Pentax MX1 Review – CNET

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The Pentax MX1 has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise lackluster year for camera releases thus far (most of the big releases came in late 2012 at the big trade shows). The MX1 though, is a very interesting addition to an crowded fixed lens compact field which includes the Sony RX100, Panasonic Lumix LX7, Olympus XZ2, Canon G15 and another new release, the Fuji X20.  There have been numerous positive reviews coming in on the new Pentax, with many pointing out it’s quality construction, including brass top and bottom plates and retro styling reminiscent of the old Pentax MX series film cameras.  Also impressive are the MX1′s high quality, fast and bright lens and superb macro performance.  But just how well will the new MX1 hold up to the scrutiny of CNET?

Lexy Savvides and the CNET Australia staff recently put the MX1 through it’s paces, and here are some highlights from their review…

Design and features

The MX-1 has more than just good looks going for it, as inside is a 12-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor at 1/1.7 inch.

{It’s also equipped with a] nice, bright f/1.8 lens at 4x optical zoom sits at the front, though there’s no rotating element around it that lets you adjust exposure or focus.

The tilting 3-inch LCD screen is nice and bright, boasting a resolution of 920,000 dots.

Overall, the MX-1 is a sturdy camera with clean finishes, and is put together incredibly well.

Image quality

The Pentax MX-1 produces very good quality images for a camera of its class. Expect photos with good tonality, punchy colours and plenty of detail.

An ISO range of 100-12,800 is welcomed. A very low-level noise profile starts to appear on images taken at ISO 200, though it is hardly noticeable and would not present any problem whatsoever for photographers who wanted to make enlargements or prints. Noise starts to affect detail at ISO 1600 and above, with colored noise in particular affecting images even when inspecting at a reduced resolution.

The MX-1 offers 1080p video recording at 30fps, and 30/60fps at 720p. Video quality is very good, and you also get the ability to use the optical zoom and autofocus during filming. The MX-1 also has a stereo microphone on the top plate.


While serious HDR enthusiasts will merge their exposures together in post-processing, the MX-1 has a very decent HDR mode built in. There are three intensities to choose from: standard, strong 1 or strong 2.


The MX-1 presents excellent value for money. At times during the review process, we thought that it was a much more expensive camera than its AU$499 asking price. With very good photo and video quality, the MX-1 comes recommended for photographers looking at buying an advanced compact camera with bells and whistles to keep things interesting for times to come. (Read full review on CNET Australia)

My 2 Cents

The Pentax MX1 is definitely pushing it’s way into the top 5 cameras in this category, and it’s performance, cool looks and the fact that it’s priced right in the middle of the pack should make it a compelling choice for those looking to step up from a cheap-o point and shoot or to add a high quality “go anywhere” camera to their collection without ponying up the cash for one of the premiums compacts (namely, the Sony RX1, Fuji X100s or Nikon Coolpix A).

When all is said and done, I expect that (barring any new releases) the cameras that will battle it out for the top four spots will be the Sony RX100, Panasonic Lumix LX7Pentax MX1, and Fuji X20.  Of these four, the Sony and Panasonic are known commodities and both are exceptional (and the Panasonic LX7 is by far the best deal in this category, as at the time of this posting, it’s selling for only $298 USD – insanely low for a camera of this quality).  The MX1 and Fuji’s X20 are new, but the reviews on both have been extremely positive.   Which one will come out on top will purely be a matter of preference and in my opinion, and you should be happy to have any of these in your camera bag.

Buy the Pentax MX1 (in Black or Silver) on Amazon Here


Joseph says:

The Pentax MX-1 is a great camera. Color are wonderful and right now can be found for $450.

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