The rest of the camera's performance was far less impressive. Time to first shot after power-on was a sluggardly 6.2 seconds, and thereafter, we could take pictures only every 4.5 seconds (6.21 seconds with flash). At its best, shutter lag ran a merely OK 0.9 second and 1.2 seconds when repeating the test under more challenging low-contrast lighting conditions, despite the lack of a focus-assist lamp.
The tiny 710mAh lithium-ion battery delivered a decent 464 shots after a full charge in the supplied camera dock, half taken with flash, and with lots of zooming, picture review, and media reformatting to give it a workout.
As long as you don't look too closely, the Optio SV's photo quality should be good enough for the average photographer. However, the automatic white balance tends to lean slightly toward cyan or yellow, depending upon the light source; manual white balance yielded much better results. There's little noise at ISO 50 and 100, but noise increases visibly at ISO 200 and 400. The camera slightly underexposes, which preserved the highlights of some brightly lit snow scenes we shot, but it also tends to compress the dynamic range. Furthermore, its photos simply aren't that sharp, and postprocessing artifacts become apparent when you look at images at full size. Red-eye control was good but not perfect.
Though this 5-megapixel snapshot camera has some admirable qualities, poor performance and disappointing photo quality keep the Pentax Optio SV from making the grade.
Edited by Lori Grunin
Additional editing by Tom Espiner