Pentax X-5 ultrazoom takes “SLR-like” to a new level


posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 9:16 PM EST

Ever heard that old maxim "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well, the design team at Pentax certainly have. The Japanese camera brand--now part of Ricoh Co. Ltd.--has announced its new Pentax X-5 ultrazoom digital camera, and the styling couldn't be much closer to that of the popular Pentax K-5 and K-7 digital SLRs. It's almost as if the company took the existing design, ran it through a shrink ray, and then made a few tweaks to accommodate the smaller size and the feature-set of an affordable, fixed-lens camera. Ignoring the fixed lens, the X-5 is significantly smaller than the K-7, but otherwise the resemblance is striking. Everything from the small recess that gives your fingers purchase on the body's left side, to the small protrusions around the AF assist lamp and on the left of the lens bezel--it all makes it into the X-5's styling.

It's an interesting strategy. The K-5 and K-7 sold well for the company, and their ergonomics were pretty universally praised, including in our own reviews. That Pentax has placed some of that DNA into the X-5--even if it's only the styling--has to bode well for the new camera's handling. At the same time, though, we have to wonder if it will present any confusion in the minds of consumers. We can imagine them wondering why their camera doesn't seem to perform as well as their friend's ("But it looks the same!"), or simply finding themselves hard-put to see the value in buying the DSLR when the X-5 looks much the same, but is smaller and vastly cheaper. And then there's the fact that the tie-in to the K-5 and K-7--both pretty feature-rich cameras--promises more than an affordable ultrazoom camera can possibly deliver. Features a K-series photographer would take for granted--a raw file format, flash hot shoe, and so on--are all absent in the Pentax X-5.

But ignoring that for a moment, the X-5 does seem to offer quite a bit of camera for the money, by ultrazoom standards. The pricetag of just US$280 won't break the bank when the camera ships this September, but Pentax has still managed to include features other manufacturers often leave out, such as a tilting LCD display, an electronic viewfinder, and an infrared remote receiver. The 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor provides not only still images, but also Full HD video. And then there's the lens, which while not the brightest we've seen offers a pretty healthy range of 22.3mm wide angle to 580mm telephoto.

If the concept intrigues you, take a look at our Pentax X-5 preview for more information.

Pentax X-5
Camera Type EVF
Manufacturer North America: X-5
Dimensions 4.7 x 3.4 x 4.2 in.
(119 x 86 x 107 mm)
Weight 21.1 oz (598 g)
Planned Price $280
Planned Availability September 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type CMOS
1/2.33" (approx. 0.43 in. diagonal)
16.37 megapixels (total)
16.00 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 4608 x 3456 (15.9 megapixels)
3456 x 3456 (11.9 megapixels)
4608 x 2592 (11.9 megapixels)
3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
3072 x 1728 (5.3 megapixels)
2592 x 1944 (5.0 megapixels)
2592 x 1464 (3.8 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 1.0 frames per second for 9999 frames
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, EVF: 230K-dot LCD with diopter adjustment dial
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal460,000 dots
Playback Zoom 10.0
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.0 - 104.0mm (actual)
22 - 580mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.1 (wide) / f5.9 (tele) - ???
Focusing System Contrast Detection: 9 point AF, Spot AF, Auto Tracking AF, Macro, Super Macro, Infinity Landscape, Manual, Focus Point Selection
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 16" - infinity (40 cm - infinity)
Macro: 0.4" - 12" (1 cm - 30 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/1500 second
Exposure Modes Program, Manual
Metering Modes Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light (D, N, W), Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Auto + Redeye, On + Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye
Range: Auto ISO: Wide: approx. 0.66 - 38 ft; Tele: approx. 4.9 - 20ft
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- EV
Scene Modes Handheld Night Snap, Sport, Landscape, Portrait, Scene (Flower, Blue Sky, Sunset, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, , Fireworks, HDR, Surf & Snow, Baby, Kids, Pet, Food, Digital SR, Stage Lighting, Text, Museum, Digital Wide, Digital Panorama, Frame Composite)
Digital Zoom Up to 7.2x
Self Timer Yes, 10s, 2s, Remote 3 seconds
Movie Format MOV (AVC/H.264 with monaural sound) with audio
Max. clip length: 1,500 seconds (1920x1080)
Movie Resolution / Frame Rate 1920x1080 @ 30p, 1280x720 @ 60p/30p, 640x480 @ 30p
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG
Other DC Input, Micro (Type-D) HDMI
Battery Type Lithium or Alkaline disposable, NiMH rechargeable
Battery Form Factor 4 x AA
Product Bundle
Software Software CD-ROM S-SW129
Battery / Charger 4 x Alkaline AAs battery
Flash Memory 75.3MB Internal
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant No
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes, Optional infrared
Waterproof No
Notes BSI CMOS Sensor, Sensor-shift-type Shake Reduction (SR), Tilting 460K-dot LCD, 260K-dot EVF, 1080p Full HD Movies. Available in silver or black.
More Photos


