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Studio scene comparison pages added to Pentax MX-1 preview

By dpreview staff on May 22, 2013 at 22:14 GMT

We've just added three studio comparison pages to our previously-published preview of the Pentax MX-1. The MX-1 is Pentax's flagship compact camera, and something of a departure for the manufacturer, offering a fast F1.8-2.5 zoom lens, full manual control and a high-class, metal body, to compete with more established peers like Panasonic's LX7. Click the links below to go to the new pages in our preview, and see for yourself how the MX-1 compares to its rivals.

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Comments

Total comments: 25
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (11 months ago)

Much better than expected! Very good quality for a 1/1.7'' sensor!

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (11 months ago)

Looking good. About par with the G15 and XZ-2 (LX7 eats ists dust). Colours are more saturated than the xz-2

0 upvotes
Ybor
By Ybor (11 months ago)

I love advanced compacts, that is, until I open the image files. They are great for people moving over from a smartphone. Let's be honest here, m43 and APS-C ILC's have relegated these stylish underperformers as relics of the past in terms of technology.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

Actually I would disagree that m43 and APS-C mirrorless have obsoleted the high end compact as the huge popularity of the RX100 or S100 demonstrates. If you shoot at or around base ISO as most people do and don't shoot frequently in extremely low-light there is almost nothing that you cannot do with a quality high-end small sensor compact.

DOF aside there is very little difference between an ISO 100 image from an MX-1, RX100 and GX1 in the final print or web gallery image. The average user doesn't care about ISO 3200 or DR, they just want a camera that is compact with good IQ, good handling, and easy to navigate controls.

4 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (11 months ago)

I agree since I'm quite used to opening high quality files and I expect that not to get worse but better in the future.
One more thing is pricing. The makers have priced these serious compacts out of many non serious users and pretty close to the cheapest m4/3s and NEX. A Panny LX7 at $300 is just about right and so should the XZ-2. At current prices, they should have at least have a one inch sensor, don't care, if it's 10MP and slower lens. I hope one these get upgraded this year since the RX100 is already out for a while.

One thing I agree with marike6 though is how images at low ISOs look online, such as in DPR's sample gallery where image quality is close to larger formats. On a scene that is low contrast, it's almost guess work.

1 upvote
Ybor
By Ybor (11 months ago)

it changes the argument when you are talking about a larger sensor in a compact camera. As it stands, my opinion doesn't change but I should have elaborated, as in, G-15, P7700 and the other advanced compacts with the same sensor size. Their highest quality output at their lowest ISO range barely pass as acceptable for much aside from web posts.

I have owned plenty of them, trust me. Most recently the Ricoh GR D IV. After shooting with much higher end cameras it is too difficult for me to accept the mediocrity that these little gems offer up in terms of image quality. There are times when I have been seduced too easily by all of the attractive tech they build in while offering extreme portability. But at the end of the day, photography is more than about having a conveniently sized camera, it's about getting usable images for whatever you are attempting to do with the files. In some instances; like Instagram and web posting they will do.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

Ybor wrote: "Their highest quality output at their lowest ISO range barely pass as acceptable for much aside from web posts."

So you can't get quality 8x10 prints from a 12 mp 1/1.7" compact? You can't shoot great video clips of your kids? You can't produce high quality images for a photo blog? You can't film a YouTube video?

The fact is other than DOF, and subtle differences in colors there is very little difference between a 12 mp print from a G15 and a GF3. Sensor size "experts" like to exaggerate differences but switch one of the cameras in the above studio scene to the Panasonic GF3 and tell me what major differences are at lower ISOs. There are none.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
2eyesee
By 2eyesee (11 months ago)

For someone who is just going to stick with the kit lens of an ILC then a premium compact like this is definitely worth considering. Remember the lens in the MX-1 and other premium compacts is around 2 stops faster than kit lenses on an ILC. So ISO 200 on the MX-1 would be compared to ISO 800 on an ICL with kit lens.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (11 months ago)

For operational consistency (user interface, hard and soft), I can see the point of this "me too" camera. But I find that with it's much belated release, it offers nothing to distinguish it from the pack. Absolutely nothing.

2 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (11 months ago)

Put them all on a table. By the looks and smarts, the MX-1 is the only one you can see from a distance it dares to be different a little.

6 upvotes
sbc
By sbc (11 months ago)

I think the LX7 is a little front focusing. The foreground objects are much sharper than the rear.

