Quick first impressions very positive

Started Jun 13, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Jon Schick
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Quick first impressions very positive
Jun 13, 2013

The MX-1 doesn't seem to get a whole lot of love - a bit of a sleeper but that's such a shame.  I've thoroughly enjoyed my first week with the camera, which I like better than any other compact I've used.

For some, it'll be too big and too heavy.  But for me, the size is just about perfect.  Large enough to get a decent grip but small enough to fit in a small belt-loop bag and carry around easily all day (even better if you get the very nice Billingham bag made for Pentax, which came included for free when I bought mine from SRS...snap them up while you can).

Controls are in sensible places, the quick menu accessed via the info button gets quickly to most of the settings that don't have buttons, and if you do need the full menu it is comprehensive, logical and easy to navigate.  Especially if you're used to Pentax dSLRs.

The camera feels incredibly well built, and buttons operate very positively.  It's quiet, discrete and quick, although the buffer is far too small and takes a while to clear especially in raw mode.  The tilting high quality rear LCD is excellent.  I'm still on the first battery charge after setting the camera up, taking around 150 photos, and chimping more than I normally would - a target of around 300 shots per charge in normal use seems pretty likely - not bad at all.

I've been impressed by early images - the lens inherited from Olympus is fabulous, and its fast apertures help in the battle against noise and blur.  JPEGs from the camera often come out with almost no post processing required, and there's more ability to control depth of field and background blur than I'd anticipated.  Live blinkies are great to help you avoid blown highlights too - I suspect more reliable than the histogram.

It's not without its foibles (and all cameras are compromises, you just need to find the compromise you can live with).  A hot shoe would be nice, and an optional EVF even nicer.  The lack of a grip may be irritating for some too (although the rubbery covering works pretty well).  And I'd like to turn down the noise reduction in the JPEGs but that's not an option....yet...firmware upgrade please!

Other than that, I'm struggling to find much I don't like - it's a quality piece of kit that feels great every time you pick it up, and the images it delivers are excellent.  Good to see Pentax come into the enthusiast compact market with such a strong first offering.  It loses half a star for noise reduction and lack of a hot shoe/EVF attachment, but other than that I'd really recommend it highly, especially at the current cashback prices.

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 Jon Schick's gear list:Jon Schick's gear list
Fujifilm X20 Olympus E-1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm F4-5.8 OIS +7 more
Jon Schick's score
4.5
Average community score
4.2
bad for good for
Kids / pets
good
Action / sports
okay
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
great
Low light (without flash)
great
Flash photography (social)
good
Studio / still life
great
= community average
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