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Pentax's logo. Click here to visit the Pentax website! Pentax announces Optio 330GS
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 17:29 EDT)

Pentax announced a new digital camera, the Optio 330GS, earlier this week (the US announcement was originally scheduled for the 24th, but apparently Europe weren't on the same schedule; with the recent flood of announcements we're only just getting a chance to mention the camera today).

An update to the existing Optio 230, the 330GS has a 3.2 megapixel imager, a new image processing chip and a champagne-tinted body. Other features of the Optio 330GS are similar to its lower-resolution sibling, including the 3x optical zoom lens, body shape, control layout and flip-out LCD (note that this screen only flips out 180 degrees to face forwards - it does not swivel like the displays on cameras from certain other manufacturers). Also retained is the unusual 3D image mode, which assists in capturing two images that are then printed as a 'stereo pair', giving a 3d effect when looked at through a provided 3d viewer.

Pentax Optio 330GS
Type Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash.
Effective Pixels 3.2 megapixels
Sensor 3.34 megapixels (total pixels) 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary colour filter
Colour Depth 12 bit x 3 colours
Recorded Pixels
Still - 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels, 1024 x 768 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels
Movie - 320 x 240 pixels
Sensitivity Auto, fixed (equivalent to ISO 100, 200, 400)
File Formats
Still - JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF, DPOF
Movie - AVI (Motion JPEG Format) approx. 15 fps, soundless
Quality Levels "Best", "Better", "Good"
Storage Media CompactFlash (CF) card Type I
Image Storage Capacity
Exposure capacity when using 16MB CF card
Recorded Pixels Best Better Good
2048 x 1536 8 16 33
1600 x 1200 13 27 60
1024 x 768 24 50 89
640 x 480 50 89 128
Lens Pentax power zoom 5.8mm-17.4mm (Equivalent to 38mm-114mm in 35mm format)F2.6-F5.0, 6 elements in 5 groups (1 aspherical element).
Digital Zoom 1X - approx. 2.7X
Focusing System Type
TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Manual focus/Infinity-landscape mode available.
Focusing Areas 5-point autofocus, spot autofocus
Focusing Range
Autofocus: Normal 0.4m (1.31 ft ) to infinity
Macro 0.1m (0.33 ft.) to 0.5m (1.64 ft.)
Manual focus: 0.1m (0.33 ft.) to infinity
Metering System TTL metering: Choice of Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted, metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes Standard, Picture mode (Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, Sunset),Night Scene, Movie, 3D image, Auto bracket
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV (1/3 steps)
Movie Shooting time: approx. 1 sec.-30 sec.
Shutter
Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter.
Shutter speed: approx. 1/1500 sec. to 4 sec.
Drive Modes One shot, Continuous, Self-timer
Flash
Built-in series-control auto flash
Automatic discharge under low lighting and backlight condition in auto modes.Flash-on and flash-off modes.
"Red-eye" reduction function employs a single discharge.
Effective Range
Approx. 0.2m - 5.0m (0.66 ft. - 16 ft.) (5.8mm at ISO Auto)
Approx. 0.1m - 2.7m (0.33 ft. - 8.9 ft.) (17.4mm at ISO Auto)
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual setting
Colour Modes Colour, black & white, sepia
Optical Viewfinder Actual-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 1.6 inch, TFD color LCD with swing out screen
LCD Function Nine-image and 1X-12X magnification available in playback mode.
Interfaces TV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video Output Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats.
Power Sources
Lithium battery CR-V3 allows approximately 500 shots to be taken*, two AA (lithium, alkaline, nickel and rechargeable Ni-MH) batteries
Optional AC adapter also available.
*According to tests conducted in-house by Pentax
Dimensions 103.5(W) x 63.5(H) x 42(D)mm (4.0 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches) (Excluding protrusions)
Weight
230g (8.1 oz.) loaded and ready.
180g (6.3 oz.) without battery and CF card.
.

