Pentax X-5 review
Review Date : Tue, 15 Jan 2013
Author : Paul Nuttall
The Pentax X-5 features an impressive 26x optical zoom, full manual control, a tiltable LCD screen and design styling akin to the manufacturer’s range of DSLRs. Furthermore, the X-5 is priced so as not to break the bank and thus is an appealing prospect. As to how is fares in our test, you’ll have to read on to find out…
|Pros:||Well designed body; Good handling; Affordable price|
|Cons:||Poor LCD screen performance; Choice of AA batteries won’t please all; Image quality issues; No Raw|
Owing to the combination of a large focal range, compact body, full manual control and invariably a high specification, bridge cameras continue to be popular with consumers. More often than not they are seen as the first step up in to more advanced photography, and in many cases judged as a reasonable alternative to a DSLR for those not wanting to deal with a selection of removable lenses.
On the face of it the Pentax X-5 seems like just such a camera - ticking all of the boxes with regards to imaging specification, whilst bearing more than a few similarities to models in Pentax's DSLR line-up, almost a K-5 lite.
Pentax X-5 review - Features
The chief selling point of the Pentax X-5 is the model's large optical zoom. The Pentax X-5 features a 26x optical zoom that covers a focal range with an impressive wideangle of 22.3mm through to a tele end of 580mm. The zoom benefits from Pentax's dual shake-reduction system - a combination of sensor-shift and digital shake reduction - which will no doubt ease any worries about sharpness at the tele end of the zoom. There's also the added bonus of extra close-up functionality, with the Pentax X-5 capable of capturing images at a focal length of just 1cm.
The model's 26x optical zoom is paired with a 1/2.33in BSI CMOS sensor that features an effective resolution of 16 megapixels. The sensor is supported by Pentax's ‘Super Resolution' technology that is aimed specifically at image processing performance. The sensor also supports full HD video capture at a resolution of 1080p and 30 frames per second although, somewhat unfortunately for a bridge camera, the Pentax X-5 does not offer Raw capture.
On the rear of the Pentax X-5 sits a 3in LCD screen with a resolution of 460k-dots. A major selling point with the LCD screen that it's tiltable and can be pulled away from the body of the camera and rotated around a range of horizontal angles. Unfortunately the hinge of the LCD screen is poorly implemented - while it allows the screen to sit at 90 degrees to the body facing upwards, it only allows a 45 degree angle facing downwards, and overall the Pentax X-5 feels a lot more restrictive than the side-hinge variety found on other models.
Accompanying the vari-angle LCD screen is an electronic viewfinder, something that is always popular with bridge camera owners. The viewfinder features a resolution of 230k-dots and, although it is lacking in eye sensor technology, the Pentax X-5 does offer dioptre adjustment if necessary.
Despite not offering Raw capture, the Pentax X-5 does cater well for the advanced photographer. The model features a program shooting mode as well as full manual control. Other shooting settings available on the mode dial include a full auto setting, a range of scene modes and a handheld night setting that takes a series of images and then blending them together in camera for one well-exposed shot. One final option for those looking for the easier route towards good images is Pentax's proprietary ‘Green' shooting mode, which takes care of every camera setting in a single press.
One final point of note regards the Pentax X-5's specification is the way in which the camera is powered. The model necessitates four AA batteries, rather then the standard Li-ion rechargeable unit that's now common in digital cameras. This can be something of a mixed blessing - while it does mean that replacement batteries are readily available should the ones you're using run out in the field, although if the performance isn't up to scratch then this can involve lots of costly trips to the shops if you're not using rechargeable AAs.