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We reviewed three of the more popular 'pocket printers,' the Canon Ivy, Fujifilm Instax Share and Polaroid ZIP. Here's the one we recommend...
The Pentax MX-1 is a 12MP high-end compact camera with a fast 28-112mm equivalent zoom lens - the first camera of its type that Pentax has created. With a rich history in camera design, it seems fair that Pentax would seek to recapture the two-tone camera designs of the last century with its MX-1 enthusiast compact (the MX-1 is also available in an all-black model as well). A metal top and bottom and a leather-like band around the middle provide a gripable surface as well as a classic look. Thanks to the painted brass top and bottom plates, we're told users will enjoy that old tendency toward 'brassing' exhibited in well-used vintage cameras as the MX-1 accumulates wear. We haven't yet bashed the Pentax MX-1 around enough to test this feature, but there's still time.
Following the near extinction of the standard pocket digital camera in the wake of the smartphone juggernaut, camera manufacturers are aiming more squarely at the enthusiast market, and the MX-1 is a clear sign that Pentax considers it an important segment to serve. Dominated largely by cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 and Canon Powershot S110, and more recently by the Sony Cyber-Shot RX-100, the enthusiast pocket camera market consists of cameras with larger sensors, premium lenses, raw capture and a bias toward manual controls and modes, in addition to the usual auto and semi-auto modes.
The MX-1 shares a lens (and probably sensor) with the Olympus XZ-2: a 28-112mm equivalent zoom with a relatively bright F1.8-2.5 aperture across the zoom range. Physically though, they're very different cameras. The MX-1 is both wider and thicker, lacks a hot shoe, and surprisingly has only one control dial, skipping the trend toward a customizable control ring around the lens. In the MX1's favor are a slightly larger LCD (thanks to its 4:3 aspect ratio), that flips up and down in the same way as the XZ-2, and an EV adjustment dial that hangs over the right rear edge ever so slightly, for quick changes to the auto and semi-auto capture modes; it's also stiff enough that it doesn't turn by accident.
We were a little disappointed to see no hint of Ricoh's influence on the interface (Ricoh purchased Pentax 18 months ago, so we'd expect to see some of the fruits of that deal appearing soon). In particular, some of the GRD and GXR's control features, with customizable access to key menus and simple, smart controls would have been welcome. But several other omissions show that Pentax isn't aiming the MX-1 at quite the same market as some other premium compacts.
Built as much as a premium camera for the casual snapshooter as it is for the photographer craving more control, the Pentax MX-1 makes accessing its high quality optic and potentially good sensor less intimidating. It looks cool, and if it measures up to expectations, particularly from its lens and sensor, it will make a good street camera for semi-auto shooters, and a reasonable substitute for carrying an SLR everywhere.
The Pentax MX-1's 1/1.7" backlit CMOS sensor has a total resolution of 12.76MP, outputting a 12-megapixel image measuring 4,000 x 3,000 pixels. Many of the Pentax's rivals, including the Olympus XZ-2, Nikon P7700 and Samsung EX2F also use 1/1.7" 12MP BSI CMOS sensors. It seems likely that most of them share a single sensor, possibly the one Sony published details of in October.
The diagram below compares the size of the MX-1's 1/1.7" sensor to those in its nearest competitors - in general larger sensors potentially offer better image quality. The MX-1's sensor is equal to most of its direct competitors, like the S110, XZ-2, and LX7.
|The MX-1's sensor is smaller than recent premium pocket leaders, but on par with most premium pocket category competitors.|
The table below compares the MX-1's lens specifications and sensor size against its main competitors and the X20. Along with the familiar 35mm-equivalent focal length, we've also included a 35mm-equivalent aperture range, which gives some idea of the control over depth of field offered by each camera's lens.
|Sensor area, mm2
|Focal length range||Focal length range (equiv.)||Aperture range||Aperture range (equiv)*||Dimensions (mm)|
* Equivalent aperture, in 135 film terms - this gives an idea of the depth of field control offered by the lenses when the sensor size is taken into account.
** Panasonic DMC-LX7 sensor area figures based on 4:3 aspect ratio mode
Photographers tend to be interested in how well a lens can blur backgrounds when shooting portraits at full telephoto, and in this respect the MX-1 is among the best in its class - matching exactly the ability offered by the Olympus XZ-2. This isn't the sort of shallow depth-of-field that a DSLR will offer with a specialized lens, but at the long end of the lens it'll give about the same flexibility as most DSLR kit lenses will offer.
The equivalent apertures also give a rough idea of how the cameras might compare in low light; to a degree they indicate how far a larger sensor should be offset by a faster lens. Obviously this isn't the whole story; the characteristics of the individual sensors matters too, as does the quality of in-camera processing for JPEG shooters. But the story is essentially the same - the MX-1 should do a bit better than most small-sensor cameras, but not as well as the RX100 over most of its lens range.
