Pentax lets you design your own camera (to an extent)

The US$150 Pentax Optio RS1000 will offer swappable faceplates that you can design yourself

The onslaught of brand-new cameras for fall continues: Pentax is adding two offerings to its Optio line of point-and-shoots, one of which includes a clever twist to make a low-end pocket camera more enticing.

The sub-$200 Optio RS1000 includes swappable faceplates and the chance to design your own camera skins via a partnership with SkinIt. Pentax also announced the 10X-optical-zoom Optio RZ10, which is the company's first pocket megazoom camera.

Pentax Optio RS1000: Swappable, Customizable Faceplates

Pentax is dressing up its lower-end camera offerings with the 14-megapixel Optio RS1000, which comes with 11 mountable acrylic faceplate designs in the box.

You're also able to design your own camera faceplates--and the first one is free, thanks to an included SkinIt gift card. The Pentax Personal Skin Designer app, which is built for designing skins to be used with the RS1000, will be available for download on the Pentax site as soon as the RS1000 is for sale.

Those swappable skins will cover a fairly bare-bones camera by today's standards, but it still has decent specs for a sub-$200 model, including a 4X-optical-zoom lens (27.5mm to 110mm), digital image stabilization, 720p high-definition video recording, motion-tracking autofocus, an 8-frames-per-second burst mode at a reduced 640-by-480 resolution, and a 3-inch LCD.

Due in October, the customizable Optio RS1000 will sell for $150.

Pentax Optio RZ10: Budget- and Beginner-Friendly Pocket Zoom

The 10X-optical-zoom, 14-megapixel Optio RZ10 offers decent power for its $200-range price. The RZ10's zoom lens ranges from 28mm on its wide-angle end to 280mm telephoto, and it offers dual CCD-shift/digital image stabilization.

The camera controls look to be fully automated, with 16 scene selections in addition to an Auto mode that selects from among the scene presets based on the shooting environment. In addition to the more-common face detection for human subjects, the RZ10 has a Pet scene mode, which automatically detects faces of dogs and cats in the frame and adjusts in-camera settings accordingly.

Also in its assortment of features are a 9-frames-per-second burst mode, variable aspect-ratio controls, and 720p high-definition video recording. The RZ10's body looks quite a bit different from those of most pocket megazooms we've seen, too, thanks to a rubberized grip and a curvy-edged, modern-looking design.

Due in October, the Optio RZ10 will be available in black, white, green, or purple for $220.

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Tim Moynihan

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