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Pentax announces Optio S40 digital camera
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, February 2, 2004 - 10:58 EST)

In a second announcement today from Pentax has today introduced a new Optio digital camera which combines a 4 megapixel imager with a 3x optical zoom lens.

The Pentax Optio S40, which is just slightly bigger than the S4i at 3.5" x 2.3" x 1", features a 1.6-inch LCD monitor on which to preview and review images. The camera has USB connectivity, a built-in 4-mode flash, 11MB of built-in memory, compatibility with Secure Digital and MultiMediaCards and compatibility with CR-V3 or AA batteries. Optional extras include a waterproof underwater housing and a remote control. The official press release along with a fact sheet on the Optio S40 follow below. The camera will be available in April, with pricing as-yet unannounced.

Pentax's Optio S40 digital camera. Courtesy of Eastman Kodak Co., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:

PLANNING A LEAP TO DIGITAL? NEWEST PENTAX CAMERA HELPS PAVE THE WAY

GOLDEN, Colorado (February 2, 2004) Will 2004 be the year you go digital? The new PENTAX Optio S40 is a 4 megapixel, 3X zoom digital camera that is loaded with the features to help you on your way! Sporting a sleek aluminum design and the signature, compact dimensions of the PENTAX Optio digital brand, the Optio S40 features an exciting, new “help” function. Offering simple-to-understand explanations in a regular or enlarged font for easier viewing, the “help” function guides new, and old hands, through the camera’s array of digital features with a simple touch.

The PENTAX Optio S40 makes digital easy and fun! The buttons and controls of the Optio S40 are placed in easy reach for ready-to-shoot positioning. The shutter release button and all the manual buttons are enlarged for easy manipulation. Featuring the legendary smc PENTAX lens and the unique PENTAX Sliding Lens system that allows the lens to retract fully when the camera is off lens, the Optio S40 is sleek and compact enough to carry everywhere.

Plus, with the optional, acrylic waterproof housing that is newly-designed for the Optio S40, everywhere may well include the exciting world of underwater digital photography!

The PENTAX digital advantage doesn’t stop there. Equipped with PictBridge, a new direct-print standard released by the CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association), the Optio S40 connects directly to your printer so you may print images without the need for a personal computer. For more convenience, the PENTAX Optio S40 includes an ACDSee™ software package that is designed exclusively for PENTAX digital cameras. Valued at $150, the package includes ACDSee™ 5.1, FotoSlate™, FotoCanvas™ and Photostitcher. ACDSee™ digital camera software makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share your digital photos.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. will preview the Optio S40 on February 11 at the PMA Sneak Peek Event and the PEPCOM DigitalFocus in advance of the 2004 Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Trade Show from February 12-15 in Las Vegas. The camera will ship to retailers in April 2004.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, lenses, mobile printers, scanners and internet cameras. For more than 80 years, PENTAX technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX U.S.A., INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX CORPORATION.

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PENTAX OPTIO S40 FACT SHEET

Major features of the Optio S40 include:

Ultra-compact, sophisticated design
Featuring the unique PENTAX Sliding Lens system, that allows the 3X zoom lens to retract fully when the camera is off, the Optio S40 dimensions are just 3.5 inches (W) x 23 inches (H) x 1 inch (D) and weighs 4.5 ounces (excluding batteries and SD memory card). The Optio S40 is compatible with two AA batteries and has an attractive aluminum design and is small enough to be comfortably worn about the neck or easily slipped in the pocket.
4.0 effective megapixel clarity with primary color filter
For exceptional clarity, the Optio S40 has the imaging power of 4.0 effective megapixels with a primary color filter and advanced imaging technologies for brighter, more natural color and higher overall quality.
Ultra-compact, 3X optical zoom lens
The Optio S40 features the legendary smc PENTAX lens with 3X zoom capability with a focal range equivalent to 35-105mm lens in 35mm format. Combined with a 4X digital zoom, the Optio S40 offers 12X zoom. Zoom out for expansive scenes or in for tight framing. With five groups of six lens elements crafted entirely from glass, the Optio S40 features two lenses crafted to be aspherical on each side.
User-friendly operation
All Optio S40 buttons and controls are located within easy reach and in ready-to-shoot position. The shutter release button along with all buttons on the back of the camera are enlarged for easier manipulation, and a handy mode dial is employed to allow virtually effortless selection from the impressive array of shooting modes.
Function customization
For customized, easy operation, the Optio S40 allows four frequently used functions to be selected from a choice of seven (recording size, image quality, exposure compensation, metering, white balance, ISO and AF area). These can then be assigned to the left and right elements of the four-way controller for access when the dial position is set in modes other than Auto Select, Movie, and Voice recording.
Help function in Auto Select mode
A useful Help function can be easily accessed when in both recording and playback modes, displaying simple explanations of all button functions on the screen.
PictBridge compatibility
The Optio S40 supports PictBridge, a new direct-print standard released by the CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association). With this advantage, the Optio S40 can be connected directly to a printer that supports PictBridge via USB cable and offer control over printing, resizing, trimming, digital filter, and other functions — all without the need for a PC.
9-position mode dial
The Optio S40 makes it easy to select shooting modes with a handy dial positioned in the middle of the top surface. Set the dial to one of the nine modes described below and let the Optio S40 take care of all relevant settings automatically.
Auto Select automatically sets the camera and features a help function that displays simple-to-understand explanations of different button functions.

