New MX-1 Some More Sample Photos

Started Feb 18, 2013 | Discussions
Alistair McLaurin
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New MX-1 Some More Sample Photos
Feb 18, 2013

I bought the new MX-1 this Saturday and managed to get out for about 30 minutes and take some very quick sample photos around Camden market, you can see them here;

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amclaurin/sets/72157632788301696/

This is a straight upload of almost every photo I took on the trip, the good the bad and the ugly. The blurred photos you see are almost always a result of playing with the (excellent) HDR option. The rest were shot in aperture priority. I haven't had time to check highlight and shadow correction, vivid colour modes etc.

A few early impressions;

The camera is well built, nice and solid with a good weight (not as heavy as expected though, and certainly lighter than my EP3 which is an almost identical size).

Shooting with it is really fun, it starts quickly, focuses and shoots very quickly and (with the sound off) its very quiet. Quite a change from the EP3 with the Panasonic 20mm.

The angled screen is great, street shooting is a different experience when you can fold out the screen and look down on the camera. The dual level indicators really help with this.

HDR mode is excellent, I took some at dusk last night when it is far more effective than the shots you can see here.

The macro mode(s) on the camera are superb, easy to engage and with focusing to 1cm very powerful. HDR macro is a lot of fun.

The electronic shutter with a top speed of 1/8000s is excellent. However aperture priority mode doesn't seem to want to engage it, I had to switch to shutter priority to go above 1/2000. Once I'd worked this out it worked fine.

Menus seem sensible. The font may seem a little chunky and the display can be a little cluttered but I found it easier than the Olympus equivalent. Pressing info when shooting allows you to quickly change the most important settings.

The only movie mode I've tried out so far is the high speed; normal and time lapse are also offered. Worked very well, would like to see if it can be enabled with macro shooting.

The one control dial is a little firm, perhaps it will loosen over time. Its a real shame the camera doesn't have a second dial around the lens like the XZ-2. Manual focus is done by button pressing which is slightly painful.

Picture modes like toy camera can be applied to shots after they are taken, instead of as they are taken with the Olympus. This means you can apply as any as you like to an image and save the results as a new image, but you can't easily compose with a setting in mind.

The camera is super quiet. If you could engage electronic shutter all the time (and I haven't found a way to do this) it would be silent.

Overall I'm very impressed. I chose it over the ZX-2 as I've already bought in to the PEN system and wanted to try something different, and this was cheaper than the macro lens alone for the PEN. Overall I'm very happy, the screen is nice, the camera is very responsive, the design is nicely done and the initial photos show promise. Add in superb macro, fun HDR settings, nice picture quality overall with relatively few quirks and I'm very pleased with the purchase overall. However, I would also recommend anyone interested also looks at the Olympus XZ-2, it has a very similar lens, screen  and sensor with touch screen focus (which is love on the PEN) and more control dials and real time effect processing. It doesn't have shutter speeds higher than 1/2000s, HDR mode or quite the range of macro options from what I can see.

A great purchase and I'm looking forward to taking more shots with it soon.

Olympus PEN E-P3 Pentax MX-1
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ericnats73
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Re: New MX-1 Some More Sample Photos
In reply to Alistair McLaurin, Feb 18, 2013

Yes you're quite right about your user experience. For me, Ive been using Olympus cameras since 2008 starting from the E-510 up to E-5 then to micro 4/3 OMD EM5. I was planning to purchase the Olympus XZ2 when I saw this beautiful compact camera. The Pentax MX1 feels solid in my hands even though I does not have any contoured grip. I find the user interface very easy to understand. It's a well made camera. I love the bokeh it makes and produces excellent photos for my needs. Someone in this Pentax thread said the f1.8-2.5 glass was ordered by Pentax from Olympus. Am very happy with this my new camera.

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ozdean
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Re: New MX-1 Some More Sample Photos
In reply to Alistair McLaurin, Feb 18, 2013

Thanks Alistair it is looking impressive - nice shots.

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Raist3d
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Curiosity question..
In reply to Alistair McLaurin, Feb 19, 2013

having an E-P3, what "win" did you see in getting an MX-1? Why do you feel you needed or wanted one, from that point of view?

Thanks.

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VaLeX
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Re: question about focus speed
In reply to Alistair McLaurin, Feb 21, 2013

I see you're referring to Oly ZX - 2, and you're right: the ring around the lens in Oly makes it great maneuverability-wise.

