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Pentax's Optio S digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax Optio S: A minty-fresh look at the word "ultracompact" ;)
(Wednesday, January 8, 2003 - 10:00 EST)

Colorado-based Pentax Corp. has today announced a tiny new Optio digital camera model which will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Pentax Optio S features a 3.2 megapixel CCD imager and 3x optical zoom lens in a package that the company says will "fit into an empty Altoids® tin" - and they've got a press photo to prove it! Smaller than a pack of playing cards, the Optio S nonetheless looks to pack a fair punch. With 7-point auto or manual focusing, multi-segment, center-weighted or spot metering, auto or user-selectable ISO ratings to 200, a choice of auto, preset or custom white balance and more, the camera should prove quite flexible in getting the right photo. Also included are a movie mode with mono audio and a voice-recording mode - there's even a time-lapse movie mode that captures images at intervals and combines them into a video that plays at 2 to 100x real-world speed.

The Optio S features a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and SD / MMC storage, coupled with 11MB of built-in memory. Pricing has not yet been disclosed, but this definitely looks like it could be a winner if you're looking for a take-anywhere camera that will get the photo when other cameras would be left at home. The Pentax Optio S will reach stores in late March 2003.

Note that the photos in this item are of a near-final sample, and production units may have minor cosmetic differences.

Pentax Optio S
Pentax's OptioS digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Effective Pixels
3.2 megapixels
Image Capture Device
Type 1/2.5 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels 3.34 megapixels
Color Depth 10 bit x 3 colors
Focus System
Type TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Autofocus 7 point AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus 2.4 inches (0.06m) to Infinity
Focusing Range
  • Normal: 1.31 ft (0.4m) to Infinity
  • Macro: 7.1 inches (0.18 m) to 1.64 ft (0.5m)
  • Super Macro: 2.4 inches (0.06m) to 7.9 inches (0.2m) at 10.2mm
PENTAX power zoom
Focal Length 5.8mm - 17.4mm
35mm Equivalent 35mm -105mm
Aperture Range f2.6- f4.8
Construction 6 elements in 5 groups (2 dual-sided aspherical elements)
Optical Zoom 3 X
Digital Zoom 2 X
Combined 6 X
Exposure Control
Light Metering Method TTL metering with choice of:
Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot meter
Sensitivity Auto, or user select ISO 50, 100, 200
Exposure Control Method Program AE
Exposure Modes Program, Picture mode, Night scene, Movie, Panorama assist, 3D image, Digital filter, User
Exposure Compensation +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Type Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter
Shutter Speed approx. 1/2000 - 1 second
White Balance
White Balance Control TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance
Available Settings Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual
Operation Modes Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction
Optical Viewfinder Actual Image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 1.6 inch, TFT color LCD- with Histogram Display
LCD coverage 100%
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes Program, Picture mode, Night scene, Movie, Panorama assist, 3D image, Digital filter, User
Picture Modes Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn color, Sunset
Digital Filter Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Slim
Drive Modes One-Shot, Continuous, Remote control, Self-timer-10 sec
Movie Mode Up to 30 seconds with sound
Modes dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd
World Time Display of the time in 62 cities (28 time zones)
Alarm Clock Displays image with alarm (maximum of three memory settings)
Image Storage
Storage Media 11MB built-in memory, SD memory card/MMC-removable
File Formats Design rule for Camera File system (DCF)
Print Order Format Digital Print Order Format (DPOF)
Image Recording Format
Still - JPEG (Exif 2.2)
Movie - AVI (Open DML motion JPEG Format) 12fps
Sound - WAV (ADPCM), Monaural
JPEG Compression Mode Good, Better, Best
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File Single, Index- Nine image
Magnification 4X
Slide Show in playback mode
Erasing Specifications
Erase Modes Single, All
Image Protect Single, All
AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video output Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats (monaural sound)
Power Supply
Power Source Rechargeable lithium-ion D-LI8 battery, AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating temperatures 32°– 104°F (0 – 40° Celsius)
Camera Casing Aluminum alloy
Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.3x2.0x0.8 Inches (83x52x20mm)
3.5 oz (98g) without battery and SD memory card
4.1 oz (115g) loaded and ready
Computer System Requirements
Mac Requirements OS: Mac OS 8.6 or later (QuickTime 4.0 or later to view movies), CPU: Power PC 266MHz or higher, Memory: 8MB or more, Hard disk space:6MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
PC Requirements OS: Windows 98,98 second edition, 2000, Me, XP Home edition / Professional, CPU: Pentium or later recommended, Memory:64MB or more, Hard disk space: 15MB or more, Standard equipped USB port
Kit Inclusions
Optio S Camera
Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
Battery Charger with AC Plug Cord
AV Cable
USB cable
3D Image viewer
Software (CD ROM) – ACDSeeTM, USB Driver
Strap (O-ST5)
Operating manual
Serial number card
Product registration card
Service network directory
More Photos
Pentax's OptioS digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's OptioS digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
** Specifications Subject to Change

