Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Pentax 09/03/03 Press Release


Press Release - September 3, 2003

Not Bigger, Just Better: Tiny, Second Generation Pentax Optio Offers Four Megapixels

Pentax Optio S4

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (September 3, 2003)…The innovative manufacturer that introduced a popular digital camera tucked inside a breath mint tin, has introduced a second generation. PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. announced the launch of the Optio S4. Sporting the tiny dimensions and light weight of its predecessor, the Optio S4 boasts a hefty 4.23 effective megapixels, a 3X zoom lens, and a variety of features including a large, easy-to-use manual control playback button.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. will preview the tiny but powerful digital camera at the Digital Focus media event on Monday, September 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City during the PC EXPO trade show.

How does PENTAX continue to load so much into such a small space? The Optio S4 features an innovative Sliding Lens system that allows the camera's powerful 3X zoom lens to move up and away so the retracted lens is completely flush with the camera body. This novel system protects the lens and helps reduce the size.

Despite the size, the Optio S4 boasts all the features found on other Optio digital cameras: a movie mode with sound playback, a voice recording memo for attaching 30 second memos to select images, a well-placed 1.6 monitor, and approximately 11MB of built-in memory. All these features and more are made even more accessible through a larger, well-placed manual control playback button on the Optio S4.

The Optio S4 includes an ACDSee™ software package designed exclusively for PENTAX Optio digital cameras that includes ACDSee™ 5.0. Valued at more than , ACDSee™ digital camera software makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share your digital photos. The Optio S4 will ship with the software in October in plenty of time for the Holiday 2003 buying season.

The Optio S4 will retail for with an estimated street price of .95 USD.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, lenses, mobile printers, scanners and internet cameras. For more than 80 years, PENTAX technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. PENTAX U.S.A., INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX CORPORATION.


Ultra compact 3X optical zoom

Equivalent to a 35 - 105mm lens in 35mm format, the 3X optical zoom allows a full range of shooting from expansive scenery to telephoto shots. All elements are crafted entirely from glass and two of the lenses are aspherical on each side. Combined with 4X digital zoom, the Optio S4 offers 12X combined zoom capability.

4.0 effective megapixels image quality

With the high-level imaging power of 4.0 effective megapixels, the Optio S4 captures everything from macro shots to distant scenery with exceptional sharpness and accuracy. Such performance is also enhanced through the a primary color filter, which serves to bring out brighter, more natural colors and enhanced image quality.

Fast, user-friendly operation

The Optio S4 offers more heightened responsiveness across all aspects of operation. With a shutter release time lag of just 0.01 sec.*, the Optio S4 allows switching from viewing to shooting with a single touch of the shutter or playback button at any time. Independent buttons serve to allow frequently used shooting and playback functions to be accessed with the same ease, and modes can be switched easily via the handy virtual mode dial. Finally, to speed operation in a way best suited to each user, the Optio S4 also allows the customization of functions such as enlargement and deletion. * Time taken from the moment when the shutter release is fully depressed following focus lock to the moment the shutter opens, when the flash is switched off.

A full selection of shooting modes

The virtual mode dial offers eight different shooting modes:

  • Program Program mode allows you to control a combination of functions all at once.

  • Picture The Optio S4 offers seven convenient picture modes, including Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Self-portrait, Surf & Snow, Autumn Color, and Sunset.

  • Night scene Night scene captures evening and night scenes and is ideal for shooting subjects with dark backgrounds.

  • Movie* The Optio S4 records up to 60 seconds of video with sound at 15 frames per second, with the definition of 320 x 240 pixels. Video files are also recorded in AVI format, making it easy to play them back on a PC. *System requirements: PCs running Windows 98, 98SE, 2000, Me, and XP operating systems which came with Direct X9.0 and Windows Media Player pre-installed, or have QuickTime™ 6.0 or higher installed (included on the accompanying CD-ROM). Macintosh machines running OS8.6 or higher operating systems, which came with QuickTime 6.0 or higher pre-installed.

