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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pentax Introduces New Optio VS20 Dual Position Compact and 20X Zoom

Pentax's Optio VS20 20X Zoom w/Vertical Shooting Enhancements
January 25th, 2011- Carl Garrard 

Pentax's Optio VS20 kind of breaks new ground for portrait photographers by being the first ever compact fixed lens camera to include an extra zoom lever and shutter release designed solely to aid in portraiture/vertical shooting. The VS20 also includes a secondary grip on the face plate that further aids in vertical shooting ease of use. Besides these stand out features, the VS20 is equipped with a 20x 28-560mm f/3.1-f4.8 (faster aperture than the usual superzoom) equivalent zoom lens and a 16mp 1 2/3" CCD sensor (that's right, it's not a BSI CMOS sensor).

Pentax VS-20 Best Price Check
Also on it's brag sheet:  The VS20 sports a wide 100-6,400 ISO range, sensor shift image stabilization, 720p HD video, 3" 460K dot LCD screen, 1cm macro shooting, digital horizon level, IR remote compatible, a host of Pentax's digital special effects filters, and much more. Pentax's VS20 will retail for $249.99 and is available in Black and White variants. Availability- February 2012.

My Thoughts on the Pentax VS20

With the standard press release jargon out of the way, I'm curious about the VS20. First of all, the choice of a CCD sensor could be a great decision for better quality low ISO shots- CCD's typically have better output at low ISO values than BSI CMOS sensors. While I did have a chance to handle the VS20 I wasn't allowed to make any images yet since the units I handled were pre-production types. I have to say that the inclusion of the extra zoom lever and shutter release is a brilliant idea, it promotes using different types of compositions, and makes me wonder why nobody thought of it before!

The lens at least on the spec sheet, is quite nice and includes a brighter than average f3.1-4.8 aperture range- atypical for superzoom cameras. Starting off at 28mm on the wide end should ensure better optical performance in the barrel distortion category and is plenty wide for most circumstances- 560mm on the long end is quite enough for just about any circumstance and I'm glad Pentax has real sensor shift image stabilization included.

The added grip on the left side of the camera in my mind is a very thoughtful consideration that only Pentax seems to think of (kudos Pentax). This tells me that a photographer is designing most of their cameras over there, the kind that pays attention to details and form following function priorities. 

The wide ISO range and higher than average 1/2,500th top shutter speed will also come in handy for low light and brighter lit scene situations. I'm not a huge fan of compacts without PASM modes but for $249.00 this package looks like a fun little deal and I can't wait to give it a real life try out- seems to be a perfect lightweight versatile camera for short photography sessions when weight and size are serious considerations.

One more note, if you accidentally leave your SD card in your computer, the VS20 has 16mb of memory built in, enough memory for at least a few photographs at full resolution, or a dozen or so at smaller resolutions- heh, better than nothing. For a full specifications list and the entire press release from Pentax, just continue on browsing below.

Pentax VS-20 Best Price Check

Be sure to come back sometime to read a full review of the Pentax VS20 at Photographic-Central.

-Carl Garrard


(DENVER, CO) January 25, 2012…PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION announced the Optio VS20 digital compact camera today.   This versatile model features a high-power 20X optical zoom lens (28-560mm equivalent) and a second vertical shutter-release button with zoom lever for effortless portrait oriented shooting.  A vertical shutter release and zoom lever give the Optio VS20 a unique feature typically found on DSLR cameras, which lends itself to added stability at long optical zooms, as well as comfortable grip for such images as portraits, high rise buildings and architecture, monuments, trees, sports action, and panorama frames. The Optio VS20 even includes a vertical tripod socket for outstanding stabilized vertical support.  A new Handheld Night Snap mode also is introduced to capture beautiful images with minimal blur and noise even in low light settings.

The Optio VS20 body is built in a compact digital form factor, and offers several other advanced functions and user-friendly features including:
·         A 16.0 megapixel CCD sensor with mechanical sensor shift Shake Reduction for stabilized, blur-free images even in low lighting
·         A large 3.0 inch, wide view (approx. 170 degrees) LCD for easy image capture and review
·         Auto Picture mode that automatically chooses the best camera settings
·         Triple Shake Reduction (SR) for sharp, blur-free images and video
·         Other new scene modes including Fish-eye, Sketch modes and a Stretch filter for more creative options 

The PENTAX Optio VS20 will be available in noble black and brilliant white on for $249.95 in February 2012.

PENTAX is a leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here:
# # #
 Michelle Martin


Pentax VS-20 Best Price Check

The 20X optical zoom lens with 28mm wide-angle coverage handles a variety of subjects and scenes
The Optio VS20 features a high-performance, extra-powerful 20X optical zoom lens covering focal lengths from 28mm wide angle to 560mm super-telephoto (equivalent in the 35mm format).  The extra-wide zoom range captures images in a wide range of subjects and scenes from landscapes to sports events.   A high-quality Macro mode shoots down to just one centimeter from the subject.  An  Intelligent Zoom function further extends the zoom range to approximately 144X to cover the focal length of an approximately 4032mm super-telephoto lens (in the 35mm format) without compromising image quality.

