Quick first impressions very positive

Started Jun 13, 2013 | User reviews
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 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
Jon Schick
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A few sample images
In reply to Jon Schick, Jun 13, 2013

From my first day with the camera:

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Harold66
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to Jon Schick, Jun 14, 2013

This is the price you pay in thise days for not offering the option if a high resolution EVF. On such cameras. i am personnally convinced that this lack of an high quality EVF. In this price range of cameras greatly limits its audience

Harold

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ozdean
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to Harold66, Jun 14, 2013

If it had a range finder view finder LHS that was etched for the zoom it would be perfect IMO.

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Regards Dean - Capturing Creation
N.B. All my Images are Protected by Copyright

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stern
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to Harold66, Jun 14, 2013

Harold66 wrote:

This is the price you pay in thise days for not offering the option if a high resolution EVF. On such cameras. i am personnally convinced that this lack of an high quality EVF. In this price range of cameras greatly limits its audience

Harold

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I used to have a Ricoh GX200 plus the external viewfinder. Did I ever use it? Hardly... Sometimes to take stealthy pictures (the EVF was articulating upwards), and every now and then in the sun. In the end the purchase of the EVF was a waste of money. OTOH I would support a viewfinder on bord (even if it is as flawed as those on the Canon G series - long ago I had a Pentax EL200 with an optical viewfinder that was a couple of centimetres off, yet I learnt quickly and was able to offset the camera just those few cm easily to compensate; thats not perfect but seems to work, otherwise Canon wouldn't put these kinds of VFs in their upmarket Gs).

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wymjym
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to stern, Jun 14, 2013

I am a VF kind of person, onboard not in my pocket!!!

I think the MX1 is really good but haven't been able to seriously test it out...I am waiting and watching the Panny LF 'cause of the evf. I didslike panny colors but if this new camera can deliver the goods in raw...I'll be looking at panny for the 1st time in many years.

wj

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iTrax
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to wymjym, Jun 15, 2013

whenever I really really need VF I would take K-30 but MX-1 looks so smart

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Corkcampbell
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I agree with your positive comments.
In reply to Jon Schick, Jun 15, 2013

However, you didn't mention video; I haven't had mine long so I haven't really evaluated the HD video capabilities; I usually use an Oly OM-D or Pany GH2, so this worthy camera hasn't had much use yet. I also have the case that itrax has and like it. I think that he and some others on this thread recommended it.

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Harold66
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to stern, Jun 15, 2013

stern wrote:

Harold66 wrote:

This is the price you pay in thise days for not offering the option if a high resolution EVF. On such cameras. i am personnally convinced that this lack of an high quality EVF. In this price range of cameras greatly limits its audience

Harold

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I used to have a Ricoh GX200 plus the external viewfinder. Did I ever use it? Hardly... Sometimes to take stealthy pictures (the EVF was articulating upwards), and every now and then in the sun. In the end the purchase of the EVF was a waste of money. OTOH I would support a viewfinder on bord (even if it is as flawed as those on the Canon G series - long ago I had a Pentax EL200 with an optical viewfinder that was a couple of centimetres off, yet I learnt quickly and was able to offset the camera just those few cm easily to compensate; thats not perfect but seems to work, otherwise Canon wouldn't put these kinds of VFs in their upmarket Gs).

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Hello

with all due respect , your post is really not bringing anything new to my point. First of all, EVF has made a LOT of progress since the GX200. I had an EVF  on my Gx100 and it sucked. The EVF. On my GXR was obsolete when it came out and is pretty mediocre ( with a lousy build to boot).a built in ovf on a camera that small would not make ANY sense and will become moot when using tele lenses. This is where EVF comes handy and allows to take sharper images when camera is used handheld with a long lens

Pentax has no valid reason not to give that option on their new Q.

Harold

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ronniemac
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to Jon Schick, Aug 14, 2013

Useful review.  As an original MX and current K-5 user, the MX-1 is a camera I am tempted by, however the lack of a viewfinder is a concern - Like many 40+ photographers, reading glasses are necessary when using digital screens - but not when looking at the subject and not required when using a viewfinder like in the K5.

Looks like I will have to wait a bit longer for Pentax to include this in the camera - like they did in their 2004 Optio 750z.

Same thoughts apply to the K-01, the three Q's and now the MX-1, I would happily pay more for this camera with a built in viewfinder.  I suspect there are a few of us around who tire of not being able to put the camera up close to the eye.

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Jon Schick
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to Jon Schick, 11 months ago

After a few months I thought I'd come back and say I'm still really enjoying this camera.  The novelty has not worn off and the image quality continues to really impress.  A bargain at the prices they can now be found at.

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pocketpygmy
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Re: Quick first impressions very positive
In reply to Jon Schick, 8 months ago

Jon Schick wrote:

After a few months I thought I'd come back and say I'm still really enjoying this camera. The novelty has not worn off and the image quality continues to really impress. A bargain at the prices they can now be found at.

seriously. i just got this $500 camera for $200.

everyone's gone apesh!t over the sony rx100, but $550? $700 for the mk2? ridiculous. the thing's a little computer with a lens on it.

pentax has designed a beautiful object of a machine, and even won that red dot design award (FWIW!).

anecdotal evidence has suggested to me that the rx100 is still not quite small enough for the 'pocket' -- making the mx-1's relative bulk moot. it collapses flat and doesn't have a viewfinder like my OMD -- that's all i need to take it more places than the olympus.

and comparing jpegs on DPR's comparometer, the pentax shows a clarity and boldness not unlike my em-5 -- rx100 by comparison looks like mush until we get up to ISO 3200, 6400, etc. at which point i'm not even bothering with a small-sensor compact. i don't even use those speeds on m4/3.

fast lenses, sensible sizes, and beautiful industrial design --
FTW.

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