Pentax XG-1 Brief Review


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  • 16 megapixel 1/2.3” backlit CMOS sensor
  • 52x optical zoom
  • Maximum aperture f2.8-5.6
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/2000
  • 10 fps burst, up to 20 frames (.67 fps continuous shooting with no limit to number) 1080p HD video at 30 fps
  • 1 cm super macro mode
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 3” LCD screen
  • 2 second start-up and .2 second release lag
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Manual modes
  • 15.4 MB internal memory or SD, SDHC cards
  • Lithium ion battery rated at 240 images
  • Weighs 20 ounces
  • Release Date: 2014-10-12
  • Final Grade: 88 4.4 Star Rating: Recommended

Ricoh introduces well-rounded Pentax XG-1
In a competitive category, the Pentax XG-1 looks to be a well-rounded super zoom.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 1/13/2016

The super zoom category is jam packed—The Pentax XG-1 enters the fray with no fancy, frilly features like a dot sight or tilting LCD but with a solid set of capabilities at a decent price that make it an option worth considering.

The manufacturer is toting this camera as an “all-in-one” with the functionality of several DSLR lenses inside one affordable compact. With a 1 cm super macro mode plus a 52x optical zoom, the XG-1 certainly looks to be versatile. Though only a real world test will show how good the images turn out at the extreme end of both macro and telephoto, Pentax has a pretty solid reputation for their cameras. The XG-1 uses sensor shift image stabilization, which should come in handy at the long end of the zoom.

While there's no headlining feature, that's not necessarily a bad thing, since it looks like the XG-1 is well rounded. It's missing out on RAW for enthusiasts and those who love photo editing, but looks to have a good set of specifications otherwise. The XG-1 has a full set of manual modes, plus scene and automatic settings. The maximum aperture at the widest angle is f2.8, which is excellent at this price point. At the long end of that 52x zoom, the aperture creeps up to f5.6, but some in this category hit f6.5 at the same point. The maximum shutter speed is 1/2000, which is good for this price point and category.

With about a 10 fps burst speed that snaps 20 images in a row, speed looks to be a positive from this camera too. If you don't want to limit the number of shots, you can shoot .67 fps continuously, but the 20 shots is a pretty decent buffer for that speed, since most other similar models are limited to ten or less. According to Pentax, there's a 2 second start-up and a .2 second shutter lag.

While some of the super zooms we've tested this year are missing features like continuous focus, the tech specs list a pretty wide range of features for the category. Single-AF, Multi-AF, object tracking, face detection and continuous AF are all included, plus macro and super macro focus settings. Different metering options, including spot and center weighted, are also available. White balance settings include a number of presets plus temperature (Kelvin) options.

Short of the smaller sensor and lack of RAW, the Pentax XG-1 is fairly comparable to a DSLR in terms of versatility. Fixed lens cameras don't get you the same type of results, but the XG-1 looks to be quite versatile for the type and price. We'd love to test it out fully, but based on first impressions, it's not a bad buy.

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Pentax/Ricoh Reviews

Pentax, who just recently merged with Ricoh, has long been a sort of underdog—but not necessarily in performance or quality. Pentax/Ricoh offers some quirky cameras, but for the most part, we've found that to be a good thing.

The Pentax/Ricoh DSLR’s are mostly weather-sealed, giving them a unique advantage over competing manufacturers that don't offer anything similar. When we tried out models like the K-50, we were quite impressed with the image quality. The autofocus was a bit noisier than a Nikon, but the weather-sealing and often better price is hard to resist when the image quality is so good. Pentax continued to add in innovations by adding an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off to the 2013 K-3.

Pentax hasn't jumped into the mirrorless battle too much, but they do offer the tiny and colorful Q7. With a smaller sensor and a smaller price point, the Q7 and similar models are more of a consumer mirrorless than one for the enthusiasts, but it's an extremely small camera with a whole lot of color options.

Pentax has a few solid compact models out too. The Pentax MX-1 earned our Best Budget Advanced Compact for 2013 for its advanced features yet small price tag. They offer a waterproof line that includes macro ring lights built in, something unique to the WG cameras.

Pentax/Ricoh may be a bit quirky, but many of their cameras are well worth a look and offer excellent image quality for the price.

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