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 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.
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
1cm minimum focusing distance
High-speed burst shooting of up to 10 fps
Available in silver and black
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
Shot to Shot with Flash
Burst Shooting (L)
Burst Shooting (H)
For both the burst shooting modes, file size is limited to 5 or 4 megapixels.
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.
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 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.
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
Great value for money
Takes good pictures
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