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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My review of the Pentax MX-1
The more time I spend with my MX-1, the more I love it.

I like the image quality, its ISO range (100-12,800), the fast 1.8-2.5 lens, and the DUAL sensor Shake Reduction that allows me to take shots in low light or slow speeds, without blurring. Also remember it has the best ISO performance "for under $500" according to Dxomark ([...]

I've found the...
Published 22 months ago by TheGonz

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I ordered the Sony RX100 and the Pentax MX1 and tried them both out. I really expected to send the MX1 back if it didn't measure up to the RX. But guess what, I mailed the RX100 back this afternoon. The MX1 was by far the best build quality. Solid as a brick. Sure it's heavier and a little larger but at least it feels nice when holding it . The LCD screen is so much...
Published 5 months ago by RJ from PH

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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My review of the Pentax MX-1, March 14, 2013
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This review is from: Pentax MX-1 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Display (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
The more time I spend with my MX-1, the more I love it.

I like the image quality, its ISO range (100-12,800), the fast 1.8-2.5 lens, and the DUAL sensor Shake Reduction that allows me to take shots in low light or slow speeds, without blurring. Also remember it has the best ISO performance "for under $500" according to Dxomark ([...]

I've found the tiltable screen to be a great feature for street photography, as I can tilt it and make like I'm reviewing or fiddling with the buttons, and make the shot surreptitiously without disturbing people ;)

The filters included (B&W, Sepia, Toy Camera, Retro, Extract Color, Fish Eye, Miniature, etc.) are fun to use (up to 20 filters can be combined and applied to the same image according to the user manual).

It also has a RAW development feature but I prefer to do it in my laptop.

HDR has worked very good at night and in landscapes and three modes are available: Standard, Strong 1, and Strong 2.

The 1cm macro is wonderful and I've enjoyed it shooting flowers and insects with very good results.

I take one star off for a few reasons:

1) the MX-1 can't take filters and I would like to use a polarizing, and permanently put an UV to protect the lens.
2) I find it annoying when I turn on the camera when the cap is on and I get a "Please confirm the lens cap is removed" message, and the camera then turns off. Maybe it can be corrected with a new firmware release. UPDATE: I NOTICED THAT THIS FEATURE CAN PREVENT THE LENS FROM ACCIDENTALLY EXTENDING WHEN INSIDE A CASE OR BAG! so it can be a good thing after all...
3) A hot shoe for a flash or external mic would've been a good addition.

I really hope Pentax releases a filter adapter (if possible), a good protector case, and more optional accessories for this camera.

P.S. By the way, I don't know why up to date (March 14th 2013), the MX-1 is not mentioned in Pentax's japanese website! maybe Japan is not the target of this camera??? (Update: On April 9th, MX-1 appeared on the mentioned website)

Update March 24th: Saving files when shooting in RAW is slow and a "Data being recorded" message appears in the screen and the camera freezes until the process finishes. I've made some tests with class 6 and class 10 cards and I've found that the fastest the card the better the writing speed -as one can expect- but even with a very fast card (Sandisk Pro 95mb/s), the message still appears. So that makes me think that the camera's algorithm is the culprit.
Also there is a "Deleting" message that appears every time I delete a photo and it takes like a second to disappear from the screen.
I'm sure a firmware update can change this and make the camera faster.

Update April 20th: 1) The MX-1 is really good for street photography! (I've done some more shots in public parks and the camera reacted fast focusing and taking the shot)
2) In bright sunny days photos have a blue cast that I think is because of the UV rays.
3) Some third-party lens adapters have appeared for the MX-1. Also, a few leather half camera cases are available now.

Update May 6th: I video recorded a full rock concert (stopping after each song) and the battery (previously full charged) drained in a approximately 1 1/2 hours. It wasn't an issue as I took a couple of spare batteries with me. The recording was made in full HD, and the image & sound quality turned out very good.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nearly perfect pro-sumer point-and-shoot, November 3, 2013
This review is from: Pentax MX-1 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Display (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I've been an amateur photographer for decades. Printed a few times here and there. I think I fit squarely in the pro-sumer category: neither a professional, nor simply a consumer.

I've never had a camera I love THIS much. I've used my share of SLRs and I still use them for specialized tasks, but for everything else, I take this.

I'll start with the most obvious and shallow: it's gorgeous! I love the look of old cameras. I don't care for modern cameras or the neo-retro look. I like OLD. I like rangefinders. I miss using my old Konica C35. Etc. This fits the bill almost perfectly. Aside from the zoom lens up front, it's pretty convincing. Even more so with the lens cap on. It looks thoroughly modern from the rear, but it's a trade-off I will accept for the functionality. The LCD screen is big and clear. I wish the screen tilted both ways or not at all. I can take very low shots because the screen tilts up, but I'd also like to to able to take overhead shots by tilting the screen down. I don't do very much of either, and I've learned to take those kinds of shots blind anyway, so I would have forgone all tilt, to shave a quarter inch off the back. [Great tip from "The Folded Space": Tilt the screen, hold the camera upside down, and you'll be able to take accurate over-head shots. The accelerometer inside will orient the screen correctly. When you check your "roll" later, the image will be right-side up!]

