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Pentax Updates Point-and-Shoots

Golden, Colo. — Pentax announced two replacement models in its A and M series of digital cameras today, bumping up the resolution, adding more blur reduction capabilities, facial recognition technology, and support for higher capacities SD cards.

The new Optio A20 and M20 will both support the recently introduced SDHC memory card format, accepting SDHC cards in 4GB capacities in addition to existing SD cards up to 2GB.

The 10-megapixel Optio A20 will feature a 2.5-inch LCD and a 3x optical zoom. It will offer three varieties of blur reduction technology. A shake reduction feature physically moves the camera’s CCD sensor to compensate for user movement. A new blur reduction mode bumps the camera’s ISO sensitivity to as high as 1,600 depending on the brightness of the subject to increase shutter speeds. In this mode, image resolution is set to 5 megapixels. Finally, the A20 will offer electronic stabilization in movie mode.

The A20 records VGA movies at 30 frames per second (fps) in the DivX format.

Pentax also incorporated facial recognition into the A20’s autofocus and auto exposure modes. The camera ships in October for an estimated $350.

The new 7-megapixel M20 will replace the M10. It will feature a 3x optical zoom lens, a 2.5-inch LCD screen and the high ISO blur reduction mode. The model’s power consumption has been improved over its predecessor, with a life of 220 images on a pair of AA alkaline batteries or 700 images with AA lithium batteries.

The M20 also packs facial recognition AF/AE modes, a VGA/30fps movie mode, and is ImageLink compliant for connecting to Kodak’s printer docks. It ships this month for a suggested $200.