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Canon XSi vs Pentax MX-1

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and January 2013. The XSi is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon XSi
versus
Pentax MX-1
Canon XSi   Pentax MX-1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-12,800
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 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 EOS Rebel XSi 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 physical size and weight of the Canon XSi 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 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 XSi vs Pentax MX-1
Compare XSi versus MX-1 top
Comparison XSi 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 considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Canon XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi 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 XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

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, 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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
6.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
10.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
11.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
12.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
13.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
14.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
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
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 103 mm 62 mm 28 mm 192 g 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the XSi, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

Sensor comparison

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 XSi 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 XSi has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon XSi and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the XSi offers a slightly higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the XSi nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1) due to its larger sensor. However, the MX-1 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 11 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi 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).

XSi 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 XSi provides substantially higher image quality than the MX-1, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.7 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.

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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 XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
6.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
9.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
10.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
11.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.478364
12.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
13.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
14.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
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
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The MX-1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the MX-1 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the XSi 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon XSi and Pentax MX-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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 XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Pentax MX-1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
7.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
11.
 
Canon XSoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
13.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

The XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the MX-1 uses 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 EOS Rebel XSi 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon XSY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the XSi 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 XSi and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon XSi better than the Pentax MX-1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 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 (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 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 (500 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 January 2008).

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • 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 XSi requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the XSi).
  • 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 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the MX-1 comes out slightly ahead of the XSi (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.

XSi 09:10 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XSi or the MX-1 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Pentax MX-13/5....74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
6.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
10.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
11.
 
Canon XS..82/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
12.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
13.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
14.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
15.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
17.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+....4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon XSi 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 XSi 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 January 2008 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 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) 61 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 208
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    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 XSi Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi 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 XSi Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type LP-E5 D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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