Ur-Leica Contax Camera Comparison
Leica 1600mm Vivitar Shutter count
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Olympus E-30 vs Pentax MX-1

The Olympus E-30 and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2008 and January 2013. The E-30 is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-30) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Olympus 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
Olympus E-30 versus Pentax MX-1
Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Four Thirds lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-12,800
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
750 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
142 x 108 x 75 mm, 701 g 122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-30 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 Olympus E-30 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-30 vs Pentax MX-1
Compare E-30 versus MX-1 top
Comparison E-30 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 (51 percent) than the Olympus E-30. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-30 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 E-30 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 E-30 and their specifications in the Four Thirds 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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

scroll hint
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
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
 
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
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499i
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449i
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-3 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
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.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the E-30, 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-30 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 81 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Olympus E-30 and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-30 offers a slightly higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the E-30 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.29μm 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 2 months) than the E-30, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Olympus E-30 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax MX-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

E-30 versus MX-1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the E-30 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the MX-1 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.3 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.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
 
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
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252

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 E-30 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 E-30 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 Olympus E-30 and Pentax MX-1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

scroll hint
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
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Pentax MX-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 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
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-600optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-P1none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-P2optional n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
 
Olympus E-3optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the E-30, 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 E-30 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 E-30 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the MX-1 uses SDXC cards. The E-30 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the MX-1 only has one slot.

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 Olympus E-30 and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-600Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-420Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-3Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---

It is notable that the E-30 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 E-30 and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Olympus and Pentax. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Pentax websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-30 or the Pentax MX-1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Advantages of the Olympus E-30:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (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 (750 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2008).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Pentax MX-1:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • 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).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-30 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 142x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the E-30).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the E-30 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-30 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-30 12:09 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-30 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-30 or the MX-1. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

scroll hint
Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Pentax MX-1..74/1004/53.5/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
 
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
 
Olympus E-450....4/5..4/5 Mar 2009 499i
 
Olympus E-600........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449i
 
Olympus E-62088/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699i
 
Olympus E-P1+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-P2+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
 
Olympus E-42085/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-388/100+ +oo4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Olympus E-30:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~

    Specifications: Olympus E-30 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 Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date November 2008 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4032 x 3024 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.29 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 5.42 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.3 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.4 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 530 208
    Screen Specs Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-30 Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type BLM-1 D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 108 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.3 x 3.0 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 701 g (24.7 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Olympus E-30 vs Pentax MX-1

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.



    If you like it, make sure you share it.

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback.