Pentax Fields Long Zoom In Optio RZ18

The Pentax RZ18 will come in three colors and feature an 18x zoom

Pentax rolled out the new Optio RZ18 as manufacturers try to get their point-and-shoot lines on store shelves in advance of the holidays.

The RZ18 is built around an 18x zoom offering the equivalent of 25-450mm, a fairly impressive range for a pocket cam. Behind that is a high resolution 1/2.33 in, 16-megapixel CCD sensor with sensor-shift image stabilization and an ISO rating out to 6,400. The maximum image resolution bumps in at a respectable 4608 x 3456.

The downsides are typical for a camera in this price range. You give up RAW images and are limited to 720 video at 30 fps. There’s no viewfinder, which means you’re limited to framing through the 3 in LCD screen on the back, something that I’m sure is an interesting exercise at the maximum zoom setting.

While the video specs aren’t great, it does include mono audio and continuous shooting at 1 frame per second.

You don’t get much in the way of manual control, but most people are not buying a camera like this if they’re concerned with manual overrides. Anyone who cares that much about manual mode would also want RAW images to work with anyway.

It does feature an adequate array of automatic shooting modes and in-camera effects.   All in all, not bad for a pocket cam Pentax is expected to field for $299.95. Availability  in October.