Canon 400D vs Pentax MX-1
The Canon EOS 400D (called Canon XTi in some regions) and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2006 and January 2013. The 400D is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (400D) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 400D and the Pentax MX-1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 400D and the Pentax MX-1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax MX-1 is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon 400D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 400D nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the MX-1 has a lens built in, whereas the 400D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 400D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|7.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|14.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|16.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the 400D, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 400D features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.5. The sensor in the 400D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the MX-1 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10.1 MP of the 400D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 5.71μm for the 400D). However, it should be noted that the MX-1 is much more recent (by 6 years and 4 months) than the 400D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax MX-1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the MX-1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 400D are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 400D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax MX-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 400D provides substantially higher image quality than the MX-1, with an overall score that is 13 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The MX-1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 400D does not. The highest resolution format that the MX-1 can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 400D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the MX-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 400D, the Pentax MX-1, and comparable cameras.
The 400D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the MX-1 uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 400D and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the 400D has a hotshoe, while the MX-1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the 400D and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 400D was replaced by the Canon 450D, while the MX-1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 400D better than the Pentax MX-1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 400D:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 7%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 400D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 127x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 400D).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 400D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the MX-1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 400D and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 400D and the MX-1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|7.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon 550D||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|14.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|16.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 400D vs Pentax MX-1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 400D||Pentax MX-1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||August 2006||January 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 400D||Pentax MX-1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.71 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.07 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||664||208|
|Screen Specs||Canon 400D||Pentax MX-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 400D||Pentax MX-1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||1 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 400D||Pentax MX-1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 400D||Pentax MX-1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
127 x 84 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
122 x 61 x 51 mm
(4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||556 g (19.6 oz)||391 g (13.8 oz)|
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