Cute Digital Cameras: Buying a Pentax S4
Jennie is looking for a new digital camera for her trip to parts unknown. Some amazing ones are around now. She's been looking at a bunch and as usual Pentax like every other consumer manufacturer has made a complete hash of the model numbers and names, so here is a decoder ring:
* Pentax Optio S Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review. This thing is the size of a credit card and fits inside an Altoid box. An amazing technology where the lense group actually slides up and out of the way. Great cuteness factor too at just 4 oz. This is actually the review 8 out of 10 which is pretty amazing for $300 camera that is only 3 Mp.
* "Pentax S4":http://www.pentaxusa.com/products/cameras/camera_overview.cfm?productid=18283. I'd bet that the s4 is a pretty good buy at $240 or so given that there is a $30 rebate through August 2004. It has a 4 Megapixel sensor, so much more than the 3.2Mp on the original S. Now out of production, it feels like a pretty good buy at "$270":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=1274855/blsrt=1/ut=1813184029de13f6 or so.
* "Pentax S4i":http://www.pentaxusa.com/products/cameras/camera_overview.cfm?productid=18233. This is the same as the S4, but has a 1.8 inch screen instead of 1.6 inches. Pretty small beans for something that costs "$320":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2424035/ut=1813184029de13f6. It has a different camera back.
* "Pentax s40":http://www.pentaxusa.com/products/cameras/camera_overview.cfm?productid=18027. This is the same camera as the s4 and s4i but uses conventional NiMH AA batteries, so weighs 6 oz instead of 4 oz. OTOH, this does mean that you can get a set of batteries just about anywhere.
As usual there are accessories that you need to get:
* Extra Battery. The battery lasts for 200 shots, but most folks recommend another battery for about $40. Not needed of course if you are getting the S40.
* "SD Card":http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=7351118. Here is a forum note on SD speeds. Basically says that you should get an SD card with Panasonic chips. The 256MB and 512MB versions should run at 9-10MBps. Thes would include the Panasonic 256 & 512 cards, Sandisk Ultra II and Sandisk Extreme.
* "CF Comparisons":http://www.dpreview.com/articles/mediacompare/. There really aren't any good articles on this, but DPreivew has a good write up about the speeds of various media. All flash are not created equal. A standard flash should run at 150KB/sec in terms of transfer rate, but now you can get 16x, 32x and so on. The current CF standard is up to 16Mb/sec and the fastest card is currently the "Sandisk Ultra II":http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1023&message=7353281 which can write at ~9Mb/sec
and read at ~10Mb/sec. Of course, its not clear if your camera can actually write that fast. About 5MBps is standard