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Cameras

Pentax X-5

Pentax puts a 26x optical zoom lens on its cheap and cheerful superzoom camera, along with full HD video recording and AA batteries.

First impressions

'Tis the season for inexpensive superzooms. In the market for a camera with a long 26x optical zoom, but don't want to break the bank? This camera comes in at AU$299, and fills a neat gap in the Pentax range as a reasonably-priced superzoom.

The X-5 is not just cheap and cheerful, as it packs some useful features too. There's a 3-inch LCD screen (460,000 dots) that can tilt up and down for photographers to access different shooting angles. Behind the lens sits a 16-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, and Pentax has fit the camera with a dual shake-reduction (image stabilisation) system to help alleviate camera shake. The combination of sensor-shift and digital image stabilisation sounds like a good idea on paper, so we'll wait and see how it stacks up in real-world situations.

Cameras that are powered by AA batteries are becoming increasingly rare, but the X-5 uses four AA units. There's 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second, plus time-lapse and slow-motion movie modes. These last two options reduce the video resolution to VGA, which may limit their usefulness.

Given the price, the X-5 is particularly lightweight and is made from plastic, so it's not as sturdy as some other (more expensive) superzooms on the market. Expect the X-5 in Australia from October in silver and black, and our full review will be coming soon.

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