Pentax has announced the MX-1 - its entry into the enthusiast compact camera sector. The MX-1 features classic styling and construction, with brass top- and base-plates. It's based around a stabilized 12MP BSI CMOS sensor and a familiar-sounding 28-112mm equivalent F1.8-2.5 lens. In addition the MX-1 features a flip-out 920k dot rear screen. It includes a top-plate exposure compensation dial and rear thumb wheel to control a UI very much like those in the company's DSLRs. We've borrowed a pre-production version of the camera and have prepared a hands-on preview article.

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Press Release:

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).

Other features

  • 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.

{Pentax MX-1 specifications

Price
MSRP$499
Body type
Body typeCompact
Body materialBrass and composite
Sensor
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions3984 x 2656, 3968 x 2232, 3072 x 2304, 3072 x 2048, 3072 x 1728, 2592 x 1728, 2560 x 1440, 2048 x 1152
Image ratio w:h4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors13 megapixels
Sensor size1/1.7" (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto (100 -1600), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
White balance presets9
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
File format
  • JPEG 2.3
  • RAW
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–112 mm
Optical zoom4×
Maximum apertureF1.8 - F2.5
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range60 cm (23.62)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Number of focus points25
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3
Screen dots920,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD with AR coating
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • iAuto
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
  • Scene select AE
  • Green
Scene modes
  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Night Scene
  • Night Scene Portrait
  • Standard
  • Flower
  • Sport
  • Candlelight
  • Blue Sky
  • Sunset
  • Text
  • Group Photo
  • Pet
  • Portrait x Blue Sky
  • Portrait x Sunset
  • Portrait x Backlight
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range12.00 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Speed sync, Trailing Curtain sync
Drive modes
  • One shot
  • Continuous Shooting
  • Burst Shooting (L/H)
  • Self-timer (2 or 10 sec.)
  • Remote Control (immediately or 3 sec.)
  • Auto Bracketing
Continuous drive1 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage included75.3 MB
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini HDMI type-D)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlYes (Optional)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion D-Li-106 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)290
Weight (inc. batteries)391 g (0.86 lb / 13.79 oz)
Dimensions122 x 61 x 51 mm (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.01)
Other features
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone