Pentax Optio 555 Review

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Pentax Optio 555
Review posted 10/23/03

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the Optio 555

The Optio 555 is the successor to the popular Optio 550, a compact and light weight 5- megapixel camera with a powerful 5x optical zoom lens. PENTAX maximized the responsiveness of the Optio 555 including reduced lag time so the camera is instantly ready when the power is turned on. In addition, a single touch of the playback button brings up recorded images and just a touch of the shutter button is all that is required to return to shooting. With enhanced operation capability and maximized responsiveness, the Optio 555 allows satisfying shots to be taken with extreme ease. The Optio 555 also features PictBridge™ compatibility that eliminates the need for PC connectivity during printing by allowing the camera to be connected directly to a compatible printer. This feature allows direct control over printing and a full range of other functions.

The Optio 555's body is crafted from aluminum alloy which makes it both light in weight and highly durable. The ultra-compact zoom system allows the lens to fully retract in two stages and helps reduce the depth of the camera. A single dial offers shooting mode selections with minimal effort, including Metered Manual, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture- priority AE, Program, Picture, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter, User and Voice Recording modes with minimal effort. The Optio 555 also features standalone buttons for easy access to frequently used shooting and playback functions and handy image deletion and enlargement.

The Optio 555 excels at image recording quality with 5.0 effective megapixels and produces high quality, artistic images. Despite its compact size, the Optio 555 feature a high performance 5X optical zoom lens with 4X digital for an impressive 20X combined zoom. In addition to still images the Optio 555 is also capable of recording up to 10 minutes of video with sound at 15 frames per second with 320 x 240 recorded pixels. The audio recording capability allows you to attach up to 30 second voice memos to still images and can be also used as a standalone voice recorder.

A high-resolution 1.5-inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD monitor offers 100% view of the frame, which helps ensure easier, more accurate image composition and allows you to double-check recent shots. The Optio 555 is equipped with a diopter adjustment viewfinder offering actual image zoom to help conserve power when the LCD monitor is off.

Interval shooting lets you set the start time, the duration of the interval between shots, and the number of frames, and capture events that take place over an extended period of time such as a flower blooming. Multiple exposure function allows surreal creativity such as double images in the same shot. Macro shooting modes allows shots from as close as 5.9 inches (.15m) and super macro mode as close as .79 inches (.02m).

The digital filter mode gives you the freedom to influence the overall tone of your shot. With choices of black & white, sepia and other tones (red, pink, yellow, green, blue and purple), the digital filter mode lets you add mood to a sunset or tone down subjects that are too bright. The soft filter provides for a soft focus effect. For even greater control over the image, the sharpness, saturation and contrast can be set manually with a choice of three settings for each.

Optio 555 Features:

  • Compact aluminum alloy body, weighs only 7.2 oz.
  • 5-megapixel CCD, still images up to 2592 x 1944 pixels
  • 5x optical zoom (37.5 - 187.5mm equivalent) with 4x digital zoom
  • Super Macro mode focuses as close as 0.79 in.
  • 1.5-inch color LCD monitor, histogram and 8x playback
  • Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, Metered Manual, Picture, Digital Filter, Movie, 3D, Panorama Assist, Auto Bracket
  • Picture modes: Landscape, Night scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn color, Sunset, Fireworks, Text
  • Interval (time-lapse) mode and Multiple Exposure mode
  • Multi-segment, Center-weighted or Spot-metering
  • Exposure, White Balance, Saturation, Sharpness and Contrast Bracketing
  • Variable Sharpness, Saturation and Contrast in three different levels
  • Movie mode: 320x240 @ 15fps, up to 10 mins w/audio
  • Up to 30 sec audio memos can be attached to still images
  • Functions as a voice recorder, length limited to available memory
  • Built-in flash with Auto, Fill and Red-eye Reduction modes
  • White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Manual
  • Secure Digital or MultiMedia Card memory cards
  • World Time function displays the time in 62 countries
  • USB Mass Storage compatible for PC and Mac OS
  • PictBridge, Exif Print and PRINT Image Matching II compatible

The Optio 555 includes the following: 16MB SD card, USB cable, audio-video cable, ACDSee™ software, Stereo Viewer, neck strap, rechargeable lithium battery and AC charger.

