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Operation and controls

The Pentax MX-1 has fewer external controls than we've come to expect from cameras in this category; specifically we'd like to see at least one more control to allow easy adjustment of aperture and shutter speed simultaneously. However, it has enough good controls to do what most enthusiasts would like, so long as they're not manual exposure devotees. Four buttons on the back offer quick access to ISO, drive modes, flash, and AF options, so all is not lost with the lack of a front ring or second control dial. It also offers a comprehensive function menu that will be immediately familiar to owners of recent Pentax DSLRs, so it's pretty easy to get to most of the camera's key settings.

Top of camera controls

The Pentax MX-1's top plate is used to set capture mode, power-on the camera, control the zoom, adjust the exposure compensation, and either fire the shutter or start a movie. The record button is flush with the top deck, so it requires effort to press it. This makes accidental activation less likely but increases the risk of your videos starting with a rotational movement and you straighten the camera after pressing the button.

This control cluster really represents most of what an enthusiast would like to see on the top deck: a mode dial, an EV compensation dial, a zoom toggle and dedicated video button. Sure an ISO dial would also be nice, as would a hot shoe for some, but at least they didn't omit the mode dial.

Rear of camera controls

Most of the MX-1's rear controls are pretty standard, including a four-way navigator, and playback, info, and menu buttons. The four-way controller accesses flash, drive mode, AF mode, and ISO settings, while the center button confirms selections. Above those are a green button, an AV/AE-Lock button, a control dial and the rear infrared remote port. The control dial is mostly used for adjusting exposure parameters and for zooming in and out in playback mode. In menus, it selects among tabs allowing you to switch between them without having to scroll to the top of the menu (as you have to do when using only the buttons to navigate).

The AV/EA-Lock button sets autofocus in movie mode, and locks exposure in still mode. The green button 're-centers' exposure settings. If you set a different exposure setting using Program shift, for example, pressing the green button reverts to the camera's original suggested settings. Even if you're in Manual mode, you can get an initial recommendation from the camera by pressing the green button, then make adjustments from there. Unfortunately in Manual mode, you don't get an exposure preview on the LCD when making adjustments, so you have to take a picture to see how your settings will work.

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Comments

Total comments: 14
solarider
By solarider (3 weeks ago)

Blunty's reviews are pretty fun to watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuOpygcOVJE

1 upvote
WilliamEv
By WilliamEv (3 months ago)

I purchased the MX-1 because liked the look of it and that it was a compact. Would be great for traveling. So got my MX-1 and went on a Holiday sad to say it worked for two day and them the LCD stopped working :( No pictures of my holiday except for my IPhone. I am trying to get it returned, replace or repaired but no one seems to care.

0 upvotes
FW Birds
By FW Birds (4 months ago)

I ordered one of these today. They are now selling for half of their original list price. To me that seems like a bargain. I really like the colors of Pentax jpegs, so much so that I may just shoot jpegs for ease and convenience. This looks like a great travel camera to pair with my K-3. Looking forward to trying it out.

0 upvotes
miuan
By miuan (5 months ago)

This is the first camera I want to return as soon as I got it, and I really wanted to like it despite its strange form factor. The operation is frustratingly slow. Most of the controls are well laid out and the buttons have good feel to them, but their response is sluggish most of the time, taking away the fun from the photography. The AF is desperate in all but casual static shooting, even in macro mode with enough light it struggles at times. The funky chroma NR artifacts at ISO 1000-1600 and the lack of NR / image parameter settings finishes the bitter feeling. I'm going back to my X10, sorry Pentax.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (5 months ago)

PLUS: Nice nice brass body. CONS: That is simply not nice to hold ...remember the 'Simply Hold A Pentax' marketing strap line guys? Sadly its designers didn't….

0 upvotes
Rip57
By Rip57 (7 months ago)

I picked one up on the Woot $199 deal and have to say that's a lot of camera for the money. I'm still getting used to this particular form factor - no viewfinder and a LCD screen that tilts up and down (only). The technical quality of the photos is quite nice - it's my compositional skills that are lacking.

One thing that has helped is enabling the view screen overlay with vertical and horizontal lines as well as the electronic vertical and horizontal levels. I'm learning to shoot more from the waist, but I still keep trying to bring it up to my eye to look through the nonexistent viewfinder.

I still have an old film MX, into which I long ago placed a viewfinder screen with vertical and horizontal lines. The point is, my lack of compositional skill is certainly not the fault of any one camera.

4 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (7 months ago)

A silver Pentax K-3 kit & MX-1 as a back up P&S cam

Dream of a hobbyist in 2013-2014

3 upvotes
HauntedToaster
By HauntedToaster (7 months ago)

You can pick it up on Woot today for $199, plus $5 shipping.

0 upvotes
davids8560
By davids8560 (8 months ago)

This is a terrific RAW-capable high-end enthusiast compact, and at current prices (Jan. 2014) it is an excellent value and a very attractive option when compared to similar cameras in its class. Image quality is just about as good as you can expect for a camera with this size sensor. Build quality is outstanding. The menus are straight forward and inituitive in use. Performance is snappy all around. It's also a very good-looking camera, in addition to its decent performance. And maybe it's a matter of personal preference, but I rather like the accentuated oblong shape, as it gives me plenty of room to easily access the right buttons and make adjustments. The dedicated Ev knob is a very handy plus, too. I'd like to see a hot shoe and a reasonably-priced optional EVF like the Olympus XZ models have in the next iteration. But without hesitation I highly recommend the Pentax MX-1.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
ragmanjin
By ragmanjin (8 months ago)

This is all the comments this camera got? That's a little disappointing, it's such a winner. Studio comparison tool, Fuji XQwhatever vs. Pentax MX-1 vs. Canon G16.....well, you'll see it. When I need a replacement for my G11 I'm almost certain the MX-1 will be the compact in my pocket for many years.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
Kfrog
By Kfrog (10 months ago)

I'll give serious consideration for my small camera needs.

0 upvotes
PRhe
By PRhe (10 months ago)

I bought the MX-1 after comparing it to the Olympus (XZ-2) and Fuji (X10 & X20) options. Picture quality is superior, control setup is logical and the camera itself is drop-dead gorgeous! Looking forward to years of happy clicking.

5 upvotes
papa natas
By papa natas (4 months ago)

I've bought one too. I feel you, bro.
This is the camera that's unobtrusive, no ostentation. People give it a look (with a dog's interrogative expression) wondering if it is an old, well preserved 35mm with the ordinary 50mm lens. You won't provoke the "Pros (?)" with their phallic gear nor step on the toes of the P&S crowd. You are the Chevy Nova parked between the Hummer and the Porsche.
When it comes to menu, I love the simplicity and the friendly use of it. IQ is just superb. Colors are just off the wall, especially blue skies when shooting in winter. It easily accommodates up to 3 f stops. It makes me go back to my first SLR: Pentax ME Super.
This is a First Love camera. The LOVE that so many have forgotten: The LOVE for FUN!!

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
1 upvote
jkokich
By jkokich (11 months ago)

Sounds like a great little camera!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 14