Steve's Digicams


First Look posted 9/22/00
Full review posted 10/3/00

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Pentax EI-200
Click to take a QTVR tour of the EI-200

The Pentax EI-200 has a 2.11 megapixel, 1/2.7 inch CCD imager with 10-bit A/D converter and a new high-performance ASIC to render 1600 x 1200 images with extraordinary tonal range and color saturation. The compact EI-200 features a 3X zoom lens with macro (equivalent to 34-108mm in 35mm format) which is further enhanced by a Digital Zoom capability with three settings: 1.2X, 1.5X, 2X.   You can also record up to 45 seconds of sound with each image.

The lightweight EI-200 looks and operates like a conventional 35mm camera except the two-inch color LCD monitor allows for instant review and/or deletion of stored images. Image data can be transmitted using a high-speed USB cable, CompactFlash (Type I or II) card, or IrDA-compliant wireless infrared link. Digita allows custom functions and easy transfer of photos to computer, directly to HP JetSend compatible printers, or to other Digita-compatible cameras.

Pentax and H-P worked together to create this camera, it is also being marketed as the HP PhotoSmart C618.

Pentax EI-200

The Pentax EI-200 has many advanced features:

  • Exposure Modes:
    • Programmed AE, Shutter-Priority AE or Aperture-Priority AE
  • Picture Modes:
    • Portrait, Landscape, and Action.
  • Metering Modes:
    • Average, Center-weighted and Spot.
  • White-balance modes:
    • Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent.
  • Light-Sensitivity Settings:
    • Auto, ISO 100 and ISO 200 equivalent.
  • Autofocus with infinity mode and macro mode down to 4 inches (10cm).
  • Manual focus from 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to infinity.
  • Five drive modes:
    • One-shot, Continuous, Time-Lapse, Remote-Control (with optional infrared remote) and Self-Timer.
  • Image sizes of 1600x1200 or 800x600 pixels in uncompressed TIFF format or compressed JPEG format (Good/Better/Best).
  • Exposure compensation from -2 to +2EV in 0.5 EV steps.
  • Three image modes: Color, Black and White or Sepia.
  • DPOF (Digital print order format) compatible - allows fast, automated printing with compatible printers - no need to go through a computer first.
  • Auto image rotation makes portrait mode images upright automatically.

New Firmware Update

All owners of the Pentax EI-200 should install the newest firmware for improved picture quality by increasing the accuracy of color reproduction and reducing image noise.

Pentax EI-200 Firmware v1.11 Update

HP C618 Firmware Update

Be sure to use the appropriate firmware update for the RIGHT camera, if you install the Pentax update in the HP camera the download software doesn't work -- and vice-versa.

Pentax EI-200

On the back is a low-temp polysilicon 2-inch TFT color LCD with 130,338 pixels. Image playback is available in fullscreen and fullscreen with zoom plus an index/search mode.

Pentax EI-200

On the top is a large data LCD for the camera settings, the flash, self-timer and focus mode buttons, shutter release and the Mode Dial.

Pentax EI-200

The bottom is flat with an off-center tripod mount and the battery access door.

Pentax EI-200 Pentax EI-200

Here's the left and right side views

Pentax EI-200 Pentax EI-200

The Pentax power zoom is a 5.2-16.5mm (34-108mm in 35mm format) f/2.4-f/4.0 lens with 9 elements in 8 groups, comprised of 2 aspherical elements. The autofocus range in Normal mode is 1.64 ft. (0.5m) to infinity and in Macro mode from 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to 1.97 ft. (0.6m).

The manual focus range is 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to infinity. Using the focus mode button the user can select the fixed infinity or Macro mode.

A builtin lens protector automatically closes when the the lens is retracted.

More camera features described on

Page Two

Pentax EI-200 Specifications

Image Sensor: 2.11 megapixel (total pixels), 1/2.7 inch interline transfer interlace scan CCD with a primary color filter.
Color Depth: 10 bit x 3 colors.
Recording Pixels: 1600 x 1200 pixels (full size)
800 x 600 pixels (1/4 size).
Sensitivity: Auto or fixed at ISO 100 or 200
File Formats: JPEG (compressed), TIFF (uncompressed), DPOF.
Quality Levels: "Good", "Better", "Best" in JPEG format.
Storage Media: CompactFlash (CF) card Type I and Type II. Not compatible with Microdrive.
Image Storage Capacity: Exposure capacity when using 8MB CF card:
    Recording Pixels Good/Better/Best/TIFF
        Full approx. 27 / 14 / 7 / 1
        1/4 approx. 82 / 50 / 28 / 5
Lens: Pentax power zoom 5.2mm-16.5mm (Equivalent to 34mm-108mm in 35mm format) f/2.4-f/4.0, 9 elements in 8 groups (2 aspherical elements).
Focusing System:
  Type: TTL contrast detection autofocus system. Manual focus Infinity-landscape mode available.
  Focusing Range:
    Autofocus Normal 1.64 ft. (0.5m) to infinity. Macro 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to 1.97 ft. (0.6m).
    Manual Focus: 0.33 ft. (0.1m) to infinity.
Exposure Control:
  Metering System: TTL metering. Choice of Average metering, Center-weighted metering and Spot metering.
  Exposure Modes: Programmed AE, Aperture-Priority AE and Shutter-Priority AE.
  Picture Modes: Portrait, Landscape, Action.
  Exposure Compensation: +2 to -2 EV (0.5 steps).
Shutter Programmed AE electronic lens shutter with CCD electronic shutter. Shutter speeds: approx. 1/1000 sec. to 4 sec.
Drive Modes Single shot, Continuous, Timelapse, Self-timer and Remote control.
Flash Built-in auto zoom flash. Automatic discharge under low lighting conditions in auto modes. Flash-on and flash-off modes. "Red-eye" reduction function employs a single discharge. Slow-shutter sync available.
        Flash Effective Range 0.98 ft. (0.3m) 18 ft. (5.4m) at 5.2mm; 0.98 ft. (0.3m) 12 ft. (3.7m) at 16.5mm.
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Tungsten light and Fluorescent light.
Color Modes Color, Black & White and Sepia.
Digital Zoom Shooting 1.2X, 1.5X, 2X, Playback 2X.
Optical Viewfinder Actual-image zoom viewfinder with diopter adjustment from 3 to +1.
LCD Monitor 2 inch, low temperature poly-silicon TFT color LCD with 130,338 pixels. Adjustable brightness control.
LCD Panel Battery level, flash modes, exposure counter, self-timer, remote control, Macro mode and Infinity-landscape mode.
Sound Recording Sound recording and playback possible. 45 seconds of recording per image.
Presentation and Review Modes Images can be played back, edited, and deleted.
Auto Image Rotation Automatic image rotation for right-side-up viewing on TVs, computers and camera.
Interfaces AV output terminal (NTSC/PAL)
USB terminal
IrDA1.1 with HP JetSend and Digita protocols
DC input terminal.
Power Sources 4 AA lithium, Ni-MH or alkaline batteries, or AC adapter.
Dimensions 5.0(W) x 2.8(H) x 2.2(D)" (127.5 x 71.5 x 56.5mm) (Projecting operational parts not included.)
Weight 10.6 oz. (300g) without batteries and CF card.
Package includes: EI-200 camera, 8MB CompactFlash Card EI-M-8CF, Software CD EI-S-SW1 (includes Adobe PhotoShop LE, and USB driver for Windows 98), Audio / Video Cable EI-I-VC1, USB Cable EI-I-USB1, and (4) 1.5V Alkaline AA batteries.

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