Pentax just unveiled three new digital cameras in its Optio line of point-and-shoots, the Optio S12, M50, and E50. They run the gamut from budget-priced, simple shooter to high-resolution ultracompact.
The Optio S12 stands out as the smallest and most advanced of the three new cameras. At just 0.9 inch deep, Pentax claims the S12 is the smallest 12-megapixel camera of its class. We'll have to see for ourselves; according to Pentax's measurements, the S12 seems to be a hair or two smaller than the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200 and the Olympus Stylus 1200, though it might be just a smidge larger than the Nikon Coolpix S700. Even if it's not the tiniest 12-megapixel shooter out there, the S12 still looks like a solid camera. It features a 37 to 111mm-equivalent, f/2.8-5.4 lens, a 2.5-inch LCD screen, and can reach up to ISO 3200 sensitivity. Pentax says that the camera offers program, shutter priority, and manual modes, giving it a bit more flexibility than your average ultracompact point-and-shoot.
Pentax also announced the Optio M50, an 8-megapixel shooter for the style-minded. The camera comes in silver, blue, and pink versions, and features Pentax's Smile Capture mode, which uses its face detection software to sense and automatically shoot when a subject smiles. It uses a 36mm- to 180mm-equivalent, f/3.5-5.6 5x zoom lens to give it a slightly longer reach than most point and shoot cameras.
Finally, Pentax revealed the Optio E50, the company's latest budget shooter.With a 37.5mm- to 112.5mm-equivalent, f/2.8-5.2 lens and a slightly-smaller-than-usual 2.4-inch LCD screen, the 8-megapixel camera doesn't include many bells or whistles, but that's normal for many sub-$200 cameras.
The Pentax Optio S12 ships in April with a suggested retail price of $280, and will come in silver and black versions. The Optio M50 and E50 ship in March, with respective prices of $230 and $150.