Source: Pentax Corp.

Original Source Press Release:


ENGLEWOOD, CO – Remember the classic question, “Is it smaller than a breadbox?” on the ‘50s television quiz show What’s My Line?” In this 21st century, photographic consumers may well ask the question, “Is it smaller than an Altoids® tin?” Because the newest digital camera from PENTAX, the Optio S, is so small that it does fit into an empty Altoids® tin!

When PENTAX debuts the Optio S January 9 at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show* (CES) in Las Vegas, they’ll be using Altoids® mint containers and decks of playing cards to show that this advanced-stage camera is smaller than both items. CES is the marketplace where the latest in consumer equipment, gadgets and household items are unveiled to the buying public. The Optio S is the smallest PENTAX 3.2 megapixel camera. *Suite HB4117

The face of the Optio S is smaller than the size of an average credit or business card and just over ¾ inch thick, but still it is a high-quality 3.2 effective megapixel, 3X (6X combined) zoom digital camera with a sleek design and a tough aluminum alloy case.

“Don’t let the size fool you. This is one well-built camera, which just happens to be the right size for a shirt pocket or purse,” said PENTAX marketing V.P. Jim Leffel. “Even men with larger hands will find it easy to maneuver the buttons and set up photos.”

The Optio S, while unveiled at CES, will be shipped to major camera retailers around the end of March 2003. Leffel expects demand to be strong because of the PENTAX reputation for quality.

How does PENTAX load so much into such a small space? Carrying on the strong PENTAX optics tradition, the Optio S features a patented sliding lens zoom mechanism that allows the camera’s powerful 3X optical lens to fully recede into the camera housing, flush with the body frame. This novel system helps protect the lens and helps reduce the size of the Optio S by almost 60 percent compared to the PENTAX Optio330RS. A new Multi Chip Module in the circuit board and the redesigned chamber have further minimized free space in the Optio S.

Despite the size, Optio S is packed with features found only on larger, higher-priced digital cameras: a movie mode with sound playback, a voice recording mode for attaching 30-second memos to selected images, a well-placed 1.6-inch LCD monitor, approximately 11MB of built-in memory and a powerful rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

This little camera delivers a big punch with its variety of shooting modes, including super macro, which captures images from just under 2.4 inches away, and infinity-landscape, which is great for shooting panoramic landscapes.

“The Optio S reflects the innovation, reliability and durability that are hallmarks of the PENTAX digital brand,” said Michelle Martin, PENTAX spokeswoman.

PENTAX USA is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, lenses, binoculars, mobile printers, scanners, and Internet cameras. For over 80 years, PENTAX technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. With corporate headquarters located in Englewood, Colorado, PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX Corporation of Japan.

