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Olympus E-620 vs Pentax MX-1

The Olympus E-620 and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2009 and January 2013. The E-620 is a DSLR, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-620) 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-620
versus
Pentax MX-1
Olympus E-620   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)
4 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
130 x 94 x 60 mm, 521 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-620 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 Olympus E-620 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-620 vs Pentax MX-1
Compare E-620 versus MX-1 top
Comparison E-620 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 (39 percent) than the Olympus E-620. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-620 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-620 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-620 and their specifications in the Four Thirds 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.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
6.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499i
9.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449i
10.
 
Olympus E-P1 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799i
11.
 
Olympus E-P2 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799i
12.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
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 E-620, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 Olympus E-620 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Olympus E-620 and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the E-620 offers a slightly higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the E-620 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 3 years and 10 months) than the E-620, 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-620 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-620 versus MX-1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the E-620 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, 1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.4 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.

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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.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
3.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
4.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
5.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
6.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
8.
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
9.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
10.
 
Olympus E-P1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
11.
 
Olympus E-P2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
12.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
13.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
14.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
15.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
16.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
17.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152

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 E-620 does not. The highest resolution format that the MX-1 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-620 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 Olympus E-620, 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
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.
 
Olympus E-620optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax MX-1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
5.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-450optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
9.
 
Olympus E-600optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
10.
 
Olympus E-P1none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
11.
 
Olympus E-P2optional n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y
12.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-520optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
The E-620 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-620 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the MX-1 uses SDXC cards. The E-620 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-620 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.
 
Olympus E-620Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Olympus E-450Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-600Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-P1Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-P2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-30Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-520Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the E-620 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-620 and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-620 was replaced by the Olympus E-600, 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 Olympus and Pentax websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-620 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.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-620:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 (4 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.
  • 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 February 2009).

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax MX-1:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 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).
  • 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 E-620 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 130x94mm) 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-620).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-620 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-620 comes out slightly ahead of the MX-1 (11 : 10 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.

E-620 11:10 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-620 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-620 or the MX-1. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/100..72/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
2.
 
Pentax MX-13/5....74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
6.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-450........4/54/5 Mar 2009 499i
9.
 
Olympus E-600..........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449i
10.
 
Olympus E-P1..+..66/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799i
11.
 
Olympus E-P23/5+..69/1004/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799i
12.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
16.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
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.

Olympus E-620:
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-620 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-620 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 February 2009 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-620 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) 10.3 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 536 208
    Screen Specs Olympus E-620 Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.48x
    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-620 Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-620 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-620 Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type BLS-1 D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 94 x 60 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 521 g (18.4 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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