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Another familiar looking feature is the big 2.5in LCD monitor, but this too is vastly improved. It is low-reflection with exceptionally high 232,000 pixel resolution and a particularly fast refresh rate, which means that the scene you see on the monitor doesn’t lag behind movements of the camera.
One thing that hasn’t changed much is the control layout and menu system, but then the previous Optio S system was very good already. The selection process for flash modes and focus modes has received a bit of a tweak though, and these are now selected from a list rather than just cycling through the available options.
There are plenty of focusing options to chose from, with pan focus, infinity focus and 25-step manual focus available, as well as macro mode although with a minimum range of 15cm this is not terribly impressive. The focus area mode can be selected in the menu, but sadly the frame-wide selectable AF point is no longer an option, but it has been replaced with an active tracking AF, ideal for shooting moving subjects.
The S6 features the same Green Button as on previous models, which operates as a user-definable function button, giving quick access to four commonly-used options via the D-pad. The defaults are resolution, ISO, white balance and exposure compensation, but any of the other menu adjustments can be mapped onto it, including image quality, focus area, metering mode, contrast, saturation and sharpness.
Although like the rest of the Optio S range the S6 has no manual exposure controls, it does have a good selection of scene modes, although fewer than on some previous models. These options include night scene, landscape, flower, portrait, candlelight, surf & snow, sport, pets, text copying, food and the unintentionally hilarious frame composite mode, in which a delightful decorative frame is added to your shot. Choose from a lovely lacy heart, a border of roses and daisies, or a frame of film with a cartoon character saying “How nice!!” I couldn’t put it better myself.
Also on the mode menu is the movie mode. It shoots at the now essential 640 x 480 resolution at 30 frames per second, however unusually it stores clips in the ultra-compact DivX format.