0 upvotes
mediasorcerer
By mediasorcerer (11 months ago)

I very much like the retro design of these types of cameras, not just because they actually appeal on an aesthetic level, more because they are quite ergonomically sound and offer great user functionality and experience, afterall, a camera is a piece of equipment, dare i say a "tool".[insert snicker......]

There is good reason why retro works for most cams, it's evolution goes back 150 odd years, that's time enough for people to work out whats practical and whats not. Image quality is paramount, however, you also have to be able to use the damn thing too, that's where so called "retro" can shine.

0 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (11 months ago)

Well, I fail to spot any retro ergonomics in this particular design. All I see is modern ergonomics in a retro package. Personally I find modern ergonomics superior and retro design pretentious and crap. Like the new VW Beetle...

1 upvote
sdribetahi
By sdribetahi (11 months ago)

Is that why they sell all sorts of add on grips to improve ergonomics on cameras like the Oly EM-5? Maybe you have rectangle hands, but retro cameras don't have great ergonomics compared to a modern dslr. I am sure your fond memories of old cameras from your youth is clouded with nostalgia.

1 upvote
RStyga
By RStyga (11 months ago)

Based on the test scene, MX-1 appears to be standing, in terms of RAW IQ, between XZ-1 and XZ-2; and it is worse than PM1. Given that it is bulkier than all of these cameras, and with a higher price (excl. XZ-2) it is rather difficult to find it very appealing.

But, overal, a solid effort from Pentax!

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
SunnyFlorida
By SunnyFlorida (11 months ago)

Noise levels and details look very impressive

3 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (11 months ago)

Weird. I compared Studio Shots of MX1 and X20. No significant differences. Yet when comparing the real world shot the MX1 images look much better than the X20? Anybody ?

3 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (11 months ago)

The "real world shots" were taken in different conditions, different lighting, different scenes, different photographers . How are you comparing them? Magic?

2 upvotes
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (11 months ago)

It's not weird. It's normal. It's called life, and some cameras are made to take wonderful real life photographs, not studio charts.
Same as your own life is proven in nature, not decomposed to prove is it possible to happen in the Periodic Table of Elements.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (11 months ago)

Nonsense Zvonimir. The cameras are not made to do better in "real life" but do poorly in not "real life" (whatever that means). What engineering feast goes to achive that?

What I said above makes more sense. The "real world shots" were taken in different conditions, different lighting, different scenes by different photographers. They cannot be compared to some other randomly chosen "real life" shots to judge two cameras image quality.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Benoz
By Benoz (11 months ago)

ET2, I agree with Hubert, above, that there is no significant IQ difference between the MX-1 and X20 studio shots.
As far your reply to Zvonimir though, are you saying that the MX-1 "real life" shots we have seen look better only because were ALL taken in better conditions, better lighting and...different ( better?!) photographers?
I (only an hobbyist) am really enjoying my MX-1 and to be honest I was thinking of getting the X20 before. I think they are both very good compact cameras! I like the look and feel of the MX-1 better.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

The X20 images look a bit softer compared to the MX-1 in both JPEG and RAW. The MX-1 also has extremely fine grain structure at higher ISO vs X20.

But subtle differences viewed at 100% are aren't easy to see in real-world images.

But having owned both the X10 and X20, and following the MX-1 pretty closely this is my take.

It seems the IQ of the MX-1 appears to be at least as good or better than the X20.

JPEG shooters may actually be happier with OOC JPEGs from the MX-1. Heavy NR and slightly noisier than expected files from X20 (vs the X10) are much talked about topics on the Finepix forum.

Like the Q, the MX-1 does really well at higher ISO settings for it's sensor size (note DxOMark rated it No. 1 for high ISO out of all 1/1.7" cameras).

The 2/3" sensor of the X20 should, in theory, outperform the MX-1 or G15 class of compact, but it doesn't appear to.

Some question if ACR converts X-Trans RAW files as well as Bayer sensor cameras like the MX-1 or G15.

1 upvote
Pangloss
By Pangloss (11 months ago)

Looks like a nice camera with better than average IQ compared to other enthusiast compacts (except the RX100, of course), and its price seems to be coming down fast (-20% on Amazon right now).

1 upvote
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (11 months ago)

Nicer than I expected. For a new model this is quite competitive with the best existing compacts. I don't expect it to be a great value, but the fashionable people need cameras, too, and this one is surprisingly good. Much like the Fujifilm XF1, another retro designer bauble that takes good pictures.

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (11 months ago)

Thanks.

4 upvotes
Total comments: 25