But there are significant complaints on the Oly forum about focusing speed and focusing precision of ZX - 2 in poor light (indoors). How is MX 1 in this regard? Do you find it fast enough in focusing? Accurate enough?

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marike6
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Nice photo. Question about RAW...
In reply to Alistair McLaurin, Feb 22, 2013

Hi Alistair, nice images, sharpness looks fantastic, and it looks like you have a good shooting day in some difficult, contrasty lighting conditions.  I like the image of the Beats headphones, and some of the street scenes at the market look great.

I am extremely interested in the MX-1 as the design is beautiful, it has a cracking lens, and I find myself missing the articulated LCD that I had on one of my previous cameras.

Question:  have you shot in RAW?  I've read in the review on PhotographyBlog that in RAW mode the camera takes a bit long to write an image to the card.  Do you have any thoughts on this?

Also, is there a RAW converter that will work with MX-1 DNGs yet?

As a RAW only shooter, I got a little concerned about the write speed issue, so I thought it best to ask someone who actually owns the MX-1 to get a sense of what we are dealing with in terms of wait time.

Thanks for the link to your samples.  I enjoyed them very much.

Thanks very much in advance and happy shooting, Markus

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Alistair McLaurin
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Re: Curiosity question..
In reply to Raist3d, Feb 22, 2013

Hi Raist3d,

To be clear, I love my EP3, with the Panasonic 20mm lens I find it a joy to use and it has taken many of my personal favorite photographs. It's still my main camera, I've just got back from Scotland where it was the only camera I took and again it was a joy to use.

However, I like carrying it around in a coat pocket and the Olympus 14 - 150 zoom which I use frequently rules that out. More importantly I also really like macro shots and when I set out shopping I was seriously thinking of buying the 60mm Olympus macro lens.

I changed my mind when I got to play with the MX-1. It shoots lovely macro shots and the wide depth of field works in its favor here, plus the ability to zoom on one of the two macro modes. The short zoom with wide aperture is also much harder to reproduce on the PEN, yes the Panasonic 12 - 35 f2.8 is lovely but it is quite large and over twice the price of the MX1.

So the MX1 seemed a great alternative to expanding my Micro four thirds lens collection. The short zoom is very useful, I miss that with the 20mm prime. The top shutter speed of 1/8000s plus built in ND filter may be very useful indeed, I hit the top shutter speed on the PEN with the 20mm at f2.0 quite frequently. The macro mode is really one of the key things I wanted and it works very well indeed. Plus, I really like in camera HDR, I shoot JPEGS and rarely do much in post processing, one of the reasons I like the PEN so much. While I'm disappointed the MX1 doesn't have the live art filters the PEN has almost live HDR is a fantastic addition.

Plus the MX-1 is almost identical in size and shape to the EP3 and 20mm, really surprisingly similar, while everyone has been commenting on the lens being Olympus like I'm surprised more reviewers haven't picked this up. As I've bought a couple of jackets with pockets to fit this combo this is a big bonus for me.

If I could only have one of the two it would be the PEN every time, but the MX1 adds a lot of useful features which might be difficult and expensive to reproduce with micro four thirds.

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photocat2007
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Re: Nice photo. Question about RAW...
In reply to marike6, Feb 22, 2013

Sorry to jump in but I have the MX-1 and love it.  Thought I'd chime in with a couple of answers about the RAW shooting.  I shoot RAW too and yes it does take maybe a second or two to write to the card i.e. it is not instant but you don't need to make a sandwich while waiting either

I have Lightroom 3 (and I'm on a Mac) and have had no problems with the RAW files.

I'm somewhat surprised by the lack of posts around the camera.  I'm guessing (hoping) it may be a "sleeper" success for Pentax but so far, have never been happier with a p&s  (and I'm an owner of the "legendary" Fuji F31 and an Oly XZ-1, which completely died on me the day after I got my MX-1!)

sue

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Alistair McLaurin
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Re: question about focus speed
In reply to VaLeX, Feb 22, 2013

I tried a few tests. Outdoors in almost any daylight focus to me seems spot on. Indoors in daylight I've not had a problem. Indoors in relatively weak LED lighting it coped well with close up objects, perhaps slightly less sure on things say 3m away. Macro is very good but I would still really like the wheel for fine tuning macro focus, I don't really like the button press manual focus of the MX-1.

