Pentax MX-1 hands-on field test by Chris Niccolls at the Camera Store TV

Pentax MX-1 hands-on field test by Chris Niccolls at the Camera Store TV

The Pentax retro styled, brass laden MX-1 prosumer camera is poised to take on such household names as the Canon G15 and the upcoming Fujifilm X20. Is it up to the task? Oh yes, Chris seems mightily impressed by the MX-1's optical performance and unusual array of features: 

"We weren’t planning on doing a video on the MX-1, the specs looked good but it didn’t stand out to us as a hugely exciting camera.  Then we had a chance to play with the camera for a bit, and both Chris and I were impressed with the quality of the camera in every respect.  Also, after a number of weird design missteps, the MX-1’s retro design does exactly what we’ve been hoping Pentax would embrace.  It brings back fond memories of great classic Pentax

cameras, while including state of the art features."

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Company Pentax Canon Fujifilm
Model MX-1 PowerShot G15 X20
Pentax MX-1 Front View Canon PowerShot G15 Front View Front View
Release Date 01/2013 09/2012 01/2013
Initial Price $500 $500 $600
DXO Color Depth 19.9bits
DXO Dynamic Range 11.5Ev
DXO Low Light Performance 165 ISO
Lens Mount
Type Prosumer
Effective Pixels 12.0 Megapixels 12.1 Megapixels 12.0 Megapixels
Sensor Dust Removal
Stabilization details Sensor-shift type lens shift-type Image stabilisation mechanism shifts 5 lens elements compensating for camera shake
ISO Sensitivity Auto, Manual (ISO 100 - 12800) ISO 100-200, ISO 100-400, ISO 100-800, ISO 100-1600, ISO 100 -3200, ISO 100-6400, ISO 100-12800 AUTO, 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400, 8000, 10000, 12800 AUTO (Control available up to ISO3200),
Equivalent to ISO 100 - 12800 (Standard Output Sensitivity)
Image Processor Type DIGIC 5 with iSAPS technology EXR Processor II
Memory Card Type SDXC
Metering Mode Multi-segment metering,
Centre-weighted metering,
Spot metering
Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame),
Centre-weighted average,
Spot (centre or linked to Face Detection AF or FlexiZone AF frame)
TTL 256-zone metering,
Metering range
Shooting Modes Auto Picture,
Aperture Priority,
Shutter Priority,
Scene modes (Portrait, Flower, Landscape, Blue Sky, Sunset, Night Scene, Handheld Night Snap, Night Scene Portrait, Candlelight, Fire works, Food, Surf&Snow, Pet, Kids, Sport, Digital SR, Text, Candid Capture, Digital Wide, Digital Panorama, Miniature)
Smart Auto (58 scenes detected),
Program AE,
Shutter priority AE,
Aperture priority AE,
Custom 1,
Custom 2,
SCN (Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), High-speed Burst HQ, Handheld Night Scene, Underwater, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist),
Creative Filters (High Dynamic Range, Nostalgic, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap),
Movie Digest,
Programmed AE,
Aperture Priority AE,
Shutter Priority AE,
Portrait Enhancer,
Night (Tripod),
P, S, A, M,
C1, C2,
Exposure Compensation Braketing 1/3 – 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments AE Bracketing : ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV<br> Film Simulation Bracketing : Any 3 type of Film Simulation selectable<br> Dynamic Range Bracketing : 100% / 200% / 400%<br> ISO sensitivity Bracketing : ±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV
Shutter Type Programmed AE electronic lens shutter w electronic sensor shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter Electronic shutter
Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec. - 1/4 sec., max. 30 sec. (1/8000 sec. - 30 sec. with Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual Exposure, and combination of electronic shutter enabled), Bulb 1 – 1/4000 sec. (factory default) 15 – 1/4000 sec. (total range – varies by shooting mode) (Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/4000* sec. , (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000* sec. * 1/4000sec. at small aperture, 1/1000sec. at full aperture
Drive Modes One shot,
Continuous Shooting,
Burst Shooting (L/H),
Self-timer (10 or 2 sec, single or 3 shots),
Remote Control (immediate or 3 sec),
Auto Bracketing
Continuous with AF,
single, continuous, movie, panorama, self timer
Continuous Shooting Details 1 FPS for 6 frames Approx. 2.1 shots/sec.,
AF: Approx. 0.9 shots/sec.,
LV: Approx. 0.9 shots/sec.,
High-speed Burst HQ: Approx. 10.0 shots/sec., up to 10 shots,
High-speed Burst HQ with AF: Approx. 5.2 shots/sec., up to 10 shots
Super High : approx. 12 fps (max. 11 frames*)
High : approx. 9.0 fps (max. 14 frames*)
Middle : approx. 6.0 fps (max. 20 frames*)
Low : approx. 3.0 fps (max. 39 frames*)
* Max. number of frames can be shot in JPEG setting
- Best Frame capture
Super High : approx. 12 fps (max. 8 frames*)
High : approx. 9.0 fps (max. 8 frames*)
Middle : approx. 6.0 fps (max. 8 frames*)
Low : approx. 3.0 fps (max. 8 frames*)
* Max. number of frames can be shot in JPEG setting
Self Timer 10 or 2 sec Approx. 2 or 10 sec., Custom Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec.
Focusing Type Hybrid
AF Modes Infinity-landscape,
Manual Focus,
Pan Focus,
AF Point switching: available
Servo AF/AE
Tracking AF
Wide : Approx. 50cm / 1.6ft. to infinity
Telephoto : Approx. 80cm / 2.6ft. to infinity
Wide : Approx. 10cm - 3.0m / 3.9in. - 9.8ft.
Telephoto : Approx. 50cm - 3.0m / 1.6ft. - 9.8ft.
Super Macro
Approx. 1.0cm -1.0m / 0.4in. - 3.3ft.
AF Working Range
AF System Points 25 points 225 points
AF Assist Beam Available Yes Yes
AE Lock Yes Yes Yes
AF Fine Adjustment
Closest Focusing Distance
Depth of Field Preview
Flash Hotshoe No Yes Yes
Built in Flash Yes Yes Yes
Guide Number Wide: approx. 0.4m - 12.2m (ISO Auto) Tele: approx. 0.4m - 8.8m (ISO Auto) 50 cm – 7.0 m (W) / 4.5 m (T) Wide : Approx. 30cm - 7.0m / 11.7in. - 22.9ft. Telephoto : Approx. 50cm - 5.0m / 1.6ft. - 16.4ft.
Flash Modes Integrated flash control
Flash-on and Flash-off modes.
Low-speed synchro,
Low-speed synchro + Red-eye,
Trailing Curtain Sync.,
« red-eye» reducion function employs a pre-discharge.
Manual Flash On / Off
Slow Sync Speed: Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec.
Second Curtain Synchronisation
Face Detection FE,
Safety FE,
Smart Flash Exposure
Auto flash (Super intelligent Flash)
Red-eye Removal OFF
Auto, Forced Flash,
Suppressed Flash,
Slow Synchro.

