Pentax has today announced the third addition to the S range in five months with the 5 megapixel Optio S50. Aimed at newcomers to digital photography, it has a nine-option control dial plus a help mode that displays explanations of the control buttons. It has a 1.8-inch LCD screen - which is larger than the S40 (1.6-inch) - but retains the same compact dimensions. Pentax’s proprietary sliding lens system also helps keep things compact. The Optio S50 has a digital filter function that can be applied in-camera during playback and allows users to convert images to black and white, while retaining red, blue or green areas. It will be available in October priced around £250 (approx $370).

Press Release:

The Pentax OptioS50 – An easy-to-use compact digital camera with the power of 5.0 effective megapixels

August 17, 2004 PENTAX Corporation is pleased to introduce the new PENTAX OptioS50. A truly easy-to-operate compact digital camera with a 5.0-effective megapixel CCD, a 3X optical zoom lens and more.

PENTAX incorporated various user-friendly features into the OptioS40 (launched in March 2004), such as the handy mode dial and the help function that displays the functions of control buttons on the LCD monitor. Such user-friendly benefits are also features of the OptioS30, which was launched in June 2004. Both of these models have been well received by our consumers as easy-to-understand, easy-to-use compact digital cameras that are ideal for newcomers to digital photography.

Now PENTAX is about to launch the new OptioS50. Offering the satisfying imaging capability of 5.0 effective megapixels and featuring a 1.8-inch LCD monitor, it also offers the same comfortable ease of operation as the aforementioned predecessors.

Equipped with the same handy mode dial, the OptioS50 allows even novice users to select a desired mode out of the nine choices, with just a simple turn. And taking ease of use a step even further for those who are new to digital photography, the OptioS50 also has a useful help function that displays the functions of control buttons.

Despite its highly portable, compact body, the OptioS50 additionally incorporates a large, 1.8-inch LCD monitor for the easy viewing of images. The camera can be operated by widely available AA batteries so the user never has to worry about the power source, even when traveling overseas.

Other easy-to-use features include 13 shooting modes that users can choose from to match the scene at hand and menu display enlargement function.

The OptioS50 is also PictBridge compatible, thereby allowing direct printing when connected to compatible printers.

Although the OptioS50 is positioned as an entry model, it offers image quality without compromise. It incorporates an smc PENTAX lens that delivers crystal clear images, a high-resolution CCD with 5.36 total megapixels, and a 12-bit A/D converter that achieves smooth reproduction for gradations. Image quality or this kind is something only a camera manufacturer with a history of excellence can provide.

Major Features

1. Mode dial for quick mode selection

The OptioS50 features a mode dial the user can simply turn to select a desired mode. Including six still image shooting modes, a movie mode, a voice recording mode and a unique digital effect mode, the dial makes it easy for anyone to get the very most out of the camera’s wide-ranging capabilities.

2. Auto Select mode

A highly convenient feature for novice users is the Auto Select mode. Once selected on the mode dial, the mode enables the OptioS50 to sense the shooting scene at hand and automatically select the most appropriate from Portrait, Landscape and Night scene modes. A press of the “?” button, on the other hand, provides the photographer with access to the help function, which displays easy explanations of each of the modes on the mode dial and the functions of the buttons used in playback and shooting with the LCD monitor. Furthermore, a press of the Menu button displays only the “image quality” menu, showing recording size and image quality setting menus for easier operation.

3. A stylish, compact body with a large 1.8-inch LCD monitor, plus the convenience of AA battery compatibility.

Despite the incorporation of a large 1.8-inch LCD monitor, the OptioS50 has been created with truly compact body dimensions of 89 (W) x 58.5 (H) x 26 (D) mm. The secret behind this is PENTAX’s unique Sliding Lens System that houses the lens concisely in the body. The large LCD monitor makes framing, focusing and the checking of recorded images extremely easy and the OptioS50 also offers further convenience through compatibility with widely available AA batteries.

Extraordinarily easy to use and extremely portable, the OptioS50 also has a stylish design that incorporates an aluminum alloy with a hairline exterior effect. This stunning look is also complemented by plated elements on the grip and the area surrounding the lens.

