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Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

The Pentax MX-1 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2013 and June 2011. The MX-1 is a fixed lens compact, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) 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
Pentax MX-1   Pentax Q
Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 Pentax Q mount lenses
12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 ISO 125-6400
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
290 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax MX-1 and the Pentax Q? 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: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax MX-1 and the Pentax Q is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the MX-1 is only available in black.

Size Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q
Compare MX-1 versus Pentax Q top
Comparison MX-1 or Pentax Q rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is notably smaller (25 percent) than the Pentax MX-1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the MX-1 nor the Pentax Q 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 Pentax Q is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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
 
Pentax MX-1» 4.8 in 2.4 in 2.0 in 13.8 oz 290 n Jan 2013 499- i Pentax MX-1
 
Pentax Q« 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 6.3 oz 230 n Jun 2011 649- i Pentax Q
 
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
 
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-PL1« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
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.

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 MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the Pentax Q, despite having a lens built in. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax MX-1 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 35 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.5 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Pentax MX-1 and Pentax Q sensor measures

Even though the MX-1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the MX-1 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the MX-1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Pentax MX-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

MX-1 versus Pentax Q MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
 
Pentax Q« 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.118947Pentax Q
 
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
 
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-PL1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
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. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The MX-1 and the Pentax Q 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 Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Pentax MX-1 and Pentax Q 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
 
Pentax MX-1»- n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y Pentax MX-1
 
Pentax Q«- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5 Y Y Pentax Q
 
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
 
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-PL1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
 
Panasonic LF1« »200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LF1

The Pentax Q 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.

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

 

Connectivity comparison: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

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 Pentax Q 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
 
Pentax Q«Ymonomono--mini2.0---Pentax Q
 
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
 
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PL1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Panasonic LF1« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic LF1

It is notable that the Pentax Q has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The MX-1 does not feature such an accessory-socket.

Both the MX-1 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, 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 Pentax website.


Review summary: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax MX-1 and the Pentax Q? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Pentax MX-1:

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Pentax Q requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (290 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the Pentax Q).


Arguments in favor of the Pentax Q:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (1.5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 122x61mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • 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 June 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). 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 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.

MX-1 07:07 Pentax Q

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax MX-1 and the Pentax Q place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the MX-1 or the Pentax Q. 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: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

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
 
Pentax MX-1»-74/1004/53.5/54/5 Jan 2013 499- i Pentax MX-1
 
Pentax Q«--4/53.5/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649- i Pentax Q
 
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
 
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-PL1« »86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
 
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
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 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.

Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax Q:
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: Pentax MX-1 vs Pentax Q

    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 Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2013 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 4.5x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 125-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 49 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 208 189
    Screen Specs Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    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 Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Pentax MX-1 Pentax Q
    Battery Type D-LI106 power pack D-LI68 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)290 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 391 g (13.8 oz) 180 g (6.3 oz)

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