Pentax S1

Pentax Optio S1 front
  • 14MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Display
  • ISO 80 - 6400
  • Sensor-shift Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 28-140mm (F3.5-5.5) lens
  • 157g - 114 x 58 x 28mm
  • Announced March 2011
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Pentax S1 overview

Pentax S1 is Pentax's Small Sensor Compact camera first launched on March of 2011. The camera features a 14MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a maximum resolution of 4288 x 3216.

The S1 stands at #112 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras and all around #966 out of 1465 for cameras in our collection. Remember to test our Smart camera finder to get camera rankings based on your custom criteria.

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Here is a diagram of specific criteria used in the scoring system.

Pentax S1 Pros and Cons

Here is a selection of pluses and minuses of the Pentax S1 based on aspects which are normally viewed as important in a camera.

comes with tracking autofocus
fairly wide (28mm)
good MP (14MP)
has built in flash
has image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
in built lens has zoom (28-140mm 5.0 x zoom)
includes HDMI port
manual focus
very good min ISO (80)
doesn't contain selfie friendly display
doesn't have external mic port
doesn't have headphone port
doesn't have Time Lapse mode
external flash not possible
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
lack of phase detect AF
lack of RAW files
low quality video (1280 x 720 pixels)
max frames per second low (1.0 fps)
no aperture priority
no manual mode
no shutter priority mode
screen does not articulate
screen has low resolution (230 thousand dot)
sensor size is tiny (1/2.3")
sluggish at full zoom (f5.5)
sluggish max aperture (f3.5)
tiny screen (2.7")
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Pentax S1 Sensor specs

The spec of the sensor on the Pentax S1 is 6.17mm x 4.55mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor can resolve 4288 x 3216 pixels using aspect ratios of 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9. The camera includes Image Stabilization (Sensor-shift). Sensor stabilization is superior than digital stabilization since the latter may cause cropping.

Photography Glossary

The CCD sensor boasts 14MP and includes a native ISO range of 80 to 6400. Sadly, RAW files are not supported which means that you have less room to maneuver in post.

The graphic underneath displays the S1's sensor size compared to other common sizes. The S1 sensor comes with a crop factor of 5.8 and is showcased in green.

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To get an idea of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Pentax S1 dimensions

Pentax S1 weighs about 0.35 lb (157 grams / 5.54 oz) and the dimensions of the camera is 114mm x 58mm x 28mm (4.5" x 2.3" x 1.1"). The weight of normal Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 grams and the Pentax S1 is on par in comparison with other competitors.

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Here is a picture of the Pentax S1 besides a softdrink to help you to have a feel for its size.

Pentax Optio S1 dimensions scale

The top view underneath will highlight the button layout on the S1.

Pentax Optio S1 topview buttons dials

Pentax S1 Lens details

The S1 is equipped with an inbuilt lens offering a focal range of 28-140mm making it a 5.0 x zoom which is not at all outstanding nevertheless it is going to be very helpful in a few cases.

At it's widest 28mm, it offers an aperture of f3.5 which will be really sluggish and not good in low light occasions and you might struggle to capture a shallow depth of field. You could also have to increase your ISO setting resulting in noisy pictures. At the long end, 140mm comes to f5.5 making it quite sluggish and you will have to go with slow shutter speeds.

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Pentax S1 Connectivity

The S1 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Cameras that contain NFC and / or Bluetooth connectivity can be controlled wirelessly through smartphones. You can easily copy photos and sometimes adjust settings without the hassle of connecting directly with the camera.

Many apps also allow a Liveview and click the shutter when you aren't close to the camera. If the camera features a HDMI out, it can be attached to an external display. Virtually all cameras enable you to charge the battery using the USB socket.

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Pentax S1 Video details

The maximum video quality on the Pentax S1 is 1280 x 720 and it can record in Motion JPEG format. 720p is awful by today's standards. You should go for a minimum 1080p quality for decent video. The body doesn't feature a mic and / or headphone port which means you get absolutely no control over your audio. It is probably a better idea to order an alternative model if you want better audio in your video clips.

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Pentax S1 Weather Sealing

Pentax S1 doesn't have weather proofing so damp conditions can ruin the camera.

Pentax S1 Display and Viewfinder

The Pentax S1 features a 2.7 inch fixed display having a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Sadly the display is not a touch screen.

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The ViewFinder specifications regarding Pentax S1 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder None

In those sunny outdoor conditions that make the camera screens washed out and hard to view, viewfinders will be rather useful.

Pentax S1 Shutter details

Pentax S1 can shoot continuously at 1.0 fps. The maximum shutter speed is 1/1500 seconds.

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Pentax S1 Flash and Hot shoe details

Pentax S1 includes just integrated flash lacking external flash ability.

