Pentax Optio X90 Review

June 7, 2010 | Gavin Stoker | |

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Pentax, way to do it right!  Been shooting with their SLRs for years, great products, feature rich…
if anybody looking for mega-zoom cameras, definitely consider Pentax X90, Panasonic FZ38 or Sony HX1

5:58 pm - Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#2 Ravicai

Rivals? Where is the Casio EX-FH25? With a MSRP of $399 and 20x zoom it’s right up the alley of these cameras.

6:48 pm - Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#3 mike marshall

Apples to apples, the SX20 IS is again MIA in Main Rivals, as was the case in your X70 review.

As the owner of Panasonic’s FZ50, FZ28 and FZ8, it should be evident that I’m no Canon fanboy but the SX20 deserves major consideration in this DSLR-style superzoom category.

That said, the X90 sounds more promising than its predecessor, although its battery life doesn’t impress when compared to the Panasonic or the Canon.

Thank you for continuing to review this type of camera. Your efforts and info are appreciated.

8:20 pm - Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#4 David B

I love my X90. I don’t have the steadiest of hands, yet even in full optical zoom I manage to take a lot of pretty crisp pictures, in good light, anyway.

My reason for buying such a camera was that I wanted something not too bulky to carry around, to take pictures of wildlife - either things like birds and animals at distance, or things like flowers, insects and fungi very close in. An SLR with telephoto and macro lenses would be bulky, heavy, and would entail missing a lot of targets of opportunity. I wish I could save the raw data, but still I’m pretty happy with the shots I take, and at least I usually have the camera with me, and can get either a macro or zoom image pretty quickly.

For what I want from a camera, it’s way better than anything I’ve had before.

Some of my pics, subject to photobucket compression, can be found at  and on subsequent pages in that thread. No registration needed to view.

David B

11:27 pm - Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#5 Greg H

Pentax is waking up and becoming a real player in all of the camera sectors.  As a K20D owner I can honestly say that my friends are jealous of my camera capability to price ratio.  I borrowed a friends D90 for a week and found that the Pentax was superior in every way except autofocus speed and maybe very high end ISO noise.  At the end of the week I was happy to see my Pentax.  The perosn who had my camera was impressed as well.  He said that if this were a Nikon it would cost at least 1700.00.

6:35 am - Friday, June 11, 2010

#6 MarK

Gavin Stoker, when you take videos try a landscape, I didn’t figure out how the quality is from your sample… it’s just an animal walking

1:12 pm - Friday, June 25, 2010

#7 Kolin

hey, i just bought this but i was wondering, if i wanted to put on some filters, what size would i need. Thanks.

4:49 pm - Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#8 Hasan

I have this camera!

3:12 pm - Thursday, July 22, 2010

#9 Jessica

I’m just looking for a camera to buy. This one looks perfect to me except that it has a lithium ion battery. Im just afraid it will die on me and I cant just charge it in the middle of whatever I’m doing. Batteries are more convenient, but I love the camera from what I read.

8:56 am - Sunday, August 15, 2010

#10 Greg

Buy 2 batteries and keep a spare charged….

7:07 pm - Sunday, August 15, 2010

#11 John A

I am admittedly a camera-junkie with 4 digital and one old film camera. While I have not received the new X90 as yet, I have immersed myself in many reviews and comparisons and the bottom line to me is the reliability and dependability of Pentax-branded photography products.
My choice was based on the same general parameters of your conclusion summary - I am not a big video producer and much of my work is wildlife and outdoor/scenic/architectural. My belief is that this will be an outstanding camera for these uses as well as for an upcoming nature trip to Costa Rica to capture its wildlife and flora/fauna.

I’ll add another review post once I receive the camera and take it for a test drive.

4:03 pm - Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#12 Andrej Pintar

I am still in thinking about buying this camera. No matter the zoom. It does look promising. I belive high ISOs are not everyday use .With big zoom and a normal ISO I think this camera would make good photos. I read a lot of reviews about this camera and I feel like in a dilemma because there are various conclusions. Still not sure. But I think it would be a best buy. Since its close as DSLR lite it might be worth it. Optics seem to be ok and F lengh, macros and so on. Well we’ll give it a try and see.

