Pentax has launched the 8-megapxiel PENTAX Optio Z10, a compact digital camera equipped with a high-magnification 7x optical zoom lens.

This small, lightweight camera boasts Shake Reduction mode, which reduces the camera shake and blurring and high-speed Face Recognition AF&AE technology to help capture perfect people shots.

The Face Recognition function, which can detect the faces of up to 15 people at once, automatically determines the correct focus and exposure needed to ensure that the subjects face are not under or over exposed.

The Optio Z10 also sports an Auto Picture mode which determines the optimum settings for the shooting conditions and subject type.

In addition, it features a recording mode with Movie Shake Reduction that Pentax claims produces images of a quality to rival camcorders, capturing movies at 30 frames per second at sizes up to 640 x 480 pixels.

No pricing confirmed - read on for the full spec from Pentax:

Main Features:

High magnification 7X optical zoom
The Optio Z10 includes a 7X optical zoom lens that covers focal lengths from 6.3 to 44.1mm (equivalent to 38-266mm for 35mm format) and features a refraction lens system that prevents the lens protruding from the camera when zooming. This optical zoom covers a broad range, from wide-angle to telephoto zoom, and when used together with digital zoom, enables ultra high-magnification photography of up to approximately 35.7X.

High-speed "Face Recognition AF&AE" function
The Optio Z10 is equipped with a "Face Recognition AF&AE" function that automatically adjusts the focus and sets the exposure, delivering effortless, high quality people shots. This function can detect the faces of up to 15 people simultaneously, and the detection time has been reduced to approximately 0.03 seconds at minimum.

Digital SR
The camera boasts Digital SR (Shake Reduction) mode to reduce camera shake and blurring of the subject when photographing still images. The sensitivity is adjusted automatically, delivering an ultra high level of sensitivity of ISO 3200, enabling high quality photography even at the fastest shutter speeds. In addition, an electronic Shake Reduction function corrects blurring in images during image playback.

Auto Picture mode automatically determines the best setting for shooting conditions
The Auto Picture mode automatically determines the optimum setting for the shooting conditions and type of subject, be that landscape, portrait or a night scene.

Easily viewable LCD monitor with a wide viewing angle
The Optio Z10 comes with a high resolution, 2.5-inch LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 pixels that enables images and text to be displayed clearly. The LCD monitor has a wide viewing angle of 170 degrees from all directions, making it easy to confirm images, even when looking at the screen diagonally.

8.0 effective megapixels producing exceptionally fine-detailed photos
The Optio Z10 delivers high resolution photos that look sharp even at large magnifications, thanks to its 8.0 effective megapixels and high performance PENTAX lens, which precisely captures images down to the finest details.

High quality recording with Shake Reduction function
The Optio Z10 can capture movies at 30fps (frames per second) at sizes up to 640 x 480 pixels, with image quality rivaling camcorders. In addition, it boasts a Movie SR (Shake Reduction) function that effectively corrects blurring due to camera shake helping users to effortlessly produce high quality films.

Other features:
(1) Digital wide function which enables the user to merge two portrait style photos to create a virtually panoramic image (approximately 28mm wide angle expression, equivalent to 35mm format)
(2) Mode palette providing quick access to 15 shooting modes and 15 playback modes
(3) Data imprint function for easier image categorising
(4) Approximately 52.1MB of built-in-memory
(5) Compatible with SD memory cards and SDHC memory cards
(6) FotoNation's red-eye compensation function for flash shots
(7) Includes the ACDsee for Pentax 3.0 image viewer/image management software that supports Windows Vista
(8) Support PictBridge, DPOF functions, Eixf Print, and PRINT Image Matching III