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*January 5, 2009 - *In preparation for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins on January 8, Pentax has announced two low-price point-and-shoot cameras, the $199.95 Optio P70, and $129.95 Optio E70 for shipment in February. Both cameras have Pixel Track Shake Reduction, a new digital anti-shake technology, and a face detection system that can reportedly recognize 32 faces in 0.03 seconds (assuming you have that many friends).
The Pentax Optio P70 can capture 12-megapixel images and 720p video at 15fps, with a 4x zoom, 28mm lens, and a 2.7', 230,000 LCD for $199.95. The camera will be available in silver, white or red. Aperture settings range from f/2.6 to f/5.8, which is pretty fast for a point-and-shoot lens. It also has a wide ISO range, from 64 to 6400, though ISO 3200 and 6400 are available only at 5-megapixel resolution. Pentax is also talking up their Vertical Snap Mode, which 'allows for easy mobile phone style image capture', which means you can take photos using the four-way pad and OK button on the camera's rear, if you want, instead of hitting the shutter. Other handy features include smile and blink detection, image recovery to save accidentally deleted photos, and 90 decorative frames to digitally showcase your pictures. The P70 weighs a svelte 4.4 oz (125g), and measures 3.8'wide by 2.1' high and 0.8" deep (9.7 x 5.3 x 2.0 cm).
The other, even less expensive camera is the Optio E70. Available in three colors (champagne gold, wine red and deep blue), the E70 is designed for new users, and will set them back a mere $129.95. It has a 10-megapixel sensor, underwhelming 2.4', 112,000 pixel LCD, 3x optical zoom, and the same ISO range as the P70. It also has large buttons, and uses AA batteries. The lens has a maximum aperture of only f/3.1, so you may struggle a bit in low light conditions with this camera. The E70 measures 3.8' wide by 2.4' high and 0.9" wide (9.7 x 6.1 x 2.3 cm) and weighs 5.6 oz (160g) with batteries. Like the P70, the E70 includes smile detection and image framing features.