4:23 pm - Sunday, August 22, 2010

#13 Johna

OK I have now received my X90 and as with any camera one must learn the range of options and performance responses. Thus far I have learned that the 26X zoom consists of optical and digital elements - the last 20% or so is digital - and that by disabling the digital one gives up some zoom in return for much better control and sharpness.
The anti shake seems to work well.

More to follow as I unpeel the layers

12:19 am - Monday, August 23, 2010

#14 David B

Hohna, can you point me to where it says that? My understanding was that it was 26* optical, and beyond that it basically digitally crops what is shot.

12:39 am - Monday, August 23, 2010

#15 David B

Sorry, late night typo. Johna

12:40 am - Monday, August 23, 2010

#16 Johna

I did not see that until I received the camera and I went through the manual - check under taking pictures and zoom Page 74 in camera manual.

12:51 am - Monday, August 23, 2010

#17 Mike

l have owned an X90 for about 2 months and l am very satisfied with it.The 26x optical combined with the 6.5x digital gives approx 180x zoom.When using high magnification it can pay to use the 2 or 4 second shutter pause to steady the camera.The burst and sport mode are very useful.l found that using the 12mp gave an almost square picture on a monitor but at 9mp the landscape pics fill the whole screen

1:33 pm - Thursday, September 23, 2010

#18 Gary

Hey, just bought this camera… has been 3 weeks… amazed at the versatility of 4.6 to 119.6mm lens… to be honest, the pictures taken from this camera match the pictures taken from my NIKON D90 with 55-200mm lens. Highly recomended for macro photography ad portaits… although landscape photography is limited with the 119.6 mm lens…. anyways, a great great camera!

3:20 am - Monday, September 27, 2010

#19 norman

I bought the pentax x90 good camera but when i use the zoom say 12x upwards i get a shadow round the inside of the lens and when i zoom out it dissapears.

7:23 pm - Thursday, October 14, 2010

#20 norman

adding to my recent comment about the pentax x90
can anybody advise me on this situation.
does anybody have the same problem when they zoom notice it more if you are photographing like aircraft against a sky or lighter background,
it might be a built in problem or else the camera has a problem.

9:31 pm - Thursday, October 14, 2010

#21 David B


Never noticed anything like it.


9:44 pm - Thursday, October 14, 2010

#22 Mike

Norman l have checked over 50 pics at many zoom     ranges and no shadow.

10:46 pm - Thursday, October 14, 2010

#23 norman

HI mike i see the shadow more when i take pictures with a bright background, I take a lot pictures of aircraft where the sky is the background and when i zoom in i get the shadow, the centre of my picture is ok but round the edge there is a round shadow, got the camera about six months ago never noticed it when i got it may have to take it back to where i bought it its a pity because it takes good pictures, has anybody else experienced this wit a pentax x90
thanks for replying

9:28 am - Friday, October 15, 2010

#24 Mike

Norman when using media player on windows 7 if you are not on full screen the top and bottom of the screen have a small shaded area.I’m hoping this the solution and you don’t have to take it back to the shop

1:39 pm - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#25 norman

hello mike i get the shaded area around the field of view especially from around 12x and full zoom you see it more when taking photographs with bright backgrounds. I took the camera back to comet where I bought it plus a couple of photograghs showing the darkened halo round the edges,it is being sent away for repair—-I hope.
I phoned up Johnson’s utopia who repair pentax camers in england and they said there is a fault so lets hope it can be fixed, I will let you know cya
ps. I should get a reply back around the tenth of November

10:06 am - Thursday, October 21, 2010

#26 Julie

Quote: do we still want another choice of camera that outwardly resembles an entry-level DSLR - yet isn’t - unquote.
The tired old argument of DSLR snobs, sorry….
Not everyone wants to cart around a bag full of lens and then waste time changing them, when a superzoom can do a way more than adequate job. With a superzoom you can take a macro shot and within seconds zoom into a ship at sea or a bird in the sky, almost instantaneous and no fussing around.

