Pentax has introduced a new camera to its Optio series of compacts, the RZ18, which features an 18x optical zoom in a compact body.

The new camera includes dual shake reduction to help reduce blur caused by camera shake and advanced Auto Picture mode which automatically detects the most appropriate shooting mode.

Featuring a wide angle Pentax 18x optical zoom lens, the camera also features a 16 megapixel sensor and a 3.0 inch 460k dot LCD screen.

The lens, which covers 25-450mm in 35mm terms, is also capable of macro shooting from as close as four centimetres and has a digital wide function for shooting ultra-wide-angle images, while the Digital Panorama mode can be used to combine three images to create a panorama.

The RZ18 uses a combination of CCD-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) and Pixel Track SR to reduce blur, especially when shooting in low light situations.

Auto shooting

16 automatic shooting modes are included on the camera, which can be automatically detected when using Auto Picture mode. Modes include Blue Sky, Sunset and Pet, with the camera using the surrounding light and other conditions to assess the best shooting mode.

HD video recording is available at 720p, with the movie mode also equipped with shake reduction mode to compensate for camera shake.

Face Detection can be found on the RZ18, which is able to instantly detect as many as 32 faces within the image, optimising exposure for each. Smile Detection and Blink Detection are also available.

Digital filters such as Miniature and Toy Camera can be used to create visual effects, while photographers have a choice of three images sizes - 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1. Burst shooting is capable of up to 40 images at a maximum of 9 images per second.

The Pentax Optio RZ18 UK price is £199.99 RRP with a release date of mid October 2011.