HDR and HD video for under $200 with the Optio S1 digital compact
By Paul Ridden
March 4, 2011
The new Optio S1 brings High Dynamic Range functionality to a Pentax compact snapper for the first time. The pocket camera also features a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, wide-angle optical zoom lens and high sensitivity. You'll also get high definition video recording with a dedicated movie button, translucent control buttons, and a selection of modes and settings designed to help users get the best shot with ease. The best news, though, is that all of this compact power comes under the US$200 radar.
The new 3.6 x 2.1 x 0.8-inch (91 x 53 x 20mm) Optio S1 sports a Pentax 5x optical zoom 28-140mm equivalent lens, with the company claiming that the included Intelligent Zoom can combine the optical and digital zoom capabilities and extend that reach to 33.5x, without loss of image detail. Mechanical sensor-shift image stabilization helps keep blur in check, even in movie mode, and low light snapping is given a helping hand from the camera's ISO6400 sensitivity capabilities.
Up to 720p high definition video capture at 30 frames per second is available, but there's no HDMI-out for instant playback on a big screen TV. There is USB 2.0 though, which will allow HD content to be transferred to a computer for playback.
Users get a variety of photo options, including face and blink detection, numerous filters and scene modes but if a quick, sharp snap is all that you're after then the camera's Auto Picture can take care of settings adjustment in different conditions. The 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot LCD display with anti-reflective coating to the rear caters for framing up, playing back or scrolling through settings and menus, and content is stored to an SD/SDHC/SDXC media card.