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Pentax's Optio 33L digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax announces Optio 33L digital camera (UPDATED)
(Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 10:00 EST)

Alongside today's announcements of two new 4 / 5mpix, 5x zoom digital cameras, Pentax has introduced its new Optio 33L - a 3.34 megapixel, 3x optical zoom unit.

Features of the camera include a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels from a 1/2.7" CCD, 5-point TTL Contrast Detect AF system, Multi-, Center-weighted or Spot metering, and a range of picture modes including Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, Sunset and Illustration.The Optio 33L stores photos on a Type-I CompactFlash card, has a built-in 6-mode flash, and a 1.5" LCD display which swivels 180 degrees to allow a photo from in front of the camera.

Full specifications follow below, along with the official press release. We are currently awaiting a product photo from Pentax, however the camera can be seen in an image from Polish photography website Fotopolis, where some details of this story apparently leaked a few days ago.

Pentax Optio 33L
Pentax's Optio 33L digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
Type Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure and auto flash
Effective Pixels
3.2 megapixels
Image Capture Device
Type 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels 3.34 megapixels
Color Depth 12 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels
Still - 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels,1024 x 768 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels
Movie – 320 x 240
Focus System
Type TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Autofocus 5 point AF, Spot AF & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus 3.93 inches (0.01m) to Infinity
Focusing Range
Normal: 1.31ft (0.4m) to Infinity
Macro: 3.93 inches (0.1m) to 1.64ft (0.5m)
Type PENTAX power zoom
Focal Length 5.8mm - 17.4mm
35mm Equivalent 38mm - 114mm
Aperture Range f2.6 - f5.0
Construction 6 elements in 5 groups (one aspherical element)
Optical Zoom 3X
Digital Zoom 2.7X
Combined Approx. 8X
Exposure Control
Light Metering Method TTL metering with choice of: Multi-segment, Center-weighted & Spot meter
Sensitivity Auto, or user select ISO 100, 200, 400
Exposure Control Method Program AE
Exposure Modes Program, Picture mode, Night scene, Movie, Panorama assist, 3D image, Digital filter, Auto bracket
Exposure Compensation +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter
Shutter Speed – Approx. 1/1500 - 4 seconds
White Balance
White Balance Control - TTL Auto, Pre-set, Custom White Balance
Available Settings - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Manual
Built-in series-control auto flash, Auto discharge under low light and backlit conditions in auto mode
Operation Modes Auto, Flash-Off, Flash-On, Auto + red-eye reduction, Flash-On + red-eye reduction
Range approx. 0.66ft(0.2m) – 16ft (5.0m) (5.8mm at ISO auto)
approx. 0.33ft( 0.1m) – 8.9f ft(2.7m) (17.4mm at ISO auto)
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes Program, Picture mode, Night scene, Movie, Panorama assist, 3D image, Digital filter, Auto bracket
Picture Modes Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Illustration
Digital Filter Black & White, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue, B&W+Red, B&W+Green, B&W+Blue
Drive Modes Single-Shot, Continuous, Self-timer-10 sec. Self-timer-2 sec., High-speed continuous
Movie Mode Up to 30 seconds no sound
Modes dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy, yy/mm/dd
World Time Display of the time in 62 cities (28 time zones)
Image Storage
Storage Media CompactFlash (CF) Type I - removable
File Formats
Still JPEG (Exif 2.2), DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)
Movie AVI (Motion JPEG Format) 15 fps – no sound
JPEG Compression Mode Good, Better, Best
Recorded pixels with 16 MB card
2048 x 1536
1600 x 1200
1024 x 768
640 x 480
LCD Monitor 1.5 inch, TFT color LCD- with Histogram Display –Swivels 180°
LCD Coverage 100%
LCD Pixels 134,000
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File Single, Index, Nine image
Magnification 12X
Slide Show In playback mode
Erasing Specifications
Erase Modes Single, All
Image Protect Single, All
Type AV output terminal, USB terminal, DC input terminal
Video output Compatible with NTSC and PAL formats
Power Supply
Power Source Lithium-ion battery CR-V3 (650 shots according to in house PENTAX tests) or two AA batteries (Lithium, Ni, Ni-MH, Alkaline), AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating temperatures 32°– 104°F (0 – 40° Celsius)
Camera Casing Plastic
Dimensions (W x H x D) 4.1 x 2.5 x 1.6 Inches (105 x 63 x 41.5mm) (excluding protrusions)
6.3 oz (180g) without battery and CF memory card
8.1 oz (230g) 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 33L Camera
Two AA or CR-V3 Lithium-ion
16MB CF card
AV Cable
USB Cable
3D Image viewer
Software (CD ROM) – ACDSee, USB Driver
Operating manual
Serial number card
Product registration card
Service network directory

