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Pentax XG-1 Bridge Camera Review

Reviewed The Pentax X-G1 - an ultra zoom bridge camera with a 52x optical zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor, 3inch screen and an electronic viewfinder.

|  Pentax XG-1 in Compact Cameras
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Pentax X G1 Front

The Pentax X-G1 is an ultra zoom bridge camera with a 52x optical zoom lens, a 16 megapixel sensor, a 3inch screen and an electronic viewfinder. The 52x optical zoom lens gives the equivalent of 24mm - 1248mm in 35mm terms.

Pentax XG-1 Features

Pentax XG 1 (3)

The Pentax XG-1 has a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor and f/2.8-5.6 52x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-1248mm, with sensor shift shake reduction to reduce the effects of camera shake. The lens also has a minimum focus of 1cm when shooting wide which is great for macro shots.

There is an auto mode which adjusts the camera settings automatically, as well as PSAM modes for more control. You'll also find a number of scene modes. There are also a number of digital filters (including vivid, sepia, partial colour and more) as well as the option to record HDR images where the camera combines a number of shots. Videos are recorded in Full HD, 1080p with stereo sound and optical zoom available.

On the back is a 3inch screen with 460k dots, and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 200k dots. Next to the EVF is a button to switch between the screen and EVF. 

Pentax XG 1 (4)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 52x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1248mm)
  • Optical image stabilisation (Sensor-shift)
  • 3.0 inch 460k dot LCD screen
  • 200K dot electronic viewfinder (EVF)
  • Full manual controls
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Numerous filter effects

Pentax XG-1 Handling

Pentax XG 1 (7)

The Pentax X-G1 has a similar look to a small DSLR, although it wouldn't really be small enough to carry in your pocket. The grip is rubberised to help you to hold the camera, with a rubberised patch on the rear for your right thumb, as well as rubber around the lens barrel and on the left hand side of the camera.

There is a mode dial on the top, this gives access to PSAM and auto modes, as well as face beautifier modes. The top has the zoom rocker and shutter release and also has buttons for continuous shooting on / off, and exposure compensation which gives access to ISO, aperture and shutter speed, depending on what mode you're using. The flash also has a button to pop it up.

On the rear the i button gives access to the filters, there are also menu, playback, video record and display buttons. Lastly, there is a d-pad with a set button in the middle. The directional buttons can be used to access focus, macro, flash and self-timer.

Pentax XG 1 (5)

The menu system is fairly easy to navigate, but one or two things are a little different to most cameras and the XG-1 doesn't feature the usual Pentax menus. To access shutter speed and aperture settings you use the exposure compensation button, as well as using the set button to change the white balance. The 3.0 inch screen has a decent 460k dot resolution and is easy to see in bright light. The electronic viewfinder is small and not ideal if you wear glasses as there is no dioptre correction. 

Pentax XG 1 (8)

Battery life is rated at just 240 shots according to CIPA test results, and the camera uses the same battery used as that found in the Kodak PIXPRO AZ521. 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 0.1secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 3.0secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.7secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.5secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
10fps (8 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

Continuous shooting shoots at 10fps for 8 shots, which is good. 

Pentax XG-1 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Pentax XG-1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour is good and portrait photos taken with flash show no red-eye. Exposure is reliable with the camera delivering decent images.

Pentax XG-1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Image quality is generally good with decent levels of detail, although the more you use the optical zoom, the more difficult it will be to get a sharp, detailed, contrasty shot, due to both air quality and the need to keep the camera steady. The is some purple fringing and lens flare when shooting with bright light in the frame, or areas with high levels of contrast. Macro performance is very good with the camera able to focus on subjects just 1cm away from the front of the lens.

Pentax XG-1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO200 to ISO800 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO1600 and ISO3200 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web.

Pentax XG-1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well  with a warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving an accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a good result as well.

Pentax XG-1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of digital filters and effects available, although there is no automatic panoramic mode built in.

Video - The camera offers full HD video recording, and optical zoom is available while recording, however image stabilisation doesn't appear to be very effective being electronic image stabilisation rather than sensor shift, and this will limit the usefulness of having such a long telephoto zoom when using the camera hand-held. 

Value For Money

The Pentax XG-1 is available for around £249 which makes it reasonable value for money, with a number of alternatives available:

50x optical zoom:
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 - Tilting screen, £185
Canon Powershot SX50 - Vari-angle screen, £315
Olympus SP100EE - with dot-sight, £299

60x optical zoom:
Nikon Coolpix P600 - Wi-Fi, £299
Panasonic Lumix FZ72 - 60x, £285

Other ultra zoom bridge cameras can be found in the Top 10 Best Ultra Zoom Bridge Cameras Guide. 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 XG-1 Verdict

The Pentax X-G1 offers a 52x optical zoom lens, and has a good number of rubber surfaces to aid grip. An electronic viewfinder can also help keep the camera steady when taking shots with lots of optical zoom. Built in is sensor-shift image stabilisation, although unfortunately this isn't active when recording videos. Images from the camera have bright saturated colours which will be pleasing to most people, and the camera is priced competitively, although it would be nice if the battery life was better. 

Pentax XG-1 Pros

10fps continuous shooting
52x optical zoom lens, f/2.8 at wide-angle
Manual controls
HDR mode
Colourful images
Good rubber grips

Pentax XG-1 Cons

Lacks panoramic mode
Image stabilisation not effective in video mode
Short battery life


The Pentax X-G1 offers a 52x optical zoom lens, an electronic viewfinder, and good rubber grip, with bright colourful images.

Pentax XG-1 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent24mm - 1248mm
Optical Zoom52x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.33
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting9fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Wi-FiNo Data
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable lithium-ion battery LB-060
Battery Life (CIPA rating)240shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsPower adapter GAC-03, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery LB-060, USB cable, Strap, Lens cap, Operating manual (CD-ROM)

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Photographs taken using the Pentax XG-1

My Town Sunset.Mixed bunch

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pablophotographer 10 1.9k 411
11 Sep 2014 2:23AM

NO 1:1 aspect ratio?

Come on Pentax, you can do better!
pablophotographer 10 1.9k 411
11 Sep 2014 2:27AM
Good points: Black colour for stealthy operation (no green lights when shooting stills or red lights when shooting video) and numbering of the focal length on the lens barrel Smile Well done Pentax!
dannyr Plus
12 46 United Kingdom
11 Sep 2014 9:02AM
Not sold on this one, the battery life is to short and why change the wonderful Pentax menu?
dannyr Plus
12 46 United Kingdom
11 Sep 2014 9:09AM
ďand the camera uses the same battery used as that found in the Kodak PIXPRO AZ521Ē

Iíll think youíll find it uses more than that!

I never realised how similar they are! So does Ricoh make Kodak cameras or does JK imaging make the Pentax ones?
themak 8 1.0k Scotland
11 Sep 2014 11:33AM
IQ looks pretty good and price is reasonable. These things should have swivelling screens, though - and lack of dioptre adjustment?

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