  • Portrait mode capture skin tones in a more natural, flattering manner.
  • Landscape mode makes it easy to capture the expansive beauty of wide-open natural scenes.
  • Night scene captures a significant amount of detail while retaining the true mood of shots taken in low light.
  • Movie records video with sound
  • Voice records voice messages.

Digital effect in the Optio S40 offers a range of digital effects for the creation of interesting images, with 8 digital filters, 2 in 1, multiple exposure, and Panorama Assist functions.
Program leaves all settings to the camera for spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities.
Picture mode allows the user to choose from one of 10 different settings to swiftly make the most of the situation at hand.
Simple shooting with 8 Picture modes
In addition to placing Portrait, Landscape, and Night scene modes directly on the mode dial, the Optio S40 also offers 8 picture modes with exceptionally easy access — in fact all you have to do is just select the icon most appropriate for the scene, compose, then capture.

  • Flower mode has been specially designed to bring out the vivid color and intricate detail of flowers.
  • Self-portrait mode delivers sharp results and flattering tones whenever you need to take a shot of yourself.
  • Surf mode counteracts the problems associated with reflections of light off water — enabling pleasing, appropriate exposure throughout the frame.
  • Snow mode helps maintain true color and avoid the detrimental effects of excessive reflection.
  • Sunset mode has been specially decided to capture the warmth and romance of sunrise and sunset scenes.
  • Art museum mode designed especially for use in museums and galleries allows optimal exposure to be achieved while ensuring the flash doesn’t fire.
  • Text mode has been developed to capture written material in a manner that maximizes legibility.
  • Marine mode makes it easy to achieve truly attractive shots involving water*, making the most of an array of different tones of blue.

