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Canon G1 X vs Pentax MX-1

The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2012 and January 2013. Both the G1X and the MX-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon G1 X versus Pentax MX-1
Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
14.2 MP, 1.5" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 100-12,800
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
no rear screen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.9 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
250 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
117 x 81 x 65 mm, 534 g 122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G1 X 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X and the Pentax MX-1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G1 X vs Pentax MX-1
Compare G1X versus MX-1 top
Comparison G1X or MX-1 rear

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 notably smaller (21 percent) than the Canon G1 X. Moreover, the MX-1 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the G1X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
11.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
12.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949i
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
15.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the G1X, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 84 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon G1 X and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

With 14.2MP, the G1X offers a higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the G1X nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1) due to its larger sensor. However, the MX-1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the G1X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Canon G1 X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G1X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.8 x 16.3 inches or 55.3 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.4 x 13.1 inches or 44.2 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.5 x 10.9 inches or 36.8 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax MX-1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The Pentax MX-1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

G1X versus MX-1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the G1X provides substantially higher image quality than the MX-1, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
8.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
9.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
10.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
11.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
12.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
15.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the MX-1 provides a faster frame rate than the G1X. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1X 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 G1 X, the Pentax MX-1, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax MX-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
9.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
11.
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
12.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
15.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
The G1X has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the MX-1 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the G1X and the MX-1 have zoom lenses built in. The G1X has a 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 optic and the MX-1 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). The MX-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G1X and the MX-1 write their files to SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 PowerShot G1 X and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
12.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the G1X 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 G1X and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1X was replaced by the Canon G1X Mark II, 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G1 X or the Pentax MX-1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G1 X:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (14.2 vs 12MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (1.9 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2012).

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 117x81mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 143g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1X comes out slightly ahead of the MX-1 (9 : 8 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G1X 09:08 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1X or the MX-1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
2.
 
Pentax MX-13/5..74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon 500D..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
11.
 
Canon 450D..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
12.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
13.
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949i
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
15.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Canon G1 X:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon G1 X 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date January 2012 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1.5" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 18.7 x 14.0 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 261.8 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 23.4 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.85x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 14.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4352 x 3264 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.30 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 5.43 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 60 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 644 208
    Screen Specs Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 74%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.9 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G1 X Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type NB-10L D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 81 x 65 mm
    (4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 534 g (18.8 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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