Pentax XG-1 52x Superzoom Camera Announced

July 15, 2014

Ricoh has announced the Pentax XG-1, a compact budget superzoom-bridge camera with 52x optical zoom.  The XG-1 is a mid-range offering, that although its impressive zoom, doesn’t quite stand up against the leading superzooms that has been released lately.

Pentax XG-1

Pentax XG-1 superzoom camera

The XG-1 features a 24-1248mm (35mm equivalent) F2.8-5.6 zoom lens with Pentax reliable sensor-shift SR shake reduction mechanism.  Let’s see how the lens compares to some other popular superzooms:

  • Panasonic FZ1000: 25-400mm F2.8-4.0 (16x)
  • Canon SX50 HS: 24-1200mm F3.4-6.5 (50x)
  • Panasonic FZ200: 25-600mm F2.8 (24x)
  • Panasonic FZ70: 20-1200mm F2.8-5.9 (60x)
  • Nikon P600: 24-1440mm F3.3-6.5 (60x)
  • Nikon P530: 24-1000mm F3.0-5.9 (41.7x)

As you can see, the XG-1 has a focal length that is roughly equivalent to that of the Canon SX50 HS. The optical zoom is the division of the highest focal length number and the smallest focal length number.

The XG-1 lens can also focus starting from 1cm in macro mode and the camera also provides a digital zoom that extended the total zoom to a maximum focal length of 4992mm (equivalent), but remember that a digital zoom is actually a digitally magnified and cropped image, so you give up on image quality.

Pentax XG-1 Superzoom side view

Pentax XG-1 Superzoom side view

At the heart of the Panasonic XG-1 is a 1/2.3″ 16MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor that allows the camera to shoot at high ISO with relatively low amount of image noise and also provides fast read-out times. The XG-1 can shoot up to ISO 3200.

At the back of the camera you get a 3.0 fixed LCD with 460K-dots resolution, quite disappointing considering the fact that most the LCDs that we see in superzooms are 920K-dots and up. 460K-dots still provides a good resolution so the image is clear and appears sharp. The Pentax XG-1 can shoot at various burst speeds, starting from 9 fps. 30 fps and even up to 60 fps in its super-high-speed continuous shooting mode with Auto tracking AF. The high speed burst is available only in a reduced resolution though. At 60 fps the image size is VGA (640×480 pixels) and in 30 fps the image size is 4MP (2304×1728 pixels). So if you don’t intent to make large prints or need that high resolution images, you can use the fast burst to get some unique shots that otherwise you would have missed.

The XG-1 also features a 200K-dots electronic viewfinder which is useful when shooting in bright daylight. Other features include Full HD video recording at 30 frames per second, built-in filters, creative movie playback features, high-speed mode (slo-mo video recording), 11 scene modes, Face beautifier, built-in HDR, interval shooting mode, Pet detection mode (up to 10 faces) and the battery life was tested for 240 shots (CIPA).

There is no on-board GPS or wireless connectivity, but the XG-1 is compatible with Eye-Fi connected cards.

I personally not that excited about it, but for a mid-range superzoom it offers a good range of useful features and a very versatile lens. Pentax also has the X-5 which uses the same 1/2.3″ back-illuminated CMOS sensor and has the same effective resolution, but with a smaller zoom and slower lens (22.3-580mm f/3.1-5.9), much slower burst (1.12 fps at full resolution).

The XG-1 will be available starting mid-August 2014 for a suggested retail price of $399.95.

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