  • Panorama assist For expansive scenes, this mode allows multiple shots either horizontally or vertically that may be aligned and combined on a PC using the enclosed, powerful ACDSee software Photostitcher. * ACDSee Photostitcher is compatible with Windows systems only.

  • 3D image 3D image mode produces images with a real sense of depth and perspective. Just take two shots, then take a look at the genuine 3D effect achieved when the images are seen through the special viewer provided.

  • Digital filter The Optio S4 offers a range of digital filters that can be used to add a different mood to shots. Choose black & white, sepia, or a range of colors (red, pink, yellow, green, blue, and purple). The Optio S4 also offers a special Slim filter that makes subjects appear slender or broader and can be adjusted to different degrees.

  • User User mode allows a combination of preferred settings to be saved for easy access whenever you need them. Seven different picture modes allow you to shoot subjects while the camera automatically controls exposure, focus, and white balance.

  • Landscape mode A mode specifically designed to make the most of the greens and blues of scenic shots.

Picture modes

  • Flower mode Ideal for capturing the vivid colors and tiny details of flowers.

  • Portrait mode A mode developed to capture natural skin tones for more flattering shots.

  • Self-portrait mode Provides pleasing results when you want to take a shot of yourself or join a friend in the frame.

  • Surf & Snow mode A mode that guards against the underexposure of darker elements when other areas of an image are reflecting high levels of light.

  • Autumn Color mode Selection of Autumn Color mode makes the most of reds, browns, and other colors associated with the season.

  • Sunset mode A mode designed to faithfully capture the splendid tones of sunrise and sunset scenes.

Voice recording mode

The Optio S4 recording ability rivals that of stand alone audio recording devices. Equipped with a 64MB memory card, the Optio S4 has the power to record an impressive 4 hours and 17 minutes of audio!

USB mass storage class compatibility*

USB cable connectivity allows multiple recorded shots to be quickly and easily imported into a range of common PC applications.

*System requirements: PC running Windows 98/98SE, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP Home Edition/Professional or Mac OS 8.6 or higher (installation of the included driver software is required, except in the case of Mac 0S 9.0 or higher). Compliance with the aforementioned system requirements does not guarantee USB compatibility.

ACDSee 5.0 handy application software (exclusive USB driver, image viewer/ACDSee for PENTAX)

As with all PENTAX Optio digital cameras, the Optio S4 includes the latest version of ACDSee™ 5.0 software designed exclusively for PENTAX Optio digital cameras.

Built-in auto flash

The built-in flash on the Optio S4 can be set to fire automatically when shooting in low-light conditions. For greater control, the camera also features Flash-on, Flash-off, and red-eye reduction* modes, and there's also the option of slow shutter sync when shooting in Night Scene mode.

*This feature does not eliminate "red eyes" in all instances.

High precision LCD monitor

A high-resolution 1.6-inch LCD monitor offers a 100% field of view for simple composition, and it is handy for checking recorded images on the spot.

Optical viewfinder

Composition is additionally made easy by a viewfinder that offers actual image zoom. Use of the viewfinder also allows you to conserve power by switching off the LCD monitor.

Nine-image and Zoom display

To speed the search for recorded images, the Optio S4 is able to display nine recorded shots on the LCD screen at once. Each image can also be displayed with 4X magnification, allowing you to make close-up inspections for focus and minor details.

Convenient self-timer

A handy self-timer lets you join group shots and produce self-portraits.

Optional remote control

Two remote control units are available as options for use with the Optio S4. Remote controls E or F both offer immediate shutter release and a three-second timer, while Remote control E offers zoom control as well.

Time-lapse movie

The Time-lapse movie function allows a sequential set of shots to be run as a short film. This can be used for impressive effects, such as scenes of clouds rushing across the sky, for example, and offers a selection of recording speeds - X2, X5, X10, X20, X50, and X100.

