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Pentax's Optio 33WR digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax announces water-resistant digicam (UPDATED)
(Wednesday, September 3, 2003 - 11:00 EDT)

In the third of today's announcements from Pentax Corp., the company announces a JIS-class 7 water-resistant digital camera model, the Optio 33WR.

The 33WR features a 3.2 megapixel (effective) imager, 2.8x optical zoom lens, ISO ratings up to 400, a choice of multi, center-weighted or spot metering, shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 4 seconds and storage on SD / MMC cards. Although it can't actually be operated underwater, the plastic-bodied camera should be able to deal with the a little abuse that might destroy most digicams - such as splashes from rain, accidental immersion, etc.

The Pentax Optio 33WR will ship in October, with pricing not yet announced. Specifications, product photos and the Pentax press release follow below:

Pentax Optio 33WR
Pentax's Optio 33WR digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Type Compact-type digital still camera with built-in zoom lens, autofocus, auto exposure, auto flash and water resistant design ( JIS class 7 )
Image Capture Device
Type 1/2.7 inch interline transfer CCD with a primary color filter
Total Pixels 3.34 megapixels
Effective Pixels 3.2 megapixels
Color Depth 10 bit x 3 colors
Recorded Pixels Still – 2048x1536 pixels, 1600x1200 pixels, 1024x768 pixels, 640x480 pixels; Movie – 320x240 / 160x120 pixels x15 fps
Focus System
Type TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Autofocus 5 point AF, Spot AF switchable & Infinity Landscape Mode
Manual Focus 3.93 inches ( 0.01m ) to Infinity
Focusing Range
Normal: 0.98ft ( 0.3m ) to Infinity
Macro: 3.93 inches ( 0.01m ) to 1.64ft ( 0.5m )
Type PENTAX power zoom - internal
Focal Length 5.7mm - 16.0mm
35mm Equivalent 37mm - 104mm
Aperture Range f2.8 - f3.9
Construction 10 elements in 7 groups ( three aspherical elements )
Optical Zoom 2.8x
Digital Zoom 4x
Combined 11.2x
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, 400
Exposure Control Method Program AE
Exposure Modes Program, Landscape, Night Scene, Portrait (Night), Portrait, Surf & Snow, Flower, Sunset, Firework, Snap, Movie, Panorama assist
Exposure Compensation +/-2 EV (1/3 steps)
Type - Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter
Shutter Speed – approx. 1/2000 - 4 second
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 ) – 8.9ft ( 2.7m ) 17.4mm at ISO auto
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes Program, Landscape, Night Scene, Portrait (Night), Portrait, Surf & Snow, Flower, Sunset, Firework, Snap, Movie, Panorama assist
Digital Filter Black & White, Sepia, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Soft, Brightness
Drive Modes One shot, Continuous, Multiple Continuous, Self-timer, Interval Shooting
Movie Mode with sound, Shooting time: until available memory is used Color mode: full color, sepia, or black and white
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 SD memory card / MMC - removable
File Formats
Still - JPEG ( Exif 2.2 ), DCF ( Design rule for Camera File system ), DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)
Movie - MOV( Quick Time Movie Format ) 15fps with sound
Voice – WAV ( ADCPCM )
JPEG Compression Mode Good, Better, Best
Recorded pixels with 16MB card
Best Better Good
2048 x 1536 7 12 18
1600 x 1200 11 20 27
1024 x 768 25 45 56
640 x 480 53 82 100
Optical Viewfinder Actual Image zoom viewfinder
LCD Specifications
LCD Monitor 1.6 inch, TFT color LCD- with Histogram Display
LCD Coverage 100%
LCD Resolution 84K pixels
LCD Function One-frame, Nine-image, Scroll, Slide show, Movie display, Histogram display, Trimming, Resize, Message mode, Digital filter
Magnification 8x
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 CR-V3 lithium ( aprox.540 shots*) or two AA(Lithium, alkaline, nickel and rechargeable Ni-MH) batteries, AC adaptor kit (optional)
Physical Specifications
Operating temperatures 32°– 104°F (0 – 40° Celsius)
Camera Casing Plastic
Dimensions (W x H x D) 3.2 x 3 x 1.2 inches ( 81.5 x 76 x 30.5 mm ) excluding protrusions
7.3oz ( 208g ) loaded and ready
5.6 oz ( 160g ) without battery and CF memory card
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
More Photos
Pentax's Optio 33WR digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio 33WR digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio 33WR digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Pentax's Optio 33WR digital camera. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

UPDATED 2003-09-05 11:24ET: We now have pricing information for the Pentax Optio 33WR. In the USA, suggested list price will be US$450, and street pricing is anticipated at US$349.95. In Canada, street pricing is expected to be CAD$479.

Original Source Press Release:


ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (September 3, 2003)…Just add water. That’s the best way to enjoy the latest digital camera from PENTAX U.S.A., Inc.