UPDATED 2003-02-18 10:26: We now have a (low-resolution) image of the Optio 33L from Pentax, courtesy of our friends at LetsGoDigital.nl. Thanks, guys!

Original Source Press Release:


ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (February 18, 2003)…PENTAX USA introduces the smaller, but smarter, Optio 33L, a full-featured 3.2 megapixel digital camera with a versatile, bright, 1.5 inch LCD monitor that both swings up and rotates a full 180 degrees. The Optio 33L is a perfect digital camera choice for self-portraits, group shots and high or low angle photography.

With a 3X optical (8X combined) zoom lens, a compact yet durable design, and a variety of shooting and picture modes, Optio 33L is proof that you can get so much for so little.

PENTAX will debut the Optio 33L at the Photo Marketing Association’s (PMA) Show from March 2-5 in Las Vegas. PMA hosts an annual trade show where manufacturers in the photography industry showcase their newest products.

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 corporate headquarters located in Englewood, Colorado, PENTAX U.S.A., INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX CORPORATION.

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3.2 effective megapixels for high-quality clarity
With 3.2 effective megapixels, the Optio 33L delivers sharp images. The PENTAX 33L incorporates advanced image processing technology and a 12-bit A/D converter capable of recording data on the CCD with greater dynamic range and higher level gradation comfort.

High-performance 3X zoom optical lens
Equivalent to a 38-114mm lens in 35mm format, the high-performance 3X optical (2.7X digital) zoom lens combines high quality imaging capability with low-level distortion and offers and an impressive 8X combined zoom.

Rotating LCD monitor
The handy Optio 33L LCD monitor swings both up and rotates 180 degrees.

Easy operation
A newly developed image processing circuit in the Optio 33L offer simple operation. Images play back at the touch of a button, and new images may be recorded any time the camera power is on – even during playback modes. A virtual mode dial on the LCD monitor makes shooting mode selection easier. Simply select the most appropriate mode from the ample choice of Program, Picture, Night Scene, Movie, 3D image, Panorama Assist, Auto Bracketing, and Digital Filter modes. Optio 33L also features standalone buttons for frequently used functions related to the composition and playback of images.

A variety of shooting modes
With a choice of eight shooting modes, it’s easy to achieve the right settings for your choice of subject.

Program claims greater control over a wide range of functions to achieve your favorite results.
Picture offers eight modes — Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, Sunset, and Illustration.
Night Scene helps achieve optimum results at night or in darkened conditions when shooting subjects with darker backgrounds. A handy noise reduction function activates automatically during long exposures.
Movie* Optio 33L records up to 30 seconds of video at 15 frames per second, with a resolution of 320 X 240 pixels. Clips are also recorded in AVI format, which makes them easy to play back 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.
Panorama Assist
3D image allows you to take two similar shots and create a three-dimensional, stereoscopic image when viewed through the special viewer provided.
Digital Filter provides effects similar to conventional filters — select from black & white and sepia shooting as well as different colors (red, green, and blue). An additional function allows shots in black and white, with an option to highlight areas in the image that match your choice of color from a selection of red, green, and blue.
Auto Bracketing lets you take shots that vary exposure, white balance, sharpness, and saturation in three steps, so you can select the shot you like the best.
Self- timer allows you to get in the frame with friends or take a self-portrait.
Continuous shooting allows shot after shot when you select the continuous shooting mode and hold down the shutter button. Ideal for capturing events in action, the camera also allows you to take three shots at high speed with a single push of the shutter button.
Macro shooting mode lets you compose shots just 0.33 ft (0.1m) from your subject, while the Infinity-landscape mode lets you capture stunning landscapes and scenery, and maintains clarity even when you are shooting through glass windows.
Manual focusing provides greater as composition can be viewed on the LCD monitor as you select the focus to suit your tastes. The central part of the frame can also be enlarged for greater accuracy.
Autofocus offers a choice of settings. Wide AF allows you to place greater focal emphasis on your subject. Spot AF lets you choose the desired center of focus with a point selected from a choice of five located horizontally and vertically.
White Balance mode offers more selection retains lifelike color regardless of the type of illumination. Choose from Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, or Fluorescent Light or opt for manual setting to experiment.

