It offers 12Mp stills, records 1,280x7200-pixel HD video clips at 30fps and is capable of continuous shooting for action photography of up to 11fps. The Pentax X90's focal range is a wide angle 26-676mm in 35mm film terms. This goes some way towards justifying the £300 asking price and Pentax's claim that it does everything but the ironing.
The control layout is busy yet thoughtfully implemented at the same time. The Pentax X90's top-plate mode dial features a full complement of creative options. These include program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes. The point-and-shoot Auto Picture mode, meanwhile, compares scenes against eight onboard presets for common subjects. Mostly reliable, it's sometimes confused by busy scenes. The advantage of having both manual automatic modes is that less experienced photographers can experiment as they get to know the camera and its extensive capabilities.
With the camera powering up in just over a second, Pentax has included a further Intelligent Zoom function. This runs on from the end of the optical range if you keep a forefinger on the zoom lever encircling the shutter release button. It incrementally boosts telephoto performance to either a 33.9x equivalent at 7Mp or a mind-blowing 162.5x if you don't mind shooting at a fuzzy 640x480-pixel resolution. The lower resolutions are because the camera is effectively cropping the image to give the appearance of having zoomed in.
In terms of picture quality, sensor shift anti-shake is fairly good at preventing blur when shooting at the maximum optical telephoto setting or in low light, although images appear quite noisy and lose detail at ISO1600 and above. There are three Jpeg quality levels offered by the X90, but no uncompressed RAW file option. Also, the optical zoom is disabled when video recording commences. More fun are its digital effects filters, including Toy Camera and Retro-feel, applied to the image in playback mode rather than at the point of capture.
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