2:00 pm - Monday, October 25, 2010

#27 Julie

David, just checked out your images on Secular Cafe. You’ve taken some truly amazing shots, with no blur. Did you use a tripod for any of them?
Have you got any shots with vivid blue skies? I’ve been tossing up between Kodak Z981 and the X90. I’ve found Kodak colour to be way better than Nikon (which is usually washed out & faded looking). The kodak isn’t available in the shops here in Australia, and have been wondering how the X90 performs.

2:19 pm - Monday, October 25, 2010

#28 David B


Most of my long zoom shots are hand held, and some are better than others - I only keep the best. My best results are with tripod, which I don’t always have with me. I always carry a mini tripod in my case, but often there is no-where to put it, so as I say the most are hand held. Sunny days give best results, because I suppose the exposure time is least then. With the mini tripod a two second delay gives best results, but not all subjects fit that bill - some like butterflies you need to point and shoot.

Not all places have equally blue skies, I find, depending on humidity and height of sun. I live in Wales near the sea, where the sun is never very high, and humidity rarely very low.

I’ll see if this link works here - it is a max optical zoom hand held shot in spring, and the sky looks pretty realistic to me.


4:23 pm - Monday, October 25, 2010

#29 Julie

David thanks for responding quickly. I’m really procrastinating on getting a new camera because of the colour thing, see this comparison between my kodak and my nikon:
- So I would hate to end up with something that couldn’t match the Kodak. In Outback Aussie the light is always bright and the colours vivid, and I find my Nikon L15 extremely disappointing.
I’m wondering if anyone with the Pentax X90 can match these blues. Thanks.

6:01 am - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

#30 Lyn

Hi, I am considering purchase of the Pentax X90.  Target has it on offer now for $349 and comes with a camera bag and mini tripod. Is this a good price?

Unable to get hold of the specifications, I asked the CSO about the memory space and was told it hasn’t got any and I have to buy a SD card for it.

I am an amateur.  Does it make sense for a digital camera NOT to come with a memory card inside it? I thought one only buys a SD if one wanted a bigger memory space. Would someone please help answer my questions about the price and SD card?  Thanks!

12:14 pm - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#31 Julie

Hi Lyn - it’s normal to buy your own SD card. There are many brands, and different speeds. Cameras come with a small amount of memory, which really serves as emergency space if you run out of storage on your card, or if you want to store certain pics permanently in your camera.

With my first digital camera I had a sandisk and another popular brand. I am still learning, but there seems to be 3 types of Sandisk SD card. There’s a basic one, then an Ultra, then an Extreme. Then there’s the different sizes 1gb, 2gb, 4gb, 8gb etc.

The size you want depends on the file sizes your camera saves, and just how many shots you will end up taking.

For example, I’ve got a Kodak ZD710, 7.1megapixel 10x zoom.  I currently use a 2gb Ultra Sandisk. When I bought it I thought I was buying the fast one, but it didn’t seem to be any faster than the basic ones I’d started off with. I’ve since realised that what I should have got was the Extreme.  My camera takes a fair bit of time to save the image. From what I can understand the Extreme card makes it a whole lot quicker.  *Someone please correct me here if I’m wrong.*

My Kodak produces images between 2mb and 3mb. The 2gb card, with the camera set at 7.1megapixels, gives me 859 shots approx.  So I rarely fill the card up, unless I’ve been travelling for several days with no chance to transfer them to computer. I always have a spare card, and spare batteries.

With the higher megapixels, the cameras produce bigger files sizes – over 4mb.  Prices of cards are getting cheaper all the time.  I think a 4gb would be enough to start with. 

