Canon R vs Pentax MX-1
The Canon EOS R and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2018 and January 2013. The Canon R is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (Canon R) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 30.1 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 R 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon R 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.
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 (45 percent) than the Canon R. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Canon R is splash and dust resistant, while the MX-1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 Canon R is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the Canon R can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon R6||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||680 g||360||Y||Jul 2020||2,499|
|4.||Canon 90D||141 mm||105 mm||77 mm||701 g||1300||Y||Aug 2019||1,199|
|5.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|6.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|8.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|9.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999|
|12.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|13.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|16.||Panasonic GH5s||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||660 g||440||Y||Jan 2018||2,499|
|17.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the Canon R, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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 R features a full frame sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 4.5. The sensor in the Canon R has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 30.1MP, the Canon R offers a higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the Canon R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.36μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Canon R is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 7 months) than the MX-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 33.6 x 22.4 inches or 85.3 x 56.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 26.9 x 17.9 inches or 68.3 x 45.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 22.4 x 14.9 inches or 56.9 x 37.9 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 R has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS R has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 40000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax MX-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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 Canon R provides substantially higher image quality than the MX-1, with an overall score that is 40 points higher. This advantage is based on 4.1 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|3.||Canon R6||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4k/60p||24.2||14.3||3394||90|
|5.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|8.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|11.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|12.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|13.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|16.||Panasonic GH5s||Four Thirds||9.9||3680||2700||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the Canon R provides a higher video resolution than the MX-1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Canon R has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the MX-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon R and Pentax MX-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|5.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|17.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One feature that is present on the Canon R, but is missing on the MX-1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The Canon R 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.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the Canon R is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon R and the MX-1 write their files to SDXC cards. The Canon R supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the MX-1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 R and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the Canon R 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.
The Canon R is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the MX-1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the MX-1 from Pentax. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon R or the Pentax MX-1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS R:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (30.1 vs 12MP) with a 62% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (40 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (4.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (3.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 920k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the MX-1 launch.
Advantages of the Pentax MX-1:
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the Canon R necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 139x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Canon R).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2013).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon R is the clear winner of the match-up (28 : 7 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 R and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 Canon R 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 R||4/5||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon R6||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499|
|4.||Canon 90D||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2019||1,199|
|5.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|6.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|8.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|9.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999|
|12.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|13.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|16.||Panasonic GH5s||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2018||2,499|
|17.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon R 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 R||Pentax MX-1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||September 2018||January 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 2,299||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon R||Pentax MX-1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||30.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6720 x 4480 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.36 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.48 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 40,000 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||89||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.5||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.5||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2742||208|
|Screen Specs||Canon R||Pentax MX-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2100k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon R||Pentax MX-1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||1 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||YES||no E-Shutter|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon R||Pentax MX-1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon R||Pentax MX-1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
139 x 98 x 84 mm
(5.5 x 3.9 x 3.3 in)
122 x 61 x 51 mm
(4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||391 g (13.8 oz)|
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