Pentax announces high-design Optio I-10 and H90, plus low-price E90

As expected, Pentax announced three new additions to its Optio line of compact digital cameras: The Optio I-10 and H90, two point-and-shoot cameras that emphasize design, and the E90, the lowest-priced Optio to date, priced at just $99.95.

As expected, Pentax announced three new additions to its Optio line of compact digital cameras: The Optio I-10 and H90, two point-and-shoot cameras that emphasize design, and the E90, the lowest-priced Optio to date, priced at just $99.95.

At the top end is the striking Optio I-10, a 12.1 megapixel shooter with a retro look, reminiscent of old-style SLRs, much like the $7,000 Leica M8. In fact, the I-10's white version looks decidedly similar to the limited Leica M8 "White Edition," though its price tag will be a decidedly lower $299.95 when it ships in February.  For that you get a fairly standard midrange feature set: a wide-angle 28-140mm equivalent (f/3.5-f/5.9) 5x optical zoom lens; 720p HD video capture at 30 fps; a wide-screen 2.7-inch LCD; sensor-shift image stabilization; and smile, blink, and face detection (and as a bonus for pet owners, it even recognizes up to three dog and cat faces).

Next comes the more modern-looking Optio H90.  And when I say modern, I mean modern in a clean, designy kind of way (which I guess is arguably retro in its own right).  Perhaps it's my penchant for orange, but I really like the slick and simple style of this camera (which also comes in black and white versions). If I sound a bit focused on the look of the  camera, that's because it's the only thing that really distinguishes it from the rest of the mid-priced point-and-shoot pack. Like the I-10, it has a 12.1-megapixel CCD sensor, a 28-140mm equivalent (f/3.5-5.9) 5x optical zoom lens, and 720p HD video capture at 30 fps, along with the usual stable of smile, blink, and face detection (no pets, though). It offers digital rather than sensor-shift image stabilization and the 2.7-inch LCD has a standard 4:3 aspect ratio. Look for it in February as well, at a price of $179.95.

Last, and yes, least, is the Optio E90. The price is right, at $99.95, but that's the best thing it's got going for it. Otherwise the E90 is pretty much standard budget fare: 10.1 megapixels, 32-96mm equivalent (f/2.9-5.2) 3x optical zoom lens, 2.7-inch LCD, AA battery compatibility. You know there's not too much going on when the company lists the rubberized surface as one of the four highlighted features of the camera.