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Canon SX420 vs Pentax MX-1

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and January 2013. Both the SX420 and the MX-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 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 SX420 versus Pentax MX-1
Canon SX420 Pentax MX-1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
720/25p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-12,800
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
195 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 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 SX420 IS 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the MX-1 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX420 vs Pentax MX-1
Compare SX420 versus MX-1 top
Comparison SX420 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 somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon SX420. Moreover, the MX-1 is markedly heavier (20 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
 
Canon M6 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
 
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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 SX420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the MX-1, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX420 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 54 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX420 and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Pentax MX-1. 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 1.19μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the MX-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 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 SX420 IS 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).

SX420 versus MX-1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
 
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 also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the MX-1 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX420 and the MX-1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX420, 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
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Pentax MX-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y

Both the SX420 and the MX-1 have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the MX-1 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Pentax. The MX-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the MX-1 write their files to SDXC cards.

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 SX420 IS 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
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the MX-1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SX420 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Pentax MX-1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 12MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 66g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the MX-1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
  • 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (1 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.5).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2013).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the MX-1 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 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.

SX420 09:13 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX420 or the MX-1 perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Pentax MX-1..74/1004/53.5/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
 
Canon M6..80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610....4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon G15+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Fujifilm X20+ +77/1004.5/5..5/5 Jan 2013 599i
 
Nikon P7800....4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
 
Olympus XZ-2+..4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX420:
Check Amazon price
Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX420 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 SX420 Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date January 2016 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 19.9 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 208
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 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 SX420 Pentax MX-1
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type NB-11LH D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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