Pentax X-5 Review

4.0
October 24, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

The Pentax Optio X-5 produces images of above average quality. It recorded noise-free images at ISO 100-200, but there's already some noise at the relatively slow speed of ISO 400. ISO 800 and 1600 show progressively more obvious noise and loss of colour, while the fastest settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 are virtually unusable.

The Pentax Optio X-5 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure, although there's noticeable vignetting at 22.3mm. The night photograph was only adequate, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds not really long enough for most after-dark shots. The Dynamic Range setting didn't have too much effect compared to a standard image.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Pentax Optio X-5 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Pentax X-5. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Pentax X-5's 26x zoom lens provides a focal length of 22.3-580mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

22.3mm

580mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Quality

The Pentax X-5 has 3 different image quality settings available, with Best being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Best (4.54Mb) (100% Crop)

Better (2.54Mb) (100% Crop)

   
Normal (1.53Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Pentax X-5 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Pentax X-5 allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Pentax X-5 are Flash-on, Flash-off, Red-eye reduction, Low-speed synchro, and Low-speed synchro + Red-eye. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (22.3mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (22.3mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (580mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (580mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Pentax X-5 has a sensor-based anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/45th / 22.3mm
     
1/40th / 580mm

D-Range

The Dynamic Range setting corrects for either highlights, shadows or both, expanding the detail in the image. The effect of turning both on is quite subtle, though, as shown in this example.

Off

On

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, hdmi, super-zoom, manual, tilting, tilt, EVF, bridge, 26x zoom, 22.3mm, x-5, pentax x-5, Pentax X-5 Review

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