Macro mode, Landscape mode

Macro mode allows shots from as close as 7.08 inches from the subject, while selection of super macro shooting allows you to compose from as close as just 2.36 inches. Both modes may be combined with 4X digital zooming. The Optio S4 also is ideal for capturing truly expansive scenes, achieving sharp focus of the horizon through selection of Infinity-landscape mode.

Continuous shooting

Continuous shots can be taken just by keeping the shutter button held down, allowing fast-occurring events to be captured in a more expressive manner.

Manual focus

With an LCD monitor that enlarges the central part of a potential shot, manual focus can be achieved with a higher degree of accuracy.

Options for autofocus

The Optio S4 offers a choice of two kinds of autofocus. 7-point autofocus helps you achieve sharp focus even when subjects are off-center. Spot AF, on the other hand, lets you place the center of focus on one point out of a choice of 49 in the frame, marking that point in the viewfinder for easier use.

White balance settings

With a variety of white balance modes, the Optio S4 is able to balance colors correctly when shooting in different types of light. It features settings for auto, daylight, shade, tungsten, and fluorescent light, and there is also a manual setting that lets you decide the selection yourself.

Histogram display

With a histogram display that accurately represents light levels during both shooting and playback, the Optio S4 enables you to make a more educated evaluation of each image.

Multiple choices for metering

The Optio S4 offers a choice of multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering, allowing you to achieve the most appropriate exposure in myriad situations.

Sensitivity settings

Light sensitivity is easy to adjust, with a selection of equivalent to ISO50, 100, and 200, as well as an auto setting.

Exposure compensation

With exposure compensation across a range of +2EV in of 1/3EV steps, the Optio S4 allows you to take a set of images and be more creative.

Settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast

With five grades of settings for sharpness, saturation, and contrast, the Optio S4 gives you an exceptional amount of control over each and every shot.

Image protection

The image protection function guards select images from unintentional deletion.

Mode memory function

This feature save a combination of settings at once with the handy mode memory function so you may return to the settings when power is restored.

World time function

The Optio S4 can display the time for 62 different cities around the world. It can also record the time and date for each shot taken, making the sorting of shots so much easier upon your return.

Alarm function

An alarm function makes the Optio S4 handier to have around. The camera may be set to display the image of your choice when the alarm sounds, showing something related to your schedule, for example, or simply displaying a friendly face.

DPOF compatibility

The user can claim a further degree of control over printouts thanks to DPOF compatibility, which lets you make use of the date function and decide the number of copies*.

*Some printers may not support the above function. Please consult the supplier of your printer for more information.

Exif Print and PRINT Image Matching compatibility

When used with Exif Print (Exif 2.2) and PRINT Image Matching-compatible printers, the Optio S4 can produce prints of an even higher quality.

Approximately 11MB of built-in memory

The convenience of approximately 11MB of built-in memory allows the user to record a substantial amount of images without the need for additional media.

SD memory card and Multimediacard compatibility

The Optio S4 is compatible with both SD memory cards and Multimedia cards, both of which can be purchased virtually anywhere. Such media also supports simplistic transfer of data to a PC.

Resize function

A resize function allows the data size of recorded shots to be reduced. This frees up space to capture more shots without having to delete ones already taken, and resized data can be stored as new files or used to overwrite the previous images.


The useful Trimming function allows images to be cropped and parts to be selected for storage on their own as individual files.

Voice memo function

Up to 30 seconds of sound can be attached to recorded images, allowing situations to be captured in a much more memorable manner.

Function customization

Two frequently used functions can be selected from a choice of nine. These can then be assigned to the left and right positions of the four-way controller for easier access in the future.

AV (video/audio) output terminal

Thanks to the incorporation of an AV output terminal and a provided AV cable, the Optio S4 makes it easy to display recorded shots on a TV screen.

Power sources

The Optio S4 offers a choice of power sources, with exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery compatibility and an AC adapter available as an option.

Operation in 8 languages

All menus and messages of the Optio S4 can be set for display in the user's choice of English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, or Japanese.

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