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- Zoom: 24x optical
- Resolution: 12Mp
- Sensor size: 1/2.33in
- Sensor type: CCD
- Max. image size: 4000x3000
- File type: JPEG
- Sensitivity: ISO50-6400
- Storage: SD, SDHC
- Focus types: 9-point AF, Spot AF, Auto tracking AF
- Normal focusing: 40cm-infinity
- Close focusing: 1cm-50cm
- Metering types: Multi-segment metering, centre-weighted metering, spot metering
- Exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
- Shutter speed: 4sec-1/4000sec
- Flash: Built-in, wide: 0.2-9.1m (ISO Auto), tele: 1.7-5.1m
- Monitor: 2.7in LCD, 230,000dot, AR (anti-reflective) coating
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Power: Li-Ion battery
- Size: 82.5x110.5x89.5mm
- Weight: 390g (excl. battery and card)
Alternatively, for a larger zoom, you could try the Olympus SP-590 UZ at £277 with a 26x optical zoom, 12Mp CCD, low ISO64 and 1cm macro.
When the camera is switched on it looks like any other bridge camera.
Zoomed out, the lens comes out an uncomfortable amount.
Pentax X70: Features
In those days, Pentax led the way putting a zoom as long as 200mm in a compact camera. Granted, the camera was the size of a brick but they really showed their panache with the Pentax Optio S and it's collapsible lens system.
Today they've given us a camera with a huge 24x optical zoom which is an equivalent of 26-624mm in 35mm terms. This zoom can be extended using a digital zoom to as much as 3900mm although using that zoom can cause problems with image quality and stability.
To combat the problem of camera shake, the X70 is fitted with Pentax' Shake Reduction technology to steady the images and at the wider field of views, this works really well. The idea of a large zoom is to crop in conveniently to far away subjects and a 24x optical zoom simply exacerbates camera shake too much for hand held shooting. This means you need to have a tripod or some kind of support to help steady the camera. A small table top type should suffice if you don't want to carry a larger model with you.
The top plate plays host to the command dial, exposure compensation and necessary power button. The shutter release is found slightly forward with the zoom switch.
A smaller-than-expected 2.7in LCD screen sits below the electronic viewfinder.
The built in flash hunches over the lens and electronic viewfinder with a large command dial to the right. This gives speedy access to the ever popular auto scene mode which will analyse the scene and select the appropriate mode. Program, aperture and shutter-priority are present as is manual.
One other area is the lens cap. It's a simple slot on type that uses suction to attach itself to the camera although a small loop is available for attaching a strap. However if you switch the camera on without removing the cap first, the camera forces it off. A sensor to flag up a warning would be nice in case it ruins the lens motor.
Playback is a little slow with few actions being able to be performed until the picture on the screen has finished rendering. Zooming into the image is one such action and even when it does finally start it's very slow.
Colour rendition is typical for a compact recording in JPEG with primary blue being saturated the most. Other colours could be richer, such as yellow or red, but they don't pose a problem. Earth brown and forest green are rich enough and I like the skin tone tile for pinkness.
There's a little colour in the pastels down the left side of blue, orange and brown but these can easily be bleached out so it's a good performance from the X70 to record them. Mono tones are nicely balanced.
On a bright day it's nice to get out and take pictures and knowing your camera can handle adiverse dynamic range will give peace of mind and also make your work easier. The Pentax X70 has coped with the bright background and dark foreground nicely. It's not the most extreme of opposites but there's detail in the lock where it's darker towards the bottom.
Colour fringing is minimal with only a tiny coloured strip running along the white bar. One problem I encountered time and time again was purple banding from the screen. When the camera was pointing towards an area of brightness such as a window when I was inside, a got purple colour bleeding over from the light source.
I like the portrait image, the skin tone is balanced and not too warm while the detail in the hair is good. Using flash has removed any shadows and added catchlights without bleaching any skin or getting nasty reflections on the glasses.
In the portrait test, skin tone is balanced and not overly warmed.
Using flash removes shadows, evens the skin and adds catchlights.
Helicopter in the distance.
Pentax X70: Noise test
Sensitivity expands from ISO50 to ISO6400 which is slightly wider than other cameras in this class. This will in turn lead to a slightly smoother image at the low setting but ISO50 will only be available when Bright Area Adjust has been unticked in the menu system.
It looks like noise is apparent even at the lowest setting but there's detail in the petals and I don't think it's imposing until ISO400 where it becomes significantly more aggressive. Detail begins to dissipate in the petals and coloured blobs start to appear in the grey tile.
By ISO1600 noise is a reall problem so with two more settings to go the only thing to do is cut the resolution. This is because a certain amount of noise is created by the heat generated from neighbouring pixels as they work. By dropping the resolution, this spaces them out so the surrounding area is cooler. The Pentax X70 drops down to 5Mp as a measure of damage control but it's still significant.
The ISO50 test.
The ISO6400 test.
For the first camera in the superzoom range, Pentax have done quite well. I think they've started as they mean to go on by putting one of the largest zooms available in the camera. A lot of the other features are found on basic compacts and I think are simply there to bulk the camera out and keep it uniform with the rest of the range.
Noise needs to be addressed and I wouldn't mind seeing a little extra oomph in the colours although they're not unappealing.
Pentax X70: Plus points
Good weight distribution
Excellent focusing at extreme distance
Nice portrait results
Fringing is controlled well
Pentax X70: Minus points
Bad noise control
Plastic tripod bush on a camera that will use it a lot
Colours could be punchier
See the video review of the Pentax X70 here:
Pentax X70 video review
The Pentax X70 costs around £370 and is available from Warehouse Express here: