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Pentax X-5 review

Set to impress the bridge market with a gigantic zoom range

Pentax X-5
As a bridge camera, the 16 megapixel Pentax X-5 looks like a small DSR


  • Huge focal range
  • DSLR aesthetics
  • Plenty of auto options
  • Manual mode


  • No AP or SP modes
  • No raw support
  • Requires 4 AA batteries
  • Purple glare in some images

The Pentax X-5 is unusual in that it's a bridge camera being released into a sea of new types of cameras.

Since smartphones have done a fantastic job at replacing the need for traditional ultra-slim compact cameras, many camera manufacturers have tried new concepts to hook consumers.

Some invested heavily in compact system cameras (CSCs), while others chose the route of premium compacts - bestowed with super fast lenses and manual controls - such as the Canon G15 or the Panasonic LX7.

Pentax X-5 review

Others played smartphones at their own game by creating Android cameras such as the Nikon Coolpix S800c and the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which supply access to the internet and offer the ability to download apps direct.

A few, however, are continuing to produce bridge cameras, which sit neatly between easy to use point-and-shoots and low-end DSLRs. With impressive focal length ranges, bridge cameras are often the weapon of choice for those looking to progress their photographic skills without investing in a pricier DSLR.

Today, however, high-end compacts and CSCs are squeezing out bridge cameras, yet a few manufacturers aren't giving up and Pentax, with its new X-5, is one of them.

Pentax X-5 review

Priced at a very affordable £199.99/AU$269.95/US$279.95, the beefed up compact Pentax X-5 is available in black or silver. This makes it cheaper than fellow bridge cameras such as the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and Panasonic Lumix FZ200.

The Pentax X-5 features a 16MP 1/2.33-inch backlit CMOS sensor with a sensor-shift shake reduction system, as well as manual shooting mode, 1080p HD movie modes and digital filters.

Pentax's camera also boasts a 3-inch tilting 460k dot LCD screen, and offers 10fps shooting and a 1cm macro mode focusing distance.

Pentax X-5 review

Perhaps most impressively of all, it touts an incredible equivalent focal range of 22-580mm with its 26x optical zoom.

And it tops this with an intelligent zoom function that extends coverage approximately 187.2 times, up to a jaw-dropping equivalent focal length of 4174mm.