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Pentax X70 Digital Camera

Up until now Pentax has specialised in two types of camera; its Optio range of ultra-compacts, and its successful range of digital SLRs. It has a couple of other products, such as the W-series of waterproof compacts as well as some very nice binoculars and assortment of accessories, but up until now it has never ventured into bridge camera or super-zoom territory. The new Pentax X70 is the company's first foray into this uncharted territory, but it's a pretty accomplished debut. With a 24x zoom lens with a 26mm-equivalent wide angle, a 12-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch 230k monitor, sensor-shift image stabilisation and manual exposure options can it succeed in a highly competitive sector of the digital camera market?
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That competition is already well established. The current benchmark for super-zoom cameras is of course the extremely popular Panasonic FZ28, which sports an 18x zoom lens, 10.1MP sensor and optical image stabilisation, and currently sells for around £235. However the FZ28 was launched nearly a year ago and is getting a little long in the tooth. Other more recent rivals include the Olympus SP-590UZ, which features an over-stretched 26x zoom lens and 12MP sensor, and currently sells for around £240, or the Canon SX10 IS, with its 20x zoom and 10MP sensor. The £300 SX10 also features a flip-and-twist monitor and a video mode with stereo audio. However perhaps the closest match for the new Pentax is the excellent Nikon P90, which offers a 12.1MP sensor, a 24x zoom lens and image-stabilisation for around £300. By comparison the very similar X70 does look a bit expensive at around £370, but then it has only just been launched, so the price will probably fall over the next few months.
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Pentax has taken few risks with the overall design of the X70, and as a result it does look a bit generic. It has the conventional SLR-style body with a large handgrip, a pop-up flash, an electronic viewfinder and a fairly predictable control layout. In fact the X70 bears a strong physical resemblance to the Nikon P90, although measuring 110.5 x 82.5 x 89.5mm and weighing approximately 410g including battery the Pentax is both smaller and lighter.

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