I certainly wouldn't complain about it, it hasn't missed too many for me so far. Its also worth noting it has a very powerful autofocus assist light which seems to work well. So while there are things to complain about with the MX-1 focus wouldn't be one I'd noticed.

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marike6
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Re: Question about RAW...Thanks so much!
In reply to photocat2007, Feb 22, 2013

photocat2007 wrote:

Sorry to jump in but I have the MX-1 and love it. Thought I'd chime in with a couple of answers about the RAW shooting. I shoot RAW too and yes it does take maybe a second or two to write to the card i.e. it is not instant but you don't need to make a sandwich while waiting either

I have Lightroom 3 (and I'm on a Mac) and have had no problems with the RAW files.

Thanks photocat2007, for info on both of these topics. I will be buying an MX-1 for sure. The IQ is superb, and I prefer the design of it more than most Pentax cameras that I've seen in quite a while.

I'm somewhat surprised by the lack of posts around the camera.

I agree. I've been lurking and posting here since the MX-1 was announced, but it seemed to almost annoy some Q users that I was showing such a strong interest in the MX-1. One thing that I've been realizing about ALL the camera forums lately is for many it's one big camera competition. Which is why you have some many self proclaimed sensor size experts or people telling you what camera you should or shouldn't be using. For me along with the X20, for a compact the MX1 checks mostly all of the important boxes for me.

I'm guessing (hoping) it may be a "sleeper" success for Pentax but so far, have never been happier with a p&s (and I'm an owner of the "legendary" Fuji F31 and an Oly XZ-1, which completely died on me the day after I got my MX-1!)

I've also owned the XZ-1, which has a similar, some say the same lens as the Olympus. This is one reason that IQ is so outstanding from the MX-1. In case you missed it, The Camera Store does a nice field test of the MX-1, and compares it briefly to the popular G15. Let's just say that the MX-1 comes through with flying colors in the comparison and the test (see link below).

MX-1 Field Test

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPozdKEAix4

Anyway, thanks very much for taking the time to answer my questions. You helped a lot. Enjoy your camera and we look forward to seeing some images from it.

All the best and happy shooting, Markus

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jimr
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Interesting To Compare The Camera Store Review To The Photographyblog Review...Different
In reply to marike6, Feb 22, 2013

level of enthusiasm...including Image Quality comparisons....Ratings...etc...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPozdKEAix4

Clearly the Camera Store review is much more positive about the MX -1 than the www.photographyblog.com review test and especially notable when you compare the individual comparative ratings of the  Pentax MX-1 to the Canon G15 and Nikon P7700 as you can see from the links below:

http://www.photographyblo g.com/reviews/pentax_mx1_review/conclusion/

Compared to :

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_powershot_g15_review/conclusion/

Compared to:

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/nikon_coolpix_p7700_review/conclusion/

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marike6
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Re: Interesting To Compare The Camera Store Review To The Photographyblog Review...Different
In reply to jimr, Feb 23, 2013

jimr wrote:

level of enthusiasm...including Image Quality comparisons....Ratings...etc...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPozdKEAix4

Clearly the Camera Store review is much more positive about the MX -1 than the www.photographyblog.com review test and especially notable when you compare the individual comparative ratings of the Pentax MX-1 to the Canon G15 and Nikon P7700 as you can see from the links below:

http://www.photographyblo g.com/reviews/pentax_mx1_review/conclusion/

Compared to :

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_powershot_g15_review/conclusion/

Compared to:

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/nikon_coolpix_p7700_review/conclusion/

Quite honestly I usually just go to PhotographyBlog because they are often quick to offer full-sized sample JPEGs and RAW.  I hardly ever get into the nitty gritty of their reviews as sometimes their ratings are a bit off.  And when many of their sample photos have absolutely bizarre settings like very small diffraction limited apertures and super high ISOs in broad daylight, I have to wonder if they know what they are doing.

In contrast, the guy from TheCameraStore, seems to know his stuff.  He's obviously a photographer, and it's clear from his reviews that he knows what he's talking about.

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photocat2007
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Re: Question about RAW...Thanks so much!
In reply to marike6, Feb 23, 2013

marike6 wrote:

photocat2007 wrote:

Sorry to jump in but I have the MX-1 and love it. Thought I'd chime in with a couple of answers about the RAW shooting. I shoot RAW too and yes it does take maybe a second or two to write to the card i.e. it is not instant but you don't need to make a sandwich while waiting either

I have Lightroom 3 (and I'm on a Mac) and have had no problems with the RAW files.

Thanks photocat2007, for info on both of these topics. I will be buying an MX-1 for sure. The IQ is superb, and I prefer the design of it more than most Pentax cameras that I've seen in quite a while.

I'm somewhat surprised by the lack of posts around the camera.

I agree. I've been lurking and posting here since the MX-1 was announced, but it seemed to almost annoy some Q users that I was showing such a strong interest in the MX-1. One thing that I've been realizing about ALL the camera forums lately is for many it's one big camera competition. Which is why you have some many self proclaimed sensor size experts or people telling you what camera you should or shouldn't be using. For me along with the X20, for a compact the MX1 checks mostly all of the important boxes for me.

I'm guessing (hoping) it may be a "sleeper" success for Pentax but so far, have never been happier with a p&s (and I'm an owner of the "legendary" Fuji F31 and an Oly XZ-1, which completely died on me the day after I got my MX-1!)

I've also owned the XZ-1, which has a similar, some say the same lens as the Olympus. This is one reason that IQ is so outstanding from the MX-1. In case you missed it, The Camera Store does a nice field test of the MX-1, and compares it briefly to the popular G15. Let's just say that the MX-1 comes through with flying colors in the comparison and the test (see link below).

MX-1 Field Test

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPozdKEAix4

Anyway, thanks very much for taking the time to answer my questions. You helped a lot. Enjoy your camera and we look forward to seeing some images from it.

All the best and happy shooting, Markus

Hi Markus

So glad I could help!  Thank you for the link.  I did see the Camera Store video for the MX-1 and it convinced me to pull the trigger on getting the MX-1 (I am never an early adoptor of tech...but I guess this time was the exception)  I'm so glad I did.  It isn't "perfect" but then what camera is?  So far though I'm thrilled with it and hope you will be too.  The menu, the handling, the buttons/dials, even the slightly bigger size are, in my opinion, fantastic and make the camera easy and a joy to use (never could remember that funky Oly XZ-1 menu system!)  I am going to try to get out this weekend, despite some rainy weather, and take more photos.  Stay tuned and I look forward to seeing your MX-1 photos soon too

sue

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marike6
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Re: Curiosity question..
In reply to Alistair McLaurin, Feb 23, 2013

Alistair McLaurin wrote:

Hi Raist3d,

To be clear, I love my EP3, with the Panasonic 20mm lens I find it a joy to use and it has taken many of my personal favorite photographs. It's still my main camera, I've just got back from Scotland where it was the only camera I took and again it was a joy to use.

However, I like carrying it around in a coat pocket and the Olympus 14 - 150 zoom which I use frequently rules that out. More importantly I also really like macro shots and when I set out shopping I was seriously thinking of buying the 60mm Olympus macro lens.

I changed my mind when I got to play with the MX-1. It shoots lovely macro shots and the wide depth of field works in its favor here, plus the ability to zoom on one of the two macro modes. The short zoom with wide aperture is also much harder to reproduce on the PEN, yes the Panasonic 12 - 35 f2.8 is lovely but it is quite large and over twice the price of the MX1.

So the MX1 seemed a great alternative to expanding my Micro four thirds lens collection. The short zoom is very useful, I miss that with the 20mm prime. The top shutter speed of 1/8000s plus built in ND filter may be very useful indeed, I hit the top shutter speed on the PEN with the 20mm at f2.0 quite frequently. The macro mode is really one of the key things I wanted and it works very well indeed. Plus, I really like in camera HDR, I shoot JPEGS and rarely do much in post processing, one of the reasons I like the PEN so much. While I'm disappointed the MX1 doesn't have the live art filters the PEN has almost live HDR is a fantastic addition.

Plus the MX-1 is almost identical in size and shape to the EP3 and 20mm, really surprisingly similar, while everyone has been commenting on the lens being Olympus like I'm surprised more reviewers haven't picked this up. As I've bought a couple of jackets with pockets to fit this combo this is a big bonus for me.

If I could only have one of the two it would be the PEN every time, but the MX1 adds a lot of useful features which might be difficult and expensive to reproduce with micro four thirds.

You are being extremely polite, but in all honesty, I'm left wondering why you should have to explain your gear choices to another posters?

The MX-1 is smaller than the EP3 with a zoom, and it's as simple as that.

