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Pentax compacts, K2000 kit get instant rebates

The instant savings range from $20 to $50 on three compact digital cameras and one digital SLR kit.

If money's tight, but you don't want to miss out on spring photo opportunities, Pentax is offering up some instant savings on three of its compact cameras and its entry-level digital SLR.

Starting Friday through April 11, the company is knocking $20 off the prices of its basic compact, the Optio E70, and its lightweight ultracompact Optio P70, as well as the waterproof Optio W60. Or if you want more than a point-and-shoot, the K2000 dSLR kit with DA L 18-55mm lens and AF200FG flash has a $50 instant rebate, bringing the price down below $550.

I recently reviewed both the E70 and P70, which are $119.95 and $179.95 after rebate, respectively. They are solid cameras, though certainly not perfect. The E70 is definitely geared toward beginners or anyone wanting a very simple but still attractive compact camera. The P70 has a lot more features than the E70, including a 28mm wide-angle lens with a 4x zoom, and is a fun camera to slip in a handbag or back pocket before heading out.

However, neither are particularly fast performers. And if you need really sharp photos in low-light conditions, well, you probably shouldn't be shopping for a compact camera at these prices. Photo quality for both of these under bright light/outdoors (up to ISO 200 or ISO 400) is very good for the price, however.

Read the full reviews of the Pentax Optio P70 and the Optio E70.