Pentax S1 Autofocusing details

Pentax S1 includes only Contrast Detect AF and does not have Phase Detect AF. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot snappier & accurate as compared to Contrast Detect autofocusing.

The Sensor features 9 focus points to select from. It also includes Tracking AF for objects that move. Pentax S1 has got manual focus if required during low light or you need to have more accurate control on focus.

Photography Glossary

Pentax S1 Battery life

The battery (D-LI92) in the Pentax S1 is designed to last for 260 photographs according to the CIPA standards making it comparable with its rivals. The general Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 features the highest possible (470) battery life within this group of cameras.

Underneath is a list of Small Sensor Compact cameras which have the highest battery life:

Pentax S1 for varying categories of photography

The following graph displays a summation of the Pentax S1 for varying categories of photography. To understand more, go to the specific paragraph underneath.

Pentax S1 Portrait photography details

The Pentax S1 receives a points tally of 35 which is low, and means the camera is not suitable for portrait photography. Shooting portraits leans greatly towards sensor dimensions, support for RAW photos plus the potential to utilize external lighting.

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you can focus manually
MP count good (14MP)
manual exposure not available
no external flash support
small sensor (1/2.3")
lack of RAW support

Pentax S1 Street photography highlights

Having a decent score of 56, the Pentax S1 is relatively adequate to buy for street photography. A good street photography camera comes with a good balance of image quality and portability.

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image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
no articulating screen
tiny sensor (1/2.3")
no RAW files

Pentax S1 as a Sports photography camera

A low sports photography score of 39 suggests the Pentax S1 is not suitable for taking photos of sports. A camera needs very good focusing plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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built in image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
megapixel count good (14 megapixels)
offers tracking autofocus
very slow continuous shooting (1.0 frames/s)
no shutter priority
sensor is small (1/2.3")
lack of phase detect autofocus

Pentax S1 Travel photography features

Size is super important in buying a travel camera. Over-all, the Pentax S1 gets a very good 64 for a travelling camera which makes it a good pick to take on your vacations.

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sensor resolution is decent (14 megapixels)
has built in flash
pretty wide (28mm)
no Timelapse recording
doesn't feature selfie friendly screen
sluggish maximum aperture (f3.5)

Landscape photography with Pentax S1

For anybody who is looking to buy a camera for landscape pictures, the most important aspect will be image quality. The Pentax S1 at it's low rating of 42 for a landscape camera is not suitable compared to its competition.

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focusing manually
quite wide (28mm)
has image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
good megapixels (14 megapixels)
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
slow max aperture (f3.5)
screen is somewhat small (2.7")
no manual mode
sensor size is very small (1/2.3")
does not have RAW format
does not have Timelapse function

Pentax S1 as a Vlogging camera

A vlogging camera should have a moving display, mic port and preferably IBIS. Taking everything into account, the Pentax S1 is not suitable as a vlog camera as it receives a low rating of 28.

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really wide (28mm)
image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
slow max aperture (f3.5)
does not feature selfie friendly screen
video quality not great (1280 x 720 pixels)
doesn't have external mic port

Pentax S1 Alternatives

If you are trying to find replacements to the S1, here is a number of the top rated cameras which fall into the family of Small Sensor Compact.

The chart listed below provides you a bird's eye view of the S1 versus it's highest ranked rivals shown previously.

There are a bunch of cameras you might view as alternatives. To browse through a detailed comparison, simply click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Pentax Optio S1
Small Sensor Compact
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.17 x 4.55mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
14 megapixel
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
1:1, 4:3 and 16:9
Maximum resolution
4288 x 3216
RAW format
Maximum native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
AF touch
AF continuous
AF single
AF tracking
AF selectice
AF center weighted
Multi area AF
Live view AF
Face detect AF
Contract detect AF
Phase detect AF
Number of focus points
Lens mount
fixed lens
Lens focal range
28-140mm (5.0x)
Largest aperture
Macro focus range
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display diagonal
Resolution of display
230 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Touch operation
Display technology
TFT color LCD with Anti-reflective coating
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO All around score
not tested
DXO Color Depth score
not tested
DXO Dynamic range score
not tested
DXO Low light score
not tested
Slowest shutter speed
Maximum shutter speed
Continuous shooting speed
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Custom WB
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
3.90 m
Flash options
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Soft
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
WB bracketing
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30, 15 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 15 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)
Maximum video resolution
Video file format
Motion JPEG
Mic jack
Headphone jack
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental seal
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
157 gr (0.35 lbs)
114 x 58 x 28mm (4.5" x 2.3" x 1.1")
Battery life
260 images
Form of battery
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse recording
Storage media
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal
Storage slots
Pricing at launch