The latest addition to Pentax’s Optio RZ series, the RZ18 is a compact, slim and lightweight model with an 18X optical zoom lens. While retaining many of the features of its predecessors — including dual shake reduction and Auto Picture mode — the RZ18 incorporates a 16-megapixel sensor, while the LCD monitor has been upgraded to a larger 3.0-inch version.
The 18X optical zoom covers the equivalent of 25-450 mm and will focus as close as 4 cm. The camera will produce an ultra-wide image (the equivalent of 19 mm) from two digital images, and the Intelligent Zoom function will further extend the zoom range to approximately 130 times – approximately 3250 mm – without compromising image quality, says the company.
By combining a CCD-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism with Pixel Track SR, the RZ18’s dual shake reduction is said to reduce camera shake to a minimum.
The RZ18 features Auto Picture mode, which automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene by assessing various photographic conditions on and around the subject. This selects one of 16 shooting modes (including Blue Sky, Sunset and Pet) and optimizes various camera settings, including sensitivity and shutter speed.
The camera captures high-definition-TV-quality movie clips (1280 x 720 pixels). It also offers Movie SR (Shake Reduction) mode, which automatically compensates for camera shake during movie shooting with the help of in- camera software.
The RZ18 features Face Detection AF & AE. This detects as many as 32 faces within the image field, then catches them in focus and optimum exposure — even when some of the faces are tilted or turned away from the camera. Small Face filter makes the subject’s face appear smaller when the face appears unnaturally large in recorded images. Smile Capture mode automatically releases the shutter the moment the camera detects the subject’s smile. Blink Detection function warns the photographer when the subject’s eyes close at the time of shutter release.
For pet lovers, Pet mode not only detects the faces of dogs and cats with great accuracy, but it also gives priority to three pre-registered pet faces over unregistered ones.
Other features: wireless remote-control shooting using an optional infrared remote control; burst shooting of up to 40 images, at a maximum speed of approximately 9 images per second; digital filters, including Miniature and Toy Camera; digital panorama mode.
The Optio RZ18 will be available in October in a choice of black, pearl white or metallic orange.