Top positive review
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A bridge camera with more to offer than meets the eye
on 12 November 2012
In purchasing a new camera, I had two main criteria to balance - firstly, that it must be able to take good quality photographs of our baby; and secondly, that it should be able to take reasonable to good quality video footage. Anything else was really going to be a bonus, perhaps with the exception of budget, which was not to exceed £200. With these factors in mind, I set about researching cameras on Amazon that met these criteria, and had received a good quantity of positive reviews.
I almost wrote off the Pentax X-5 based on the fact that there were only a few (albeit good) reviews - I am very glad that I did not, and it took me a while to realise why I was having difficulty finding reviews and sample photos - the camera had only been released in September 2012! Having researched a bit more into this camera, including looking up sample photos, online video reviews and forum comments, I was quickly persuaded that this bridge camera would be the way to go - just looking at the 1cm Macro sample photos of insects flashed images into my head about being the next David Attenborough, and the optical zoom range had me daydreaming about snapping birds for the latest countryfile calendar! Combined with the possibilily of FULL HD 1080p video recording, I was sold!
So, what do I think of the camera now that I have purchased it? In a sentence - it has surpassed (and continues to surpass) my expectations. It easily ticks my two intitial requirements, and there are so may extra features onboard (requiring a manual on CD of over 200 pages) that I will be discovering them for days after - just today I experimented with slow-motion (albeit at 30fps and 640 x 400 resolution), timelapse, panoramic photographs, and post-photograph filters.
For the more advanced and experienced photographer, there are many manual settings that I am sure will appeal, including adjusting exposures and various balances, as well as setting various light setting modes.
The view screen is clear and bright, and can be pulled away from the camera on a bracket and adjusted up / down etc. to achieve awkward angles for photography, and there is also an electronic viewfinder which can be used instead.
The flash is good, and like many other features it can be adjusted, and pops up with the simple press of a button.
So, in summary, I would say:
Good quality photographs - well balanced colours and tones, minimal chromatic abberation
Good quality video - up to full 1080p HD
Good onboard functionality - ability to edit / apply filters to photos etc.
Good ergonomics - fits well in the hand, not too heavy but feeling quite solidly built
Zoom and Macro modes - match and surpass many more expensive models
Onboard features - plenty of options here, including the ability to assign a customisable set-up to a 'green button' on the back
Takes 4x AA batteries - convenient!
No flash card supplied, carry case or HDMI cable for output to TV (quite normal I think)
Low-light photography a little on grainy side with 'autopicture' setting - could most likely be improved by changing settings
A few autofocus issues at zoom (again, quite normal for bridge cameras - focussing can be achieved by half-press of trigger button)
Battery cover a little flimsy - no big issue though
If you are looking for a high-end digital SLR with professional looking photographs every time, then this camera will naturally not tick all the boxes, but then again it doesn't pretend to - it is a bridge camera, and it achieves this very well for a good price. If, like me, you are an amateur photographer wishing to take a mixture of good quality family photos and good video, with an eye to perhaps more in depth functionality, then this camera could well be for you. My advice is to definitely check out sample photographs on google to help you decide for yourself - I don't think that you will be disappointed!