Original Source Press Release:

The Optio330GS from Pentax - A compact digital advantage

Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. and Pentax Canada Inc. are proud to present the Optio330GS. Following in the footsteps of the successful Optio230, this latest model adheres to the same design concept -- a stylish compact digital camera that delivers sharp, satisfying images, yet remains simple and fun to use. In addition to possessing the same advantages as the Optio230, the Optio330GS has been enhanced further in terms of operational ease. Image quality has also been elevated with the power of 3.2 effective megapixels.

Main Features of the Optio330GS

1. 3.2 effective megapixels for high-quality results
Thanks to the power of 3.2 effective megapixels, the Optio330GS delivers images with a level of quality that extends way beyond mere snaps. Such precision begins with accurate recording on a 1/2.7-inch CCD. Data is then converted into digital form through use of the 12-bit A/D converter. Then, through the incorporation of advanced image processing technology, images are enhanced with a greater dynamic range, finer gradation, and high-resolution for overall high-quality.

2. A refined, stylish compact design
With compact dimensions of just 103.5mm (4.0") x 63.5mm (2.5") x 42mm (1.5") (width x height x depth) and a weight of only 180g (6.3 oz.), the Optio330GS is easy to take anywhere! The design lends a sense of style and feels comfortable in the hand.

3. A high performance optical 3X zoom lens
The high-performance 3X zoom lens of the Optio330GS is equivalent to a 38-114mm lens in 35mm format and combines high quality and high resolution with a low level of image distortion that is seldom possible within such compact proportions. The zoom lens is easily operated with a lever that allows swift composition when shooting subjects of different scales.

4. Easy to operate
Simple, stress-free operation is achieved through the incorporation of a newly developed image processing circuit and images can be played back easily with a touch of the central "OK" button on the handy four-way controller. The Optio330GS also ensures that you are always ready to capture unexpected action. The camera is constantly primed for shooting, even during the playback of images. For a higher level of versatility, the Optio330GS offers a range of shooting modes. Simply turn the dial and select from modes such as Standard, Picture, Night Scene, and Movie, as well as 3D image modes. The Optio330GS even boasts individual buttons for frequently used functions in the composition and playback of images.

5. Self-portraits made simple with a handy 180° swing-out screen
There are times when you may wish to take a picture of yourself or join someone else in the same shot. That's when the 180° swing-out screen of the Optio330GS comes in handy. It has a high-resolution 1.6-inch LCD monitor and assists you greatly with composition, allowing you to see exactly how you appear in the frame prior to taking the picture. The same handy screen can also be used to check the results after you've taken the shot, so you know when to recompose and shoot again.

6. Innovative 3D image for Stereoscopic shooting
With an innovative stereoscopic shooting mode, the Optio330GS produces images that have a genuine sense of depth and perspective when seen through the special viewer provided.

7. An array of picture modes
With a selection of seven picture modes, the Optio330GS prepares you for a variety of different situations and circumstances. Simply select from Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, and Sunset modes on the LCD monitor and allow the Optio330GS to automatically control exposure, focus, and white balance to achieve the optimum results for each given situation.

  1. Landscape mode:
    Achieves vivid colours, while emphasizing greenery and the contrast of different blue tones in the sky.
  2. Flower mode:
    Ideal for capturing the natural beauty of flowers.
  3. Portrait mode:
    Throws the background slightly out of focus in order to place emphasis on the foreground subject.
  4. Self-portrait mode:
    Achieve pleasing composition and results when taking shots of yourself or joining a friend in a shot.
  5. Soft mode:
    Achieves soft focus which can be adjusted across seven levels.
  6. Surf & Snow mode:
    Ideal for shots of the beach, capturing skiing scenes, bodies of water such as the sea or lakes, and clear blue skies.
  7. Sunset mode:
    Captures the warmth and beauty of the sun rising or setting in a faithful manner.
Other Features

