Actual Image zoom viewfinder
  LCD Monitor - 1.8 inch, TFT color LCD- with Histogram Display
Resolution: 85,000 pixels
  LCD coverage - 100%
Shooting Specifications Shooting Modes - Mode dial: Auto Select mode, Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Movie, Voice recording, Digital Effect, Program, Picture

Picture Modes - Flower, Self-portrait, Surf, Snow, Sunset, Museum, Text, Food, Landscape Portrait, Marine, Marine movie

  Digital Filter - Black and white, sepia, Red, Green, Blue, B&W + red, B&W + green, B&W + blue, 2 in 1, Panorama assist
  Drive Modes - Single-Shot, Continuous, Remote control, Self-timer-10 sec.
  Movie Mode - 320 x 240 @ 30 or 15fps w/sound up to capacity of memory card
Time Modes - dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd
  World Time - Display of the time in 62 cities (28 time zones)
  Alarm Clock - Displays image with alarm (maximum of three memory settings)
Image Storage Storage Media - 11MB built-in memory
SD compatible card slot
  File Formats - Design rule for Camera File system (DCF)
  Print Order Format - Digital Print Order Format (DPOF)
  Image Recording Format: Still - JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movie - AVI (Open DML motion JPEG Format) 15fps; Sound - WAV (ADPCM), Monaural
  JPEG Compression Mode - Best, Better, Good.
Approx. # of pictures with 128MB SD card:
2560x1920: 38 - 77 - 124
2304x1728: 49 - 96 - 138
2048x1536: 62 - 113 - 166
1600x1200: 104 - 178 - 250
1024x768: 227 - 417 - 544
640x480: 500 - 782 - 1043
Movie: 30fps 4:45 - 15fps 9:12
Playback Specifications Playback Modes File - Single, Index- Nine image
  Magnification - 12X
  Slide Show - in playback mode
  Image rotation, voice memo, resize
  PictBridge direct-USB printing
Erasing Specifications Erase Modes - Single, All
  Image Protect - Single, All
Interfaces AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
  Video output - Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply One Lithium battery CR-V3 (allows approximately 420 shots*), or two AA batteries (lithium, alkaline, nickel and rechargeable Ni-MH), AC adaptor kit (optional) * According to in-house testing (with LCD monitor on and flash used for 50% of the shots) AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications Operating temperatures - 32 Degrees - 104 Degrees F (0 - 40 Degrees Celsius)
  Camera Casing - Aluminum alloy
  Dimensions (WxHxD)
3.5 x 2.3 x 1 inches
(89 x 58.5 x 25.5mm)
  Weight - 4.6 oz (130g) without battery and SD memory card; 6.3 oz (180g) loaded and ready
Computer Requirements Mac Requirements - OS: Mac OS 9.2 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space:6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
  PC Requirements - OS: Windows 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory:64MB or more, Hard disk space: 15MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
Kit Inclusions Optio S50 Camera, CR-V3 Lithium-ion Battery AV Cable, USB Cable, 3D Image Viewer, Software (CD ROM) - ACDSee, USB Driver, Strap (O-ST5), Operating Manual, Serial Number Card, Product Registration Card, Service Network Directory

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)




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