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Pentax Announces Three New Compacts

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Pentax has announced the launch of three new digital compacts, two of which have distinctive retro styling. First up, and due to hit the shops next month, is the Optio I-10, the first of a new series for Pentax's consumer compact range. The I-10 features a 5x zoom lens (equivalent to 28-140mm), a 12.1-megapixel CCD with mechanical sensor-shift image stabilisation, and 1280 x 720 30fps movie recording with in-camera editing and titling. Its eye-catching body design is modeled after a vintage SLR camera, complete with leatherette finish.

Other features include an upgraded face detection system capable of recognising up to 32 faces, including cats and dogs, a range of creative filter effects and a unique screen-in-screen function that can display a previously recorded image in the corner of the screen while shooting. It has automatic D-Range enhancement for high-contrast shooting, and a Digital Wide feature that simulates a 21mm wide-angle shot by stitching two images together. It even has an optional wireless remote control.

Older readers may notice a passing resemblance to the unique Pentax Auto 110 from 1978, a tiny but surprisingly excellent SLR camera with its own range of miniature interchangeable lenses, flash units and even a power winder, using the now defunct 110 film cassette format. It still holds the record as the smallest interchangeable lens SLR system ever made, and has become something of a collectors item. The Auto 110 measured 99mm x 56mm x 45mm and weighed 172g, while the new Optio I-10 measures 100.5 x 65 x 28mm and weighs 153g. It would be interesting to see the two cameras next to each other.

Sadly the Pentax Auto 110 won't be seeing a re-launch

The Optio I-10 will be available in Classic Black and Pearl White, and will be available from February priced at a very reasonable £199.


The second new model joining the Optio range is the H90, which also has something of a retro look about it, although this time it resembles a classic 1970s compact camera such as the Instamatic or Olympus Trip. It has a similar internal specification to the I-90, with a 5x zoom lens, 12.1-megapixel CCD and 2.7-inch 230k monitor. It can also capture 1280 x 720 video at 30fps.

Like the I-90, features include improved face detection which detects up to 32 faces including cats and dogs, and has Smile Capture and Blink Detection. It lacks the I-90's sensor-shift image stabilisation, but does have pixel-tracking digital stabilisation. It also has D-Range enhancement for high contrast situations, tracking AF, digital filters and a digital panorama mode which can automatically stitch up to three images into one panoramic shot.

The H90 will be available in three different retro colour schemes, and goes on sale next month priced at £129.99.


Last but not least is the new Optio E90, a budget-priced compact featuring a 3x zoom lens, 10.1-megapixel sensor and a 2.7-inch 230k monitor. It has a number of automatic features including automatic face detection, auto scene selection, digital filters and digital panorama stitching. It can shoot video at 640 x 480 and 30fps, and is powered by a pair of AA batteries, available all over the world.

The Optio E90 will be available in either black or burgundy, and goes on sale in February priced at a very cheap £79.99.

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