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Samsung, Pentax debut new digital SLR cameras

How does 18 megapixels grab you? Or waterproofing? Those are just some of the features to choose from.

Camera partners Samsung and Pentax announced several new digital SLR camera models Thursday in advance of a photography trade show that begins this weekend.

Digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras are higher-end models that feature interchangeable lenses, and major established competitors in the digital SLR market include Canon and Nikon. Samsung announced its first digital SLR in January, the GX-1s, and now has announced an entry-level model called the GX-1L.

Both models feature 6-megapixel resolution. But the GX-1L has less-sophisticated focusing technology; automatically sets exposure, light sensitivity and other details; and has settings tuned for shooting pictures of children, pets, museums, sunsets and other common types of scenes.

The company unveiled the camera shortly before the Photo Marketing Association International's PMA 2006 convention in Orlando, Fla.

One of Pentax's new digital SLRs is an as-yet-unnamed 10-megapixel model scheduled to launch in the fall. The other is the Pentax 645, a higher-end medium-format camera with an 18-megapixel resolution and an extra-large Kodak image sensor.

Pentax also introduced three compact digital cameras, including the Optio T10 with a 3X zoom, scheduled for release in March at a price of $350. Arriving at the same time will be the Optio W10, a $300, 6-megapixel model that's waterproof. The least expensive of the new models is the M10, costing $230 and also due in March.

Kodak announced new models before the show, including the 6.1-megapixel, $229 Easyshare C643 and the 5.1-megapixel, $179 Easyshare C533. Both use AA batteries and have 3X zoom lenses.

Digital cameras, a fast-growing market, have all but supplanted film models. In January, Nikon announced it was discontinuing production of all but two high-end film cameras.

Samsung and Pentax announced a partnership in October to use the Pentax lens-mounting technology so that both companies can use existing lenses for Pentax cameras.