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Two new Pentax digital cameras - Optio 450 and 550
Dennis Hissink : August 6th 2003 - 08:37 CET
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PentaxPENTAX USA continues to make big advancements in little with the introduction of the new 5.0 effective megapixels Optio 550 and the 4.0 megapixel Optio 450 digital cameras. Both models host a variety of features including a high resolution 1.5 inch LCD monitor, a movie mode that captures up to ten minutes of video with sound, a voice memo recording mode, a vice memo function, panorama assist, full manual control and a 5X optical zoom (20X combined). PENTAX will debut the two little, but loaded, digital cameras at the Photo Marketing Association’s (PMA) Show from March 2-5 in Las Vegas. PMA hosts an annual trade show where manufacturers in the photography industry showcase their newest products.
Compact, easy-to-use design
Crafted from aluminum alloy with design accents on the lens bases, the Optio 550 and Optio 450 are comfortable to hold and simple to operate. An ultra-compact zoom system that allows the lens to fully retract in two stages helps reduce the size of both cameras A single dial on both new Optio digital cameras offers shooting mode selections with minimal effort including Metered Manual, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Program, Picture, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter, and User. The Optio 550 and Optio 450 also feature standalone buttons for easy access to frequently used shooting and playback functions and handy image deletion and enlargement.

The digital precision of 5.0 and 4.0 effective megapixels
The Optio 550 and the Optio 450 excel at image recording quality with 5.0 and 4.0 effective megapixels respectively so each model will produce high quality, artistic images.
5X optical zooming with an ultra-compact lens
Despite the compact size, both the Optio 550 and Optio 450 feature a high performance 5X optical zoom lens with 4X digital for an impressive 20X combined zoom.

10 minute movie mode
Both the Optio 550 and the Optio 450 are capable of recording up to 10 minutes of video with sound at 15 frames per second with 320 x 240 recorded pixels. For additional convenience, all clips are recorded in MOV format to facilitate simple playback on PCs.*
*System requirements for use of the Movie function: PCs running Windows 98/98SE, or Windows 2000 operating systems which came with Direct X8.0 or higher and Windows Media Player pre-installed. PC running Windows Me or Windows XP operating systems featuring Windows Media Player or QuickTime or higher. Macintosh machines running operating systems, which came with QuickTime 4.0 or higher pre-installed.

Voice recording mode
The Optio 550 and Optio 450 may be used as an audio recorder.*
*Recording time is based on available memory. For example: 128mb = approximately 8 hours.

Voice memo function
Up to 30 seconds of sound may be added to images.

Time-lapse movie
Time-lapse movie allows you to run a set of sequential recorded frames in order as a short film to create scenes of clouds rushing across the sky with a selection of X2, X5, X10, X20, X50, or X100 recording speeds.

Precise LCD monitor
A high-resolution 1.5-inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD monitor offers 100% view of the frame, which helps ensure easier, more accurate image composition and allows you to double-check recent shots.

Optical Viewfinder
Both the Optio and the Optio 450 are equipped with a diopter adjustment viewfinder offering actual image zoom to help conserve power when the LCD monitor is off.

Nine-image / Zoom display
Searching time for recorded images is minimized through a function that allows nine images to be displayed on the LCD screen at once. The screen also may display images with up to 8X magnification to make it easy to check for clear focus and inspect details on recorded shots.

Digital filter mode offers creative freedom
The digital filter mode allows the freedom to influence the overall tone of your shot.
With choices of black & white and sepia as well as a range of other tones (red, pink, yellow, green, blue and purple), the digital filter mode allows you to add mood to a sunset or tone down subjects that are too bright. The soft filter setting provides a soft focus effect.
Built-in auto flash
Auto flash may be set to discharge automatically when shooting scenes in low-light conditions. For greater control, each model also features Flash-on, Flash-off, and red-eye reduction* modes as well as Slow shutter sync mode for use with Night Scene mode.
*This feature does not eliminate “red eye” in all instances.

A broad range of shooting modes
A selection of ten shooting modes are accessible with just the turn of a dial including
Metered Manual, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Program, Picture, Movie, Panorama Assist, 3D image, Digital Filter, and User modes.
Metered manual gives you the freedom to decide both shutter speed and aperture settings so you can take difficult shots or achieve more creative results.
Shutter-priority AE lets you select the shutter speed to deliver the desired effect and select the ideal corresponding aperture for your shot so you may create a sense of movement with blurring or to freeze rapid moving objects in time.
Aperture-priority AE provides subtle control over depth of field and exposure. Throw background elements out of focus to add emphasis to a main subject or capture everything up to the horizon with clarity while the camera calculates the optimal shutter speed.
Program mode allows you to take control over a whole range of functions to produce results much closer to the ones you desire.
Picture modes provide optimal results with a settings and subjects: Landscape, Night Scene, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn Color, Sunset, Fire Works and Text.
Panorama Assist software included with kit creates panorama pictures through the vertical or horizontal combination of multiple pictures on a PC.
3D image creates side-by-side double shots with a real sense of depth when seen through the enclosed special viewer.
Digital Filter mode provides conventional filter capability including black & white, sepia and soft as well as a range of colors (red, pink, yellow, green, blue and purple).
User mode retains any combination of preferred settings easy access in the future.
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