A variety of picture modes
Optio 33L offers Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Soft, Surf & Snow, Sunset and Illustration modes on the LCD monitor for optimum results.

Landscape mode recreates vivid colors, emphasizes greenery, and effectively contrasts the different blues of the sky.
Flower mode is ideal for capturing the natural beauty of flowers.
Portrait mode focuses on your subject by throwing background elements delicately out of focus.
Self-portrait mode allows you to join a friend in the shot or take your own self-portrait with accurate composition.
Soft mode applies a delicate effect that can be adjusted across five levels.
Surf & Snow mode captures ski scenes and bodies of water, such as the sea or lakes, without underexposing your main subject.
Sunset mode captures the mood and shades of sunsets.
Illustration mode allows shots you take to resemble an abstract illustration.

Built-in auto flash
The Auto flash discharges when light is low and to highlight objects in front of excessively bright backgrounds. The Optio 33L also provides the freedom of flash-on, flash-off, and red eye reduction* modes. A slow shutter sync mode can be selected when using Night Scene mode.
* This feature does not eliminate “red eyes” in all instances.

Nine-image / Zoom display
Searching for recorded images is minimized through a nine image display function on the LCD screen. All images may be displayed at once and enlarged up to 12X magnification to check for clear focus and inspect details.

Slide show
A slide show feature allows recorded images to automatically display continuously on the LCD monitor and deliver presentations when connected to an LCD projector.

Histogram display
A detailed histogram display allows you to check light levels with accuracy during both playback and shooting.

Options for metering
The Optio 33L offers the user more freedom when it comes to metering. Choose from multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering for the results you desire.

Light sensitivity
Different light intensity won’t compromise the performance of the Optio 33L. The ISO value can be set automatically by the camera, and the user is also free to select from ISO100, ISO200, or ISO400.

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

Settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast
Take even greater control over each shot with the ability to set sharpness, saturation and contrast manually, with a choice of three grades for each.

Image protection
With a special feature that prevents against the accidental deletion of recorded shots, the Optio 33L makes sure you never erase a picture you intended to keep.

Mode memory function
The mode memory function 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.

World time function
The Optio 33L has a world time function capable of displaying the time in 62 different cities. This function can also be used to record the time and date each shot was taken, which allows you to take pictures while traveling, then sort them easily when you get back home.

DPOF function*
When used in combination with compatible printers, the DPOF function of the Optio 33L 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.

PRINT Image Matching II* and Exif Print (Exif 2.2)
The Optio 33L provides prints of an even higher quality when connected to PRINT Image Matching II- or Exif-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.

CompactFlash compatibility
Convenience is taken a step further through compatibility with CompactFlash. Just one 16MB CompactFlash card has the power to store approximately 16 images with 2,048 X 1,536 recorded pixels in the “Better” quality setting, and a maximum of 128 images with 640 X 480 recorded pixels in the “Good” quality setting.

AV output terminal
Through simple connection to a television using the optional AV cable, your recorded shots and sounds can be enjoyed on your TV.

Power sources
The Optio 33L takes two AA batteries, which are widely available. The camera is also compatible with lithium CR-V3 batteries, which have enough power to support the taking of 650 images continuously.* An optional AC adapter is also available.
* According to the results of in-house testing.

Multilingual operation
Convenient multilingual operation allows all menus and messages to be displayed in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Japanese.

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