1. Mass Storage Class compatibility for easy connection to PCs*
Thanks to compatibility with the USB Mass Storage Class, the Optio330GS is able to transfer photographic data direct to PCs via the USB cable provided. Such convenience heightens versatility as shots can be simply imported into a wide range of common applications.
*System requirements: PC running Windows 98/98SE, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP Home Edition/Professional or Mac OS 8.6 or higher (installation of the included driver software is required, except in the case of Mac 0S 9.0 or higher). Compliance with the aforementioned system requirements does not guarantee USB compatibility.
2. With USB driver and ACDSee™ as standard
The Optio330GS comes with a CD-ROM. This contains the handy USB driver as well as the popular ACDSee™ image viewing / management software (compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems).

3. Built-in auto flash
Auto flash discharges when light is low or to highlight objects in front of excessively bright backgrounds. The Optio330GS also gives you the freedom of flash-on, flash-off, and red eye reduction* modes. There's even Slow shutter sync mode, which can be selected when using Night Scene mode.
* This feature does not eliminate "red eyes" in all instances.
4. Optical viewfinder with actual image zoom
The viewfinder of the Optio330GS offers actual image zoom. This allows you to conserve battery power by switching off the LCD monitor, yet still maintain compositional accuracy.

5. Digital zooming versatility
The Optio330GS offers the versatility of 2.7X digital zoom. This leads to a total capacity of 8X zooming when combined with 3X optical zoom and gives you the freedom to crop and compose exactly as you please.

6. Nine-image display / zoom display
Nine recorded images can be displayed simultaneously on the handy LCD screen of the Optio330GS during playback. This speeds up the search for specific images considerably. Images can also be played back with 12X magnification, allowing you to check clarity and exposure with greater accuracy.

7. Slide show
With Slide show, recorded images can be simply and automatically displayed one after the other on the LCD monitor. Through simple connection to an LCD projector, the same function can be used to deliver effective presentations.

8. A variety of shooting modes
The Optio330GS offers a comprehensive range of shooting modes to achieve the most appropriate settings for your subject. Simply select from Standard, Picture, Night Scene, Movie, and 3D image with a turn of the dial. The Optio330GS also features auto bracketing, giving you a range of results to choose from.
  1. Standard:
    Achieve exactly the results you desire by taking control of a combination of functions.
  2. Picture:
    Choose from seven convenient picture modes, including Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, and Sunset.
  3. Night Scene:
    Capture evening or night scenes with clarity and add detail to the foreground wherever necessary. During long exposures, the Optio330GS also has a noise reduction function which activates automatically.
  4. Movie*:
    The Optio330GS has the ability to record up to 30 seconds of video at 15 frames per second, with 320 X 240 recorded pixels. As an additional benefit, clips are recorded in AVI format for 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 DirectX 8.0 and Windows Media Player pre-installed, or have QuickTime 3.0 or higher installed.
    PCs running Windows Me or Windows XP operating systems featuring Windows Media Player or QuickTime 3.0 or higher. Macintosh machines running operating systems, which came with QuickTime 4.0 or higher pre-installed.
  5. 3D image
    Simply take two shots following simple instructions to create images that have a real sense of depth and perspective when you look at them through the special viewer provided.
  6. Auto bracketing
    A highly convenient function that allows you to take shots that vary exposure, white balance, sharpness, saturation, and contrast in three steps for optimal results.
9. Self- timer
The Optio330GS has a convenient self-timer function, allowing you to get in the frame with friends or take a self-portrait as you would with a regular film camera.

10. Continuous shooting capability
Sometimes one shot is not quite enough to capture all the action. Fortunately, the Optio330GS offers continuous shooting, allowing you to take shot after shot by simply holding down the shutter button.

11. Macro shooting / infinity-landscape modes
Macro shooting mode gives you the ability to compose shots at a distance of only 0.1m (0.33 ft.) from your subject, and to zoom in and out as you please. There's also Infinity-landscape mode, which lets you capture stunning landscapes and scenery, even when you are shooting through windows.

