Pre-PMA 2005: Pentax has announced a 5.0 million pixel camera for £149.99 (approx $229). The Optio 50 has a 3x optical zoom (32 - 96 mm) and offers a 320 x 240-pixel movie mode. Clearly aimed at beginners, or digital ditherers who haven't yet taken the plunge, the Optio 50 has seven subject modes including a 'simple' function which selects the best settings for the scene at hand. The Pentax Optio 50 will be available in April priced £149.99.

Press Release:

The PENTAX Optio50 — the Compact Digital Camera Enabling Even Novices to Achieve Impressive Images with Easy Operation

PENTAX introduces the new Optio50 — a compact, lightweight digital camera that makes digital photography easy for virtually anyone. Incorporating a handy “Simple” mode, it allows the user to quickly choose an icon that matches the subject at hand and have the camera select all the optimal settings automatically for the best possible results. And to ensure easy use continues no matter where you go, the Optio50 has also been designed to be powered by AA batteries,
which are widely available internationally. But to be worthy of the PENTAX name, of course, ease of use is simply not enough. Indeed, the Optio50 offers the power and clarity of a 3X optical zoom lens and the sheer detail and high-level resolution of 5.0 effective megapixels, making it as sharp at shooting as it is easy to use.

Major features

1. Compact, lightweight design
Despite its 3X optical zoom lens and AA battery compatibility, PENTAX has succeeded in creating the Optio50 with compact dimensions of just 91 (W) x 61 (H) x 27 (D)mm*1 and a light weight of a mere 130 grams*2. Furthermore, its chic silver exterior has also been specially crafted with rounded corners that make it feel more comfortable in the hand, while imparting a clear sense of
user-friendliness.
*1: Excluding controls and other protrusions
*2: Excluding batteries and SD memory card

2.Mode dial for simpler mode selection
All the user has to do to select a shooting mode is simply turn the handy mode dial to pick the desired icon from a choice of seven. Also available on this handy mode dial are Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, and Movie mode — the latter of which enables movie recording with sound to the full capacity of the memory card. There's also the useful “Simple” mode, which lets the camera automatically select the optimal settings for the scene at hand.

3. Impressive image quality
As the Optio50 incorporates a 3X optical zoom lens with two lenses that are aspherical on both sides, it is able to make the very most of its ample 5.0 effective megapixel imaging performance. What's more, its 5.19 total megapixel CCD is also complemented by a primary color filter, enabling it to achieve satisfyingly high-resolution images with vivid color.

4. AA battery compatibility
The Optio50 is compatible with widely available AA batteries (takes two alkaline or nickel hydride batteries) making it easy to replenish the power practically anywhere in the world.

5.1.8-inch LCD monitor
Despite its positioning as an entry-level model, the Optio50 employs a large 1.8-inch, TFT LCD monitor with 130,000 pixels. As a result, composition and focusing are made much simpler when shooting, and images become much easier to evaluate during playback.

6. PictBridge compatibility for direct printing
The Optio50 supports PictBridge, a new direct-print standard released by the CIPA (Camera and imaging Products Association). This impressive advance means there's no need to use a computer to make a printout – just connect the Optio50 directly to a compatible printer via USB cable and produce printed photographs directly.

7. Other features
1) SD memory card compatibility, approx. 12MB built-in memory
2) USB mass storage class compatibility, AV cable connects the Optio50 to a TV
3) Standard image viewer, ACDSee for PENTAX software
4) Built-in auto flash with red-eye reduction mode*
5) Actual image optical viewfinder
6) Up to 4X digital zoom
7) Macro mode allows the user to shoot as close as 6cm from the subject
8) DPOF function, Exif Print compatibility
*This mode does not eliminate “red eyes” in all instances.

Pentax Optio 50 specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 5.2 million pixels total
• 5.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 2560 x 1920
• 2048 x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 320 x 240 @ 20 fps
• Recording time dependant on capacity of memory card
File formats

• Still: JPEG
• Move: AVI (Motion JPEG)

Lens • 32 - 96 mm (35 mm equiv) 3x optical zoom
• F 2.8 - 4.8
Digital zoom Up to 4x
Focus TTL contrast detection autofocus system
AF area modes Programmed AE
Focus distance • Normal: 0.5m (1.64 ft) to infinity
• Macro: 0.35m (1.15 ft) to infinity at 96mm (equiv 35mm)
• Macro: 0.06m (0.2 ft) to infinity at 32mm (equiv 35mm)
Metering • Center-weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3 steps
Exposure bracketing Yes
Shutter speed 1/2 - 1/1000 sec
Scene modes • Program
• Landscape
• Night scene
• Portrait
• Sport
• Simple
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten light
• Fluorescent light
• Shade
Self timer Yes
Continuous shooting Yes
Flash • Built-in flash
• On/off, Red-eye reduction
• Range Approx. 0.5m - 2.5m (1.6 ft - 8.2 ft) (5.4mm at Sensitivity Auto)
Approx. 0.5m - 2.0m (1.6 ft - 6.6 ft) (16.2mm at Sensitivity Auto)
Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 1.8" TFT LCD
• 130,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB
• AV out
• DC in
Print compliance

• DPOF
• PictBridge
• Exif

Storage • SD card
• 12 MB built-in memory
Power • 2x AA-type battery
• Charger optional
Weight • 130 g (4.6 oz) (no batt)
• 180 g ( 6.3 oz) (loaded and ready)
Dimensions 91 x 61 x 27 mm (3.6 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)