Nikon D1X vs Pentax MX-1
The Nikon D1X and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2001 and January 2013. The D1X is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D1X) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 5.9 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.
|Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|5.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 125-800 (125-3200)||ISO 100-12800|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|2.0" LCD, 120k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||1 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|1200 shots per battery charge||290 shots per battery charge|
|157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g||122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1X 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 Nikon D1X and the Pentax MX-1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 (69 percent) than the Nikon D1X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1X 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 D1X 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 D1X and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
As can be seen in the images above, the D1X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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.
|Nikon D1X»||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||Nikon D1X|
|Pentax MX-1«||4.8 in||2.4 in||2.0 in||13.8 oz||290||n||Jan 2013||499||Pentax MX-1|
|Canon G16« »||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Canon G15« »||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499||Canon G15|
|Nikon P7800« »||4.7 in||3.1 in||2.0 in||14.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2013||549||Nikon P7800|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||37.7 oz||2900||Y||Jul 2003||3,499||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D100« »||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1H« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||Nikon D1|
|Olympus XZ-2« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||12.2 oz||340||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus XZ-2|
|Panasonic LF1« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||6.8 oz||250||n||Apr 2013||499||Panasonic LF1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 D1X, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D1X features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 4.5. The sensor in the D1X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the MX-1 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 5.9 MP of the D1X. 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 1.89μm versus 7.92μm for the D1X). However, it should be noted that the MX-1 is much more recent (by 11 years and 11 months) than the D1X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax MX-1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the MX-1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1X are 15 x 9.8 inch or 38.2 x 24.9 cm for good quality, 12 x 7.8 inch or 30.6 x 19.9 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.5 inch or 25.5 x 16.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D1X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 125-3200. 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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon D1X||APS-C||5.9||3008||1960||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D1X|
|Pentax MX-1||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||208||49||Pentax MX-1|
|Canon G16||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Canon G15||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||19.9||11.5||165||46||Canon G15|
|Nikon P7800||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||21.2||11.7||200||54||Nikon P7800|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||10.9||476||59||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H||APS-C||4.0||2464||1632||none||18.9||10.0||352||40||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D100||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1H||APS-C||2.6||2000||1312||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1||APS-C||2.6||2000||1312||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D1|
|Olympus XZ-2||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||216||49||Olympus XZ-2|
|Panasonic LF1||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.8||11.6||211||52||Panasonic LF1|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The MX-1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D1X does not. The highest resolution format that the MX-1 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D1X 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D1X and Pentax MX-1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n||Nikon D1X|
|Pentax MX-1||none||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/8000s||1.0||Y||Y||Pentax MX-1|
|Canon G16||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|Canon G15||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y||Canon G15|
|Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Nikon P7800|
|Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X||optical||Y||2.5||235||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H||optical||Y||2.5||211||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||n||n||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1H||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||1.5||n||n||Nikon D1|
|Olympus XZ-2||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-2|
|Panasonic LF1||200||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LF1|
One feature that is present on the D1X, 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 D1X writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the MX-1 uses 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 Nikon D1X and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D1X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
|Pentax MX-1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax MX-1|
|Canon G16||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Canon G15||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon G15|
|Nikon P7800||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon P7800|
|Nikon D4||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D300S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D300||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D2H||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2H|
|Nikon D100||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1H||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1|
|Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-2|
|Panasonic LF1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic LF1|
It is notable that the D1X 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.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1X (unlike the MX-1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D1X and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1X was replaced by the Nikon D2X, 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 Nikon and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D1X 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.
Advantages of the Nikon D1X:
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
- 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.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
- 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.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2001).
Reasons to prefer the Pentax MX-1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 5.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 120k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D1X requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D1X).
- 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 modern: Reflects 11 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D1X launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D1X emerges as the winner of the contest (15 : 12 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 Nikon D1X 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 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 D1X 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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.
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.
Specifications: Nikon D1X 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||Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||February 2001||January 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 5999||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||5.9 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 1960 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.92 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.59 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125-800 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||208|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||120k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|Autofocus 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||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D1X||Pentax MX-1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
122 x 61 x 51 mm
(4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||1100 g (38.8 oz)||391 g (13.8 oz)|
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