Canon T3 vs Pentax MX-1
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 (called Canon 1100D in some regions) and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2011 and January 2013. The T3 is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3 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 physical size and weight of the Canon T3 and the Pentax MX-1 are illustrated 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.
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 (43 percent) than the Canon T3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3 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 T3 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 T3 and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|5.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|9.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|10.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|11.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|12.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|13.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|14.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|16.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|17.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3 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 T3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 12.2MP, the T3 offers a slightly higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the T3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.15μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1) due to its larger sensor. However, the MX-1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the T3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. 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 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 T3 provides substantially higher image quality than the MX-1, with an overall score that is 13 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.9 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 |
|6.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the MX-1 provides a better video resolution than the T3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T3 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 T3, the Pentax MX-1, and comparable cameras.
|6.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T3 and the MX-1 write their files to 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 Rebel T3 and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|6.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the T3 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 T3 and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3 was replaced by the Canon T5, 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 there a clear favorite between the Canon T3 and the Pentax MX-1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.9 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 (700 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 on the market for longer (launched in February 2011).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") 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 T3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 130x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T3).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the MX-1 comes out slightly ahead of the T3 (10 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 T3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T3 and the MX-1 in practical situations. 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon T100||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|5.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|9.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|10.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|11.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|12.||Canon XS||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|13.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|14.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|16.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|17.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon T3 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 T3||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||February 2011||January 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T3||Pentax MX-1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.0 x 14.7 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||323.4 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.5 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2848 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.15 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.76 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||755||208|
|Screen Specs||Canon T3||Pentax MX-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T3||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||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T3||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 T3||Pentax MX-1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
130 x 100 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
122 x 61 x 51 mm
(4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||495 g (17.5 oz)||391 g (13.8 oz)|
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