PMA 2009: Pentax Reveals X70 MegaZoom

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The X70 Megazoom is one of the digital cameras that Pentax Imaging Company is showcasing at this year's Photo Marketing Association expo in Las Vegas. The 12 megapixel X70 is designed to bridge the gap between compact digital cameras and digital SLRs. It is ideal for the "intermediate to advanced shooter who wants to step up in form and function from digital compact offerings without the size, weight, and expense of a true DSLR camera."

Pentax X70 MegaZoom
Retailers offering Pentax X70 MegaZoom
Amazon ($399)
Adorama (not yet available)
B&H (not yet available)
Calumet (not yet available)

The X70 gives photographers both the simplicity of a compact camera and the advanced shooting options of a digital SLR such as aperture/shutter priority and metered manual modes, Shake Reduction (another word for image stabilization) and a high quality zoom lens. The lens is one of the highlights of the X70. Its 24X optical zoom is equivalent to 26-624mm, giving the user both wide angle and telephoto capabilities. It also has an Intelligent Zoom function that allows it to extend the zoom range about 150 times without affecting the performance of the lens.

The X70 also features three different Shake Reduction mechanisms to counteract camera shake. Mechanical shake reduction uses a CCD (image sensor) shift mechanism, digital Shake Reduction which uses high ISO and movie Shake Reduction which produces blur-free video capture. Which brings us to video capture.

The X70 is capable of capturing 720p (1280 x 720) HD video at 15 fps. It can also capture video at 848 (848 x 480), VGA and QVGA at 30 fps. Movies and pictures can be previewed on the camera's 2.7" LCD monitor. The LCD has an Anti-Reflection coating to minimize glare for better outdoor viewing.

The high speed Continuous Shooting mode of the X70 allows the camera to shoot about 11 images per second, up to 21 in succession. Along with the Auto-Tracking AF, which keeps a fast moving subject continuously in focus, this makes the X70 perfect for shooting high speed action such as sporting events.

The X70 offers several exposure modes to choose from. In Programmed AE mode the camera automatically optimizes the aperture and shutter speed settings for a given subject. Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority allow the user to manually selected the aperture and shutter speed manually while full Manual mode allows the user to set both. The Auto Picture mode automatically selects the most appropriate settings depending on the variables of the scene (lighting, contrast, etc). It chooses from several setting templates including Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Flower, Sport and Standard. There is also an Auto Sensitivity Control which adjusts the sensitivity level between ISO 50 and ISO 6400 depending on the lighting of the subject. Face Detection is another technology featured on the X70. This function can detect up to 32 faces and optimize the settings to capture them all in just .03 seconds, making it perfect for group shots. Other helpful functions include Smile Detection which automatically takes the shot as soon as a smile is detected, and Blink Detection which warns the user when people are blinking.

The Pentax X70 MegaZoom is expected to ship sometime in April for $399 USD. Check back, as we will be updating this table as any news of pre-order offers or special deals comes in.

[via BusinessWire and Pentax]