Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
The advanced compact scene has been dominated of late by cameras equipped with fast lenses, ample manual controls, and articulating screens. Some of the best, like the Nikon P7700, Canon G15, and Olympus XZ-2, tick most or all of these boxes and offer up some superb image quality along the way.
Pentax has never been known as a force in the compact camera scene, mostly making their name with DSLRs and medium format cameras, but today they've taken a big stab at the premium point-and-shoot market with the MX-1 (specs). Offering a 12-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor (no word on what physical size), a f/1.8-2.5 zoom lens with a 4x reach and 28mm wide-angle, and a high-res 3-inch tilting rear LCD, it's easily the most serious compact Pentax has ever released—possibly a sign of collaboration with the engineers at Ricoh.
The durable all-brass body features classic styling in the vein of the original Pentax MX film camera, with a rubber grip and the option of a silver or all-black finish. We have to say it looks pretty sexy. Inside, RAW capture, full-HD 1080p video capability, and the company's dual Shake Reduction technology create a pretty attractive all-around imaging package.
Advanced users will appreciate the dedicated exposure compensation dial, 10-position physical mode dial, and signature Pentax green button, which look to provide a somewhat DSLR-style control interface. All in all, this looks to be a very enticing stab at a previously untapped market for Pentax, though it might not quite match up feature-for-feature with the competitors from the bigger manufacturers.
The MX-1 will hit store shelves and internet retailers in February of this year, with a suggested retail price of $499.95.
**PENTAX Debuts Retro Design Camera Featuring Fast F1.8-2.5 Lens, 4X Zoom and Classically Crafted Brass Body*
The MX-1 strikes the perfect balance between performance and classic design
Denver, CO (January 7, 2013) — PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION (PENTAX) has introduced the MX-1, an advanced digital compact camera whose craft design and vintage lines appeal to a wide variety of photo enthusiasts. It’s fast F1.8-2.5 lens produces sharp and crisp imagery in a variety of settings and the camera’s 1/1.7 inch, 12.0 effective megapixel backlit CMOS sensor renders impressive low-light performance.
Encased in brass covers with an ergonomically-pleasing, texturized grip, the MX-1’s body is a tactile experience. The brass panels are cool to the touch and its high-end composition feels substantial in the hand, enabling simple and intuitive handling. Thanks to its beautiful styling and premium materials, the MX-1 develops a stunning patina impressing a history on the camera with each use.
The camera captures images in a wide variety of settings and its fast lens makes creating beautiful focusing effects and bokeh achievable, enabling heightened creative expression and artistic personalization. The MX-1’s 4X zoom offers a versatile and highly-useable range, from a wide 28mm to telephoto 112mm (in 35mm format), its dual shake-reduction system enables sharp, blur-free images in even the most demanding circumstances.
“The feature set of the MX-1, including its large articulated LCD, makes it a phenomenal choice for photo enthusiasts who require superior image-capturing capabilities but also appreciate the styling and construction of a classic camera.” said John Carlson, senior marketing manager, PENTAX.
Whether it is the seasoned and well-practiced veteran who is brought back to the heart of his passion with the touch and feel of the cool brass panels, or the design-conscious novice who’s inspired by retro character and design, the MX-1 delivers on their hunger to produce beautiful photos through defining optics, electronics and design.
Major features of the MX-1 include:
Expanding photographic horizons with fast lens and versatile zoom
The PENTAX MX-1 features a 4X optical zoom lens offering a large maximum aperture of F1.8 to F2.5 and 28mm wide-angle coverage (in the 35mm format). When set at maximum aperture and widest angle of view the photographer can use fast shutter speeds in dimly lit locations and take advantage of a beautiful bokeh (out-of-focus) effect in the background. The MX-1 also provides a Macro mode to capture dramatic close-up images of subjects from as little as one centimeter away. Additionally, the Intelligent Zoom (digital zoom) function extends the zoom coverage up to approximately 7.8 times (for a focal length of approximately 218mm (in the 35mm format) without compromising image quality by optimizing the resolution to match the zoom length.
