Nate “Blunty” Burr (aka Blunty3000) Takes an in depth look at the Pentax MX-1. This is Pentax’s new entry into the fixed lens compact arena, and it’s introductory price of $479 USD has it sliding in quite nicely between the Panasonic Lumix LX7 (currently a steal at $399 USD) and the Sony RX100 ($648 USD), which are two of our favorite compact cameras of the last year, and both are exceptional. But can the new MX-1 compete with the likes of Sony and Panasonic?
Pentax MX-1 Key Features
- 12MP 1/1.7″ BSI CMOS Sensor
- smc Pentax 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 Zoom Lens
- 3.0″ 920k-Dot Tiltable LCD Monitor
- Body-Based Shake Reduction Systems
- ISO 100-12800 capability
- Full HD 1080p Video capture
- Genuine Brass Body Construction
- Macro Shooting Capabilities
Here’s what the Company Says
1/1.7 Inch 12MP BSI CMOS Sensor
The MX-1 includes a 12 megapixel 1/1.7″ backside-illuminated CMOS sensor to produce high quality imagery with especially notable low-light performance due to a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12800. The low-light shooting abilities are further extended by the integration of Pentax body-based Sensor-Shift and Pixel Track Shake Reduction (SR) systems. This method of image stabilization compensates for the effects of camera shake up to the equivalent of three stops.The image sensor also aids in intelligent focusing capabilities by using technologies such as Fast Face Detection, Smile Capture, and Blink Detection. The combination of these modes enables you to take images of people in a quick and intuitive manner without sacrificing focus or exposure quality.
smc Pentax 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 Lens
A fast f/1.8-2.5 4x optical zoom lens is featured on the MX-1, giving a 35mm-equivalent zoom range of 28-112mm. The wide maximum aperture benefits both low-light shooting as well as enabling greater control over depth of field. This lens also integrates four aspherical elements in its construction to reduce the appearance of chromatic aberrations and improve overall image quality. Macro shooting capabilities are also afforded by the lens, and allow you to shoot as close as 0.4″ / 1cm away from your subject.
Full HD 1080p Video
Full HD 1920 x 1080 video capture is supported up to 25fps in the high quality H.264 compression. Creative video playback options are available, such as high-speed and slow-motion playback options, and connection to an HDTV is also possible via the HDMI port.
Compact and Functional Design
The MX-1 is a compactly designed camera, yet it retains the design functionality reminiscent of larger, interchangeable lens cameras. Textured mode dials, exposure dials, and other physical features give this small camera an effective physical stature. Genuine brass covers are used on the top and bottom segments of the body to provide durability while also instilling a refined aesthetic appearance akin to a film camera.
3.0 Inch 920k-dot LCD monitor
For monitoring and reviewing imagery, a 3.0 Inch 920k-dot LCD monitor is incorporated into the design and features tilting capabilities (down 45° and up 90°) for use from both high and low viewing angles. A dual-axis level gauge is also available and visible on the monitor for ensuring straight horizons when shooting in either vertical or horizontal orientation.”
My 2 Cents
With the MX-1, Pentax have indeed entered into the mix in the crowded fixed lens compact arena. While the Sony RX100 and the Panasonic Lumix LX7 remain at the top of this class, the MX-1 will nevertheless attract some attention due to it’s retro styling and feel, tiltable touch screen (not typically seen on this type of camera), low light and macro performance (a testament to it’s outstanding lens), and it’s ease of use, all of which will put it squarely in the company of contenders such as the Olympus XZ-2 and the soon to be released Fuji X-20.
Abundant competition will hopefully mean great prices on these compact shooters in the year to come.