* When the Optio S40 is housed within an optionally available waterproof case.
Digital effect mode offers digital filters as well as multiple exposure, Panorama Assist, and 2 in 1 digital functions, the Optio S40 opens up a range of exciting creative avenues. What’s more, all of these special capabilities and effects can be made use of without the need for a PC.
8 digital filters
With a choice of eight filters comprising red, green, blue, B&W with red, B&W with green, B&W with blue, B&W, and sepia, the Optio S40 lets the user emphasize key colors of the original scene or add an entirely different mood altogether.
2 in 1
Functioning exactly as it sounds, the handy 2 in 1 function cuts a single frame in two, allowing two different images to be recorded side by side.
Panorama Assist
Users can follow the camera’s simple guidance to take a series of horizontal or vertical shots. These can then easily be aligned and combined on a PC using the software provided to create one large image that captures expansive scenes in their entirety.
USB mass storage class compatibility*
Supporting USB cable connectivity, the Optio S40 allows multiple recorded shots to be swiftly and simply imported into common PC applications.
*System requirements: PCs running Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP Home Edition/Professional or Mac OS 9.0, 9.1, 9.2 or Mac OS X, Xv10.1, Xv10.2. Compliance with the aforementioned system requirements does not guarantee USB compatibility.
Useful software included
The Optio S40 even comes with its own CD-ROM of handy software, comprising the exclusive USB driver and the popular ACDSee for PENTAX — which is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh computers.
Built-in auto flash
The built-in flash of the Optio S40 can be set to fire automatically when shooting in light that is less than sufficient. It also offers the user greater control when desired too, through the incorporation of Flash-on, Flash-off, and red-eye reduction* modes. Finally, for a further advantage, it also features a Slow shutter sync mode too, which is of particular use when shooting in Night scene mode.
*This feature does not eliminate “red eyes” in all instances.
High-precision LCD monitor
Offering a 100% field of view, the 1.6-inch LCD monitor makes composition a cinch. It also serves as a handy way to view recorded shots, prior to printing out.
Optical viewfinder
The optical viewfinder makes it possible for the user to switch off the handy LCD monitor, saving vital power whenever required.
Nine-image and Zoom display
The search for recorded shots is significantly speeded up through the ability to display nine recorded shots on screen at once. Then, when the user has located the shot they were after, they can simply enlarge it to fit the dimensions of the screen, or even zoom in more closely with up to 16X magnification.
Convenient self-timer
A handy self-timer makes it easy for the photographer to get in on the shot, allowing easy self-portraits or all-inclusive group compositions.
Optional remote control
Two remote control units are optionally available for the Optio S40. Named remote control E and remote control F, they offer remote immediate shutter release, a useful three-second timer function, and the former can even control zooming.
Continuous shooting
Continuous shooting is activated by simply keeping the shutter button held down. This allows accelerated action to be captured in a highly expressive manner.
Macro mode and Landscape mode
Through simple use of Macro mode, the user can compose shots from as close as 7 inches from the subject at all zoom settings. The Optio S40 also offers super macro shooting too, which lets the user move in further to just 2.36 inches from the subject! The Optio S40 offers excellent performance right at the other end of the scale too; capturing wide-open scenes of natural beauty with satisfying focus that extends all the way to the horizon via easy selection of Infinity-landscape mode.
Manual focus
The Optio S40 makes it easier to achieve accuracy when undertaking manual focus. This is achieved through use of the LCD monitor and its ability to enlarge the central part of a potential shot.
Options for autofocus
Choices for the user even extend to autofocus. Spot AF allows the user to place the center of focus in the middle of the frame, while 7-point autofocus allows simultaneous focusing on multiple subjects in different parts of the frame.
White balance settings
With a range of white balance settings, the Optio S40 is highly competent at accommodating different types of light. It features settings for Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, and Fluorescent light, and there is also a manual setting that lets the user take total control.
Histogram display
A histogram display makes it easy to view light levels during both shooting and playback with accuracy. As a direct result, the user is empowered to make a much more educated evaluation of each and every shot.
3 choices for metering
One of the keys to the versatility of the Optio S40 is its choice of metering systems. Indeed, with a selection of multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering, the Optio S40 achieves impressive results in a very wide range of situations.
ISO settings
The power to ISO settings is absolutely vital when shooting in a range of light intensities, and the Optio S40 makes it easy to select from a selection of ISO100, 200, and 400, and it also offers the benefit of an auto setting.
Exposure compensation
Because exposure can be a matter of personal taste, the Optio 40S can be set to capture images with exposure compensation ranging across +2EV in steps of 1/3EV.
Settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast
With three grades of settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast, the Optio S40 provides the user with a markedly greater degree of control over the nature of each and every shot.
Image protection
The Optio S40 provides extra protection for images the user is sure they want to keep. Indeed with a special function that prevents all specified shots from being erased, the user is even free to lend the camera to others to use, without having to worry about them accidentally disposing of wanted shots.
Mode memory function
Memory mode enables a combination of settings to be saved at once. These are then returned to automatically as soon as the power is next turned on.
World time function
The Optio S40 can display the time for 62 different cities around the world. It can also record the time and date for each shot taken to enable simpler sorting when the user returns home.
DPOF compatibility
DPOF compatibility gives the user even greater control over printouts — letting them manipulate the date function as desired and decide the number of copies*.
* Some printers may not support the above functions. Please consult the supplier of your printer for more information.
Approximately 11MB of built-in memory
Even without additional media inserted, the Optio S40 still has the power to record quality shots with ease. Indeed it has approximately 11MB of built-in memory that allows the recording of a substantial amount of images.
SD memory card and Multimediacard compatibility
The Optio S40 is compatible with both SD memory cards and Multimedia cards. Whichever the user chooses to use, they can benefit from widespread availability and simple data transfer to PCs.
Resize function
A handy resize function makes it easy to free up useful memory space, without forcing the user to delete shots already recorded. It’s a highly useful function that works by simply reducing the size of selected files, then giving the user the chance to save the image as an additional new, lighter file, or easily overwrite its heavier version. The function can also be used to free up a massive amount of memory in minimal time, by allowing all images to be selected and subjected to resizing at once.
Trimming
With a handy trimming function, the Optio S40 lets the user crop out unwanted parts of recorded images to achieve more reined compositions, or select a main subject in a larger shot for saving as an image in its own right.
Voice memo function
Up to 30 seconds of sound can be attached to recorded images, allowing a greater degree of expression all round, not to mention a tremendous amount of fun.
Customization
Users can also customize the Optio S40 by selecting an image to appear as wallpaper on the camera’s start-up screen. The user can also customize the camera further by selecting sounds to accompany shutter release and a range of other actions.
AV (video/audio) output terminal
Through use of an AV output terminal and the provided AV cable, the Optio S40 makes it easy to display images on the larger dimensions of a TV screen.
Power sources
Even power is an area of choice with the Optio S40. Indeed not only is it compatible with commonly available CR-V3 and AA batteries (alkaline, lithium, nickel hydride), there’s also an AC adapter available as an option.
Operation in 9 languages
All menus and messages of the Optio S40 can be set for display in the user’s choice of English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Korean, or Japanese.
Optional accessories
AC adapter
For continuous use over a long period of time, an AC adapter can allow the Optio S40 to be plugged into a nearby power outlet.
Waterproof case
When housed in a convenient waterproof case, the Optio S40 offers the exciting ability to take shots underwater.

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