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Customer Review

198 of 202 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice handling camera, but with strong reservations, February 13, 2013
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This review is from: Pentax X-5 Digital Camera with 26x Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black) (Electronics)
Having been a professional photographer with experience in Pentax quality, the X-5 is a mixed blessing to me. I like very much the design and layout of controls, the dual viewing screens (eye and tiltable 3 inch) and the overall feel in your hands. It gives you the DSLR feel, although on a smaller scale. The software is very logical and easy to figure out, plus the large instruction manual explains things nicely. The digital anti-shake performs flawlessly and is really quite breathtaking in what it can do ( i.e.- zoomed out to about 1000mm and still being able to read a sign that was a hand-held photograph) Having praised its attributes, I have some big disappointments with the pictures it takes. In bright sunlight, the picture is certainly acceptable, but the edges are definitely soft to the extreme. This is due, no doubt, to the camera software only providing 2 f-stops for pictures: wide open and about f-8. (price you pay for the convenience of a lo-o-o-ng zoom). Is it worth keeping?? I guess so, the price was good for the features it offers, but I really expected more from Pentax on this one.

March 12th update to 1st review: I've spent a couple of weeks with the camera now and have come to like it. Lens performance is still soft on the edges to the point it sometimes gets annoying, but that lo-o-o-ng zoom can really amaze you. I zoomed in on a steeple with a clock (about 900mm) and could read all the numbers, where in the wide angle shot (22.5mm), you could not even see the steeple. Plus, I photographed the full moon full frame and could see the craters. The anti-shake software again performed flawlessly as I could hardly keep my hands steady enough to keep the moon in frame. I know being on a tripod is the proper way to shoot the moon, but I was testing the camera this way on purpose to see how it would capture a hand held photograph, using the anti-shake. Pentax aced it on that software. I'm glad I kept the Pentax.
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 15, 2013 8:13:58 PM PST
Adrian says:
Hi Mr Towns,

After I read your review, I wonder if you considered returning your copy and swapping for a new one. I didn't have any of the bugs yours did. Certainly nothing froze.

It might also account for the issue with colour sauration as well, perhaps?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013 11:17:34 AM PST
Thanks for your thoughts, Adrian. No, it didn't occur to me to swap it out for another one. I just kinda starting looking at what else was available that would offer dual eye viewing and long zooms (not much out there, plus everything's higher priced). Thanks for the idea, it's appreciated very much.

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 6:58:20 AM PDT
Muridian says:
Plus keep in mind that you were a pro so your opinion would be tainted in that regard

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2013 2:26:44 PM PDT
Yep, you're probably right. Having said that, and being that I've had the Pentax X-5 for 6 months now, I can truthfully say I like the camera. The edge definition is still soft, the write speed to the SD card is a lot slower than my Nikon DSLR (but you can live with it), but it has never locked up on me since that 1st incidence when I first got the camera, so it was probably me pushing the wrong button. So, let me say again to anyone thinking about buying the X-5 camera, I like it!!! If I really want pro quality, I will always grab my Nikon, but if I want fun pictures or a nice vacation camera, the Pentax will be the one I use.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2013 4:03:19 PM PDT
What is the macro like? I need a camera that will take good close-up pictures of my jewelry.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2013 7:12:16 PM PDT
Tonja, the macro is awesome, and I'm not just tossing words around to sound pretentious. When you are in normal picture taking mode, the camera will focus very close, maybe down to 7 or 8 inches. BUT, when you push the macro button on the back of the camera, the camera will actually focus down to 1 inch away from your subject, and I mean that quite literally. You can verify this on the Pentax website, which is a good place to go to, since they tell you a lot of information about the camera. You can easily take fantastic close-ups of a bug's eyeballs, if you so desire. In your case, it would be a good camera to photograph jewelry. You would have to make sure you have good light for your subject, because you would be much to close for the flash. Not only would it overexpose the picture from being too close, you also wouldn't be able to light your subject properly because of the flash is a lot higher than the lens and you would have terrible shadows. As I've said in previous posts, the edge sharpness is on the soft side, but in all other features, for me, Pentax has Canon, Nikon, Samsung beat for what it can do. You have the dual viewing screens (eye-level and 3 inch back screen) the screen tilts which would be good for you photographing jewelry, 1 inch macro, and fantastic anti-shake technology (actually 3 different systems all combining to produce sharp, shake free pictures. I've held all of the other brands in my hands at the stores and the Pentax has the nicest control feel in your hands, everything where it should be and naturally easy to reach. It really feels like a smaller professional digital SLR, with all the right ergonomics. And don't forget, it also takes HD movies, too. Hope this dialog helps you.

Posted on Nov 24, 2013 7:22:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2013 7:23:24 AM PST
C Mac says:
I don't know if you'll see this question, but can you give me any advice for shooting the moon with this camera? I just can't get it to take a usable shot. They are mostly just completely black frames, almost as if it hasn't taken a picture at all (it has though). I had it on ISO 100, shutter speed 1/1500 and 1/1000 and f5.9. (This was in daylight btw, very early morning white moon). Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2013 11:10:59 AM PST
To answer your question, I set the camera on the "P" setting, which is program mode, get off that "green mode" setting. Also, go into the camera menu and make sure the light meter is monitoring "only" the center part of the frame, not mutiple points of the frame, which it is able to do. This is because you only want to exposure for the very center of the frame and not the whole picture. After all, the moon is actually reflected sunlight and if you let the camera monitor the whole frame,it will overexpose the picture because it is trying to adjust the picture for all the black sky that it sees in the frame.
When I took the moon pictures, I really was testing the anti-shake function to see how well it worked. When I was able to keep the moon in frame, it worked amazing well and the picture came out great. But that was half the battle, when zoomed out that far, it is difficult to keep the moon steady in the frame, just like it is when you hold really strong binoculars, your hands just shake the image. So the best way to get a really good picture of the moon is to "turn off" the anti-shake in the menu and put the camera on a tripod or brace it some other way, such as on the roof of a car, and compose your picture. This will produce the absolute best picture of the moon. Good luck!!

Posted on Nov 28, 2013 7:39:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2013 8:08:49 PM PST
I have the predecessor, Pentax X90 and I love it, I have been quite pleased with the color and sharpness of the pictures, and the many options provided in the camera. Perhaps one might criticize the camera for its somewhat slow autofocus when shooting action scenes. But the price of the camera, its light weight, its many features such as two macro settings and smiling face detection (and other features you won't find on more expensive cameras), and its solid feel and control layout, make it a great buy for the new digital photographer, or the experienced photographer who wants a reliable backup camera without spending fortune doing so. Another nice feature that came with the camera is an extensive and well-written manual that was easy to read, and explained just about all the camera's feature.The manual was a big help!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2013 6:12:08 PM PST
I agree with you completely. The camera does a lot of things well, and it handles nicely like you said in your post, like a smaller version of a digital SLR camera. I like the dual viewfinders, and also being able to choose how it focuses the image, whether using center focusing or specific locations on the viewscreen, or the entire grid, which is about 14 continuous focus points, if I remember correctly. It's a fun camera to use. While I've said before that the edge sharpness of the lens is on the soft side, I've found that it improves somewhat at different focal lengths, in other words, at the really wide angle setting, the image sharpness is soft, but improves as you zoom out to the telephoto settings. Regardless, even at wide angle, the picture is certainly acceptable and usable, and I've come to the decision that it's not a problem at all. That was just me nit-picking on the camera, coming from a professional background with cameras that cost 4 times as much as this Pentax.
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