The Optio 33WR is a robust and durable 3.2 megapixel, 2.8X zoom lens digital camera. With a JIS Class 7 water resistance rating, the Optio 33WR remains watertight even when the camera is rinsed, splashed or submersed in water.* The Optio 33WR is the perfect companion for outdoor photography in rain, snow or a day at the beach.
* The Optio 33WR should not be operated underwater.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. will preview the digital camera submersed in a fish bowl at the Digital Focus media event on Monday, September 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City during the PC EXPO trade show.

Photographers never will have to sacrifice size or features for the water resistant capability of the Optio 33WR. The compact digital camera measures 3.2 x 3.0 x 1.2 inches and weighs 7.3 ounces. It hosts a variety of impressive features also found on other PENTAX Optio digital products including: movie mode with sound and voice memo, built-in flash, a high-precision 1.6 inch LCD monitor, an optical viewfinder, and a diverse range of shooting modes including program, landscape, night scene, night scene portrait, surf and snow, portrait, sunset, flower, fireworks, snap (automatic pan) and macro modes. The Optio 33WR operates with an SD memory card or MultiMediaCard (MMC) and power sources include two AA alkaline batteries or optional CR-V3 lithium batteries and AC adapter.

The Optio 33WR, along with all PENTAX Optio digital cameras, includes the latest version of ACDSee™ 5.0 software. With a $150 value, ACDSee™ digital camera software makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share your digital photos. The Optio 33WR will ship along with the software to major camera retailers around the end of October in plenty of time for the Holiday 2003 buying season.

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. PENTAX U.S.A., INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX CORPORATION.

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A powerful, water resistant zoom lens
With a 2.8X zoom lens (equivalent to a 37-104mm lens in 35mm format) the Optio 33WR is designed for maximum protection against water. The lens operates within a full range without protruding from the body of the camera. Combined with a 4X digital zoom, the Optio 33WR offers a total zooming capacity of an impressive 11.2X.

3.2 effective megapixels
Robust and versatile, the Optio 33WR offers the imaging power of 3.2 effective megapixels for a high level of clarity and detail.

Easy operation
Designed for easy operation, the Optio 33WR features a stand alone button that shifts simply from shooting mode to image display and back again.

A diverse range of shooting modes
The Optio 33WR offers a broad range of shooting modes for a variety of situations.

  • Program mode
    Program mode automatically selects the most appropriate shutter speed and aperture when there’s little time to prepare for a shot.
  • Landscape mode
    Landscape mode helps emphasize the different shades of land and sky in expansive scenes.
  • Night scene mode
    Night scene mode is designed to produce dramatic results with nighttime illumination.
  • Night scene portrait mode
    Night scene portrait mode lets you capture detail in low light by adding a small burst of flash in the foreground.
  • Surf & snow mode
    Surf & Snow mode overcomes high-level reflection problems related to snow and water for optimal exposure.
  • Portrait mode
    Portrait mode captures natural looking skin tones for more flattering results.
  • Sunset mode
    Sunset mode captures the range of tones at sunrise or the end of the day.
  • Flower mode
    Flower mode switches the lens to a macro setting automatically to capture bright colors and flower details.
  • Fireworks mode
    This mode makes it easy to shoot firework displays with exceptional results.
  • Snap mode
    With the Optio 33WR, there’s absolutely no need to miss a photo opportunity. Simply select Snap mode and capture your subject in an instant with automatic pan focusing.
  • Movie*
    Record movie clips to the full capacity of your chosen memory media, with a choice of full color, sepia, or black and white shooting. Movie mode also allows the user to choose resolution (320 x 240 or 160 x 120 recording pixels) and all files are stored in MOV format for easy playback on your PC.
    * System requirements: PCs running Windows 98, 98SE, 2000, Me, or XP operating systems with QuickTimeTM 6.0 installed (included on the accompanying CD-ROM). PCs running Windows 98 and 98SE require installation of the exclusive driver. Macintosh machines running OS9.0 or higher with QuickTime 6.0 or higher installed.
  • Panorama assist mode
    For expansive scenes, panorama assist allows multiple shots either horizontally or vertically that may be aligned and combined on a PC using the simple-to-use software* provided.
    * ACDSee Photostitcher is compatible with Windows systems only.

Digital filter effect
The digital filters of the Optio 33WR offer an advantage over conventional ones in that they can be applied after the shot has been recorded. There’s also 10 different types to choose from — B&W, sepia, red, pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, soft, and brightness.

Built-in flash
Firing automatically in low-light and backlit conditions, the built-in flash of the Optio 33WR lets you shoot in confidence even after the sun’s gone down. And for greater control, it also features Flash-on and Flash-off modes, as well as a red eye reduction function* that heightens the quality of portraits taken a night.
* This feature does not eliminate “red eyes” in all instances.

High-precision LCD monitor
The 1.6-inch low-temperature, poly-silicone TFT LCD monitor delivers high-quality, clear images of potential subjects, and is also ideal for inspecting shots already recorded.