And if you are totally new to this, just take *throwaway* shots of almost anything just for practice and to see what the camera can do, whether it’s the kitchen bench, the carpet, your feet, flowers in the garden, grass on the ground, or zoom out your window to the house or apartment way down the street or across the gully.  Leave it set on Automatic, and after you get used to it, then start exploring the manual and the menus to find out what it can do, bit by bit, over time.

As for pricing, looking at online prices in Australia it sells between $321 and $449.  If you are buying it direct from a shop $349 sounds reasonable, esp since Target should be able to return it to the manufacturer if there are any problems.

Oops, this turned into a long one, I hope it helps.

1:20 pm - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#32 Lyn

Julie - Hi, thanks so much for such a swift response to my call for help. Yes, I will make it a point to remember to buy Extreme fast speed SDcard starting with 4Gb.  I thought $349 is a good buy esp. when it includes the camera bag and a mini tripod.

Appreciate the time taken to give me as much relevant insight as possible. Your post helps alot.  Thanks! 

I was actually considering a layby for Christmas.  On second thought I might just go a pick it up sooner so I can get familiar with it for great Xmas & New Year shots.

Please stay around as when I got hold of it, I am going to have heaps of questions!

1:33 am - Thursday, October 28, 2010

#33 Julie

I’ve had 3 cheap kodaks, all 10x zoom, so imagine what you can do with 26x zoom. Here are some of my pics at Flickr:
Flickr is an easy place to share pics online with people you don’t know, and offers space for up to 200 images free. I’m looking forward to seeing some of yours.
Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions either, someone will have an answer.

8:30 am - Thursday, October 28, 2010

#34 fraser

I think the Pentax X90 is great - I bought it recently from Camerabox for £199.00 and for that price I don’t think it’s a great purchase, and with that zoom there are not too many other cameras to match it for the price. To get an idea of the quality and what that 26x zoom is capable of, take a look at my fox pictures at the URL - bear in mind this was approaching the top end of the zoom and is taken through double glazing - pretty impressive ! So I would say, if you don’t mind having a fixed lens, and want a feature rich camera without the DSLR price tag - go out and buy a Pentax X90.

9:54 am - Saturday, November 13, 2010

#35 fraser

For some reason that URL did nopt show up on the previous post - here you go….

9:55 am - Saturday, November 13, 2010

#36 fraser

Gosh - what’s wrong with me today? - meant to say in that first post that for the price I do think it’s a great purchase - sorry for the confusing posts!

9:59 am - Saturday, November 13, 2010

#37 Jeffrey Morgan


For over thirty five years I’ve gotten great use out of my trusty 1974 Pentax SLR but the high cost of film and processing tells me that it’s now time to upgrade!

Having read a number of expert reviews and informed comments both here and elsewhere, I believe that I’ve narrowed my choice down to getting either the Pentax Optio X90 or the Canon Powershot SX30 IS, with my instincts telling me that I should go with the Pentax.


2:07 am - Friday, December 3, 2010

#38 Mike

Go with the Pentax X90

3:55 pm - Saturday, December 11, 2010

#39 Pieter

I must choose between the Pentax X90 and the Canon EOS 1000D.  I am a total novice.  Which one should I buy??? Please help.

11:46 am - Thursday, December 16, 2010

#40 Lynx

I like this camera, who knows maybe I’ll buy it. I found it in for 285€ with the carrying case, 2GB sd card and the extra battery.

If I were Pentax I would have taken away that battery and put 4 rechargable AA’s in it. It would have a lot better battery life that way.

The Pentax KX can get near 1000 shots with 4 rechargable NIMH batteries.

Pentax should think about that, Fujifilm does the same thing and their cameras get great battery life..

12:25 am - Sunday, January 30, 2011

#41 Decks

After having purchased and thoroughly enjoying my new Kx, I realised that some features and practicalities were missing. I enjoy walking around without having to change DSLR lenses often and my old Fuji s7000 could also take awesome close macro stuff.
Trying not to be a blinded Pentaxian, I compared features important to me, either Fuji hS10 or the X90 were the final two. Worried at fuji low light noise issues and mentioned image quality issues, have just ordered the X90 as a alternate camera. If I find the money to go large sensor….absolutely no doubt the 645D. Well done Pentax, your back making some serious kit again.

