Pentax V20 Intro
Pentax's Optio V20 digital camera sports the useful combination of an eight megapixel imager, 5x optical zoom lens and three inch LCD display in a relatively compact body that's just 0.9" / 23mm thick. The Pentax V20's 1/2.35" CCD image sensor is capable of burst shooting at 1.4 frames per second, and is also used to offer contrast detection-type autofocusing.
Pentax V20 Features
The Optio V20's 5x zoom lens provides for focal lengths equivalent to 36 - 180mm on a 35mm camera - not hugely generous at wide angle, but a fairly useful telephoto given the camera's size. Maximum aperture ranges from f/3.5 at wide angle to f/5.6 at telephoto, which while perhaps a little on the dim side is perfectly understandable given the camera's dimensions and pricing. Sadly there's no optical image stabilization to help offset this, with the Pentax V20 instead offering only what Pentax refers to as "Digital Shake Reduction". Essentially this raises sensitivity to as high as ISO 6400 equivalent, in an attempt to prevent shake at the expense of image noise and subject detail.
The LCD display is the sole method of framing or reviewing images, given that the Pentax Optio V20 has no provision for an optical viewfinder. At a total of 230,000 dots, the Optio V20's 3.0" display offers about the norm in terms of resolution. Images are stored in a reasonably generous 51.1MB of built-in memory, as well as on Secure Digital flash cards (including the newer high-speed, high-capacity SDHC types).
Power for the Optio V20 comes from a D-LI78 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, which Pentax rates as good for around 200 shots on a charge. Alternatively, you can expect around 3.5 hours of continuous playback time, 70 minutes of movie recording or 300 minutes of audio recording on a single charge of the Pentax V20's battery.
The Pentax Optio V20 includes a range of ease-of-use features, such as a catch-all Auto scene mode which automatically selects between the Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Normal, Flower and Sports scene modes as appropriate, an auto-macro function which allows focusing to 4" / 10cm in normal AF mode if required, and face recognition technology which is linked to both the autofocus and autoexposure systems to ensure pleasing portraits. The Pentax V20's Blink Detection function warns if your subjects closed their eyes, and a Smile Capture function can automatically trigger the shutter when your subject smiles.
Pentax V20 Pricing and Availability
Pentax's Optio V20 digicam ships from May 2008 in a bundle including ACDSee for PENTAX 3.0 image viewer/image management software. US pricing has been set at about US$280.