Newly engineered backlit CMOS image sensor ensures super-high-resolution images in high-sensitivity shooting
The MX-1 incorporates a newly designed back-illuminated CMOS image sensor. With a top sensitivity of ISO 12800 and approximately 12.0 effective megapixels, it boasts remarkable high-sensitivity, low-noise capabilities and assures high-speed image data readout to deliver high-resolution images. The MX-1 also features a state-of-the-art imaging engine. Supported by the latest Super Resolution technology, this engine offers outstanding image-processing performance to produce clear, high-quality images with well-defined details. In addition, the MX-1’s unique Handheld Night snap mode helps the photographer capture blur-free night-time images by taking multiple images at one time, then synthesizing them into a single composite picture.
Classic and refined design
With its textured-rubber grip, and brass top and bottom covers that develop a distinctive appearance after years of use, the MX-1 offers a classic design reminiscent of traditional film cameras. It also features a number of metallic accents, including the lens ring, to further complete the tasteful, high-class finish down to the fine details.
DSLR operability including in-body RAW data development and dedicated exposure compensation dial enhance the shooting experience
Thanks to a dedicated exposure compensation dial, the MX-1 assures user-friendly, direct-access shift of the exposure compensation setting without the need to recall the menu screen. It also features a mode dial for swift, effortless setting of 10 different shooting modes — ranging from the hands-off Auto Picture and the all-purpose Programmed AE, to the more creative Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE and Metered Manual. As the result, the photographer is assured of outstanding creative freedom to choose the most appropriate shooting mode for a particular scene or subject without delay. Additionally, the MX-1 comes equipped with a host of SLR-like features to optimize its operability, including advanced UI (user interface) functions, easy-to-access controls and in-body RAW data development.
Dual shake-reduction system produces sharp, blur-free images
The MX-1’s dual shake-reduction system couples the PENTAX-developed sensor-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism with a digital SR mode to more effectively compensate for camera shake. This hybrid system guarantees the photographer sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting with incident light in poorly lit locations, or photographing sunset scenes.
Large, articulated LCD display simplifies capturing images at challenging angles
The MX-1 comes equipped with a large 3.0-inch, high-definition LCD display with approximately 921,000 dots. Its articulated design allows the photographer to adjust the display vertically and set it to the angle easiest for capturing and viewing. It also provides a clear view of images and menus displayed on the screen to assure quick, effortless review of recorded images and swift, error-free setting changes.
Full HD video captures high-quality movies with the push of a button
The MX-1 features Full HD movie recording functionality employing the H.264 recording format, to capture high-quality, extended movie clips (with 1920 x 1080 pixels, at a 16:9 aspect ratio, and at a frame rate of 30 frames per second). Switching to video mode is simple and intuitive; with the push of a dedicated button, the MX-1 instantly begins recording video from any shooting mode. It also offers creative movie capture modes — including a High-speed Movie mode** for slow-motion playback and a Time-lapse Movie mode** for fast-forward playback — to make movie capturing and viewing more fun and exciting. A micro-HDMI terminal (Type D) is also included on the camera body for quick and efficient output of recorded movies and sound to external devices.
- In these modes, the recorded size is fixed at VGA dimensions (640 x 480 pixels).
• Dual-axial digital level for accurate horizontal and vertical alignment
• Pop-up auto flash for perfectly exposed images and fill light
• Remote control sensors on front and back panels
• 15 digital filters, including Miniature and Toy Camera, to add creative touches to captured images
• A choice of four aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9. 3:2, 1:1) to accommodate specific applications
• SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 LE for PENTAX RICOH IMAGING RAW data development software (designed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included, in addition to in-body RAW data development
• Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN SD memory cards
Pricing and Availability
The new MX-1 advanced digital compact will be available at retail outlets nationwide and online in February 2013 with a suggested retail price of $499.95.
For details on the complete line-up of PENTAX cameras, visit: For details on the complete line-up of PENTAX lenses, visit: http://pentaximaging.com/camera-lenses/about.
• HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.
• All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
• Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.
PENTAX is a leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here: www.pentaximaging.com/news*