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Pentax's Optio A20 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax updates the Optio A10
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, August 21, 2006 - 20:34 EDT)

Pentax USA has today announced a new digital camera model which updates an existing digital camera with some new features.

As with the A10 model on which it is based, the Pentax Optio A20 combines two impressive technologies in a compact body. First, there's the company's 'Sliding Lens System' tech, which removes elements from the optical path as the lens retracts - allowing a slimmer profile when the camera is powered off. Secondly, there's a 'Shake Reduction System' which was newly developed for the A10, and uses two gyro sensors coupled with focusing information and a proprietary CCD shift mechanism to reduce blur caused by camera shake.

Where the Optio A10 had a resolution of eight megapixels from a 1/1.8" imager, the A20 bumps this slightly to a ten megapixel imager. There's also a newly added Shutter Priority mode, and the minimum ISO is raised just slightly (from 50 to 64). Finally, on top of the CCD shift shake reduction and software removal of shake from movies (both seen in the A10), the Pentax A20 adds a third method of combatting blur from camera shake. A "blur reduction" mode trades off 50% of the camera's overall resolution, allowing the maximum ISO sensitivity to be raised from 800 to 1600 megapixels at a resolution of five megapixels - still plenty for the most common print sizes, even with a little cropping.

As with its predecessor, the Pentax A20 sports a large 2.5" LCD display, with a generous 232,000 pixels. Other notable features on the Optio A20 include Secure Digital card storage plus 24MB of built-in memory, and both USB data and NTSC / PAL switcheable video connectivity. One final change of note is that the Pentax A20 adds support for the new SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) standard, which extends the maximum flash card capacity to a theoretical 32GB (4GB cards being the largest at the time of this writing), with sustained transfer rates of up to six megabytes per second.

On paper at least, the Pentax Optio A20 looks to be an even more capable camera than the Optio A10 (which shipped in February 2006) - and impressively this has been achieved at the exact same list price of $350. The Pentax A20 ships from October 2006 in the US market.

Pentax Optio A20
Pentax's Optio A20 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Compact
Manufacturer Pentax
Model Number A20
Dimensions 3.5 x 2.1 x 0.9"
88.5 x 54.5 x 23.0mm
Weight 145.0 g
5.1 oz
Planned Price $350.00
Planned Availability Oct 2006
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/1.8 CCD
10.37 megapixels (total)
10.00 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image Dimensions 3648 x 2736 (10.0 megapixels)
3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
2592 x 1944 (5.0 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 2.5", 232,000 pixels
100% field of view
Playback Zoom 8.0x max
Lens
Lens Type smc Pentax
3x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 7.9 - 23.7mm (actual)
37 - 112mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.8 (wide) - f/5.4 (tele) - ???
Focusing System 5 point contrast detection w/ spot, tracking, infinity landscape, and pan focus modes
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing Range Normal: 14" - infinity (35 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.4" - 16" (6 cm - 40 cm)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600* (blur reduction mode)
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/2000 second
Exposure Modes Program, Shutter
Metering Modes TTL metering: Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Flash-off, Flash-on, Auto + Red-eye reduction, Flash-on + Red-eye reduction, Auto backlight compensation
Range: Wide: 0.20 - 23 ft (0.06 - 7.1 m); Tele: Approx. 1.15 - 11 ft (0.35 - 3.5 m)
Creative
Scene Modes Auto Scene, Night scene, Movie, Voice record, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Kids, Blur reduction, Surf & Snow, Candle Light, Text, Food, Sport, Frame composition, Pet
Digital Zoom 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format AVI (MPEG-4 DivX) with audio
640x480 and 320x240
Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Max. clip length: 323 seconds (640x480) / 1,052 seconds (320x240)
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 1.1
Other DC input
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary D-LI8
Product Bundle
Software Software (S-SW42)
Battery / Charger Proprietary D-LI8 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 24.0MB built-in memory
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Remote Control Yes
More Photos
Pentax's Optio A20 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio A20 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio A20 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio A20 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

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