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Pentax X-5 Review

Daniel Bell review the Pentax X-5, a bridge camera with 26x optical zoom and available for less than 200.

|  Pentax X-5 in Compact Cameras
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Pentax K 5 5

The Pentax X-5 was released in August 2012 and is the latest bridge camera from Pentax, featuring a tilt-able screen, 26x optical zoom and 16 megapixel sensor. It is available for around £190.00 in either black or silver.

Pentax K 5 9

Pentax X-5 Features

The X-5 has a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 26x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 22.3-580mm, ideal for shooting wide landscapes and objects in the distance. It has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, making it possible to shoot extremely close to your subject. To help shots be as sharp as possible there is a dual shake-reduction systems which uses a sensor-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism and a digital SR mode.

There is a 3 inch LCD monitor, with a 460,000 dot resolution which can be tilted up and down to create an easier angle for viewing. You can also compose your shots using the electronic viewfinder which has diopter adjustment.

The X-5 has 10 modes which include Auto Picture, Scene, Program, Manual, Landscape and Handheld Night Snap. You can record at up to 10 fps for a maximum of 30 shots. When you've finished shooting you can apply one of 12 digital filters as well as creative improving tools such as Stretch filter, Small Face filter and Collage function.

Movies are recorded in full 1080p HD resolution at 30 fps. There are other video feature such as High-speed Movie mode for slow-motion playback and Time-lapse Movie mode for fast-forward playback (both restricted to 640 x 480 pixels). There is a micro-HDMI terminal for connection to a HDTV.

Pentax K 5 13

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 26x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 22.3-580mm)
  • Dual shake-reduction system
  • 3.0 inch 460,000 dots tilt-able LCD monitor
  • Electronic viewfinder with diopter adjustment
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • High-speed burst shooting of up to 10 fps
  • Available in silver and black
Pentax K 5 12

Pentax X-5 Handling

The X-5 has been designed to look very much like a DSLR, it has a good rubberised hand grip and the lens barrel is also rubberised, making the camera easy to grip. There is also an electronic viewfinder (EVF) and mode dial, as well as plenty of buttons to access camera settings. Alongside the mode dial on top of the camera is exposure compensation and power buttons as well as the zoom rocker and shutter release. The flash is activated by a button on the side.

On the rear are buttons for display, EVF, movie recording, playback, drive mode / continuous shooting, macro, flash, mode, menu. There is also a green button which has two functions - green mode which automatically sets the camera settings for you, or you can use it as a function button to give options to certain settings such as ISO and white balance. If you're a more advanced user, it's likely you'll prefer the option to use it as a function button.

The EVF is a little on the bright side, after a period of sustained use it feels like you've been looking into bright lights and is therefore a little blinding. Other than that is has a decent resolution, although it's quite small. The screen is a good size and resolutions and it's handy that it rotates, making it easy to shoot with the camera held in the air or low down. The menu system is easy to navigate.

The camera requires 4 AA batteries, with alkaline battery life is rated at 330 shots according CIPA test results, we were unable to reach this amount with two sets of batteries though. If you want to be able to take more picture with each charge, rechargeable Ni-MH batteries have a CIPA rating of 500 shots and lithium AA batteries rated at 950 shots.

We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response
  0.175 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
  1.8 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.6 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   3.0 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   4.0 secs
Continuous Shooting   0.9 fps
Burst Shooting (L)
  5.0 fps
Burst Shooting (H)   13.8 fps

For both the burst shooting modes, file size is limited to 5 or 4 megapixels.

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Pentax X-5 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Pentax X-5 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones and are free of red-eye, allow even when using the flash the camera tended to choose a higher ISO which reduced their quality when viewing large. Landscapes have good blues and green and thanks to manual mode, it's possible to set the camera to a high enough shutter speed to capture fast moving objects.

Pentax X-5 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is OK at both ends of the lens, but there is quite commonly purple fringing in contrasting areas of the image. With a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, you can take some good macro shots with a good amount of detail.

Pentax X-5 ISO 100   Pentax X-5 ISO 200   Pentax X-5 ISO 400
ISO 100 | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 12.8 mm High-Res   ISO 200 | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 12.8 mm High-Res   ISO 400 | 1/45 sec | f/4.2 | 12.8 mm High-Res
Pentax X-5 ISO 800   Pentax X-5 ISO 1600    
ISO 800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.2 | 12.8 mm High-Res   ISO 1600 | 1/200 sec | f/4.2 | 12.8 mm High-Res    

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100, with only a little appearing at ISO 200. ISO 400 sees a little softening appearing and becoming even softer at ISO 800. The highest ISO setting is ISO 1600, although the noise creates very soft looking images, colour is still good enough for decent enough pictures.

Pentax X-5 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, there is an orange cast when using the AWB setting, the incandescent preset takes a much better picture. Under the fluorescent lighting there isn't much difference, with the AWB setting and fluorescent presets both taking good shots.

Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/3.1 | 4.0 mm | ISO 100
Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/3.1 | 4.0 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode When viewing full size, detail isn't fantastic but they are well stitched together and look great when sharing on the web.

Pentax X-5 Digital filters

Digital Filters - When you enter playback on the X-5, there are a number of editing options such as rotating, stretch filter, small face filter, digital filters and HDR. There are examples of some of these above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD, quality is good but you can't use the optical zoom during recording. Over on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Channel there are example videos using the Time-Lapse video mode and High-Speed video mode.

Value For Money

The Pentax X-5 is available for around £190.00, it's one of the lower priced super-zoom cameras around, but there are options for all budgets.

Olympus SZ-31MR Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Fujifilm X-S1
£195.00 £209.00 £259.95 £439.00 £445.00

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Pentax X-5 Verdict

Pentax have created a decent bridge camera which will appeal to those who want a DSLR style camera but don't want the bulk or perhaps don't have the budget required. There aren't many cameras available with this amount of optical zoom for less than £200, so you'd expect there to be a sacrifice made somewhere. There is with image quality, but it's not much of one. Detail isn't all that you'd hope for from a 16 megapixel camera, particularly if you have to shoot at ISO 800 and 1600, but colour reproduction is good, so if you are more likely to take pictures to share on the web or print in smaller sizes, the X-5 isn't going to let you down.

  The Pentax X-5 is feature packed and great value for money.

Pentax X-5 Pros

Feature packed
Great value for money
Takes good pictures
Tilting screen
Manual controls
Body has ample rubber grip

Pentax X-5 Cons

10 fps high-speed shooting only capable at a lower resolution
No aperture or shutter priority modes
Alkaline battery life wasn't as long as hoped


Pentax X-5 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.1 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent22.3mm - 580mm
Optical Zoom26x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460000
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Infinity
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Manual
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type4 AA batteries (Alkaline, Lithium, Nickel and Rechargeable Ni-MH)
Battery Life (CIPA rating)330shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsPENTAX USB Cable I– USB7, AA Alkaline battery for X-5, Lens cap O-LC129 & Strap O-ST92

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Photographs taken using the Pentax X-5

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