The MX-1's larger lens and articulating screen means it's a little thicker than most cameras in this category, as well as a little wider. It's also thicker than the XZ-2. The Pentax MX-1 is still small enough to slip into a shorts or jacket pocket, and there's enough space on the back for a few extra buttons and controls. We have a feeling many users are likely to want to take advantage of the camera strap to show off this good-looking camera (though unfortunately we found it doesn't hang as well as we'd like with the strap lugs mounted in the front).
|The Pentax MX-1 is shorter than the XZ-2, and wider, which draws attention to the lens, making it appear somewhat larger than it is. Note the infrared port on the front, right next to the AF-assist lamp.|
|While the XZ-2 tapers in specific places to make it feel slimmer - and ultimately it is slimmer - the Pentax MX-1 embraces the idea of bulk, probably for the sake of a more retro look and feel.|
|Though both cameras have a control dial on the back, the XZ-2 has another dial on the front, customizable to adjust focus and either aperture or shutter speeds, while the MX-1's main 'extra' control is the EV dial. Like its SLRs, Pentax has included the green 're-center' button for quickly jumping back to the default setting regardless of the exposure mode.|
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2013 was a busy year for high-end compact cameras, which saw everything from iterative updates to established lines to brand new options from manufacturers entering this market segment. We've used almost all of them, reviewed a few, and in the process we've taken thousands of pictures and formed plenty of opinions. But now it's your turn - what was the best enthusiast compact camera of 2013? Click through for our selection, and a chance to cast your vote.
The holidays are a great time to take pictures — and they're a great time to get a camera for yourself or for a loved one. With more than 50 cameras going through the hands of the DPReview team over the year, we've seen it all (or so we think). Based on our collective knowledge we hope this guide will help you make an informed decision on which camera will fit your needs. In part 3, we look at enthusiast compact cameras.
Just Posted: Our hands-on preview of the Pentax MX-1. The enthusiast sector has become so vibrant that our pre-Christmas roundup included nine cameras. Not wanting to be left out of the action, Pentax-Ricoh has launched its own 12MP camera with a 1/1.7" sensor - the MX-1. As well as a slightly familiar-looking 28-112mm equivalent, F1.8-2.5 zoom lens, the MX-1 takes the unusual step of including brass top- and base-plates - meaning its classic looks should become even more pronounced as it ages. Read on to find out more.
CES 2013: Pentax has announced the MX-1 - its entry into the enthusiast compact camera sector. The MX-1 features classic styling and construction, with brass top- and base-plates. It's based around a stabilized 12MP BSI CMOS sensor and a familiar-sounding 28-112mm equivalent F1.8-2.5 lens. In addition the MX-1 features a flip-out 920k dot rear screen. It includes a top-plate exposure compensation dial and rear thumb wheel to control a UI very much like those in the company's DSLRs. We've borrowed a pre-production version of the camera and have prepared a hands-on preview article.
We reviewed three of the more popular 'pocket printers,' the Canon Ivy, Fujifilm Instax Share and Polaroid ZIP. Here's the one we recommend...
Following testing of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II, we've added it to our Pocketable Enthusiast Compact Cameras buying guide as joint-winner, alongside Sony's Cyber-shot RX100 VA.
If you're looking for a high-quality camera, you don't need to spend a ton of cash, nor do you need to buy the latest and greatest new product on the market. In our latest buying guide we've selected some cameras that while they're a bit older, still offer a lot of bang for the buck.
What's the best camera for under $500? These entry level cameras should be easy to use, offer good image quality and easily connect with a smartphone for sharing. In this buying guide we've rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing less than $500 and recommended the best.
Whether you've grown tired of what came with your DSLR, or want to start photographing different subjects, a new lens is probably in order. We've selected our favorite lenses for Sony mirrorlses cameras in several categories to make your decisions easier.
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Kosmo Foto has announced the release and opened pre-orders for its new Mono 120 black-and-white film.
Uber software engineer Phillip Wang has created a website that shows a portrait of a person that doesn't actually exist by using AI to merge multiple faces together.
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Want to know more about the Canon EOS RP? Dying to ask a question that hasn't been addressed anywhere else online? Join the editors of DPReview for a live Q&A about this new camera next Tuesday, Feb. 19 on our YouTube channel. Click through for details.
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A quick glance at the spec sheet doesn't make the Canon EOS RP look that exciting. But having shot with it, we've become oddly fond of this little full framer.
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We don't often get excited about $900 cameras, but the Fujifilm X-T30 has really impressed us thus far. Find out what's new, what it's like to use and how it compares to its peers in our review in progress.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is equipped with the same 26.1MP X-Trans sensor and X-Processor 4 Quad Core CPU as the X-T3, along with some autofocus improvements. The new camera arrives in March for $900 body-only.
Fujifilm's new XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a compact, weather-resistant lens that weighs just 155g/5.5oz. It'll be available starting in March for $399.
Fujifilm's XF 16mm F2.8 is one of the widest lenses in the company's lineup of compact primes for its X-series interchangeable lens cameras. We've been up and down the streets of snowy Seattle - a rare sight - to see just what our pre-production copy of this petite prime is capable of.
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Fujifilm has announced its upcoming rugged point-and-shoot, the FinePix XP140.
Get a closer look at Canon's second full-frame mirrorless body and its unique combination of features, capability and price point.
Canon has unveiled its second full-frame mirrorless camera: the entry-level EOS RP. Touting its compact size and approachability for beginners, the RP uses a 26.2MP sensor and will sell for $1300 body-only this March.
A pre-launch event gave us a chance to shoot a sample gallery to show what sort of image quality you can expect from the least-expensive digital full frame camera ever launched.
Nikon has taken the wraps off a new standard zoom lens for mirrorless, the Z 24-70mm F2.8 Z. The new 24-70mm has been on Nikon's Z-series roadmap since the mount was announced last August, and it will ship in spring for $2299.
Canon has announced the development of six RF lenses, including the incredibly compact RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM, two variations of an RF 85mm F1.2L USM, plus a 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM and 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM.
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