Pentax US has today announced the Optio 330, their ultra-compact 3x optical zoom, 3 megapixel digital camera. We first heard about this camera back in March when there were the first sightings of it in Japan. Pentax Japan then officially announced it on 29 May, and almost exactly a month later so now have Pentax US. The Optio 330 uses Compact Flash storage and weighs in at just 205 g (7.2 oz; no batts). No official pricing has been announced by Pentax US, in Japan it's priced at 95,000 YEN (approx US$800).

PENTAX Debuts World's Smallest 3 Megapixel, 3X Optical Zoom Digital Camera - The Optio 330

DENVER, July 2 -- PENTAX Corporation, a long time innovator in the photo industry, proudly announces the debut of the Optio 330. This is the world's smallest and lightest 3 megapixel, 3X optical zoom digital camera available on the market.* The full-featured Optio 330 offers an extraordinarily small size, ease-of-use, as well as the flexibility and versatility of filmless digital technology.

The Optio 330 has a selection of five shooting modes including Standard, Night Scene, Metered Manual (exposure up to 15 seconds), Movie, and multiple-exposure for a variety of situations and a range of options for exposure, focusing, and flash. High-quality recording is ensured with its 3.34 megapixel, primary color filter CCD, and infinite creative possibilities are opened up through simple connection to a PC via USB port.

The dimensions of the Optio 330 are a mere 3.6" wide, 2.3'' high, and 1.2" thick and it weighs just 8.5 ounces, including battery and recording media. 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 a super-high density mounting technology. The result is a pleasing design that is flat and easy to carry, with an attractive stainless steel exterior.

The high-performance 3X zoom lens (equivalent to 37-111mm in 35mm format) of the Optio 330 delivers high image resolution and low image distortion despite its compact size. The Optio 330 also offers a 2X smooth digital zoom for a total combined zooming capacity of 6X.

When you want to view your recorded images, you can do so with the 1.6-inch LCD monitor. To search for an image, use the nine-image display screen. And, with a 4X magnification, images can be enlarged to check for accurate focus and small details.

To ensure that images are crisp and clear, seven-point autofocus and spot AF are both available. The seven-point autofocus covers a wide area of the frame and allows the subject to come into clear focus. Spot AF can be centered in the frame or the user can select the focus point anywhere within the image area on the LCD monitor.

Accurate exposure can be attained with a choice of six-segment metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering. Exposure compensation is available with a range of +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps. 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.

The Optio 330 can record movies with a duration of up to 30 seconds at 15 frames/sec. (recording pixels: 320 x 240 pixels). Movies are recorded in AVI format and can be easily played back via PC.

The Optio 330 offers six white balance modes, including Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light and Manual. Selection of the manual option allows balanced color to be maintained as you please, free from the influence of artificial light.

A combination of camera settings can be saved with the convenient mode memory function. It allows you to select the settings that you desire and return to them automatically when the power is switched off and on again.

The Optio 330 is compatible with CompactFlash(TM) Type I memory cards and comes standard with a 16MB card. It is powered by its own exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which comes standard with the camera along with a recharger. It can also be powered with an optional AC adapter.

The Optio 330 utilizes EPSON's PRINT Image Matching(TM) technology, which ensures that the camera and a PRINT Image Matching-enabled printer work perfectly together to produce the best prints possible.

* This information was correct as of June 28, 2001 and compares the Optio 330 with digital cameras with 3 megapixel or more CCDs and 3X optical zoom lenses.

Pentax Optio 330 specifications

CCD 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixel (3.14 megapixel effective)
Image sizes 2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480
Image types JPEG
Image ratio 4:3
Lens 3x optical zoom, 37 - 111 mm (equiv.), F2.8 - F4.8
Digital zoom 2.0x, 4.0x
Focus range Normal: 40 cm - Infinity
Macro: 14 cm - 40 cm
Sensitivty ISO 100, 200
Shutter speed 15 - 1/2000 sec
Exposure modes Auto, Manual, Movie, Night view, Multiple exposures
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Focus modes Auto Focus, Manual Focus
Metering modes Multi-area , Center weighted average, Spot
White balance Auto, Sun, Shade, Incandescent, Fluorescent , Manual preset
Continuous Yes
Movie mode 320 x 240, 160 x 120 AVI M-JPEG, max 30 seconds
Flash Internal
Flash modes Auto, Red-eye reduction, Forced On, Forced Off, Slow Sync, Slow Sync & Red-eye reduction
LCD 1.6" TFT
Viewfinder Optical
Remote Control Included, Infrared
Connectivity USB, AV out (NTSC / PAL switchable)
Clock With Alarm function and world clock time zones
Power Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger
Storage Compact Flash (Type I only)
Dimensions 92 x 59 x 31 mm
Weight (no battery) 205 g
Availability (Japan) July 2001
Price (Japan) 95,000 YEN (approx. US$800)