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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.

camera

Is the Pentax MX-1 a good camera? The MX-1 has a Camera Elo of 1408. 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 8 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 - 12 800
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 similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons 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.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
2.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
3.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
4.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
6.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
7.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
8.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
9.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 410 n Oct 2013 699i
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
11.
 
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.

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.

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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.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
2.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
3.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
4.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
5.
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.411.2-31249
6.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.110.9-46246
7.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
8.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
9.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.711.617951
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
11.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

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.

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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.
 
Pentax MX-1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
2.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
3.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
5.
 
Fujifilm X302360 n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
6.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
7.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
8.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
9.
 
Olympus Stylus 11440 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

The LCD screen on the Pentax MX-1 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD can be tilted vertically to facilitate odd-angle shots in landscape orientation. This tilting design is often preferred, for example, by street photographers to a fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment, as it is more unobtrusive during shooting than a screen that flips out to the side.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the MX-1

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.

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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.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
7.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Olympus Stylus 1Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-

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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax MX-13/5....74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
2.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
3.
 
Canon S120..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
4.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Fujifilm X304/5....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
6.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +..77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
7.
 
Fujifilm X10......76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
8.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
9.
 
Olympus Stylus 1..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 699i
10.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
11.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+....4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
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.

How do I find the shutter count on my MX-1?

Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your MX-1 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.

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 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 000 x 3 000 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 - 12 800 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
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus 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 Built-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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