Pentax Optio S Digital Camera
Last August I bought a Pentax Optio S digicam (from eBay in the US, took some time for delivery but a friend of mine in the US took it with him for me... much cheaper), for holiday and party snapshot purposes (damn, that makes me sound old). The 3 megapixel camera has one very important feature which makes it essential in my toystore: it's small. A few specs:
- 3 megapixel max. resolution (2048 x 1536)
- 3x optical zoom (35 - 105 mm)
- 11 MB internal memory
- Secure Digital (SD) / MMC memory slot
- Auto/manual focus
- 30 second movie/audio clips
- 1.6" LCD screen
- Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
- 115 g
- 83 x 52 x 20 mm
Much like the Vaio, it's a very small device but it performes just like a regularly sized digital camera. It's not the best there is (if you're going for performance and don't mind a camera which is a bit bigger and maybe a bit more expensive, you should probably look at the Canon Ixus 400), but it suits my needs very well. I have one 256MB SD card at the moment, but because I've also bought an mpio FL100 MP3 player, I'm probably going for 3 SD cards in total for now.
My experiences with it so far are great. Good quality pictures, easy to use, and it fits in my pocket. Oh, and it generates a lot of "ooooohhhhh"'s and "aaaaaaahhhhh"'s. I really enjoy that. For a more technical and unbiased opinion, you might want to surf to the Pentax Optio S review by DPReview.com. This is definitely the best site when it comes to reviewing (digital) cameras, so don't buy anything before comparing their reviews first. Some pictures then (courtesy of DPReview.com):
Note the long lens, compared to the thickness of the camera itself, when it's fully extended. Also, the camera has a few downsides: it's not very good at night shots (zooming is somewhat poor, and the image quality is not very good either), and the joystick-like button on the back is too small; you hit OK too often when wanting to browse through your images (which causes you to record sounds without wanting to).
As I've also stated on the Mpio FL100 page, this item is excellent for travelling, together with the Mpio and the Sony Vaio: a kit of complementing small machines that give me all the digital abilities that I might need during my travels. If anyone wants to donate SD memory, please send me an e-mail.
The Pentax under Linux
Ofcourse, I want the camera to be accessible under Linux as well. Basically, you just want it to be a mountable USB mass storage device, which can be accomplished by doing the following. Note: I've tried it, and it didn't work for me, I'm not sure why. I will try with a 2.6 kernel, which should have default support (without kernel hacking), and I will post my results when I've done that):
- Make sure you have a kernel that's new enough (2.4.24 should do it), with the following options turned on:
- Any other USB settings on which the above depend
- Add the following lines to your /usr/src/linux/drivers/storage/unusual_devs.h file:
UNUSUAL_DEV( 0x0a17, 0x0006, 0x0000, 0xffff, "Pentax", "OPTIO S", US_SC_8070, US_PR_CB, NULL, US_FL_MODE_XLATE|US_FL_FIX_INQUIRY ),
As I stated before, for me this did not work yet. I didn't try hard enough yet to get it fixed, but anytime I plug in my Optio when running Linux, it hangs, and a hard reboot is necessary. Hmm, I wonder if I'm doing something wrong. If anyone knows the solution, do not hesitate to share. If not, I will see if running a 2.6 kernel is the answer.
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