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Old Oct 17, 2003, 11:49 PM   #1
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Default Optio S4 - First impressions

I just got the Optio S4 yesterday. Overall, a nifty little device capable of some beautiful pix. Super Macro shots are superb. Several features improved over the first Optio S4. (Setting memory, response time, shot-to-shot cycle time). Inetrface is reasonable, camera handles nicely, and the small factor is, of course, one of its strongest attractions. But small here does not sacrifice color, sharpness, contrast. This thing takes good shots.

Took a few test shots and, on inspection in the computer at full res, the shots taken on widest angle had noticeable vignetting and soft focus in three of the four corners. The fourth corner was sharp and not much vignetting to be seen. ALso barrel distortion (but we knew about that.)

Talked to a Pentax tech guy today. He said the vignetting might be expected, but the soft focus was a defect and I should exchange the camera.

Took my laptop and card reader to the store (Ritz), got another camera, shot tests across the width of the mall, loaded them into the laptop right there in the store and examined them. All four corners were fairly sharp, hardly any vignetting to be seen. (Daylight pictures tomorrow may yield a slightly different result.) Happily, I took the camera away.

Afterwards, in the dark, I noticed a couple of what appear to be bad pixels - white pixels - on the LCD. I might be willing to live with that if the lens is really sharp. More tests to come.
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Old Dec 17, 2003, 5:18 AM   #2
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are the camera results THAT variable?
I am planning on ordering mine online... but yikes. Having a faulty camera would be a pain in the ass through online vendors.

Have you tested shots in softlighting? I'm brwosing the pbase.com sample Optio S photos from random people... a lot of these are not impressive at all... which makes me worried.

Argh.. I'm having such a hard time choosing an ultra-compact camera
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Old Dec 18, 2003, 5:46 PM   #3
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Yeah, well, ultra-compact involves trade-offs. I got the S4 because I felt that anything heavier wouldn't end up being carried with me at all times. In that sense, the s4 HAS WORKED.

The lens problem: even a bad one still takes decent images, they just have some darkened, fuzzy corners at the widest angle of zoom. If that's unacceptable you coulod:

1) buy locally and pay more
2) buy online and if you happen to get an unacceptably bad one, send it to Pentax for warranty repair.
3) wait to see what new cameras turn up at the Consumer Electronics Show in January - a big unveiling time for a lot of electronics which I think includes digicams.

I'm very hapopy with my S4. It's not a perfect camera, but I've gotten great stuff with it that I would have missed with a bigger cam (that stayed home).

Good luck

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