Red-eye Removal ON
Red-eye Reduction Auto,
Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash,
Suppressed Flash,
Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.

Flash Xsync
External Flash Wireless Sync E-TTL with EX series Speedlites¹, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1 and HF-DC2
Viewfinder Type
Viewfinder Coverage ~85.0%
Viewfinder Eyepoint
Viewfinder Magnification
Rear Screen Details 3.0-inch tiltable TFT colour LCD, with protection acrylic cover, AR Coating 7.5 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G LCD (TFT). 2.8inch High Contrast LCD monitor
Resolution 460000 dots
Live View Autofocus
Live View Frame Rate
Live View Metering
Liveview Details Full time Full time Yes
Image Sizes JPEG:
5M (2592x1944),

2M (2048x1152),

4M (2592x1728),
2M (2016x1344),

5M (2304x2304),


(RAW, L) 4000 x 3000,
(M1) 2816 x 2112,
(M2) 1600 x 1200,
(S) 640 x 480

(RAW, L) 4000 x 2248,
(M1) 2816 x 1584,
(M2) 1920 x 1080,
(S) 640 x 360

(RAW, L) 4000 x 2664,
(M1) 2816 x 1880,
(M2) 1600 x 1064,
(S) 640 x 424

(RAW, L) 2992 x 2992,
(M1) 2112 x 2112,
(M2) 1200 x 1200,
(S) 480 x 480

(RAW, L) 2400 x 3000,
(M1) 1696 x 2112,
(M2) 960 x 1200,
(S) 384 x 480

Resize in playback (M2, S, XS) *XS is half the length and width of S

L : (4:3) 4000 x 3000
(3:2) 4000 x 2664
(16:9) 4000 x 2248
(1:1) 2992 x 2992

M : (4:3) 2816 x 2112
(3:2) 2816 x 1864
(16:9) 2816 x 1584
(1:1) 2112 x 2112

S : (4:3) 2048 x 1536
(3:2) 2048 x 1360
(16:9) 1920 x 1080
(1:1) 1536 x 1536

360° Vertical : 11520 x 1624 Horizontal : 11520 x 1080
180° Vertical : 5760 x 1624 Horizontal : 5760 x 1080
120° Vertical : 3840 x 1624 Horizontal : 3840 x 1080

Still Image Format RAW(DNG),
JPEG (conforms to Exif 2.3),
conforms to DCF 2.0, DPOF, PRINT Image Matching III
JPEG compression (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant)
Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF ver. 1.1 compliant),
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)
RAW (RAF format), RAW+JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
Movie 1920 (1920x1080): approx. 30fps,
1280 (1280x 720): approx. 60/30fps

Shake reduction Mode (Movie SR)

(Full HD) 1920 x 1080, 24 fps,
(HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps,
(L) 640 x 480, 30 fps

Super Slow Motion Movie
(L) 640 x 480, 120fps,
(M) 320 x 240, 240fps

Miniature Effect
(HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps

iFrame Movie (HD)

Full HD Video (1920 x 1080) at 60fps-36Mbps with Manual focus during video recording 1280 x 720 pixels (60fps)
640 x 480 pixels (30fps)
with stereo sound
Optical zoom (manual) can be used.
* SD memory card with a class 10 write speed (10 MB/sec.) or better is recommended.
Movie Length Depending on memory card capacity (Full HD & HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.
(L and M) Up to 4 GB or 1 hour
(Super Slow Motion Movie) 30 sec.
Up to 29min
Movie Format MPEG-4 AVC / H.264
Full HD video H.264 with HDMI output
MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (stereo)]
MOV (H.264, Audio : Linear PCM / stereo sound)
Power Source Rechargeable Battery D-LI106 Lithium-ion battery Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-10L (NB-10L battery and charger supplied) NP-50 Li-ion battery (included)
Battery Life Still*: Approx. 290 shots (Rech. L-ion battery) Playback**: Approx. 280min (Rech. L-ion battery) Approx. 350 shots Approx. 420 min. playback 270 frames (LCD : ON, AUTO mode)
Width 60mm 106mm 117mm
Height 122mm 76mm 69mm
Depth 51mm 40mm 57mm
Weight 363g unloaded, 391g loaded and ready 352 g (including battery/batteries and memory card) Approx. 353 g / 12.4 oz. (including battery and memory card) Approx. 333 g / 11.7 oz. (excluding battery and memory card)
Weather Sealing Details No No No
Body Materials Brass covers Magnesium-alloy Die-cast magnesium alloy
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