12. Manual focusing
Focus can be matter of personal taste. That's why the Optio330GS offers the versatility of manual focus. It allows you to view composition on the LCD monitor while choosing the exact degree of focus you desire. The Optio330GS even allows you to zoom in on one part of the shot in order to achieve pin-sharp focus.

13. Autofocus areas
Automatic focusing becomes more accurate with the selection of Spot AF. The Optio330GS also has the advantage of 5-point autofocus, allowing you to place greater focal emphasis on your subject while reducing the sharpness of the background.

14. Useful LED indicator
The Optio330GS is equipped with a small LED which indicates the activation of the shutter when using the self-timer function. This LED also functions as an AF spotbeam, assisting autofocus when shooting in low-light conditions.

15. A range of settings for white balance
With White Balance Mode offering selections for Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light, and a Manual setting, the Optio330GS ensures an appropriate balance of colour when shooting across a range of different lighting conditions.

16. Handy histogram display
The convenient histogram function allows you to check light levels with a high degree of accuracy. What's more, this function can be used regardless of whether you are composing your shot or playing back your results.

17. Options for metering
Shots of different subjects can often require different kinds of metering in order to attain the right kind of exposure. Choose from multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering.

18. Selectable light sensitivity
Sensitivity to light can be set to auto, or manually set to ISO100, ISO200 or ISO400, allowing shots in different intensities of light.

19. Exposure compensation
Exposure compensation has a range of +2EV in 1/3EV steps.

20. A choice of three colour modes
Get creative with a range of colour modes. Experiment with a choice of colour, black & white, and sepia and enjoy creating different moods.

21. Settings for sharpness, saturation and contrast
In order to help you achieve results more finely attuned to your desires, the Optio330GS allows you to set sharpness, saturation, and contrast in three different grades.

22. Image protection
With some digital cameras it can be all too easy to accidentally delete a shot. Image protection, however, ensures that this does not happen with the Optio330GS.

23. Mode memory function
The mode memory function can be extremely handy in so many situations. It allows you to save a combination of settings in accordance with your desires. These can then be returned to automatically the next time the power is switched on.

24. World time function
With a world time function, the Optio330GS makes the ideal travel companion. It can display the time in 62 different countries around the world and records the time each shot is taken without the need for resetting to simplify sorting when you return home!

25. DPOF
When used in combination with compatible printers, the DPOF function* of the Optio330GS allows you to take control over the number of printouts and the date function.
*Some printers may not support the above functions. Please consult the supplier of your printer for more information.
26. Exif Print (Exif 2.2) and PRINT Image Matching II*
The Optio330GS provides prints of an even higher quality when it is connected to Exif Print or PRINT Image Matching II compatible printers.
*This product supports PRINT Image Matching II. When used in combination, PRINT Image Matching II enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions.
Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
PRINT Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
27. CompactFlash compatibility
The Optio330GS boasts the convenience of CompactFlash compatibility. Just one 16MB CompactFlash card is capable of storing approximately 16 images 2048 X 1536 recorded pixels in the "Better" quality setting, and a maximum of 128 images with 640 X 480 recorded pixels in the "Good" quality setting.

28. Video output terminal
For simple viewing, or for displaying shots to family and friends, the Optio330GS can be connected to a TV via video cable.

29. Power sources
The Optio330GS can be powered by two AA batteries (lithium, alkaline, or rechargeable Ni-MH). It is also compatible with one CR-V3 lithium battery pack which can take approximately 500 images continuously.* An optional AC adapter is also available to activate the Optio330GS.
*According to tests conducted in-house by Pentax.
30. Multilingual operation
Not only is the Optio330GS ideal for traveling, it is also multilingual! Whether your native tongue is English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Japanese, you'll find operation of the Optio330GS straightforward and simple.

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