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Pentax announces the highly compact, exceptionally capable, PENTAX OptioS

Pentax announces a new very compact 3 Megapixel digital camera loaded with features for beginner and pro: the Pentax OptioS.
The most striking feature of the OptioS is its optical zoom range. Pentax has managed to fit a 3x zoom lens into a camera with a depth of only 20mm. Additionally, a 1.6 inch LCD viewer has been mounted in spite of a length x width of only 83 x 52 mm. Even with movie mode and audio, the OptioS weights only 115 gr. incl. battery and MMC card. Availability is April 2003...
Pentax announces the highly compact, exceptionally capable, PENTAX OptioS - digital camera and photography news


PENTAX is renowned for producing cameras that exceed expectations. It isalso well known for producing some of the lightest, smallest cameras in the world and for continually delivering exciting new technologies to the market.

The OptioS has been developed by PENTAX as a digital camera that is ideal for both personal and business use. It is convenient enough to be used by virtually anyone, anywhere, at any time and can capture sound as well as images, which can be useful for recording important information in meetings. In order to ensure that the OptioS will remain attractive as we move toward a future in which most cameras are digital, PENTAX decided to create the OptioS as an advanced, powerful camera — one that would combine compact dimensions, impressive features and elegant design; that would offer the power of 3.2 effective megapixels and the versatility of a 3X optical zoom lens; and that would have the power to remain attractive despite the passing of fashions.

1. An ultra-compact body with a stylish exterior
PENTAX has achieved a design success through sincere dedication. The OptioS feels truly comfortable in the hand and can be stored virtually anywhere, but most of all its design has been achieved without incurring any sacrifice in performance or capability. It has a width of a mere 83mm, a height of just 52mm, and a depth of only 20mm (excluding protruding parts), and is therefore smaller than a conventional pack of cards. Additionally it weighs just 98g without batteries, which means you can easily carry it in a shirt pocket without you even noticing that it's there. It also offers the utmost in user friendliness — combining exceptional portability with extreme ease of use.

Innovative“Sliding Lens” system. (Click here for construction chart)
Conventionally, the minimum dimensions of the lens barrel are limited by the retraction mechanism as the lenses have to remain stored on an optical axis while maintaining a minimal distance between each of the lenses. PENTAX, however, saved vital space by approaching the design of the lens barrel in an entirely new way — achieving the storage of the lenses in two stages and allowing the central lens group to deviate from the optical axis with the innovative  “Sliding Lens” system. PENTAX also incorporated a significantly revised optical design which, when combined with the “Sliding Lens” system, achieves a reduction in camera depth of approximately 55%*.

A newly developed MCM (Multi Chip Module) in the electrical circuit board brings about a volume reduction of approximately 57%*, and PENTAX has incorporated a number of cutting-edge devices into areas such as the LCD monitor and batteries.

In conventional camera production, companies wishing to design more compact models begin by pinpointing areas of space within the internal structure. They then seek to eradicate or minimize them by locating the surrounding components closer together. PENTAX, however, took a much more painstaking approach to achieving minimum dimensions in the design of the OptioS — reassessing the function and location of each component within the camera, and repositioning them where necessary to achieve more compact dimensions through a greater degree of tessellation. As a result, the super compact OptioS has an innovative space-saving, solid structure.

PENTAX has selected an aluminum alloy as the material for the main body. This lends the camera an air of prestige, has a light weight, and is easily decorated with the distinctive “spindle” pattern of the outer casing of the OptioS. The exterior appearance also makes use of elegant lines, a pleasing overall shape, and the addition of the PENTAX logo.

In terms of operability, PENTAX faced a particular challenge. Indeed with such compact dimensions it can be difficult to offer high-level functionality without some degree of operational awkwardness. PENTAX, however, overcame this potential problem with the intelligent placement of buttons and the design of a user-friendly operating system. As a result, the OptioS offer simplistic operation with speed.

*Compared to the PENTAX Optio330RS.

2. An ultra-compact 3X optical zoom lens
The OptioS is the first ever digital camera to feature an smc PENTAX lens — alens widely recognized for its high-level image quality. Despite its compact dimensions, the high-performance 3X optical zoom lens (equivalent to a 35-105mm lens in 35mm format) is comprised of six elements in five groups (including two dual-sided aspherical elements) and is capable of producing images of a pleasingly high quality with only low-level image distortion.

