Pentax Optio NB1000

Old & busted: new kids on the block. New hotness: new blocks on the cam! Nanoblocks, to be exact: Lego lookalikes that allow users to customize the faces of their Pentax digital cameras with 3D artwork. This isn't the first time Pentax has gone for the faux-toy look; check out their rainbow-hued K-x DSLR series camera that pays homage to the Kore Ja Nai robot. The Pentax Optio NB1000 is a variation on the well-known camera company's new RS1000 digital camera scheduled for retail release this coming October. While the RS1000 sports a range of interchangeable patterned faces, only the NB1000 features a flat plate suitable for attaching nanoblock bricks.

The camera itself may look like a toy but it boasts some very respectable specs, such as a 14 megapixel image sensor, "Smile catch" smile-detection software and digital filters that allow for 9 different image treatments including "Toy Camera", "Retro", and "Sepia". Other features include video recording with "Movie SR" electronic image stabilization, approximately 18.3MB of internal memory that is sufficient to shoot and store about 210 photos. Power is provided by a model D-LI108 Lithium-ion battery. Pricing is expected to be in the 20,000 yen ($235) range.

A word on Nanoblocks - as mentioned, they're not compatible with Lego bricks, and their use here is the result of a partnership agreement between Pentax and Kawada Co. of Japan. The blocks themselves were first marketed in the 1970s and have been known as Brix Blox, Loc Blox, Diabloks, and Disney Build-It blocks. You might have a few in your old toy box - hopefully you didn't lump 'em in with your Lego bricks. (via TokyoMango and Impress Watch) Pentax have today revealed their Optio NB1000 camera, which packs in a Lego-style customisable faceplate.

A tie-in with toy makers Diablock, you can attach small little building blocks called Nanoblocks onto the camera's front side to give it your own unique touch. Sadly, it's looking like a Japanese exclusive at the moment, so you might have to buy some Lego blocks and a glue-stick if you're hoping to get similarly creative with your own compact in the UK.

Don't worry though if you're just interested in the camera for its specs, as it seems more or less the same as the UK-bound RS1000 model. Both the RS1000 and NB1000 have 14-megapixel sensors, a 4x optical zoom and HD video recording capabilities. It's even got its own gimmick, with a transparent, removable front plate behind which you can slide your own custom skins. The RS1000 will set UK readers back £119.99, whilst the NB1000 will cost 20,000 Yen. Roll down for some more pictures.