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

On paper the Pentax X-5 sounds like it could fulfil the needs of a niche consumer base; seeking to please photographers who want a camera that exudes the build of a DSLR but has the simplicity of one lens that provides a huge focal range.

These shooters may also have a bias for auto operation, but want the potential for manual modes if the need should arise.

We liked

The eye-popping focal range is perhaps the main draw of the Pentax X-5, while the camera's incorporated manual mode will also seek to interest more advanced users - although it can be a tad trickier to operate than other brands'.

We disliked

While a manual mode is included, aperture priority and shutter priority are sadly forgotten, as is support for raw file shooting. Although image quality is of a solid level, there were slight issues with glare, noise and white balance.

Final verdict

While this is a neat little package, you should be aware that there are many other premium compact cameras fulfilling a similar need and producing stronger image quality, offering faster lenses and heavier feature sets, albeit at a slightly higher price point. The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and Panasonic Lumix FZ200, for example.

That said, it feels unfair to be so critical of the Pentax X-5, because it does do a relatively good job at producing decent image quality and handles well in auto modes, and as such most novices may find this a great little camera.

The problem that some people will have is that, other than an extraordinary focal range, this bridge camera doesn't really offer anything new or exciting. Plus elsewhere it feels a little rushed or unfinished, with obvious features missing such as semi-manual shooting modes and support for raw shooting.