The zooming capacity of the lenses is augmented with 2X digital zooming, which offers smooth operation and realizes a combined zooming power of 6X zoom. Additionally, autofocus offers easy button operation and pleasing performance, allowing you to fill the frame with the head of a flower, or capture stunning shots of mountain ranges.

3. The digital precision of 3.2 effective megapixels
The OptioS offers pleasing image quality with the power of 3.2 effective megapixels. Faithfully reproducing the delicate hues of flowers and capturing fine details within landscape shots, it also incorporates advanced image processing technology and makes use of primary color filters for the reproduction of more natural, vivid colors.

4. Easy operation
With the incorporation of a newly developed image processing circuit and revised algorithms within the firmware, the OptioS offers quick and easy operation. The playback of images can be done with a single push of a standalone button and the OptioS is always ready to shoot regardless of the mode you are in, so you never miss a photo opportunity. The selection of one of a variety of shooting modes (Program, Picture, Night Scene, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter and User modes) is also easy thanks to the Virtual Mode Dial, which is displayed on the LCD monitor. For additional convenience, the OptioS also features standalone buttons for frequently used shooting and playback functions, while deletion and enlargement have been made faster with simplified processes. Response time has also been accelerated, with a release time lag of approximately 0.01 seconds*.

*Time taken from full shutter button depression to the beginning of shooting, when the OptioS is in Flash off mode with the focus lock (shutter depressed half way.)

5. A variety of shooting modes
The OptioS offers the choice of eight shooting modes, consisting of Program, Picture, Night Scene, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter and User. Selection of the desired mode is easily done through use of the easy-to-understand graphic Virtual Mode Dial.
1) Program:
Allows you to take control of a combination of functions to achieve the results you desire.
2) Picture:
Choose from seven convenient picture modes, including Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn Color and Sunset.
3) Night Scene:
Ideal for capturing evening and night scenes, this mode also maintains clarity when shooting subjects with dark backgrounds.
4) Movie:
The OptioS can record up to 30 seconds of video with sound at 12 frames per second, and 320 x 240 recorded pixels. What's more, clips are recorded in AVI format in order to allow easy playback on PCs.*

*System requirements for use of the Movie function: PCs running Windows 98/98SE, or Windows 2000 operating systems which came with Direct X8.0 and Windows Media Player pre-installed, or have QuickTime 3.0 or higher installed. PC running Windows Me or Windows XP operating systems featuring Windows Media Player or QuickTime3.0 or higher. Macintosh machines running operating systems, which came with QuickTime 4.0 or higher pre-installed.

5) Panorama Assist:
By simply following the guidance given by the camera and using the software included with the OptioS, panorama-like pictures can be effectively created through the vertical or horizontal combination of multiple pictures on a PC.

6) 3D image:
The OptioS adds an additional dimension to digital photography with the exciting 3D image mode. This produces pictures that have a genuine sense of depth and perspective when seen through the special 3D viewer provided.

7) Digital Filter:
Achieving effects similar to conventional filters, the OptioS allows you to select black & white and sepia filters for shooting. It also allows selection of a range of different colors (red, pink, yellow, green, blue and purple) that can be used to influence the results in myriad ways. For example, purple could be selected in order to add more mood to a sunset. The OptioS also has a special slim filter, which allows subjects to appear more slender or broader and offers a choice of degrees.

8) Usability:
Not only does the OptioS offer a range of useful shooting modes, it also allows a combination of preferred settings to be memorized for easier access. With a selection of seven picture modes, the OptioS prepares you for a diverse range of situations and circumstances. Just make your selection on the LCD monitor and allow the camera to take automatic control over exposure, focus, and White Balance to achieve the optimal results.
1) Landscape mode:
Scenes containing greenery and blue skies can be captured with clarity and faithful tones.
2) Flower mode:
Ideal for capturing vivid, colorful shots of flowers.
3) Portrait mode:
Captures natural skin tones.
4) Self-portrait mode:
Allows appropriate composition and provides pleasing results when taking shots of yourself or joining a friend in the frame.
5) Surf & Snow mode:
Guards against the underexposure of darker elements when other elements in shot are reflecting bright sunlight. Ideal, for example, when shooting a scene of a bay on a sunny day, with a mountain in the background.
6) Autumn Color mode:
Captures the stunning reds and golds of autumn leaves.
7) Sunset mode:
Captures the warmth and beauty of sunrise and sunset scenes.

The OptioS has been specially designed with audio recording capability rivaling the abilities of standalone audio recording devices. This can be exceptionally handy for recording important information in meetings and an index can be added during recording for easy playback.
January 8, 2003
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