Pentax Optio VS20 compact camera demoed
20x zoom lens, triple anti-shake and a high-resolution sensor
Pentax Ricoh has announced its latest compact digital camera, the 16 megapixel Optio VS20, which is due to launch in the US in February with a UK launch unlikely to be far behind.
The stand-out feature is the inclusion of two shutter buttons for landscape and portrait photography, both with their own zoom controls for extra convenience. Intriguing, though we haven't struggled with a single control in the past. The portrait-mode shutter release button is also joined by a tripod socket, allowing the camera to be easily mounted in either orientation, which is a nice idea for those like to carry a Gorillapod or other mini tripod with their compact.
The 16-megapixel CCD sensor has built-in stabilisation to improve shooting in low-light or high-zoom scenarios. You can also activate digital stabilisation in addition but this reduces the resolution to 5 megapixels or to 720p from 1080p for video. In front of the sensor is an impressive 20x optical zoom lens - equivalent to 28mm-560mm.
In the menus, Pentax has added some new features in addition to the company's existing Auto Picture Mode for selecting the best settings without user input: the camera now includes Fish-Eye Mode, Sketch Mode, and a Stretch filter, along with a Handheld Night Snap mode designed to further reduce blur and noise in low-light shooting conditions.
Finally, the camera supports an optional infra-red remote control for taking snaps of yourself, an in-body Digital Panorama mode that stitches up to three images together into a single whole.
UK pricing has yet to be confirmed for the camera, but Pentax has announced the Optio VS20 will be available in the US starting next month at a recommended retail price of $249.95 (around £160.)