Following hot on the heels from the recent announcement by Panasonic Panasonic of the very impressive Lumix DMC FZ-1000, Pentax has today announced the new XG-1 bridge camera to replace its old X5 model and it looks like offering plenty of value at the budget end of the market.
Cheekily usurping Fujifilmâs X-range nomenclature, the new model offers a backlit 16-megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with a 52x optical zoom lens with a 24-1248mm range and a maximum aperture of f2.8. Unlike the new and far more expensive Panasonic camera the XG-1 only has a 2/3-inch sensor so it wonât be offering quite the same sort of image quality or the 4K video resolution. The maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200 wonât be setting too many hearts fluttering either.
However, the price tag of the Pentax XG-1 is only third of the Panasonic flagship model and so it might tempt a few budget-minded buyers and is certain to be on the shortlist of anyone who is stepping up from a compact and looking for an affordable camera with plenty of zoom range but without the need to carry separate lenses. To cope with the image blur and shake that youâre bound to get with such a long telephoto range, the XG-1 features Sensor Shift SR (shake-reduction) image stabilisation as well as full HD movie recording and up to nine frames-per-second continuous shooting speed. High-speed continuous shooting at up to 60-frames peers second is also possible, albeit at VGA resolution. To the rear of the camera thereâs a 3-inch LCD with 460k dots and an electronic eye-level viewfinder with 200k dots. As youâd expect at this level thereâs a built-in flash but alas no hotshoe for attaching a more powerful external flashgun.
As well as the relatively modest price some people may also be attracted by the XG-1âs ten separate shooting modes that include a hands-off Auto Picture, Scene (with 11 options), Program, Face Beautifier and Movie.Â Thereâs also a range of digital filters such as black white and fish-eye to extend the photographerâs creativity in camera. As if that werenât enough thereâs a handy pet-detection mode offering automatic recognition for up to 10 different pet faces; clearly a camera for those with an extensive menagerie or zoo in their back yard. The XG-1 is also compatible with Eye-Fi wireless SD memory cardsÂ so you can share your images and videos straight to a phone or tablet before posting them online before you get home.
The XG-1?s specifications arenât earth shattering but it is interesting to see that, since Pentax was acquired by Ricoh Ricoh, the company is still plugging away at the bridge camera market with this brand new model. The lower end of the digital camera market is increasingly being squeezed by the excellent quality offered by smart phones and so manufacturers are having to look to more sophisticated budget models with long-range zooms to attract people back to using a âproperâ digital camera. Whether the XG-1 is the model to do that for Pentaxâ¦ only time will tell.
The Pentax XG-1 goes on sale from the middle of August and will retail for a suggested price of Â£250/â¬310/$425
- 1/2.3? back-illuminated CMOS sensor with 16MP
- Lens: 24-1248mm f/2.8-5.6 (52x optical zoom), macro mode: 1 cm
- Lens design: 15 elements in 13 groups, 6 aspherical elements
- ISO range: 100-3200
- 3.0?, 460,000 dots LCD screen
- Continuous shooting at 9 fps, ultra high-speed continuous shooting at 60 frames per second (VGA), high-speed continuous shooting at 30 frames per second (4MP)
- Auto tracking AF
- ShakeÂ reduction (SR)
- 200,000 dots EVF
- 4 ~ 1/2000 sec shutter speed
- Full HD video (1920 x 1080), 30 fps. H.264
- HDR mode
- Interval shooting function
- Pet detection mode
- Size 89 x 119 x 97.5 mm
- Weight: 567 g (including battery and memory card)