3:23 pm - Thursday, February 3, 2011

#42 Lynx

DEcks the 645D is worth $10.000(body only) and that is a lot of money!

The only problem I can see by now with the X90 is its poor battery life compared with 4AA’s, or chunkier batteries like the ones the Lumix fz40/45 uses or the Canon PS SX30IS.

4:36 pm - Thursday, February 3, 2011

#43 Julia

Is it possible to order the camera to another country and how much will it cost?

9:51 am - Friday, April 29, 2011

#44 Lynx

Yes you can, but I wouldn’t recomend it.

2:55 pm - Friday, April 29, 2011

#45 David B

I kept my Pentax for a year, until someone on my discussion board who had the equivalent Nikin bought a new Canon SX30IS and posted some of his pics.

They were amzingly good, of birds pictured through the clutter of tree branches etc.

I have now sold my Pentax and bought the Canon.

while the IS on the Pentax I thought good, the IS on the Canon is better. I can take shots at 35* zoom hand held. Focussing on birds through branches is now possible - could never get the AF on the Pentax to do it, and Manual Focus I found impossible at high zoom - too much movement to get a small object into focus.

While I was happy with the Pentax until I came across the Canon, I am much happier with the Canon.

5:33 pm - Friday, April 29, 2011

#46 Pasto

I was considering buying either a pentax x90 or a panasonic fz45. They are both on the same price (panasonic slightly more expensive). Which one would you recommend? I am not that interested in HD video shooting or extreme zooming, but quality of pictures over different environment (outdoor high-low light, indoor, portraits, etc.)
Best regards!

7:42 am - Friday, May 20, 2011

#47 dale

Looking to upgrade from several point and shoot cameras. I can see the advantages of having the long zoom in daylight shots. But I am concerned about this cameras ability to capture quality shots in low light settings and indoors at normal ranges. Basically I am wondering if the x90 will give me a good photo of the first basemen scratching himself as well as my girlfriend blowing out the candles on her birthday cake in the dining room. Any insight from a more experienced “photog” would be appreciated.

4:30 pm - Friday, June 24, 2011

#48 Chris Santiago

My husband bought me the Pentax X90 for Christmas and so far I love it..wish i could shoot in RAW and have the option to change the lenses..But other than that a great camera..

3:31 am - Sunday, July 31, 2011

#49 Chris Santiago

My husband bought me this camera for Christmas and I am happy with it so far,only complaint would be that it doesn’t shoot in RAW and would like to be able to change lenses..

3:43 am - Sunday, July 31, 2011

#50 Chris Santiago

Hello everyone!!!

3:44 am - Sunday, July 31, 2011

#51 Mike

People are making a lot of fuss about batteries on
the pentax x90,why not have two when a new battery
online only costs between £6.00 and £9.00

10:21 am - Sunday, July 31, 2011

#52 Fraser Musson

The Pentx X90 also has a very capable super macro mode - have a look at this example (if I have got the URL right it should be a photo of a spider on a flower) fingers crossed :)

10:34 am - Sunday, July 31, 2011

#53 decks

finding I am liking this camera more and more. Initially annoyed at the auto iso setting, am now using the SR a lot. The flash, especially on Macro is very very good, the Monochrome is great too. Versatile with sufficient image quality, lots of great features. Probably the forgotten and underated camera from pentax

7:40 am - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#54 Paul Edwards

Whenever I see the Pentax name/logo spring up I cant help thinking back to my excellent old Pentax ME super back in the 1980s - when we thought that 2000 of a second was phenomenal and stuck to 1 or 200asa.

I think that Mr B’s photos are excellent!


8:32 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, compact, wide-angle, 720p, hdmi, 12 megapixel, manual, super-zoom, 2.7 inch LCD, bridge, EVF, 26mm, 26x zoom, pentax x90, x90, Pentax Optio X90 Review

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