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Pentax debut tiny Optio 330 digital camera -
Pete Bargh of ePHOTOzine had an exclusive preview last week and can confirm that the handling is easy to follow and had the following comments:
'It feels solidly built and easy to navigate. I really liked the focusing selection which allows you to choose the point of focus right into the edges of the frame. I also like the small preview that shows you what modes, such as the manual colour balance, will look like when selected.' With a 3x zoom and 3.34million pixels this is set to put Pentax on the digital map and if it comes in at under 650 should be a very competitive model.'
Optio 330's major features
Small, light and easy to carry
With dimensions of 92mm wide, 59mm high and 31mm thick and a weight of just 240g, including battery and recording media, the Optio 330 is the smallest and lightest in the category of three megapixel CCD, optical 3X zoom lens digital cameras. Such a compact design was made possible by incorporating an ultra-compact zoom lens and integrating the CPU, ASIC, and memory chip into an MCM (Multi Chip Module). The circuit boards were also made more compact with the assistance of super-high density mounting technology. The result is a design that's flat and easy to carry with a gently curved stainless steel exterior.
High-performance zoom lens
The 3x zoom is equivalent to 37-111mm in 35mm format which Pentax claim delivers high image resolution and low image distortion, despite its compact size. This is due to the use of two dual-sided aspherical elements and a newly-designed lens-barrel retraction mechanism.
Three million pixel CCD
A 3.34 megapixel, primary colour filter CCD and advanced image processing technology are employed to ensure that images remain intact at the recording stage. The Optio 330 also incorporates a variety of user-friendly functions, which enable the user to take high-quality shots through a diverse range of situations from casual snaps to landscapes. It also offers a level of quality suited to more serious use.
Simple, stress-free operation
Due to the use of a newly developed image processing circuit and software, the Optio 330 offers smooth, stress-free operation. Shooting and playback modes can be chosen with the turn of a dial (standard, night scene, metered manual, movie, multi exposure and playback), direct key operations allow the user to delete images and change DPOF and protection settings, and various other operations can be conducted with the simple use of a four-way controller with an OK button at its centre. Such simplistic operation makes image taking and viewing an almost instant process. There is also an Easy View function, which displays the most recent image on the screen when the OK button is pressed. This function can be used even if the camera is in shooting mode. Image taking is also a simple operation - just switch the power on, point and shoot.
The Optio 330 is equipped with a USB to allow easy transmission of photographic data via USB cable to a PC or Mac equipped with a USB port. The data can be easily accessed using common PC applications; this also opens up more options for data storage.
The high resolution of the 1.6-inch LCD monitor is ideal for both composing and reviewing shots on the spot.
Built-in auto flash
Its built-in flash offers a range of modes including auto flash for automatic discharge under low-light conditions, flash-on, flash-off modes, red-eye reduction mode, and night scene modes, including slow-shutter sync.
The actual-image zoom viewfinder of the Optio 330 also features dioptre adjustment from -3.0 to +1.0.
When shooting, the Optio 330 offers 3X optical zooming capacity, as well as 2X smooth digital zoom (a total combined zooming capacity of 6X).
Nine-image display/zoom display
It's easy to search for recorded images using the nine-image display screen, and as images can be enlarged with 4X magnification, it can also be used to check recorded images for focus and small details.
Versatile shooting modes
The Optio 330 has five shooting modes - standard, night scene, metered manual (shutter speeds up to 15 seconds), movie, and multiple exposure. There is also a noise reduction function that activates when the shutter speed exceeds one second. This allows quiet shooting during extended exposures.
The Optio 330 can record 320x240 pixels movies of up to 30 seconds at 15 frames per second. Movies are recorded in AVI format and can be easily played back via a computer running Windows Media Player 7 or QuickTime 4.
A self timer adds an element of convenience and an optional remote control is available, which allows zoom operation.
Macro shooting mode and infinity-landscape mode
You can shoot as close as 14cm at wide-angle position and an infinity mode can be used when shooting through windows.
The manual focus option allows the subject to be brought into sharp focus manually as the scene is displayed on the LCD monitor. This function is particularly convenient when the subject occupies a small part of the frame or when the subject is not centred.
7-point autofocus, and spot AF are both available. 7-point autofocus allows the subject to come into clear focus, while the background receives less focal emphasis. The spot AF point can be moved freely inside the frame.
A selection of white balance modes
The Optio 330 offers various white balance modes: auto, daylight, shade, tungsten light, fluorescent light and manual. Selection of the manual option allows balanced colour to be maintained as you please, free from the influence of artificial light.
This function activates when used with DPOF compatible printers. It lets the user choose the number of printouts and controls the date function. The DPOF function also allows the user to crop each print. Some printers or software may not support the above functions so contact the supplier of your printer or software for more information.
Exposure levels can be easily viewed in histogram format during shooting and playback. This allows levels to be checked with more accuracy than when using the LCD monitor alone.
As the Optio 330 was designed to be carried at all times, Pentax have added an alarm clock for extra convenience. You can even set the camera to display the photo of your choice when you wake up, so that you can wake up to the face of a loved one, or manage your schedule with photos of people or objects related to your appointments.
World time function
The Optio 330 is also equipped with a world time function that is capable of displaying the time in 62 cities around the world. Now you can set the clock to the local time wherever you happen to be. You can also imprint the time on your photos for easy organisation.
Mode memory function
A combination of camera settings can be saved with this. It allows you to select settings as you desire and return to them automatically when the power is switched off and on again.
Recorded images can be viewed on a TV screen with connection via an optional video cable. The camera can be set to play a simple slide show and when combined with a wide-screen TV or LCD projector allows effective presentations and a variety of other purposes.
The Optio 330 can be powered by its own exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or by an optional AC adapter.