Pentax X-5 review: Shooting is fun and easy with this versatile, entry-level superzoom


posted Friday, April 12, 2013 at 8:57 PM EST

The 16-megapixel Pentax X-5 may look and feel like a digital SLR, but it clearly belongs in the entry-level superzoom class. Photo enthusiasts who have shot with a DSLR and who may be drawn to the X-5's serious-looking but compact design -- it reminds us of a shrunken Pentax K-30 -- might want to look elsewhere, unless they're seeking an all-in-one, superzoom camera with a massive focal range they can throw in their bags for casual use.

For beginners and family photographers who might be going on a trip with the kids, the versatile X-5 has a lot to offer. While the X-5 may seem formidable, there are plenty of preset modes and automated picture-taking functions that make snapping photos with the camera a fun and seamless process. The camera also has a nice, 3-inch, LCD monitor on back that tilts up and down for composing shots from interesting angles. Even when zoomed in at the maximum 26x (580mm equivalent!), the Pentax X-5 delivered crisp images in good light, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the sensor-based, Shake Reduction image stabilizer. The X-5 didn't fare as well at higher ISOs and when shooting in dim or overcast conditions, which is not surprising given the X-5's low price point and its lineage as a point-and-shoot camera.

Did we expect more? Perhaps, since Pentax has done such a good job of creating an ergonomic camera that feels like a higher-end model with the X-5. Really though, we should cut the Pentax X-5 a little slack, since it does a lot of things very well, and is an excellent companion camera for traveling. The one area where we think Pentax could've done better with the X-5 was in its speed. It's a slow camera to use, especially for any candid work, which is what many moms and dads might use it for when taking snapshots of their kids.

Read our Pentax X-5 review for our final conclusion on the camera, sample gallery images and much more!