Pentax X70 Review

4.0
September 3, 2009 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

It's possible to achieve pleasing results with the Pentax X70, though at times it feels like you have to work at it. When shooting HD video at the full extent of the zoom it's almost impossible to hand hold the camera steady enough to ensure a smooth, jerk free image. Just as disappointingly, the framing cannot be altered once recording has commenced as the optical zoom is disabled. Your framing merely stays the same as it was before the shutter release button was pressed. While not uncommon on big zoom bridge models, this seems something of an over-sight as the broad focal range is the camera's major feature.

As regards still captures, though pictures feel balanced in terms of exposure, with well saturated and colourful in the main, being flatteringly sympathetic to skin tones, there's occasional softness when shooting at maximum telephoto - not really a great surprise - whilst upon close inspection pixel fringing is visible between areas of high contrast. Our white wall shots reveal quite pronounced barrel distortion at maximum wide angle however.

In terms of low light sensitivity, the Pentax X70's performance is (forgive the pun) no great shakes, with noise creeping in from ISO 400 upwards in interior shots taken without the aid of flash. Taking photographs in low light at settings up to ISO 800, results are usable, though we'd advise steering clear of ISO 1600 and above as detail is noticeably softened. Shooting at ISO 6400 images are particularly disappointing; detail is smudged and pictures take on more of an impressionistic, painterly quality.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Pentax X70. 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 X70's 24x zoom lens has a massive focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

26mm

624mm

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)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Pentax X70 handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Pentax X70 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

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Pentax X70 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 (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (624mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (624mm)

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)

Night

The Nikon D3000's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds, which is not very good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 800. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, 720p, 12 megapixel, super-zoom, 2.7 inch LCD, pentax, mega-zoom, 24x zoom, Pentax X70 Review, x70

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