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Panasonic LF1 vs Pentax MX-1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2013 and January 2013. Both the LF1 and the MX-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/1.7-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic LF1   Pentax MX-1
Panasonic LF1 Pentax MX-1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-200mm f/2.0-5.9 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-6400 (80-12800) ISO 100-12800
Electronic viewfinder (200k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
250 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
103 x 62 x 28 mm, 192 g 122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 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: Panasonic LF1 vs Pentax MX-1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LF1 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Panasonic LF1 vs Pentax MX-1
Compare LF1 versus MX-1 top
Comparison LF1 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 notably larger (17 percent) than the Panasonic LF1. Moreover, the MX-1 is substantially heavier (104 percent) than the LF1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the LF1 nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.

The power pack in the LF1 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

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.

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
 
Panasonic LF1» 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.8 oz 250 n Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
 
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 G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon S120« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.1 in 7.7 oz 230 n Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Canon G15« » 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« » 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Nikon P7800« » 4.7 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 350 n Sep 2013 549- i Nikon P7800
 
Olympus XZ-2« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 12.2 oz 340 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic FZ200« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic FZ200
 
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
 
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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic LF1 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. 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. 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 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 4.5. 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.

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

Panasonic LF1 and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the LF1 and the MX-1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the LF1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the MX-1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax MX-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

LF1 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic LF1» 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152Panasonic LF1
 
Pentax MX-1« 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon S120« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656Canon S120
 
Canon G15« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
 
Nikon P7800« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054Nikon P7800
 
Olympus XZ-2« » 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic FZ200« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437Panasonic FZ200
 
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
 
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, but the LF1 provides a higher frame rate than the MX-1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic LF1 vs Pentax MX-1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the LF1 has an electronic viewfinder (200k dots), which can be very helpful 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 Panasonic LF1, the Pentax MX-1, and comparable cameras.

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
 
Panasonic LF1»200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LF1
 
Pentax MX-1«- n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
 
Canon S120« »- n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y Canon S120
 
Canon G15« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
 
Nikon P7800« »921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Nikon P7800
 
Olympus XZ-2« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic FZ200« »1312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ200
 
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic LX7« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Panasonic LX7

Both the LF1 and the MX-1 have zoom lenses built in. The LF1 has a 28-200mm f/2.0-5.9 optic and the MX-1 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic and Pentax provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Pentax has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The MX-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the LF1 and the MX-1 write their files to SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Panasonic LF1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 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
 
Panasonic LF1»-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic LF1
 
Pentax MX-1«-stereomono--mini2.0---Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon S120« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon S120
 
Canon G15« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
 
Nikon P7800« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon P7800
 
Olympus XZ-2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic FZ200« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic FZ200
 
Panasonic GF5« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic LX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX7

It is notable that the LF1 offers wifi support, while the MX-1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The LF1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the MX-1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the MX-1 from Pentax. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Pentax websites.


Review summary: Panasonic LF1 vs Pentax MX-1

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic LF1 better than the Pentax MX-1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (103x62mm vs 122x61mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 199g or 51 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the MX-1).

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax MX-1:

  • 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.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LF1 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

LF1 09:05 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic LF1 and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the LF1 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.

Expert reviews: Panasonic LF1 vs Pentax MX-1

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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
 
Panasonic LF1»+-4/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
 
Pentax MX-1«-74/1004/53.5/54/5 Jan 2013 499- i Pentax MX-1
 
Canon G1 X Mark II« »+77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon S120« »+ +-4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Canon G15« »+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »+ +72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Nikon P7800« »--4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549- i Nikon P7800
 
Olympus XZ-2« »+-4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic FZ200« »+ +80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic FZ200
 
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic LX7« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499- i Panasonic LX7
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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Panasonic LF1:
Check Amazon price
Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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: Panasonic LF1 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 Panasonic LF1 Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-200mm f/2.0-5.9 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date April 2013 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Panasonic LF1 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 4.5x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80-6400 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 80-12800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 52 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.8 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.6 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 211 208
    Screen Specs Panasonic LF1 Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder No viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 200k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic LF1 Pentax MX-1
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens-based 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 Panasonic LF1 Pentax MX-1
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Panasonic LF1 Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type DMW-BCN10 power pack D-LI106 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 103 x 62 x 28 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 192 g (6.8 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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