Ricoh Imaging has unveiled its latest DSLR-style mega-zoom bridge camera, the Pentax XG-1. The new 16-megapixel camera features an almost ridiculous 24-1,248-mm equivalent focal length range, and can knock out a speedy nine frames per second. This, combined with its entry-level price-tag, looks sure to make the XG-1 a hit with wildlife and sports shooters on a budget.

The Pentax XG-1 uses an effective 16-megapixel 1/2.33-inch CMOS sensor and a permanently attached 4.3-223.6-mm F2.8-F5.6 lens, which gives it a 24-1,248-mm equivalent focal length range in 35-mm-format. This puts it up there with the likes of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 and the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V in terms of versatility, and makes it a viable option for most shooting situations, whether that's landscapes, portraits or sports.

A 1-cm macro mode also makes it possible to photograph things right in front of the lens, while a sensor-shift-type shake reduction system is on hand to help keep images sharp when shooting at long telephoto lengths or at slower shutter speeds. The XG-1 is also capable of full resolution continuous shooting at a speedy 9 fps, and up to 60 fps if dropping the resolution right down. It can also shoot Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps.

However, while the Pentax XG-1 boasts a couple of impressive specifications, many of its others are considerably more mundane. For example, the rear three-inch LCD monitor has just 460K dots, and the electronic viewfinder 200K dots – both lower resolutions than many other cameras on the market. The XG-1 also lacks built-in Wi-Fi, which the majority of cameras now seem to come with, though it is at least compatible with Eye-Fi wireless SD cards.

There's also the size of that sensor, which is closer to those normally used in compacts than interchangeable-lens cameras. This results in things like a dated-feeling ISO range of just 100-3,200 and is going to restrict overall image quality. We've also seen recently, with the one-inch-type sensors in the Sony RX10 and Panasonic FZ1000, that bridge cameras don't have to be limited in this way. That said, it does help keep size, weight and price down.

Measuring 119 x 89 x 97.5 mm (4.7 x 3.5 x 3.8 in) and weighing 567 g (20 oz) when loaded with a battery and SD memory card, the XG-1 is comparable to an entry-level DSLR. Aimed at those looking to step up from a compact camera, but without opting for an interchangeable lens system, it also features a number of beginner-friendly shooting modes such as Auto Picture, HDR, Face Beautifier, and Pet detection.

The Pentax XG-1 will be available in August for a price of around US$400.

Product page: Pentax XG-1

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