Effortless, comfortable vertical-position shooting with image orientation shift and vertical position tripod socket
The Optio VS20 enhances vertical shooting three ways:
·         An extra shutter-release button and a second zoom lever offers a better grip for vertical shots 
·         Automatic shift of image display orientation (from horizontal landscape to vertical portrait by detecting vertical alignment with its orientation sensor)
·         A vertical-position tripod socket to securely set the camera up with a lighter, more portable tripod

Exceptional image quality
With 16.0 effective megapixels, a high-performance smc PENTAX zoom lens, and a CCD shift Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism, the Optio VS20 delivers well-defined, high-quality images.  Even when enlarged, images offer high-resolution prints with outstanding edge-to-edge sharpness.

Large 3.0 inch LCD monitor
The Optio VS20 features an HVGA high-resolution 3.0 inch color LCD monitor with approximately 460,000 dots. Since this extra-large monitor provides a clear view of images and menus, the photographer can quickly and efficiently check captured images and menu settings. In addition, the monitor is treated with AG (Anti-Glare) coating to improve visibility by minimizing reflections and blocking stains such as fingerprints.

Triple Shake Reduction for sharp, blur-free images
Sensor-shift-type Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism
The advanced sensor shift SR mechanism produces sharp, blur-free images even under shake-prone shooting conditions such as when shooting with a telephoto lens, at sunset or indoors with low-lighting.
Digital SR mode*
During still-image shooting, the Optio VS20 automatically raises its sensitivity to as high as ISO 6400 by detecting the subject’s brightness level. This user-friendly feature allows photographers to capture the subject at faster shutter speeds to minimize the risk of camera shake and subject shake.
Movie SR mode**
During movie recording, the Movie SR mode effectively compensates for camera shake to produce beautiful, stabilized movie clips.
*When the Digital SR mode is selected, the recorded size is fixed at five megapixels (2592 x 1944 pixels).
** When the Movie SR mode is selected, the angle of view becomes narrower than normal shooting.

Automatic selection of the most appropriate shooting mode
The Optio VS20 features the PENTAX-developed Auto Picture mode, which automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene by accurately assessing various photographic conditions over the entire image field. This user-friendly mode selects one of 15 shooting modes including Blue Sky and Sunset among others, and optimizes various camera settings (such as sensitivity and shutter speed) for the best results with minimal effort.

New Scene and Filter modes for greater creative options
Thirteen user-friendly scene modes allow the photographer to effortlessly capture beautiful images simply by selecting a desired scene mode for a given subject or scene.  Handheld Night Snap for low light allows photographers to take pictures while confirming the level of filtering effect on the LCD monitor, and Fish-eye and Sketch modes offer creative visual effects for more personalized expression.  A New Stretch filter extends a particular portion of an image for an eye-catching special effect.

Upgraded auto face recognition function with a new face recall function
The Optio VS20 Face Recognition AF & AE function offers a new Face Recall function that prioritizes a pre-registered face when optimizing focus and exposure settings, which comes in handy when taking group shots. To assist the photographer in capturing beautiful, lively snapshots, the Optio VS20 also provides other user-friendly features including the Smile Capture mode that automatically releases the shutter the moment the camera detects the subject’s smile, and the Blink Detection function that warns the photographer when the subject’s eyes close at the time of shutter release.

High-quality HDTV movie recording with pushbutton start
The Optio VS20 captures beautiful, high-definition movie clips (1280 x 720 pixels).* Since the camera provides an independent movie recording button on its back panel, the user can instantly start recording movie clips from any shooting mode. It also features three new digital filters (Fish-eye, Miniature and Sketch mode) to allow the user to experiment with more diversified visual expressions.
*When the Optio VS20’s AV output terminal is used, movie clips are output as normal image-size data. If the user wishes to play back movie clips at high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels), the data must be transferred to a personal computer for playback.

Additional features:
·         Digital level and 48 segment grid display functions for easy confirmation of horizontal and vertical alignment
·         Wireless remote-control shooting using an optional PENTAX infrared remote control
·         Choice of three image aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9 and 1:1) to accommodate different applications
·         D-Range setting to prevent whitewashed (overexposed) and blacked-out (underexposed) areas in an image
·         Digital Panorama mode to effortlessly create a single panoramic picture from as many as three images
·         Neck strap included
·         Image viewing, editing and filing software included: MediaImpression 3.1 for PENTAX (Windows version compatible with Windows 7) and MediaImpression 2.1 for PENTAX (Macintosh version compatible with Mac OS X 10.7)

Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.
This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant.
Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Print Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
Macintosh and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.
Pentax VS20 Price Check


  1. This little camera has a lot of attractive features. If I were in the market for a little rangefinder type camera, this one would certainly get a good hard look for sure. It appeals to me a lot more than the NEX7. I have been wanting to upgrade my Maxxum 7D but unfortunately I cannot find what I want from SONY for the price I would care to pay. If SONY would just take a Maxxum 7D and give it a 16MP FF sensor, without all of the jazz that is in most digital cameras nowadays, I would be delerious. I don't need 24 MPs. I am a retired professional now, and cannot justify spending $3000.00 on a body to attach my lenses to. So today I sent my 7D out to have the black frame shutter issues fixed. Come to think of it, my wife would probably really enjoy this little PENTAX VS20...the sensor is probably on a par with the K5.

  2. Yep well specced camera for the average person with some unique features and a good zoom range.


  3. Such a great article With 16.0 effective megapixels, a high-performance smc PENTAX zoom lens, and a CCD shift Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism, the Optio VS20 delivers well-defined, high-quality images. Even when enlarged, images offer high-resolution prints with outstanding edge-to-edge sharpness.Thanks for sharing this article.