Physical Views

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555 and the Olympus C-5000 Zoom

Pentax Optio 555

Pentax Optio 555 and a standard CD for size comparison

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Pentax Optio 555 Specifications

Camera Type: Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash
Effective Pixels: 5.0 megapixels
Image Capture Device
Type: 1/1.8 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels: 5.25 megapixels
Color Depth: 12 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels: Still - 2592x1944 Pixels, 2048x1536 Pixels, 1600x1200 pixels, 1024x768 pixels, 640x480 pixels;

Movie - 320x240

Focus System
Type: Hybrid AF (TTL contrast detection autofocus system combined with exo-passive sensor)
Autofocus: Wide AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus: 0.79 inches (0.02m) to infinity
Focusing Range: Normal: 1.97ft (0.6m) to Infinity; Macro: 5.9 inches (0.15m) to 2.13ft (0.65m); Super Macro: 0.79 inches (0.02m) to 2.13ft (0.65m) at 7.8mm
Type: smc Pentax power zoom
Focal Length: 7.8mm - 39mm
35mm Equivalent: 37.5mm - 187.5mm
Aperture Range: F2.8 - F4.6
Construction: 9 elements in 7 groups (two dual-sided aspherical elements)
Optical Zoom: 5X
Digital Zoom: 4X
Exposure Control
Light Metering Method: TTL metering with choice of: Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot meter
Sensitivity: Auto, or user select ISO 64,100, 200, 400
Exposure Control Method: Program AE
Exposure Modes: Metered manual, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Program, Picture, Panorama assist, Movie, 3D image, Digital filters, User
Exposure Compensation: +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Shutter: Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter; Shutter Speed - Approx. 1/2000 - 15 seconds(1/1000 in Metered manual and Shutter-priority AE)
White Balance: White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance; Available Settings - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light (W, N, D), Manual
Flash: Built-in series-control auto flash, flash exposure compensation (+/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps), auto discharge under low light and backlit conditions in auto mode. Operation Modes - Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction. Range - approx. 1.31ft (0.4m) - 17.1ft (5.2m) (7.8mm at ISO Auto); approx. 0.5ft ( 0.15m) - 10.5ft (3.2m) (39mm at ISO Auto)
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes: Metered manual, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Program, Picture, Panorama assist, Movie, 3D image, Digital filters, User
Picture Modes: Landscape, Night scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn color, Sunset, Fireworks, Text
Digital Filter: Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Soft
Drive Modes: Single-Shot, Continuous, Self-timer-10 sec. Remote control, Interval timer, Multiple exposure
Movie Mode: Shooting time: As long as memory remains - with sound
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 (three memory settings), Snooze function
Image Storage
Storage Media: Removable: Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia card(MMC)
File Formats: Still - JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), PctBridge compatible; Movie - MOV (QuickTime Movie Format) 15 fps with sound; Voice - WAV (ADPCM) Recordable time depends on the remaining capacity of the memory card
Image Formats: TIFF or JPEG compressed (Best, Better, Good.)
JPEG Capacity with 16MB Card:
2592x1944: 4 - 8 - 14
2048x1536: 7 - 12 - 18
1600x1200: 11 - 20 - 27
1024x768: 25 - 45 - 56
640x480: 53 - 82 - 100
Optical: Actual image zoom viewfinder with diopter adjustment from approx. -3m-1 to+1-1
LCD Monitor: 1.5 inch, low temperature Polysilicon TFT color LCD with Histogram Display
LCD Coverage: 100%
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File: Single, Index- Nine image
Magnification: 8X
Playback Mode: Slide Show, Scroll and Voice Memo, Image rotating
Erase Modes: Single, All
Image Protect: Single, All
Type: AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video Output: Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply: Lithium-ion battery (rechargeable) approx.400 shots with one charge(According to in house PENTAX testing), AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating Temperatures: 32 - 104F (0 - 40 Celsius)
Camera Casing: Aluminum Alloy
Dimensions: (W x H x D) - 3.9x2.3x1.6 Inches (100x59x39.5mm)
Weight: 7.2 oz (205g) without battery and SD memory card; 8.8 oz (250g) loaded and ready
Computer System Requirements
Mac Requirements: OS: Mac OS 8.6 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 98,98 second edition, 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

Specifications as represented by the manufacturer

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