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Customer Review

251 of 254 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty nice bridge camera for the price, September 23, 2012
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This review is from: Pentax X-5 Digital Camera with 26x Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black) (Electronics)
I was reluctant at first to purchase this camera thanks to its small sensor (typically smaller sensors show more noise in the images), but, since it is a backlit sensor, similar to the Pentax Q (which I thoroughly enjoy), I decided to try it. The cost helped, too, of course. So far, I have shot nearly 300 images since getting the camera, and, so far at least, I am very impressed with the images I have obtained.

The camera build quality is okay but is nowhere near the level of the Q. Buttons don't have much in the way of tactile feedback and actually seem somewhat mushy on my copy. The camera itself is fairly lightweight considering the amount of glass in that zoom lens, but it is bulky, making it seem (to me) to be bigger than it really is. I suspect those people with small hands might have difficulty with the grip -- it's very deep, but fits my hand pretty well. The battery door, the bane of many modern cameras, seems awfully flimsy (IMO), but perhaps it is better built than it seems -- I've certainly had no problem with it so far even though it is very tight-fitting with batteries installed. The LCD tilts nicely and solidly holds its place, no matter where it is positioned. When I turn up the brightness, the LCD is clearly visible in the direct Texas sunlight I have to cope with. The EVF, while being somewhat low resolution, is actually far better than I had expected, being clear enough for composition and manual focusing. The EVF diopter adjustment can accommodate my terribly myopic eyes. I can even see the entire view with my glasses on!

On my copy of the camera, the exposure is a bit off. I've had to dial in a -0.7 to -1.0 EV to get a better shot. Switching to Spot metering helps a little, but the exposure is still too bright in most situations I have encountered so far. The camera resets the EV setting to 0.0 upon restart, a bit annoying to me, but not a big deal and it may be irrelevant to the average user.

Images are surprisingly clean to my eyes, but when pixel peeping I can see that noise has been handled a little too aggressively by the camera. I suspect it would only be noticeable in huge prints, though, which I don't make very often. Unfortunately, though, the camera provides no RAW saving capability, but the JPG engine is quite good enough for me. I have not bothered trying any ISOs beyond 400; 400 is the max I ever use for my style of photography, even when shooting film.

The lens covers a huge range (one of the selling points of the camera, right?) and the optical quality is pretty good. However, some chromatic aberration creeps in when shooting high contrast scenes (birds against a clear sky, for example), especially at the longer focal lengths. Again, it's really only noticeable to me when pixel peeping. Zooming is virtually silent and reasonably fast. For that matter, once you turn off the annoying shutter noises, the camera is incredibly quiet. Be warned about startup/shutdown and processing times, though. The camera is rather slow to start: positioning the lens takes a second or so and increases slightly if you have the zoom "memory" set -- this is where the camera returns the camera to zoom position it was last at when powered down. Powering down also takes a second or so as the lens has to follow an interesting "dance" to retract into the camera. Finally, even when pre-focused, I have noticed a modest delay in capturing/saving photos. The camera isn't really one for you action photogs, sorry to say. The macro is phenomenal! While many cameras reserve macro for the widest location in the zoom range, the X-5 uses the middle end of the zoom, giving the photographer better composition options, IMO. There is also a 1 cm macro setting that really lets you close in on your subject.

Manual control is implemented better in this camera than in some others I have used. Tapping the EV button on top will switch the control wheel between shutter speed and aperture. This arrangement works quite well for me but YMMV.

What has really surprised me is the battery life. As I wrote above, I have shot nearly 300 photos so far and the battery indicator hasn't changed since I first put in the batteries (Sanyo Eneloops).

All in all, if you are interested in a bridge camera with a long zoom range, you really can't beat the Pentax X-5. While the size might put off some, remember you are getting a zoom lens that goes from 22.3mm to 580mm (in 35mm equivalent focal lengths). It is far from perfect, but, given the cost, it is well worth the money.

I know this is a rather long-winded review, but I hope someone will find it useful.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2012 2:03:40 AM PDT
Sue Ellen says:
No, this is not a 'long-winded' review - it's one of the best I've seen. Well done and thank you.
I have a Pentax X-70 which I have found better than the later X-90. Any idea how the X-5 compares in IQ to either of these?
Anyone help - the X-5 looks very cheap compared eg to Panny's FZ150 or FZ200?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2012 6:30:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2012 6:33:00 AM PDT
T. Johnston says:
Thank you for the kind words about my review.

I remember looking at both the X-70 and X-90 when they were released, but I never got either one. I suspect the X-5 might be somewhat better in IQ than either simply because of the backlit sensor, esp. at lower ISO settings. However, the build quality may not be on par with the previous models. To reach this low price point I suspect Pentax had to do some cuts here and there, but that's just an opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2012 6:49:34 AM PDT
Sue Ellen says:
I suspect so too, particularly as Pentax seem to take their time in producing their bridge cameras - X90 was released in 2009, as I recall. Panasonic, Fuji etc. seem to have a new model every 6 months or so.

Posted on Oct 2, 2012 10:15:31 PM PDT
QQQQ says:
I concur, your review was of immense help in making a decision to finally get off the fence with the X-5, not long winded at all. Thanks for taking the time to address so many aspects of this camera. I have a Canon XS20 IS and though it has served me well, it has been time to step up for a while now. The price of the SX20's newer generations put me off, though the features are excellent. I don't want to take my Pentax K-5 into some situations, the X-5 will now fill in where the SX20 used to. Again, thanks for your thorough review, it is obvious you have fired a shutter a few times, even down to your choice of batteries as being an indicator. I have ordered my new X-5!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2012 11:09:27 PM PDT
Sue Ellen says:
I too took the plunge - and my X-5 arrives today, hopefully. Will report back later.

Posted on Oct 12, 2012 5:47:39 AM PDT
A great review for this camera, I am thinking of purchasing it. Do you know if the camera will zoom when recording in hd video mode? Can't seem to find any information on this. Many thanks

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 1:46:45 AM PDT
rp2012 says:
Hi. I just got the fuji hs30exr a week ago. It's a nice camera but I have some reservations as to the way it focuses and the fact that I also get a blurry picture now and then. One thing I love about it though is that it takes very colorful pics in exr mode and that it can capture panormic images. I've been thinking of returning it and having the x-5 replace it. Does the X-5 have panoramic features and can it choose between 120,180 and 36o degrees? How about the image quality and color, would you have an idea if it can compare side by side with the hs30exr. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2012 6:24:24 PM PDT
Rob says:
I've had the X-5 now for a few weeks.
Yes, it has panoramic options but it merges two or three shots only.
The auto pictures are sometimes not as good as custom settings indoors but that's easy to fix. I created my preferred settings with the P setting then compare the two shots. I like to add saturation and contrast, it seems to provide more vivid shots that pop. A nice feature is the HDR filter, it creates post-card type images that worked really well for fall foliage shots.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 5:04:06 PM PST
F-Stop says:
I asked customer support this, and they said "Yes." Haven't bought yet, but Xmas is coming!

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 9:21:54 PM PST
If it has memory in the menu stuff. You should be able to tell it to remember EV.
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