The Pentax Espio S45 is a 4 Megapixel Digital Camera, which is well made and ideal as a compact travel camera, although not as thin as more up to date cameras, but probably easier to hold as a result.
The Camera is larglely automatic and has a 'Green mode' on the top Programme selection wheel, which gives 'Point & Shoot' ability, together with the Program mode which alows better control over flash etc.
The advantage of this camera is that is has 'Optical Zoom' which means the Lens Elements move to give Framing and Magnification, which is preferable to Digital Zoom, which just electronically enlarges the pixels and as a result can affect image quality.
Optical Zoom is always better and although you only get around 3 x Zoom, this is sufficient to get the subject framed correctly.
The Programme wheel has other settings for landscape and Nightime modes etc, but experimentation is the best way to see how these function, but the advantage of a digital camera, is that you can see the results on the Screen, which by the way, on this camera, is around 3.5 inches across, so gives a good preview of your shots.
The Programe mode can also enable Black & White shots to be taken and other effects, such as making an image look like a drawing etc.
Again, plenty of scope to experiment with.
One slight gripe is that shots can sometimes appear blurry, especially in dull weather, but alot of this is down to technique and as with all camera's, if you can, try and steady the camera against something, when you take a shot.
The camera does have a useful 2 second timer, which can be use to trigger the shutter, after the camera has been placed on a solid surface, as well as a standard 30 second timer for self portraits etc.
The Video capture is pretty good as well, although fast moving objects can make it blurr, if moving fast across the lens, but the quality is fine other than that (Better than my old Nokia 6230i Phone anyway)!!
The camera is solidly made out of Aluminium and there is an S55 model available with 5 megapixels, but consider that a Computer displaying a full Screen image from the S45 uses approx 1.3 megapixels only and most printers print at around 320 Dots per inch resolution, which equates to around 2.8 megapixels.
So a 4 or 5 megapixels camera is fine, don't completely be fooled by the hype about 8 & 10 megapixel cameras etc, as a lot of this is just marketing spiel and does not always mean that you will get better results.
Flash Coverage by the way (forgot to mention) is pretty good as well and the camera automatically adjusts for different ISO levels (I: e ISO 100/200/400), Although you can manually adjust these yourself.
I use 2800 Mah Nickel Metal Hydride batteries in my Pentax S45 and find they will last most of the day, providing you don't use the flash for every shot.
I reckon if you had a spare set of 2 extra Batts (AA's) then this should be sufficient for a whole days shooting.
In an emergency, a set of disposable Alkaline battteries, should give you at least 40 shots, but try and invest in rechargeables!
So all in all, the Pentax Espio S45 is a good camera and I will not bother replacing it yet.
Pros: Good Optical Zoom, Metal Case, Easy to use, but has more complex effects/functions.
A good travel camera..
Cons: Video can blurr with fast moving objects, can get colour casts in strong sunlight (Check White Balance/exposure settings.