Pentax Optio RS1500 Digital Camera Features

It’s not easy coming up with a unique selling point for a budget camera, but Pentax has done it with the RS1500 Pentax Camera Charger interchangeable front panel designs. There are 13 included in the box, including a snakeskin effect, a kitsch vintage camera design and various abstract patterns. There’s also a pack of five pre-cut, ready-to-print sheets of paper, and even a web browser-based app for creating your own designs. We found it surprisingly sophisticated but various bugs meant we didn’t manage to get our design printed.
These designs sit behind a plastic sheet, held in place by the orange rubber lens ring – there’s a black one included too. Overall, the camera still looks like a budget model but it has a fun charm. The 3in screen is welcome, although it’s no more detailed than 2.7in screens used elsewhere and its colors looked slightly drab.

The silver-on-white button labels were hard to see in some light, and the power button’s red dot makes it look like a video record button.
The video function is actually located among the scene presets. Its 720p resolution is welcome but clips are limited to 10 minutes. Autofocus and optical zoom are fixed for the duration of clips, with the camera instead resorting to an ugly digital zoom function. Wide-angle clips suffered from heavy barrel distortion and soundtracks were marred by a fizz of digital interference Pentax Battery Charger. Despite all these flaws, it’s still an improvement on other cameras’ VGA-resolution videos.
Barrel distortion appeared to afflict photos too, but we were relieved to see that the saved JPEGs had been straightened using digital processing. Details looked sharp, but this relied heavily on digital processing too, giving an odd-looking halo to high-contrast lines and exaggerating noise at slow ISO speeds. A combination of digital sharpening and noise reduction gave higher-ISO shots a slightly syrupy appearance when viewed up close.
The camera’s sensitivity settings span a native range of ISO 100-1600, while further options equivalent to ISO’s 3200 and 6400 are provided for when the standard options won’t suffice. Sadly the camera’s metering pattern cannot be adjusted from its default multi-segment option, although the capability of a 3.2fps burst mode at full resolution is a nice surprise.
Not all budget compacts have caught up to offer with HD video yet, but the RS1500 Pentax Optio Charger provides 720p recording at a maximum 30fps. While this isn’t complemented with an HDMI port, this is unlikely to be a deal breaker for most. Instead, the model relies on a sole micro USB port for transferring images and videos. The model also runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, rather than on AA cells common to budget compacts, which helps to keep its profile slim next to similarly priced models.

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