Pentax MX-1 vs Sony HX90V
The Pentax MX-1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2013 and April 2015. Both the MX-1 and the HX90V are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX90V) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax MX-1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Pentax MX-1 and the Sony HX90V. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX90V is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Pentax MX-1. Moreover, the HX90V is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the MX-1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the MX-1 nor the HX90V are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the HX90V can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|2.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|3.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|8.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|10.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|12.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|15.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|16.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The HX90V was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the MX-1, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 Sony HX90V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX90V 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX90V offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the MX-1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.25μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1). However, it should be noted that the HX90V is much more recent (by 2 years and 3 months) than the MX-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX90V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX90V implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX90V for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax MX-1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Pentax MX-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
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.
| DXO |
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the HX90V provides a faster frame rate than the MX-1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX90V has an electronic viewfinder (638k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax MX-1 and Sony HX90V in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
Both the MX-1 and the HX90V have zoom lenses built in. The MX-1 has a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 optic and the HX90V offers a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Pentax. The MX-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The MX-1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX90V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The HX90V supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the MX-1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the HX90V offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the MX-1 does not provide wifi capability.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX90V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The HX90V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the MX-1 has been discontinued (but 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 Pentax and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Pentax MX-1 better than the Sony HX90V or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Pentax MX-1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.5).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2013).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 122x61mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 146g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the MX-1 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the HX90V is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 8 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax MX-1 and the Sony HX90V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Superzoom 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 HX90V. 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|2.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|3.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|8.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|10.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|11.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|12.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|15.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|16.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|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.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Pentax MX-1 vs Sony HX90V
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 Model||Pentax MX-1||Sony HX90V|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||January 2013||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony HX90V|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 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||Pentax MX-1||Sony HX90V|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony HX90V|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony HX90V|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony HX90V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
122 x 61 x 51 mm
(4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||391 g (13.8 oz)||245 g (8.6 oz)|
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