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Pentax Bows New Digicams

Golden, Colo. — Pentax updated its digital camera lineup this week with the announcement of three new Optios, including a waterproof model, and its first PictBridge-enabled model.

All the new Optios will ship in October with an ACDSee software package designed exclusively for the company that includes ACDSee 5.0, an image management program.

The Optio S4 is the successor to the company’s diminutive S3, adding 4-megapixel resolution and retaining the tiny dimensions and light weight of its predecessor.

The S4 offers a 3x zoom lens, a large manual control playback button, a movie mode with sound playback, 11MB of internal memory, and a voice-memo recording feature for adding 30-second voice attachments to still images.

A sliding lens system allows the camera’s lens to move up and away so the retracted lens is completely flush with the camera body, protecting the lens and reducing the size of the camera.

The S4 features a shutter release time lag of 0.01 seconds and records up to 60 seconds of AVI video with sound at 15 frames per second at 320-by-240 resolution. The S4 accepts SD/MMC memory.

The Optio 555 replaces the Optio 550 and ships in October. It’s a 5-megapixel model with a 5x optical/4x digital zoom.

It features improved responsiveness over its predecessor, including reduced lag time, as well as11 capture modes, aperture-priority AE, metered manual mode and a customizable user mode. In movie mode the Optio 555 can capture video at 15 frames per second at 320-by-240 resolution in MOV format. It offers an SD/MMC expansion slot.

The Optio 555 is the first Pentax model to offers PictBridge compatibility for direct printing.

Finally, Pentax announced the Optio 33WR for digital photographers who have a penchant for getting wet. The 3.2-megapixel model offers a JIS Class 7 water resistance rating in addition to a 2.8x optical zoom lens.

The 33WR offers a movie mode with sound and voice memo. Shooting modes include program, landscape, night scene, night scene portrait, surf and snow, portrait, sunset, flower, fireworks, snap (automatic pan) and macro modes.