4. Excellent image quality

With its smc PENTAX lens the OptioS50 achieves clear images by suppressing ghost and flare. With a CCD with a total of 5.36 megapixels, it employs a primary color filter that delivers vivid colors and high-resolution images. In addition, the OptioS50 is equipped with a 12-bit A/D converter that ensures smooth gradations from dark to light areas, and a noise reduction function, which is helpful when shooting with slow shutter speed.

5. 13 shooting modes to match diverse shooting situations

The OptioS50 is equipped with 13 shooting modes and all the user has to do is select the mode that matches the shooting scene at hand. Even in situations where exposure and white balance can be difficult, these handy modes allow the user to achieve excellent results with ease. The three most frequently used modes (Portrait, Landscape and Night scene) are selectable by turning the mode dial. For the other 10 modes, all the user has to do is select Picture mode on the mode dial, then select the one that matches the situation.

6. Menu display enlargement function

While displaying the menu, text information display can easily be enlarged for easy reading by pressing the zoom lever toward the telephoto side.

7. Image playback on a TV

By connecting the OptioS50 to a TV via the standard AV cable, the user can enjoy viewing recorded images or images with sound in a much more comfortable, convenient manner. Furthermore, a remote control is also possible with optionally available remote controller units.

Note:

- Remote Control F: Image advance can be controlled.
- Remote Control E: Image advance/rewind can be controlled.

- The remote controls can not command playback of movies, still images with sound or sound alone.

8. Digital filter for payback

The OptioS50 is equipped with a digital filter function that can be applied to previously recorded images during playback. As a result, the user can enjoy image filter treatment on the camera without the need to hook up to a PC. This enjoyable function allows the user to turn recorded images into black/white or sepia images or emphasize certain colors using other color filters. Furthermore, the user can keep red, blue or green areas as they are while turning the rest of the image into black and white. Furthermore, the user can reduce the number of color gradations to make images look like illustrations.

9. Other features

(1) PictBridge compatibility
(2) SD memory card compatibility, approx. 11MB built-in memory
(3) USB mass storage class compatibility
(4) Standard image viewer, ACD See for PENTAX software
(5) Function customization allows frequently used functions to be assigned to a four-way controller for short cut access.
(6) Optical viewfinder
(7) Up to 2.6X digital zoom
(8) Built-in auto flash
(9) World time function
(10) Super macro function (enables shooting as close as 6cm from the subject)
(11) DPOF, ExifPrint and PRINT Image MatchingIII compatibility
(12) Voice recording function

This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III Compliant.

Pentax Optio S50 specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 5.4 million pixels total
• 5 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 2560 x 1920
• 2304 x 1728
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480

Movie clips

• 320 x 240
• 30 fps, 15 fps
• Recording time dependant on capacity of memory card
• With sound

File formats

Still Image: JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.2, DPOF, PIM II
Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG)
Voice : WAV (PCM, monaural)

Lens

35.6mm-107mm in 35mm format)
F2.6 - F4.8

Digital zoom Up to 2.6x
Focus

TTL contrast detection autofocus system
Manual focus/Infinity-landscape mode
5-point autofocus
Spot autofocus

Focus distance

Normal: 0.4m (1.31 ft ) to infinity
Macro: 0.18m (0.59 ft.) to 0.5m (1.64 ft.)
Super macro: 0.06m (0.2 ft.) to 0.2m (0.65 ft.)
Manual Focus: 0.18m (0.59ft.) to infinity, 0.06 m (0.2 ft.) to infinity at 10.2mm

Metering Multi-segment
Center-weighted
Spot
ISO sensitivity

Auto,
50
100
200
400

Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3EV steps
Shutter speed 4 - 1/2000 sec
Modes

Auto Select mode
Portrait
Landscape
Night scene
Movie
Voice recording
Digital Effect
Program
Picture

Scene modes 13 subject modes
White balance

Auto
Daylight
Shade
Tungsten light
Fluorescent light
Manual setting

Self timer Yes
Flash

• Built-in
• Modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, On/Off
• Range: (wide) 3.5 m, (tele) 3.0 m

Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor 1.8" TFT LCD
85,000 pixels
Connectivity

USB
AV out
DC in

Print compliance PictBridge
Storage • Built-in memory (11MB)
• SD card
Power • 1x lithium/2 x AA batteries
Weight (no batt) 180 g (6.3 oz)
Dimensions 89 x 59 x 26 mm (3.5 x 2.3 x 1 in)