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Pentax announced on August 16 that it is poised to ship out the revamped version of the Optio S40 in September. The Pentax Optio S50 retains the slim profile of its predecessor but adds additional image capability at 5 megapixels.
At 8.9 (W) x 5.85 (H) x 2.6 (D) cm, the camera is small, and the size is due in part to Pentax’s sliding lens design which retracts the 3X zoom lens fully into the camera. The additional megapixels and larger 1.8 inch LCD display does result in a bit more bulk, though. The camera weighs in at 5 more grams than the S40. Though for a camera this tiny, a bit more weight might not sway consumers’ opinions.
The Pentax manufactured lens leads to a CCD sensor, capable of 5.36 megapixels. It also has a 12-bit A/D converter and a noise reduction function for use at low shutter speeds.
The features of the Pentax Optio S50 are geared toward the novice who nonetheless knows enough to buy a camera that can produce large, high quality images. Chief among the Pentax Optio S50’s accessible features is the auto select mode, which chooses the appropriate close-up, portrait or landscape scene modes to fit the situation. A confused user can push the "?" button to learn about the functions of the different modes and how the other shooting and playback features work.
Keeping with the theme of simplicity, the mode dial can only directly select the most popular modes, night, portrait, or landscape. The other 9 modes can be chosen by picking the picture mode, then by scrolling through the menu. The Pentax Optio S50 has 6 settings for still shots, a movie mode, voice recording, and a digital effects mode.
Users can also use color filters on their photographs. A photograph that has already been recorded can be made into a black and white photo, or a sepia tone could be added, or the user could emphasize certain color tones. Additionally the user can retain a certain color while making the rest of the photograph black and white.
The Pentax Optio S50 is PictBridge enabled so the user can print directly from the camera after manipulating the image. Should a user decide to upload the photographs to their computer, they can use ACDSee 5.1 imaging software to edit and file the images. The software is included with the camera.
Additionally, pressing the menu button does not bring up a standard menu but instead jumps straight to the image quality menu. To aid users who have a hard time reading small text, Pentax has added a text enlargement option to the menu.
It is also much easier on the eyes to view images on a television then on a LCD screen, so the Pentax Optio S50 is equipped to hook to a TV. The remote control that would advance or retract the images is optional. The remote would not control video clips or pictures with sound.
The camera is powered by 2 AA batteries so it can be recharged on the fly, which would make it a good choice for travel.
Pentax will unveil the camera in September at the PEPCOM Holiday Spectacular in New York, NY. It’s estimated price is $370.