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Two Pentax premieres

Pentax announces two new cameras for the spring, including a waterproof model.

Less than a month after their last announcement, Pentax has unveiled two new cameras. The Pentax Optio A30 and the W30 are two compact cameras that respectively offer high-resolution and waterproof shooting.

The Optio A30 is an ultracompact camera that packs a 10-megapixel sensor into a metal body that's just 0.9 inch thick. It uses a fairly standard 3x, 38-to-114mm-equivalent lens with Pentax's Enhanced Shake Reduction digital image stabilization. The camera includes a wide variety of features and modes, including a face-recognizing autofocus and autoexposure mode, a manual exposure mode for more advanced users, and a 30fps VGA movie mode that records MPEG-4 DivX files. Besides face recognition, the A30 is almost identical to its predecessor, the 10-megapixel Optio A20, and it probably doesn't merit an upgrade if you already have an A20.

The Pentax Optio W30 is the company's latest waterproof camera, replacing the Optio W20. Pentax claims that the 7-megapixel shooter can be submerged under 10 feet of water for up to two hours. Like the A30, the W30 seems almost identical to the 7-megapixel W20. Both cameras share the same 3x optical zoom, the same 2.5-inch LCD, and even the same body design. Like the A30 and the A20, the only significant difference between the W30 and its predecessor is the addition of a face-recognizing autofocus and autoexposure mode. If the W30 doesn't seem like quite the right fit, the Olympus Stylus 770SW can function under 33 feet of water and is shockproof, crushproof, and freezeproof. Of course, all of these extra -proofs mean it's a bit more expensive.

The Pentax Optio A30 and the Optio W30 will ship in late March, with suggested retail prices of $300 and $350, respectively.