Pentax launches X70 ultrazoom

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Pentax has entered previously uncharted territory today with the launch of its first ultrazoom “bridge” camera, the Pentax X70.

Pentax X70

Designed as a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive alternative to a DSLR, the X70 advertises a wide-range optical zoom, advanced processing functions, and high-speed shooting performance.

It’s all about the zoom
Built around a 12 megapixel CCD image sensor, the X70’s primary attraction is its 24x zoom lens. With a focal length equivalent to 26-624mm, the X70’s lens should be well suited to even the most demanding photographic applications – from sports and wildlife photography at the extreme telephoto end, to landscape and architectural work at full wide angle.

The X70 also employs multiple image stabilization technologies in an effort to make that huge zoom range more usable from end to end. CCD-shifting mechanical image stabilization is joined by an ISO boosting anti-blur mode, as well as a separate image stabilization mode for video capture.

Solid hardware choices
Pentax stayed close to the shore in rounding out the X70’s specs sheet, providing a 2.7 inch LCD and an electronic viewfinder for shot composition, a redesigned face detection system capable of recognizing up to 32 faces, and 720p video shooting (albeit at 15 fps rather than 30).

Macro mode provides close focus down to around one centimeter, and the X70 also claims to offer impressive high-speed shooting at speeds up to 11 fps – although it’s not clear from Pentax’s preliminary specs what kind of resolution these captures are made at.

Pricing and availability
The X70, which will be on display tomorrow morning when the show floor opens, is scheduled to ship in April. Suggested retail for the new model is $399.95.

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