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Pentax goes to 12

Pentax has announced their new Optio A40 and Optio V10 compact cameras, and a new 18-250mm zoom lens for use with its SLRs.

Pentax's new 8MP Optio V10.
Pentax's new 8MP Optio V10. Pentax

With the first of the two cameras Pentax announced today, the company joins the club of manufacturers offering 12-megapixel compact cameras. The new Pentax Optio A40 will sport a 12MP CCD sensor, 3X optical 37-111mm equivalent f/2.8-5.4 zoom lens, and 2.5-inch 232,000-pixel LCD screen when it hits stores this month for about $300. It'll also include mechanical, sensor-shift image stabilization (Pentax calls it Shake Reduction), as well as ISO-boosting digital Shake Reduction, sensitivity of up to ISO 1,600 at full resolution and ISO 3,200 if you don't mind reducing the pixel count to 5MP.

At the same time, Pentax has announced the ultra-compact Optio V10, which marks the start of a new line for Pentax and includes an 8MP CCD sensor, 3X optical 36-105mm f/3.1-5.9 zoom lens, and a 3-inch 230,000-pixel LCD. It doesn't include sensor-shift Shake Reduction, but does have digital Shake Reduction, and sensitivity of up to ISO 3,200 at full resolution. The Optio V10 is expected to ship in November for about $250.

Since two compact cameras simply aren't enough for Pentax, they've also announced the versatile smc Pentax-DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3. The 14X optical zoom range makes it a nice single lens solution for Pentaxian SLR owners, though its slow aperture range will leave advanced shooters yearning for one of Pentax's fancier DA* lenses. At its price of $500 though, some advanced shooters might just grab one for simplicity's sake, since a lens like this one can make a vacation a lot simpler as long as you're not shooting in lots of low light situations.