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Pentax's Optio 230 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax announces Optio 230 digital camera!
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 23, 2002 - 01:01 EST)

New 2 megapixel digicam features flip-out LCD, 3x optical zoom and an unusual 3D image mode...

Colorado-based Pentax Corp. has today announced a new digital camera for the US marketplace, the Optio 230. A compact 2.11 megapixel unit featuring a 38 - 114mm equivalent 3x optical zoom lens, the camera has some rather interesting features. Perhaps the most unusual is what Pentax refers to as the "3D image mode" - you take two pictures in a row of the same subject, adjusting the location of the camera slightly between shots, and it then combines the two to make a stereogram image suitable for viewing with a provided pair of 3D glasses. (We've not seen the camera in person yet, but presume the method used is that one color channel is removed from each image, related to the color of the lenses in the 3D glasses. If the two images are then overlaid in-camera and viewed with the glasses, your brain is fooled into seeing a 3-dimensional image as the final result.)

Another feature new to Pentax's Optio line is a 1.6" LCD monitor mounted on a tilt / swivel arm, similar to what we've seen in past cameras from Canon and Nikon. The Optio 230 also features some manual control over images (focusing, white balance, ISO rating and exposure compensation), JPEG, TIFF or AVI file formats, Type-I CompactFlash storage, and plenty more. Pricing and availability for the Pentax Optio 230 digital camera have not been announced at the time of this writing. Specifications will be added to our database once we return from Orlando, where we're currently covering the Spring 2002 Photo Marketing Association trade show. In the meantime, specification highlights follow:

Pentax Optio 230
Pentax's Optio 230 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Lens & Recording
Type: Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash
Effective Pixels: 2.0 megapixels
Sensor: 2.11 megapixels (total pixels) 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Color Depth: 10 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels: Still - 1600 x 1210 pixels (TIFF), 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)
File Formats: Still - JPEG, TIFF, DCF, DPOF

Movie - AVI (Motion JPEG Format) 15fps
Quality Levels: "Good", "Better", "Best"
Storage Media: CompactFlash (CF) card Type I
Lens: Pentax power zoom 5.8mm-17.4mm (Equivalent to 38mm-114mm in 35mm format) f/2.6-f/5.0, 6 elements in 5 groups (1 aspherical elements)
Digital Zoom: 1X-2.5X
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 - 1.31 ft. (0.4m) to infinity. Macro - 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to 1.64 ft. (0.5m)

Manual focus: 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to infinity
Exposure Control
Metering System: TTL metering: Choice of Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes: Auto, Full selectable, 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
White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual setting
Color Modes: Color, 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-4X 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, two AA (lithium, Ni-MH, alkaline) battery. Optional AC adapter also available.
Dimensions: 4.0 (W) x 2.5 (H) x 1.5 (D) inches (103.5mm x 63.5mm x 42mm)
Weight: 8.1 oz. (230g) loaded and ready

6.3 oz. (180g) without battery and CF card
More Photos
Pentax's Optio 230 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio 230 digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax Corp., with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Source: Pentax Corp.

Original Source Press Release:



DENVER, Colorado (February 23, 2002) . . . PENTAX Corporation introduces the Optio 230 - a compact digital camera that delivers sharp, satisfying images with operational ease. It realizes the utmost in clarity with 2.0 effective megapixels and provides superb freedom of composition with its powerful 3X zoom lens. It also offers a wide range of handy shooting modes, including an innovative 3D-image mode for stereoscopic shooting. For greater versatility, the Optio 230 even has a handy swing-out LCD screen, which folds out through 180° to assist in a variety of situations. And for convenient connectivity to a computer, the Optio 230 is USB compatible. With all these features, you might expect the Optio 230 to be something of a handful. But, thanks to PENTAX advanced technology and the newly designed lens, the Optio 230 fits big photographic potential into remarkably compact dimensions with a sleek, stylish appearance.

Major Features:

Sleek, stylish, and comfortable in the hand
Like other models in the Optio series, the Optio 230 is amazingly compact and easy to carry, with the following dimensions -4.0" (103.5mm) width, 2.5" (63.5mm) height, and 1.5" (42mm) depth. It weighs only 6.3 oz (180g). As for its appearance, it boasts a simple, yet stylish design, with an attractive silver finish. The "Optio" logo is also embossed on the grip as an additional design feature.

A high performance 3X zoom lens
The newly designed 3X zoom lens of the Optio 230 is equivalent to a 38-114mm lens in 35mm format and provides high-quality, high resolution images while achieving an impressively low level of image distortion for a camera of such small proportions. Image quality is ensured with the Optio 230's efficient 2.11 total megapixel primary color filter CCD.

Smooth operation
The image processing circuit of the Optio 230 allows simple, stress-free operation. With a simple turn of the well-proportioned dial, the user can easily choose from a range of shooting modes, such as Auto, Full selectable, Night Scene, and Movie, as well as playback modes. The Optio 230 also offers the familiar Easy View function available on other Optio series models, which allows easy image deletion. The new, improved version of this handy function on the Optio 230 also allows you to zoom in on recorded images. For added convenience, the Optio 230 also sports individual buttons for frequently used functions accessed during the composition and playback of images.
There's even a handy four-way controller and a central "OK" button for the ultimate in easy operation.

180° swing-out LCD screen for simpler self portraits
There are times when you also want to take a shot of yourself. On such occasions, the Optio 230 makes composition so much easier with a high-resolution, 1.6 inch LCD monitor that swings out through 180°, so that you can see exactly how you appear in the frame while still holding the camera. Self portraits can now be composed with the same ease as shots of other people, and you can easily join someone else in the same shot. The handy screen also allows you to check the image as soon as you have taken it.

