Pentax outs the X-5: 26x zoom, AA batteries, $299

Lots of camera news this week, and Pentax is joining with some of its own, as the company announces its X-5 camera, an ultrazoom with some interesting features sure to please anyone going on a holiday.

Recently we previewed Panasonic’s new ultrazoom, the FZ200, with its own impressive 26x optical zoom that roughly equated to 25 to 600mm in 35mm terms.

This week, Pentax is showing off its equivalent, with a slightly shorter range in the same 26x optical zoom because this one can go wider.

Rather than hit the 600mm length, the Pentax X-5 features a 22.3mm wide angle lens, and stretches to just shy of the 600mm mark (580mm) when zoomed at full length.

Close-up macro mode functionality is included here too, which can let you get nice and close to subjects at up to 1cm away.

On the back, there’s a 3 inch tilting LCD, as well as an electronic viewfinder in case it’s sunny or you just prefer to go at it old school.

Full HD video capture has become something of a standard in cameras, and that’s included here too, as is an anti-shake system.

But outside of the lens, what has our attention is the battery compartment, as it takes four AA batteries, making it easy to find a new source of power where ever you are, even if it’s running down.

We haven’t seen the use of AA batteries in a camera for a while now, and Pentax tells us the X-5 can shoot roughly 330 images on a set of fresh alkaline batteries.

Also of note is the price, and Pentax looks like it wants to really compete with the other ultrazooms, offering the X-5 for $299 RRP.

October is when this thing hits store shelves, where it will arrive in both black and silver, with perfect timing for that end of year holiday you were planning.