There is no full-resolution continuous shooting mode, which is a real disappointment. Even a simple three-shot burst would have been welcome. Instead, the X70 has three levels of high-speed continuous shooting at a 5-megapixel resolution. The fastest is able to capture up to 21 photos at an average of 12 frames per second.
Photo quality is very good for a superzoom camera. Noise is present from ISO 50 when photos are viewed at full size, although it doesn't become noticeable at smaller sizes until ISO 200. The X70 is also one of the sharper 20x or higher superzoom cameras we've tested, and detail is good at lower ISO settings. At ISO 400, noise reduction starts to blur detail. ISO 800 may be suitable for small prints if you're not too picky, but ISO 1,600 isn't worth using. We don't recommend using the high-ISO settings -- not so much because of the reduced resolution, but because the results are really not good.
The X70 produces inaccurate colours, but they're pleasing. Our test shots were taken using the camera's 'natural' setting, which is the only setting for the camera's 'auto picture' mode. Other shooting modes let you use the 'bright' and 'monochrome' options.
As expected from a superzoom camera -- especially one with a wideangle lens -- the X70 shows some barrel distortion at its widest setting and slight pincushioning at its longest position. Purple fringing isn't an issue until the X70's lens is fully extended. At that point, though, it's pretty bad. Pentax's sensor-shift shake reduction works well, helping out immensely when that long lens is in use.
The X70 is capable of capturing 720p high-definition video, but only at 15fps, which is pointless, frankly. Plus, the lens doesn't function while video is being recorded. If you want to use the X70 to record movie clips, use the VGA setting at 30fps. Those results are actually fairly good.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
There's no doubt that the Pentax X70's lens is fun, and, despite the crippled HD movie capture and lack of a full-resolution burst mode, it has plenty of shooting options. If your photos are only going to be seen on a computer screen or made into prints of 4 by 6 inches (or occasionally 8 by 10 inches), you'll probably be more than satisfied with its photo quality, too. The laggy performance is the only other major issue, but, again, if you're shooting slow-moving or still subjects, even that's not much of a hindrance.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet