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Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

The Olympus XZ-2 and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and January 2013. Both the XZ-2 and the MX-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 11.8 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 XZ-2   Pentax MX-1
Olympus XZ-2 Pentax MX-1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
11.8 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 ISO 100-12800
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
340 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
113 x 65 x 48 mm, 346 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 XZ-2 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: Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

The physical size and weight of the Olympus XZ-2 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1
Compare XZ-2 versus MX-1 top
Comparison XZ-2 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 somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Olympus XZ-2. Moreover, the MX-1 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the XZ-2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XZ-2 nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus XZ-2» 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 12.2 oz 340 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus XZ-2
 
Pentax MX-1« 4.8 in 2.4 in 2.0 in 13.8 oz 290 n Jan 2013 499- i Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon G15« » 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Fujifilm X10« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« » 4.7 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 350 n Sep 2013 549- i Nikon P7800
 
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus XZ-1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.7 oz 320 n Jan 2011 499- i Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LF1« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.8 oz 250 n Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
 
Panasonic LX7« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
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 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 somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the XZ-2, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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: Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/1.7-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 4.4. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus XZ-2 and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the MX-1 offers a slightly higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 11.8 MP of the XZ-2. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.8 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the MX-1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2). However, it should be noted that the MX-1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the XZ-2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Olympus XZ-2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The Pentax MX-1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

XZ-2 versus MX-1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus XZ-2» 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649Olympus XZ-2
 
Pentax MX-1« 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon G15« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546Canon G15
 
Fujifilm X10« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054Nikon P7800
 
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus XZ-1« » 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LF1« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152Panasonic LF1
 
Panasonic LX7« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750Panasonic LX7

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The XZ-2 and the MX-1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the XZ-2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus XZ-2 and Pentax MX-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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
Camera
Model
 
Olympus XZ-2»- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus XZ-2
 
Pentax MX-1«- 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
 
Fujifilm X10« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Nikon P7800
 
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus XZ-1« »- n 3.0 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LF1« »200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LF1
 
Panasonic LX7« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Panasonic LX7

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The XZ-2 has a touchscreen, while the MX-1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Olympus XZ-2 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Both the XZ-2 and the MX-1 have zoom lenses built in. Both optics have identical focal length range and aperture specifications (6-24.0mm f/1.8-2.5). Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the XZ-2 and the MX-1 write their files to SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

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 XZ-2 and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus XZ-2»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus XZ-2
 
Pentax MX-1«-stereomono--mini2.0---Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon G15« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G15
 
Fujifilm X10« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon P7800
 
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus XZ-1« »Ymono---mini2.0---Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LF1« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic LF1
 
Panasonic LX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX7

It is notable that the XZ-2 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 XZ-2 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: Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus XZ-2 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 Olympus XZ-2:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 45g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (340 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 September 2012).

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the XZ-2 is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

XZ-2 08:03 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus XZ-2 and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 XZ-2 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: Olympus XZ-2 vs Pentax MX-1

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 (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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus XZ-2»+-4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus XZ-2
 
Pentax MX-1«-74/1004/53.5/54/5 Jan 2013 499- i Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon G15« »+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Fujifilm X10« »-76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »--4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549- i Nikon P7800
 
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »+ +72/1004.5/5-4/5 Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »86/10071/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus XZ-1« »-74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499- i Olympus XZ-1
 
Panasonic LF1« »+-4/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
 
Panasonic LX7« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus XZ-2:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Olympus XZ-2 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 XZ-2 Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date September 2012 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Olympus XZ-2 Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 4.4x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 11.8 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3968 x 2976 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.91 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 27.26 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 49 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 216 208
    Screen Specs Olympus XZ-2 Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus XZ-2 Pentax MX-1
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-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 Olympus XZ-2 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 Olympus XZ-2 Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type Li-90B power pack D-LI106 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)340 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 113 x 65 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 346 g (12.2 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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