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Considering that Pentax is one of the original “Big Five” camera companies (along with Canon, Nikon, Minolta and Olympus), and has been making digital cameras for over a decade, it's rather surprising that last year's X70 was the company's first foray into the superzoom market. It did pretty well for a newcomer though, with a state-of-the-art 24x zoom camera with a good if unadventurous range of features. Pentax has obviously got a taste for it now, because it's just updated the design as the new X90.
The X90 is only a fairly minor upgrade on the X70, but it does address a couple of problems that affected the previous model. It still has a 12 megapixel 1/2.33-inch CCD sensor, a 2.7-inch 230k LCD monitor, a 200k electronic viewfinder, sensor-shift image stabilisation and optional manual exposure, but it now sports a high quality f/2.8-5.0 26x zoom lens equivalent to 26-676mm (the X70 had a 24x zoom), 720p HD video with mono audio at 30fps, and a new larger battery, increased to 1250mAh from the X70's relatively puny 880mAh version.
Pentax is up against some well established competition in the superzoom market, with models like the new Nikon P100 (£294), the Samsung WB5000 (£284), the superb Fuji S200EXR (£282) and of course the ever-popular but soon to be replaced Panasonic FZ-38 (£220), not to mention an ever-increasing number of long-zoom compacts. The X90 can certainly match its main rivals in terms of specification, and is currently selling for around £274, which is fairly competitive.
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