Pentax drops its new point-and-shoots

So Pentax announced some new cameras today, and while they aren’t going to blow anybody’s mind, I can’t do a disaffected anti-post for every point-and-shoot announcement. And besides, it isn’t Pentax’s fault. Their cool stuff is being saved up for NAB and all that; they can’t release cool lenses and DSLRs every day.

So, without further ado, meet the cameras with “designs so unique that not one can be labeled as ‘just another silver digital camera.'” (PR people, you’ve outdone yourselves)

Update: Photography Bay has a quick hands-on if you’re interested. The gist is that they seem fine, but with 5MP shots at 6400 ISO being part of the feature set, image quality is going to be the major concern in reviews.


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Up first is the I-10. Its distinguishing figure is its retro-looking body and the inclusion of a gyro-based image stabilizer. They count “raising the ISO to 6400” as a secondary image stabilization technique, but that’s a bit like including “decapitation” as an alternative to antibiotics. They also note that using this mode reduces effective megapixels to five. So in addition to decapitation it’s head-shrinking. Key specs:

  • 12.1 megapixels
  • 5x optical zoom
  • 2.7″ widescreen SD LCD
  • 1280×720@30 HD video

They boast that it has facial recognition technology that allows for up to 32 faces in the same frame, including dogs and cats. I’ll be giving this absurd and uncalled-for feature a separate post. $300.


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Up next, the H-90. A nice-looking camera to be sure, but that’s far from making the camera a hit. The Casio FC-100 is a handsome camera and it has useful and innovative imaging modes. What does the H-90 have to say about that? Well, simultaneous tracking of 32 faces, for one. Just think of how many uses you’ll find for that. There’s a panorama function (up to 3 shots) but I don’t trust it because you can’t check the seams easily and you might end up with a weird-looking jigsaw of a shot. Better to do it with Hugin or something. All these new Pentaxes have “image recovery,” whereby you can recover the shots your girlfriend watched you delete. Okay, that’s pretty cool. Specs:

  • 12.1 megapixels
  • 5x optical zoom
  • 2.7″ SD LCD
  • 1280×720@30 HD video

Look familiar? Yes, it’s the same specs as the I-10 above. It’s not clear whether the LCD is widescreen or not, though. And no shifty-pixel image stabilization. On the other hand, they are careful to mention in the press release that the buttons are “round.” Tell me more! $180.


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Last, the humble E-90. Why, I wonder, did Pentax think to call attention to the idea of the “just another silver digital camera” idea when they’re clearly releasing one of those (if not three)? Don’t buy budget cameras unless you have to, although for $100 you could probably do a lot worse than a 10.1-megapixel, 3x zoom Pentax.