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Pentax's Optio X digital cameracorder. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax announces Optio X digital camera
(Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:00 EDT)

Pentax USA has today announced a completely new Optio digital camera that combines the unusual 3x optical zoom lens found in some past Optio models (which reduces powered-down size by sliding lens elements out of the optical path), along with a completely new swivel-bodied design.

When seen from the front, the Pentax Optio X consists of two almost square sections - one with lens, flash, wrist strap connector, and speaker, while the other contains a large 2.0" LCD display and a number of controls, including separate buttons for still shooting, movie shooting and voice recording, plus a key lock to disable all but the power, zoom lever, center key and shutter release controls. The camera is just 0.7" thick, has a five megapixel imager, and a new "My Menu" function that groups frequently used functions for easy access. Unusually, the Optio X is capable of capturing still images during ongoing capture of movies or audio - ensuring you don't miss a shot whilst waiting on the camera to switch modes. Another feature often found on pro cameras, but seldom on compact ones, displays over- and under-exposed areas by indicating them in real time while shooting.

Other features include SD card storage, power from a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, a cradle that recharges batteries, a webcam function, and a Super Macro mode that focuses as close as 6cm from the camera. The official press release along with a fact sheet on the Optio X follow below. The camera will be available in September, with pricing as-yet unannounced.

Pentax's Optio X digital cameracorder. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:


GOLDEN, Colorado (August 24, 2004)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the new Optio X digital camera featuring a new twist in design innovation. Offering twice the versatility in digital imaging, the PENTAX Optio X opens with just a twist of the hand and positions the lens on one side for shooting freedom and the generous LCD monitor on the other side for viewing ease. With 5.0 effective megapixel clarity, a 3X optical zoom and a unique design that allows both above-the-head and hip-level shots, the Optio X also features a high-performance, 2.0 inch, low-temperature poly silicon TFT color LCD monitor.

Optio X users will not sacrifice size for innovation. The Optio X body is a mere .7 inch thick making it the thinnest model in the entire Optio series. The Sliding Lens system — a unique PENTAX feature that allows the lens to be completely retracted inside the body as soon as the power is turned off — makes the Optio X so easy to carry in a bag or pocket.

Along with the 5.0 megapixel clarity, a newly developed ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) improves image quality and enhances processing speed. The Optio X also features a new "My Menu" function, which allows users to group together frequently used functions for easy future access. With such wide-ranging capabilities and customized functions, the Optio X is a comprehensive personal digital imaging tool designed to be carried everywhere.

PENTAX will unveil the Optio X and other new and exciting digital products on September 20 at the PEPCOM Holiday Spectacular in New York City.

As with all newer PENTAX Optio digital cameras, the Optio X includes the latest version of ACDSee™ 5.1 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 X will ship along with the software to major camera retailers in September 2004.

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, eyepieces, 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 Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX Corporation of Japan.

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Pentax's Optio X digital cameracorder. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Major Features of the Optio X

Shoot while confirming images, even when composing above the head or shooting from the hip

Revolving the lens side of the camera while keeping the large LCD monitor side in clear and stable view, the Optio X lets you compose shots with confidence while shooting from within a crowd or taking pictures of flowers or a baby, for example.

The slimmest of the Optio series

With a width of just .7 inch, the Optio X features the slimmest body of all of the cameras in the Optio series. This is partially due to the unique PENTAX Sliding Lens System that reduces the length required by the lens cylinder by housing the lens in two parts. The innovative design of the Optio X as a whole, which separates the body in two, also plays a role in achieving such a slim design. When the power is turned off, the lens retracts to become totally flush with the surface of the body, making it easy to carry anywhere or slip in and out of a bag or pocket.

Generous LCD monitor

Despite its compact and slim design, the Optio X features a large, 2.0 inch high-precision LCD monitor for more confident composition, easier focusing, and convenient image confirmation after shooting. The monitor also makes menu displays much easier to read.

Newly developed ASIC delivers enhanced image quality and processing speed

With the incorporation of the newly developed ASIC and a finely tuned image processing algorithm, the Optio X offers optimal image quality. The camera reproduces more natural gradations and more meticulous color compensation. The processing speed of the CPU inside the ASIC is 1.5X faster than conventional PENTAX systems, allowing the Optio X to process a much larger volume of data at a significantly faster speed.

High image quality

The smc PENTAX lens is renowned for its excellent performance and assures the user of the ability to bring out the finer details of subjects. The Optio X also features 5.0 effective megapixels to achieve high-precision imaging and incorporates a primary color filter as well as the new ASIC that together assure the user of superior PENTAX quality.

Standalone buttons for still shooting, movie shooting and voice recording

Because the Optio X features separate buttons for still shooting, movie shooting and voice recording, users may directly access these modes with just the press of a button. This eliminates the need to display the menu on the monitor and switch easily among the three modes with the press of a button.

Still shooting during movie or voice recording

Still image shooting at a desired image size is possible even when shooting a movie or recording audio. The Optio X may also record audio and perform still shooting at the same time, making it exceptionally useful in a wide range of situations.

Quick menu

The Quick menu function offers quick access to different functions without the need to call up the menu screen. A simple touch of the stick lever positioned just below the LCD monitor displays the Quick menu, providing access to REC start, Shooting settings clear and Key lock when shooting still images, and to Still image shooting and Key lock when shooting movies.

Real-time warnings for washed-out or blacked out areas

The Optio X displays washed-out and blacked-out areas by indicating those areas in real time while shooting. This allows the user to know which parts of the image may be under- or overexposed.

Key lock

This function locks-in programs when others take control of the Optio X or view stored images. The function locks and deactivates most buttons except the power, zoom lever, center key and shutter release button during still shooting and the power button, stick lever and center key during movie shooting.

My Menu

In addition to the conventional three menu items of Shooting, Playback and Detailed settings, the My Menu has been added as the fourth menu. This menu functions as a shortcut for direct access to frequently used functions that have been pre-registered in My Menu. Once functions have been registered in My Menu, they are then displayed as a priority.

16 shooting modes to match different situations

The Optio X is equipped with 16 shooting modes for added user-friendliness. In shooting conditions where exposure and white balance can be tricky, all the user has to do to achieve a desired image is to select the mode that matches the situation at hand. Mode selection is also made easier with the Mode Pallet that displays all the mode icons on the LCD monitor at once. This enables the user to select the most appropriate mode from many in absolute minimal time.

PC camera function

The Optio X is also equipped with a PC camera function that allows the user to video chat in real time. Using Windows Messenger 5.0 with Windows XP SP1 or later, the user can use and enjoy the Optio X just as they would a videophone.

Other features

  • SD memory card compatibility
  • Exclusive Lithium-ion battery compatibility
  • Standard cradle that charges batteries while housed in the camera
  • Standard image viewer, ACDSee for PENTAX software
  • Built-in auto flash
  • Digital zooming up to 4X
  • Super macro mode that allows the user to shoot from as close as 6cm from the subject
  • DPOF function, Exif Print and PRINT Image Matching III compatibility
  • Movie editing function

PENTAX, smc PENTAX, Optio are trademarks of PENTAX Corporation.

All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant.

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.

Design and Specifications is subject to change without notice .

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