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*Las Vegas, Nevada, January 3, 2006 – *Pentax just released the affordable Optio E10, a 6 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom lens. The Pentax Optio E10 will be sold for the economical price of $200 starting in February 2006. Today’s Pentax press release claims the ‘E’ in the new Optio E10 designates an "easy-to-use" product line. Apparently, they are absolutely right. The automatically oriented camera has only seven modes including a Simple Mode, a movie mode, and five scene modes.
The camera is certainly "easy-to-use" since there are very few options to choose from. The Optio E10 has a convenient mode dial to allow quick mode changes, rather than going into a menu system on the LCD screen. There is a movie mode and 5 basic scene modes: Program, Landscape, Night Scene, Portrait, and Sport.
The Pentax Optio E10 weighs 6.3 oz. with its 2 convenient AA batteries and SD memory card in place; it weighs 4.6 oz. when unloaded. The boxy 3.4 x 2.4 x 1.3-inch body has a 2.4-inch, 110,000 pixel LCD monitor. The Pentax power zoom lens, constructed of 6 elements with 2 aspheric elements, offers a mere f/2.8-f/4.8 aperture and 5.5-16.5mm focal length that is only equivalent to 35-114mm on a 35mm camera. Again, you are saving money in exchange for simplicity.
The usual auto focus, auto exposure, and auto flash are also included, but the manual options are very limited. White balance options include auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten light, and fluorescent light. ISO sensitivity is automatic or manually adjustable, but the options are limited to 64, 100, and 200. The flash itself only offers a maximum 11 ft. range according to Pentax, but does have red-eye reduction and can be turned on or off. The Pentax Optio E10 has 10MB of built-in memory, so users will likely have to purchase an optional SD memory card in order to take 6 megapixel pictures and QVGA-quality video.
The Pentax E10, when used with a 128MB SD card, offers a resolution range of 1600 x 1200 at 2 megapixels to 2816 x 2112 at 6 megapixels. It also takes video at 320 x 240 pixels and 20 frames per second for up to almost ten minutes. The extra large shutter release button and mode dial, the overall large print camera labels, and stocky frame suggest interesting target audiences: people with limited use of their hands or children.
While the camera is probably too elementary for a middle school student interested in learning about digital photography, it is perfect for people who are sure that they will never do anything other than click the shutter button and would rather save money than pay for features that they will never use. This is not a bad camera for a true point-and-shooter who is looking for a great price and easily confused by manual options.