# # #

The Smallest PENTAX 3.2 Megapixel, 3X Optical Zoom Digital Camera
Dimensions: 3.3”L x 2.0”W x 0.8”D (83mm x 52mm x 20mm)
Weight: 3.5 oz (98g) without battery and SD memory card/4.1 oz (115g) loaded and ready

The Optio S is dramatically smaller than digital cameras with similar features. The camera façade is smaller than an average credit or business card, while the camera overall is slightly smaller than the size of a deck of playing cards. The Optio S fits neatly into an empty tin of Altoids®.

3X Optical Zoom Unique Lens System (2X Digital for a Combined 6X)
Comparable to a 35mm-105mm zoom in 35mm format, the ultra compact, powerful 3X optical zoom lens on the Optio S offers high resolution and a low level of distortion. A new ”Sliding Lens” system allows this lens to move up, away and fully flush with the camera frame to protect the lens and allow smaller dimensions.

Super-compact Body With Sleek, Functional Design
Made of beautiful, spindle-patterned silver aluminum alloy with every control device carefully placed for quick, easy access.

Movie Mode With Sound
The Optio S records movie clips with sound up to 30 seconds in length at 12 frames per second.

Voice Recording Mode
The Optio S records sound and an index can be added during recording for easy playback.

Voice Memo Function
Up to 30 seconds of sound recordings can be added to images.

Time Lapse
Captures sequential recorded frames as a short film, such as passing clouds or construction progress, in X2 through X100 recording speeds.

Drive Modes
Offers Single, Continuous, 10-second Self-timer and Remote Control drive modes.

Variety Of Shooting Modes
Eight shooting modes are accessible from the Virtual Mode Dial on the Optio S LCD.

  • Standard
  • Picture: Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn Color and Sunset
  • Night Scene: Ideal for evening scenes and subjects with a dark background
  • Movie: Records 30 seconds of video with sound
  • 3-D: Produces images that offer a third dimension when viewed through a special viewer
  • Panorama Assist: Panorama views up to 360 degrees may be stitched together with ACDSeeTM software
  • Digital Filters: Offers B&W and sepia filters plus an array of color boosters and a subject slimmer
  • User: Memorizes and preserves shooting mode selections for the future

Macro and Infinity-landscape Modes
The Optio S super macro mode allows shots from just over 2.4 inches away, while infinity-landscape works well in the great outdoors.

Seven Choice Picture Mode With Virtual Dial
Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn Color and Sunset modes may be selected from a virtual dial displayed on the LCD.

TTL* Metering and Light Settings
The Optio S offers three metering choices comprised of multi-segment, center weighted, and spot. It also offers exposure compensation as well as TTL auto white balance, daylight, shade, tungsten light, fluorescent light, and manual settings. *Through-The-Lens

Generous LCD and Actual Image Viewfinder
The generous 1.6 inch, TFT* color, 100 percent coverage LCD monitor offers image capture and review along with an actual image viewfinder. * Thin Film Transistors

World Time and Alarm Feature
The Optio S features 28-zone, 62-city, world time with a three image-option alarm clock.

Powerful Built-in Memory
Equipped with approximately 11MB of built-in memory to capture images without the use of a digital memory flashcard. Also uses SD memory card and the MultiMediaCard removable media.

Power Sources
Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery or an optional AC adapter.

USB Compatibility
Images may be transferred to computer through USB cable (included).
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 OS 9.0 or higher). Compliance with the aforementioned system requirements does not guarantee USB compatibility.

AV Output
The AV cable (included) allows image and video/sound display on a television monitor.

When used in combination with DPOF-compatible printers, the Optio S lets you take control over the number of printouts and the date function.*
*Some printers may not support the above function.

Printing Software Compatibility
Whether you transfer images for print via computer or print directly from the camera, Optio S is fully compatible with the Epson PRINT Imaging Matching II System and Exif Print (Exif 2.2) for high-quality image print production.
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.

Anticipated delivery of the Optio S in major retail outlets is late March 2003.

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