Pentax megazoom gets minor updates

It's time to throw another ultrasupermegazoom on the pile with Pentax's new 26x zoom model, the X90.

Pentax

Pentax's X70 24x zoom camera was one of the better extreme megazooms we tested last year. The 2010 version of it--the 12-megapixel X90--features a slightly longer 26x f2.8-5 26-676mm-equivalent lens in a compact body measuring 4.4 inches wide by 3.3 inches deep by 4.3 inches deep with a weight of 15 ounces. Other than the lens, the X90 doesn't change much from 2009.

The X90 has full manual and semimanual controls, sensor-shift image stabilization, 2.7-inch LCD and electronic viewfinder, and support for Eye-Fi wireless SD memory cards.

It isn't overflowing with shooting features like those models using backside-illuminated CMOS sensors, but it does have high-speed continuous burst shooting at up to 11 frames per second at a 5-megapixel resolution; macro focus down to less than an inch from a subject; you can add digital filters including Toy Camera, Fisheye, and Retro; and dynamic range adjustment for highlight and shadow correction. Movies can be shot at resolutions up to 720p HD at 30fps (Motion JPEG) and there's a miniHDMI out for playback on an HDTV or monitor.

And because I know this is important to a lot of people, it's powered by a lithium ion rechargeable pack and stores to SD/SDHC cards. Pentax claims improved battery life, which was a weakness for the X70.

All in all, the X90 seems like a well-rounded megazoom targeted more at photographers that are interested in taking control of their results more than gee-whiz gadgetry.

Look for it to ship in April for about $400.

 

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