By Ian Burley
17th October - 2001
Update 22nd October - Pentax digital SLR update - click here.
This weekís Amateur Photographer magazine reports that there is doubt over the relationship between HP and Pentax that spawned the Pentax EI-200 and EI-2000 digicam models and HPís equivalent C618 and C912 models last year.
The two basic models, both assembled in the Philippines, combined Pentax optics and camera body design and HP electronics. The EI-2000/C912, especially, was interesting because it delivered an Ďopticalí viewfinder SLR design at an affordable price. The HP version of the EI-2000, the C912, currently sells for £399 + VAT, by far the cheapest digital SLR on the market.
AP reports that plans to launch a 3 megapixel version of the 2 megapixel EI-2000, called the EI-3000, have been abandoned. Pentax spokesman, John Dickins suggested this was so efforts could be concentrated on marketing the new Pentax mini-digicam, the Optio 330. We received much the same sort of message when asking Pentax staff at the recent Westminster Digital Photography Show. There is no sign that HP will go ahead with a 3MP version of the C912 either.
We at DPN think itís a great shame that the EI-3000 appears to be stillborn. The EI-2000 didnít receive particularly good reviews, but the camera was basically a good design for the price, but needed some sorting. It was easy to use and had plenty of user control over exposure and creativity, plus that key attribute, an optical TTL (through the lens) viewfinder.
The main complaint was disappointing image quality, largely because of the cameraís slow operation and noisy low resolution CCD sensor. The EI-3000 could have corrected that problem and offered a really affordable digital SLR to the masses.
The last time we asked HP about its relationship with Pentax, during the launch of HPís autumn digicam line up (click here) we were told the the tie up was continuing behind the scenes, though none of HPís new cameras involved any Pentax input.
Meanwhile, in the same story, AP reports that long-awaited flagship 6 megapixel Pentax digital SLR, which bears very little in common with the EI-2000, could make it to the shops by Christmas... now, thatís something Iíll believe when I see it!
UPDATE: 22nd October - Pentax confirms 6MP SLR has been canceled after all - click here.
Amateur Photographer magazine