Press Release

PENTAX Introduces New X-5 Digital Camera

Versatile 16 megapixel BSI CMOS point-and-shoot digital camera features a powerful 26X super-telephoto zoom lens as well as convenient tiltable LCD monitor

Denver, CO (August 22, 2012) – PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION today announced the introduction of its PENTAX X-5 digital camera, an ideal choice for photographers who want to easily capture beautiful, high-quality images of a wide variety of subjects and scenes. Featuring a powerful high-magnification optical 26X super-telephoto zoom lens, the new PENTAX X-5 provides photographers with a focal length of 4mm-104mm (22.3mm ultra-wide angle to 580mm super telephoto 35mm equivalent). Coupled with the camera’s Macro mode, which allows photographers to capture dramatic close-up images of subjects as near to the lens as 0.4 inches, the X-5 delivers an extensive range of creative photographic possibilities.

“The new X-5 features classic PENTAX styling. It is the ideal compact travel companion for photo enthusiasts who want a digital camera with them wherever they go that’s capable of taking every type of image from gorgeous portraits, to scenic landscapes to extreme close-ups and more,” said John Carlson, Sr. Manager of Sales and Marketing, PENTAX.

And for effortless image composition and image playback, the PENTAX X-5 also features a large tiltable 3.0-inch, high-definition LCD screen that offers sharp image viewing, even in bright sunlight, while allowing users to shoot from high and low angles to keep the subject neatly framed in the image area. By combining a state-of-the-art image processing engine and back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with low-noise, even up to ISO 6400, and approximately 16.0 effective megapixels, the PENTAX X-5 provides users with very high-resolution images.

Additional features include:

State-of-the-art imaging engine, supported by Super Resolution technology
Supported by the latest Super Resolution technology, the X-5’s imaging engine offers outstanding image-processing performance to produce clear, high-quality images with well-defined details. In addition, the camera’s Handheld Night Scene shooting mode helps the photographer capture blur-free nighttime images by taking multiple images at once and blending them into a single composite picture.

Triple shake-reduction technology for sharp, blur-free images and video
The X-5’s triple shake-reduction system couples the PENTAX-developed mechanical sensor-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism with a digital SR mode for stills or movie SR mode for video to more effectively compensate for camera shake. This hybrid system assures the photographer of sharp, blur-free images and video even under demanding, camera-shake-prone shooting conditions, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting with incident light in poorly lit locations, or photographing sunset scenes.

Electronic viewfinder
The X-5 features an electronic viewfinder with diopter adjustment for a clear view of the subject even under bright sunshine. This comes in handy when shooting a subject in harsh backlight or when the photographer needs a more solid hold of the camera. Its diopter adjustment mechanism assures the user of the clearest view of both subject and viewfinder display, while minimizing eye fatigue during extended shooting sessions.

Full HD-standard movie recording for extended recording of high-quality movies
The X-5 features a Full HD movie recording function employing the h.264 recording format. The user can capture high quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels at a 16:9 aspect ratio) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The camera also offers creative movie playback features, such as High-speed Movie mode for slow-motion playback and Time-lapse Movie mode for fast-forward playback, and features a micro-HDMI terminal (Type D) for the output of recorded movies and sound to external devices.

User-friendly Auto Picture mode for hands-off selection of the best shooting mode
The X-5 features the PENTAX-original Auto Picture mode, which automatically assesses the subject’s conditions and selects the most appropriate shooting mode from 16 distinctive shooting options, including Landscape, Portrait, Candlelight and Pet. It even comes with an Auto Macro function, which automatically switches the focus mode to Macro when it detects the subject is close to the lens.

Quick-set mode dial for delay-free selection of a desired shooting mode
The X-5 lets the user quickly and effortlessly select the desired shooting mode — from a total of 10 modes including the hands-off Auto Picture, Scene, Program, Manual, Landscape, and Handheld Night Snap — with a single turn of the mode dial, without having to access the on-screen menu.

Additional features of the PENTAX X-5 include:

  • Powered by easy-to-obtain AA batteries

  • Remote control operation using a PENTAX optional remote controller

  • High-speed burst shooting of up to 10 images per second, for a maximum of 30 images in a single sequence

  • 12 digital filters including Miniature and Toy Camera to add creative touches to captured images

  • A range of creative image processing tools including Stretch filter, Small Face filter and Collage function

  • A choice of three aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9 and 1:1) to accommodate specific applications

  • Image viewing, editing and filing software included: MediaImpression 3.5 for PENTAX (Windows version compatible with Windows 7) and MediaImpression 2.1 for PENTAX (Macintosh version compatible with Mac OS X 10.7)

  • Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN SD memory cards


Pricing and Availability
The new PENTAX X-5 will be available at retail outlets nationwide and online in September 2012 with a suggested retail price of $279.95

Additional information including product specifications is available here: and product images are available here:

  • Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.

  • This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant.
    Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
    Print Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
    The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.

  • Mac OS is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.

  • All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

  • Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.

PENTAX is a leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here:

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