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Pentax Optio S1 offers 14 megapixels and HDR photography

Just in time for spring, Pentax has taken the wraps off its new Optio S1 compact point-and-shoot camera, offering easy-to-use features in an elegant, lightweight body. But Pentax also wants to distinguish the Optio S1 from a low-end point-and-shoot, rolling in features that are normally reserved for somewhat higher-priced offerings.

The Optio S1s feature a 14 megapixel resolution and a 5× optical zoom, along with a 2.7-inch LCD display. The cameras are capable of 720p high-definition video capture, and offer consumer-friendly portrait features like face detection, blink detection, and smile capture. Action and ambitious photographers will appreciate the sensor-shift shake reduction systems that helps reduce motion blur, and—in a new feature for Pentax cameras—the Optio S1s offer a High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature that can capture tons of detail in wide-exposure images. Of course, the cameras also feature a simple Auto mode, and the Optio S1s can even be used with an optional separate infrared remote. The cameras accept SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Folks who enjoy fiddling with images in their camera will appreciate built-in filters, including toy camera and “retro” visual effects.

The Optio S1s should be available this month at a suggested price of $199.95, although pre-orders are available now. The cameras will be available in black, green, and chrome.