Optical viewfinder
A viewfinder offering actual image zoom allows you to conserve power by switching off the LCD monitor.

Nine image / zoom display
To speed the search for recorded shots, the LCD monitor of the Optio 33WR has the ability to show nine recorded images all at once. What’s more, each image can also be magnified by 8X to allow closer checking for focus and detail.

Macro mode
Macro mode allows photos to be composed from as close as 0.03ft from the subject at a wide-angle setting, while zoom capability of up to 4X magnification means even the smallest of objects can fill an entire frame.

White balance modes
To ensure the appropriate white balance in different situations, the Optio 33WR offers auto, daylight, shade, tungsten, and fluorescent light settings. It also has a manual setting that allows you to make the decision yourself or experiment to achieve different results.

Metering options
Three different choices for metering assist accurate exposure in an array of different circumstances. Simply select from Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, and Spot metering.

Sensitivity settings
Light sensitivity is easy to adjust, with a selection equivalent to ISO50, 100, 200, and 400, as well as an auto setting. ISO50 ensures images with minimized noise.

Exposure compensation
Exposure compensation across a range of ±2EV in steps of 1/3EV allows users to exercise their creativity — underexposing to add a sense of mood, or overexposing for special effect.

Settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast
With three grades of settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast, the Optio 33WR gives you an exceptional amount of control over each and every photo.

Interval shooting
Just select the time to start shooting, the duration of the interval between shots, and the number of frames — then leave the Optio 33WR to operate by itself.

4-in-1 consecutive shooting
With just a single press of the shutter release, this mode takes four consecutive shots of your subject, yet records them as one frame — capturing all the action in just one image.

Convenient self-timer
A handy self-timer allows users to join group shots or minimize camera shake when taking pictures in low light.

Continuous shooting
Continuous shots can be taken with an extended press of the shutter. This allows fast-occurring processes to be captured in a much more expressive manner.

Manual focus
Though the Optio 33WR features options for autofocus, it also allows manual focusing. This allows users to deal with more tricky situations and empowers them to attempt shots that are a little more creative.

Convenient autofocus
A choice of two kinds of autofocus provides the user with even greater control over the impact of the shot. 5-point autofocus allows the user to achieve a shot with clarity that extends throughout the frame, while Spot AF allows a single part of a subject to be given prime emphasis.

Resize function
When the selected memory media becomes full, more space can be freed up without the need to delete a single shot. Selection of the resize function allows the data size of recorded shots to be reduced, and is also handy when you need to make an image lighter for sending as an e-mail attachment.

The useful Trimming function allows images to be cropped and parts to be selected for storage on their own as individual files.

Voice memo mode
Sound can be attached to recorded images or movies, allowing situations to be captured in a much more memorable manner.

Voice message mode
It’s easy to attach a short sound message to an image or movie. Such recordings are then indicated by a flashing speaker button, which can be pressed to play them back with in synch.

Histogram display
Histogram display allows light levels to be checked during both shooting and playback, giving the user a better way to evaluate each scene.

Alarm function
A handy alarm can be set to sound while a selected image is displayed. This can be used to wake you up with the sight of a friendly face, or to remind you of something important related to your schedule.

Noise reduction function
For longer exposures, the Optio 33WR automatically activates a function for reduced interference.

World time function
The Optio 33WR has the ability to tell the time in 62 different cities around the world. It can also record the time and date for each image, making the sorting of shots simpler later on.

DPOF function
DPOF compatibility* gives you the power to control the number of printouts, make use of the date function, and crop prints in exactly the manner you desire.
* Some printers may not support the above functions. Please consult the supplier of your printer for more information.

Operation in 8 languages
All menus and messages of the Optio 33WR can be set for display in the user’s choice of English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, or Japanese.

USB* and ACDSee for PENTAX
USB compatibility makes it fast and easy to import multiple recorded images into common PC applications via simple cable connection. The camera also comes complete with an ACDSee software package designed exclusively for PENTAX that may be installed easily and used on both Windows and Mac systems.
* System requirements: PC running Windows 98/98SE, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP Home Edition/Professional or Mac OS 9.0 or higher (installation of the included driver software is required, except in the case of Mac 0S 9.0 or higher, Windows Me, Windows 2000 or Windows XP). Compliance with the aforementioned system requirements does not guarantee USB compatibility.

AV (video/audio) output terminal
An AV output terminal makes it easy to connect the Optio 33WR to a TV, allowing the display of images on a much grander scale.

Power sources
The Optio 33WR can function with common AA alkaline batteries. It’s also compatible with optional CR-V3 lithium batteries, which offer a longer life, and battery power can be conserved through use of an optional AC adapter whenever you like.

SD memory card / MultiMediaCard (MMC) compatibility
The Optio 33WR is compatible with both SD memory card and MultiMediaCards — which allow substantial amounts of images to be stored, are available in a range of capacities, and can be found on sale almost anywhere.

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