Stereoscopic photography with 3D image mode
Enjoy a new perspective with stereoscopic shooting. The Optio 230 makes it easy to take 3D shots that have real depth and perspective when seen through the special 3D viewer provided.

World Time function
For convenience that extends beyond use in your own country, the Optio 230 offers a world time function. Capable of displaying the time in 62 cities around the world, it can also record the time of each shot taken without the need for resetting. It is simply ideal for sorting out your travel shots upon your return.

Simple connection to computer* with USB Mass Storage Class compatibility
The Optio 230 is compatible with the USB Mass Storage Class. This makes it easy for you to transfer photographic data direct to PCs via the USB cable provided, allowing swift importing into a variety of common applications.
*System requirements: PC running Windows 98/98 SE, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP Home edition/Professional or Mac OS 8.6 or higher (installation of included driver software required).

Built-in auto flash
The Optio 230 offers a wide selection of flash functions. The Auto flash discharges when light is low or backlight conditions are excessive. Flash-on and flash-off modes give greater control. The Optio 230 also offers a convenient red-eye reduction mode** and slow-shutter sync.
** This feature does not eliminate "red eyes" in all instances.

Optical viewfinder
The viewfinder of the Optio 230 offers actual image zoom. This allows you to compose with accuracy and save power by switching off the LCD monitor.

Digital zoom
Not only is the Optio 230 capable of 3X optical zooming, it also provides 2.5X digital zoom for a combined capacity of 7.5X zoom.

Nine-image display / zoom display
The LCD screen is capable of displaying nine recorded images simultaneously in playback mode. This makes the search for images faster and simpler. The screen can also play back images with 4X magnification, allowing you to check more closely for focus and subtle details.

A variety of shooting modes
The Optio 230 offers a selection of shooting modes including Auto, Full Selectable, Night Scene, Movie, 3D image, and Auto bracketing. The Auto mode provides excellent results with minimal effort. Simply compose the shot as you like and let the Optio 230 take care of exposure and focusing. Full Selectable mode combines the desired functions of the Optio 230 to achieve exactly the kind of shots you desire. Night Scene mode allows you to capture evening or night scenes and add detail to the foreground wherever necessary. The Optio 230 also has a noise reduction function, which is activated during long exposures which may be taken in this mode. Movie mode allows the Optio 230 to record movies up to 30 seconds in length at 15 frames per second, with a resolution of 320 X 240 pixels. As an additional benefit, clips are recorded in AVI format for easy playback on PCs. In the 3D image mode, simply take a shot, adjust the position of the camera, and shoot again and the innovative 3D image mode creates images that have a true sense of perspective when viewed through the special 3D viewer provided. And finally, Auto bracketing mode provides three steps for exposure, white balance, sharpness, saturation, and contrast.

The Optio 230 has a convenient self-timer function, just like a regular film camera.

Macro shooting mode and Infinity-landscape mode
Macro shooting mode allows you to compose shots at a distance of just 0.33ft (0.1m) from your subject and zoom in or out as you please. What's more, the Optio 230 also features Infinity-landscape mode, which is ideal for capturing landscapes and scenery, even when you are shooting through a window.

Manual focus
The handy manual focus function gives you the freedom to achieve exactly the kind of focus you want, while viewing the subject on the LCD monitor. The Optio 230 can even zoom in on one part of the shot for more accurate focusing.

Autofocus areas
The Optio 230 offers 5-point autofocus. It also has Spot AF, which lets you place greater focal emphasis on your subject and make a subtle reduction in the sharpness of the background.

White Balance Mode
The Optio 230 offers White Balance Mode selection for Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, and Fluorescent Light. It also offers Manual selection, which allows you to maintain the appropriate balance of color when working with different kinds of light.

Metering options
Metering can be selected according to your subject. Choose from Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, and Spot metering.

Light sensitivity
Sensitivity to light can be set to auto, or manually set to ISO100 or ISO200.

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

Three color modes
A choice of color, black & white, and sepia modes allow further creative freedom.

Settings for sharpness, saturation and contrast
Sharpness, saturation and contrast can be set in 3 different grades to produce the desired results.

DPOF function
When used in combination with DPOF-compatible printers***, this handy function lets you 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.

Image protection setting
Image protection prevents the accidental deletion of your favorite images.

Mode memory function
A combination of settings can be saved with the useful mode memory function. Simply select a group of settings that produces a pleasing effect and return to them automatically when the power is next switched on.

Video output terminal
The Optio 230 can be easily connected to a TV via video cable for even easier viewing of recorded images. It is compatible with both NTSC and PAL systems.

Power sources
The Optio 230 can be powered by two AA (lithium, Ni-MH, or alkaline) batteries. It is also compatible with lithium CR-V3 batteries and an optional AC adapter is available.

CompactFlash? compatible
The Optio 230 is CompactFlash compatible and comes equipped with a 16 MB CompactFlash card.

Multilingual operation
The Optio 230 offers convenient multilingual operation, which allows all menus and messages to be displayed in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Japanese. This convenient function is also very easy to operate.

PENTAX Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Optical Company, Ltd., of Japan. Corporate headquarters are located in Englewood, Colorado. PENTAX markets cameras, lenses, sport optics, surveying equipment, closed circuit television lenses, and a wide range of specialized lenses and accessories.

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