Pentax Optio VS20: 20X Pocket Megazoom With 2X Shutter Buttons

Pentax Optio VS20
To go along with its far-reaching 20X optical-zoom lens (28mm to 560mm), raised grip, and 16-megapixel CCD sensor, the just-announced Pentax Optio VS20 pocket megazoom has a couple of other things going for it--and they're both shutter buttons.

Announced today, the Optio VS20 has a primary zoom control and shutter button in the expected place on the top of the camera, but it also has a secondary shutter-release button and zoom control on the side of the camera--they're designed to operate the camera more comfortably when the shooter is holding it vertically. Along with the side-mounted shutter and zoom controls, the Optio VS20 also has a secondary tripod mount on the side of the camera.

Pentax Optio VS20
This is the first time we've seen a secondary shutter release on a pocketable high-zoom model, but 2009's Kodak EasyShare Z980, a full-size 24X megazoom, offered a similar vertical shutter button.

Beyond that unique feature, the new Optio VS20 looks like a standard-issue, fully-automated pocket megazoom camera, with a few good-looking extras: a "Handheld Night Snap" mode that uses exposure bracketing and image stacking to capture low-light images without the flash, and a digital level that appears on the camera's 3-inch LCD screen to help shooters avoid tilted shots.

Because it's a CCD-based camera, video capture maxes out at 720p at 30 fps, and the VS20 lacks manual controls for shutter and aperture. The Optio VS20's 20X lens is stabilized by a combination of sensor-shift, ISO optimization, and digital stabilization. Due in February, it's priced at $250.

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