Pentax X-5 - A Well-Specified Bridge Camera

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A well-specified bridge camera that won’t break the bank

The chief selling point of the X-5, alongside its relatively affordable price tag, is the large focal range. The model features a 26>: optical zoom with an impressive wide angle of 22.3mm. The zoom benefits from Pentax's dual shake-reduction system and a minimum focal length of just 1cm.

The 26x optical zoom lens is paired with a 1/2.33in BSI CMOS sensor that features an effective resolution of 16 megapixels. The sensor also supports full HD video capture at a resolution of 1080o although unfortunately the X-5 docs not offer Raw capture.

On the rear of the X-5 sits a 3in LCD screen with a resolution of 460k dots. A major selling point with the LCD screen that it's tiltable, although unfortunately the hinge of the LCD screen is poorly implemented and restrictive. Accompanying the vari-angle LCD screen is an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 230k dots and, although it is lacking in eye-sensor technology, it does offer dioptre adjustment if necessary.

Pentax X-5

Despite not offering Raw capture, the X-5 does cater well for the advanced photographer. The model features a program shooting mode as well as full manual control. One final point of note regarding the X-5's specification is the way in which the camera is powered. The model necessitates four AA batteries, rather than the standard Li-ion rechargeable unit, meaning replacement units are readily available on the go.


The Pentax X-5 bears a lot of similarities to the manufacturer’s DSLRs in terms of design, albeit an understandably smaller version. The lens forms a large part of the front of the camera’s body with a rubberized grip around its exterior. There is an issue here - the combination of the green flash around the lens and the rubberized grip section has such a feeling of a lens on a Pentax DSLR that your first instinct is to turn it to zoom or focus Unfortunately Pentax has missed a trick as the lens itself is fixed and is lacking in any kind of control wheel functionality so, while it sits well in the hand, that's the extent of its usefulness.

The lens forms a large part of the front of the camera’s body with a rubberized grip around its exterior.

The lens forms a large part of the front of the camera’s body with a rubberized grip around its exterior.

Another markedly DSLR feature of the X-5 is the large and protruding handgrip. The combination of this rubberized handgrip and rubberized lens means both offer a firm grip on the camera and ensure it feels safe in the hand whatever the conditions.

While on the whole the X-5 impresses regarding design, unfortunately the menu system is something of a letdown. All of the functionality that one might want to access quickly is deeply rooted and rather than being able to quickly flick between the various menu layers, it necessitates superfluous scrolling.


Despite being towards the more affordable end of the scale, the Pentax X-5 delivers generally decent levels of performance. The model’s focus system offers a prompt enough focus, while accuracy is also respectable. Although Pentax quotes some fairly impressive burst mode speeds in the X-5’s specification, unfortunately the two top-end rates are only available in reduced resolution shooting modes. The burst speed at full resolution is fairly pedestrian, although as a result once the images are captured there is little or no delay in the buffer clearing. Another disappointing factor with regards to speed is the model's start-up speed, which is sluggish.

There are signs of the camera’s more affordable nature found around the body - it feels a touch plastic KY and not particularly durable. This is most acutely felt around the model’s battery door.

Although the LCD screen is not the lowest resolution on the market, it suffers from softening and a low level of quality, while the same is true of the electronic viewfinder.

Although the X-5’s lens generally performs well, there are signs of softening at the frame edges.

Image Quality

On the whole, images produced by the X-5 are of a respectable level, although there are certain issues that are worth highlighting.

The model’s white balance is generally reliable, although it does have a slight tendency to produce images to the warmer side of the scale. There are issues with the camera’s dynamic range with a slight clipping seen in highlights.

The 26x optical zoom generally performs well. There are some signs of distortion at the wide end of the zoom and a slight softening at frame edges, although chromatic aberration Is noticeably well controlled.

The X-5 has a slight tendency to underexpose as seen here, although this does prevent blown highlights.

The X-5 has a slight tendency to underexpose as seen here, although this does prevent blown highlights.


The good news is that the X-5 is certainly a capable camera, and one which handles well and offers a decent level of performance in a generally well-designed package. There are drawbacks - the LCD screen is poor, as is the EVF, while there are some image quality issues. So although it’s a capable model, it just falls short of a full recommendation.


§  Manufacturer: Pentax

§  Max Aperture: f/3.1 - f/5.9

§  35mm equivalent: 22.3mm - 580mm

§  Optical Zoom: 26x

§  CCD pixels: 16Mp (Megapixels)

§  Pixels (W): 4608

§  Pixels (H): 3456

§  Sensor Type: CMOS

§  Sensor Size: 1/2.33 inch

§  Sensor Size (width): No Data

§  Sensor Size (height): No Data

§  Aspect Ratio: 4:3, 16:9, 1:1

§  LCD Monitor: 3in

§  Screen resolution: 460000

§  Touch Screen: No

§  Min Focus: 1cm

§  Focusing modes: Autofocus, Manual, Spot, AF Tracking

§  Shutter speeds shortest: 1/1500sec

§  Shutter speeds longest: 4sec

§  Exp modes: Program, Scene modes, Manual,

§  Metering: Centre-weighted – Average, Multi Pattern, Spot, ISO sensitivity        100 - 6400

§  Weight: 599g

§  Width: 120mm

§  Height: 86.5mm

§  Depth: 106.5mm


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