The Kyocera Finecam S5R offers little to distinguish itself from the pack of compact 5-megapixel cameras. That's not to say it lacks useful features. For instance, its 35mm-to-105mm (35mm equivalent) lens retracts into a shutter in its stainless steel case, allowing it to be easily tucked into a pouch or pocket.
The S5R is predominantly a program-mode camera, though it also offers a selection of two user-selectable aperture settings, f/2.8 and f/9.6. A 1.6-inch LCD, a knurled mode-selector knob, a five-way switch, and several other control buttons are arranged sensibly on the rear of the body. Belying their small size, all controls are easy to operate. As the user scrolls across the horizontal main menu, options pop up in vertical stacks. The S5R's notable features include adjustable ISO and white balance, three metering modes, and video with sound.
The camera also incorporates Kyocera's RTune Technology, which delivered mixed performance results in our testing. It excels at continuous shooting: When equipped with an accelerated, 256MB or larger SD (Secure Digital) card, it yielded a frame rate of 2.4fps, for more than 100 highest-quality shots. Dropping to the lowest resolution let us capture more than 300 shots at about 3fps. With a fast card, it can also capture VGA-resolution movies with audio, up to the capacity of the SD card.
The S5R takes about 4.5 seconds from power-on to first shot, which is a bit long. Shutter lag runs between 0.6 and 0.9 second, depending upon contrast conditions, which is fairly average for the S5R's class. Typical shot-to-shot duration was more than 3 seconds--a relatively long wait. But with the flash, it took less than 4 seconds, which is better than most competitors. Charging the lithium-ion battery took about two hours and provided power for a mere 140 shots.
Unfortunately, the S5R's photos look subpar. Its white balance is generally acceptable, though in auto mode, it couldn't handle our indoor lighting test. Exposure and dynamic range were also pretty good. But excessive postprocessing artifacts make the photos look noisy and fuzzy. All in all, camera shoppers could probably do better for the money.