Pentax MX-1 vs Sony RX100 II
The Pentax MX-1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2013 and June 2013. Both the MX-1 and the RX100 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) and an one-inch (RX100 II) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Pentax MX-1||Sony RX100 II|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-12800||ISO 100-12800 (100-25600)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|1 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|290 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g||102 x 58 x 38 mm, 281 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax MX-1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax MX-1 and the Sony RX100 II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 RX100 II is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Pentax MX-1. Moreover, the RX100 II is markedly lighter (28 percent) than the MX-1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the MX-1 nor the RX100 II are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the RX100 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left 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 camera comparisons there.
|Pentax MX-1»||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499||Pentax MX-1|
|Sony RX100 II«||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749||Sony RX100 II|
|Canon G7 X« »||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Canon G16« »||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Canon G15« »||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499||Canon G15|
|Canon SX50« »||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429||Canon SX50|
|Fujifilm X30« »||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20« »||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599||Fujifilm X20|
|Fujifilm X10« »||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599||Fujifilm X10|
|Nikon P7800« »||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus XZ-2« »||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Panasonic LX7« »||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||Panasonic LX7|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100« »||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649||Sony RX100|
|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 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 MX-1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the RX100 II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax MX-1 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony RX100 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 II is 170 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.5 and 2.7. The sensor in the MX-1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 II offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the RX100 II offers a higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the RX100 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX100 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the MX-1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX100 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax MX-1 are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch 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-RX100 II are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX100 II offers substantially better image quality than the MX-1 (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Pentax MX-1||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||208||49||Pentax MX-1|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67||Sony RX100 II|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Canon G16||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Canon G15||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||19.9||11.5||165||46||Canon G15|
|Canon SX50||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||20.3||11.2||179||47||Canon SX50|
|Fujifilm X30||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X20|
|Fujifilm X10||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.5||11.3||245||50||Fujifilm X10|
|Nikon P7800||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||21.2||11.7||200||54||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus XZ-2||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||216||49||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic FZ1000||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Panasonic LX7||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||20.7||11.7||147||50||Panasonic LX7|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66||Sony RX100|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 II 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 range of features. The MX-1 and the RX100 II 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 RX100 II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax MX-1 and Sony RX100 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Pentax MX-1||none||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/8000s||1.0||Y||Y||Pentax MX-1|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 II|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Canon G16||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|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||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LX7|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100||none||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100|
Both the MX-1 and the RX100 II have zoom lenses built in. The MX-1 has a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 optic and the RX100 II offers a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Pentax and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
The MX-1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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-RX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Pentax MX-1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax MX-1|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 II|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Canon G16||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Canon G15||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon G15|
|Canon SX50||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SX50|
|Fujifilm X30||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X30|
|Fujifilm X20||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X20|
|Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X10|
|Nikon P7800||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon P7800|
|Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX7|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX100|
It is notable that the RX100 II 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 offer wifi capability.
Both the MX-1 and the RX100 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 II was replaced by the Sony RX100 III, 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 and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Pentax MX-1 better than the Sony RX100 II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Pentax MX-1:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2013).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 122x61mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 110g or 28 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 II is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 RX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the MX-1 or the RX100 II perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon G15 vs Sony RX100 II
- Canon G3 X vs Sony RX100 II
- Canon T7 vs Sony RX100 II
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Pentax MX-1
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic FZ2500 vs Pentax MX-1
- Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 II
- Pentax K-1 II vs Pentax MX-1
- Pentax MX-1 vs Sony A6500
- Pentax MX-1 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Sony A68 vs Sony RX100 II
Specifications: Pentax MX-1 vs Sony RX100 II
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 RX100 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||January 2013||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony RX100 II|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12800 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-25600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||49||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||22.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||208||483|
|Screen Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony RX100 II|
|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||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony RX100 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/2000/s|
|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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony RX100 II|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||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|
|Body Specs||Pentax MX-1||Sony RX100 II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||350 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 38 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||391 g (13.8 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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