PHOTOPLUS: Pentax intros tiny 4 mpixel Optio 430

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Among the professional SLR cameras, lenses and binoculars at Pentax Corp.'s booth at Photo Plus Expo was its line of digital cameras, including the 4.13 megapixel Optio 430. Aimed squarely at consumers, the tiny digital camera is the smallest, lightest 4 megapixel model on the market, according to Pentax.

Although the new Optio 430 was announced in late September, this is the first opportunity that most users had to get their hands on the camera, which just began to ship in the past few weeks. The diminutive digital camera measures 3.6 by 2.3 by 1.2 inches, and weighs about 7.2 ounces. Pentax said one of the secrets to the camera's size is its use of a "MCM," or multi-chip module that integrates the CPU, ASIC and memory.

The Optio 430 sports a 3x zoom lens that uses two dual-sided aspherical elements. The lens is mounted on a new barrel retraction mechanism that draws it back into the camera's body and automatically closes a lens covering when the unit is turned off.

The camera's main interface is its turn-dial that enables the user to select a variety of shooting and playback modes. A four-way controller and an OK button provide access to various menu features displayed on the Optio 430's 1.6 LCD display. The Optio 430 also features a histogram display to let photographers check light levels. The camera also features a built in flash, optical viewfinder, manual focus mode and DPOF compatibility (for supported printers).

The Optio 430 writes data to a CompactFlash Type I card (a 16MB card is included with the camera), and it also hooks up to your Mac using USB. The camera is Mass Storage Class compatible, too.

The Optio 430 draws its power off a proprietary rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and it comes with its own charger.

If you don't need the latest model and you'd like a good deal, you're in luck. Pentax is also offering a rebate deal on its Optio 330 and EI-100 models. Through the end of January, buyers can get $100 back on the Optio 330 and $50 back on the EI-100. Visit the Web site for details.

This story, "PHOTOPLUS: Pentax intros tiny 4 mpixel Optio 430" was originally published by PCWorld.

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