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Pentax MX-1 Comparison Review

The Pentax MX-1 is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in January 2013 and is equipped with a 1/1.7-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 12 megapixel.

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The Pentax MX-1 has a Camera Elo of 1428. This rating puts the MX-1 below average of all travel zoom compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (small sensor cameras), the MX-1 also ranks below average. – Well, the Pentax MX-1 is more than 6 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2013.

Headline Specifications
Pentax MX-1
Fixed lens compact camera
28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12800
No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
1 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
290 shots per battery charge
122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Pentax MX-1 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax MX-1 vs credit card front
MX-1 versus credit card top view
MX-1 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax MX-1 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 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
 
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 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
 
Fujifilm X30« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 2.4 in 14.9 oz 470 n Aug 2014 599 i i Fujifilm X30
 
Fujifilm X20« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.5 oz 270 n Jan 2013 599- i Fujifilm X20
 
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 XZ-2« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 12.2 oz 340 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic LF1« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.8 oz 250 n Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax MX-1 was launched in the US market at a price of $499. 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.

Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Pentax MX-1 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 4.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax MX-1 among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design.

Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
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 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
 
Fujifilm X30« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Fujifilm X30
 
Fujifilm X20« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Fujifilm X20
 
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 XZ-2« » 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic LF1« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152Panasonic LF1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The MX-1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. 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 range of features. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of 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
 
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 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
 
Fujifilm X30« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Fujifilm X30
 
Fujifilm X20« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Fujifilm X20
 
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 XZ-2« »- 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 convenient feature of the MX-1 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection 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 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
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---Pentax MX-1
 
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
 
Fujifilm X30« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X30
 
Fujifilm X20« »Ystereomono--micro2.0---Fujifilm X20
 
Fujifilm X10« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon P7800
 
Olympus XZ-2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic LF1« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic LF1
 

The MX-1 has a zoom lens built in (6.0-24.0mm f/1.8-2.5), which, in full frame equivalent terms, provides a focal length range from 28 to 112mm. The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic that offers similar focal length and aperture specifications.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
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 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
 
Fujifilm X30« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i i Fujifilm X30
 
Fujifilm X20« »+ +77/1004.5/5-5/5 Jan 2013 599- i Fujifilm X20
 
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 XZ-2« »+-4.5/54/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus XZ-2
 
Panasonic LF1« »+-4/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

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. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Pentax MX-1 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the MX-1.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the MX-1?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the MX-1?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800.

Does the Pentax MX-1 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

Which battery does the MX-1 use?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI106, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An 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 Summary
    Camera Model Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date January 2013
    Launch Price USD 499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 208
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type D-LI106 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 391 g (13.8 oz)

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