Tons of people carry "enthusiast" compacts instead of their systems cameras or DSLRs for just the reasons you outlined above.

The EP3 with a zoom lens mounted is going to be significantly more bulky to carry, essentially requiring a small camera bag.  It's only going to begin to be pocketable (coat pocket) with one of the pancake prime or possibly the 14-42 Pancake zoom mounted. Something like the 20 1.7 on a small m43 body is a useful for street shooting but such a lens is not nearly as flexible for the wide angle or telephoto shots as MX-1.

Personally, I don't think people should have to explain their gear choices to others.  Tons of people like to carry an all-purpose high end compact like the MX-1 or X10.  Not sure what Raist3d is missing about why someone would rather carry a compact P&S over a systems camera or DSLR, but I've always owned at least one solid performing compact that shoots RAW (XZ-1, GRD III, X10, LX7) to use in situations where larger cameras aren't appropriate.  Besides, this is the Pentax Compact Camera Talk forum so obviously many here choose to use a compact Pentax camera over an MILC or DSLR.

For my money, the tiltable LCD, and the sharp, fast zoom are more than enough of a reason to prefer carrying the MX-1 over the EP3 for many types of outings.  YMMV.

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GotShot
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Re: Nice photo. Question about RAW...
In reply to marike6, 10 months ago

I bought an MX1 about 2 months ago (before a trip to Europe and several other summer trips). I have about 3-4K images shot so far & ~35-45 min of video (mostly in small segments). I've had a chance to put it through it's paces pretty well & am very pleased. I agonized over this buy - I wanted a pro level AF camera that could shoot RAW with a fast lens and as much zoom as I could get - something I would always be willing to carry, but I could really get quality images out of & that I could have some creative freedom. I travel a lot & I always want a good camera with me, but I don't want to be owned by the camera. I am very happy with my purchase.

Like you, I was worried about comments about slow write speeds, but I bought fast cards, and I am not having any problems - either for video, or for shooting raw - I almost always shoot RAW, since my post processing is all in Lightroom.

I was moving from a super-zoom (Lumix FZ35), and worried I would miss the longer zoom - one nice thing I've found is when you shoot raw, you have the option to shoot the JPG at the full 12MP, or step it down to 7MP. If you step it down, it extends your zoom length without compromising on resolution for your raw or really your JPG. I have found this a nice compromise when I want to reach just a little farther.

I am REALLY liking the fast lens. I live in the pacific northwest & was traveling to Scottland recently - both places that are perpetually overcast & can be a challenge for light. I get so many more quality shots now that before I would have had to delete or clean up due to blur and poor light. This lens is great.

I am also really liking the onboard HDR. I shoot a lot of landscape stuff & if the light is dull, the HDR can really bring out the details. I have been using bracketing & doing HDR as part of post processing, but I am VERY pleased with the results from the camera itself - they are good or better than what I was coaxing out of lightroom - for what I am shooting (I don't like strong HDR effects - I just want it to clean up things in low light). When I read about the HDR, it says it is only for JPG - I need to note that you can shoot raw with the HDR, and it goves you botht he raw & jpg files. I am still working with this, but I got some amazing cloud shots on a recent boat trip, and it gave me new appreciation for what I could do with the camera.

My only criticisms so far are

1) It is heavy - a lot heavier than I expected - shooing long video (more than a couple minutes) this becomes VERY noticeable.

2) The battery is very poor with video - I get good battery life with shots, but several times I have gone from strong battery to nothing in moments. I have not timed it, but I suspect you can only do 15-20 min of video on a battery. The really bad part is the battery meter is almost useless for video - I have seen it literally go from half to empty in less than 30 seconds (more than once). I carry 3 batteries, and if I was shooting any significant video, that was not enough for a day's shooting.

3) The last is not so much a fault, but an observation - Lens distortion is pretty noticeable on this camera, when shooting wide open. The wide angle lens is great to get the big shot, but you pay some for (this is one of the widest lenses I have used a lot of). The camera has a setting to automatically compensate on-board in the JPGs that it saves, but when you use lightroom you can see the DNG images before the JPG renders, and you really notice the distortion. Most of this is manageable if you are using something like lightroom that can accept lens correction settings, but for consumers using lower-end software, this may be more of an issue - they will definitely need to rely on the JPGs the camera saves. I do a lot of panorama work & use Hugin for that. I hve had to learn some new tricks to keep the outputs looking realistic/straight.

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