I love the optics. The lenses are fast, clear, bright, and colorful. Coupled with the quick processing and autofocus, I rarely have to think twice about what I'm shooting. I leave the cap on and the camera off between uses. It turns on in a flash and the cap comes off with a sweep of my thumb. The lens starts at its widest zoom. I can catch my subjects in less than a second. I can crop and adjust afterwards on the computer. I hardly ever miss a shot.

Oh and the macro! No switches or menus to fiddle with. Get close and let it focus.

The weight and bulk are just about perfect. You don't want a camera that's too light or small. Sure, it can be a pain when you're hiking through a rainforest or walking around a city. It doesn't fit in most pants pockets, so you'll need to wear it around your neck or under an arm. But a light and/or small camera is difficult to hold steady. This fits securely in my hands (I wear XL gloves) and I wouldn't trade an ounce of weight on this camera for anything! Though, as I said, I would have knocked a quarter inch off the depth by ditching the tilting screen.

I rarely need to mess with the settings. The camera does all the work I used to have to do in my head. I just trust it will capture the shot. This leaves me free to think more about subject, composition, and lighting. But for the control freaks, and I don't mean that negatively, you can manually control everything on the camera.

I'm going to ignore all the special effects because I do that on my computer. I don't need it on my camera. For those who like that sort of thing, and I can see the appeal, other reviewers have covered it well.

The one and only flaw on this is the flash. The flash itself is an afterthought. You won't need it often, thanks to the brilliant lens, but when you do, it'll be barely adequate. It has been successful an hour before sundown without the flash. Once the sun is gone, though, the flash just doesn't cut it unless you like photos of your friends standing in front of complete darkness. Actually, that could work pretty well for a scary Halloween shot. I would have preferred to sacrifice the flash altogether for a hot shoe, but then again, that'd add undesirable bulk. [After some practice with the flash settings, it's better than I originally thought, but still far from a proper flash. It handles mesopic conditions so well, with a steady hand, you seldom need the flash.]

[I used this on a shoot in a February downpour. It got cold and very wet. The lens fogged up a bit, but everything operated just fine. In fact, the fogged lens worked like a soft filter which gave my subjects a Barbara Walters-ish austerity. lol. Afterwards, I popped the flash, opened the battery door, fully extended the lens, and left it out to dry for a few days. Months later, still works great and I still love this camera.]

BOTTOM LINE: This is THE camera to bring along for just about EVERYTHING. It's honestly easier to mention the things it's not good for: very distant and/or very dark subjects. The zoom only goes to 4x, but the images are so sharp, you'll be able to blow it up on your computer. But I wouldn't count on anything past the equivalent of 8x. For dark subjects, where you would need a flash, you can make do with the on-board flash. It's better than nothing. But in the end, though I may WANT to change a few things, there's nothing I NEED to. It's just about perfect. I'll save the SLR for birding, sports, and nighttime festivities. Oh that sounds risqué.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would really rate this 4.5. Good camera, with cavaets, June 18, 2013
This review is from: Pentax MX-1 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Display (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I must admit upfront that I'm a bit of a Pentax fanboy these days, although I am quite aware of the shortcomings in each of their cameras. Nevertheless, I wasn't going to buy the MX-1 originally, as I had a dslr and a megazoom camera (K-5 and X-5). When I saw a guy advertise one for cheap however, (he wanted funds to buy a waterproof camera for his trip in 2 weeks) I couldn't resist and now have an as new MX-1 for only 2/3 the price of a new one.

When I look at the MX-1, I see it being compared to it's direct competitors in the enthusiast compact cameras - eg Canon s110, Olympus ZX2, Sony RX100 etc., and compared within Pentax itself to the Q, Q10, and newly announced Q7- which has the same sensor size as the MX-1. I'll touch on each.


- in good light, or in poorer light where you can place it on a stable base and adjust shutter speeds, or aperture, the MX-1 gives images in jpeg which are much closer to the aps-c sensor in my dslr than I expected. I haven't tested the iso limits, but up to 800 it was not bad at all.

- the f1.8-2.5 across it's zoom range really makes a difference. For some cameras like the Canon s110 and Sony RX100, the f stop starts big, but quickly gives an aperture that's no different than any other compact camera. I took the MX-1 to a wedding banquet and the lighting was well down, except on stage and along the central path where the bride and groom walk in. The faster shutter speed from a wider aperture was noticeable, and I'm glad to have a much less fuzzy handheld photo, and even did it twice in hi burst mode too.

- ergonomics. Despite being the largest and heaviest of it's direct competitors, it's easy to grip, and tilting LCD screen gives it a distinct edge in flexibility. It's one reason I never looked at the s110 (fixed screen- although much smaller, easier to carry). Ergonomics are good, buttons easy to push, nothing loose. This compares to the rear "ring" control of the Olympus ZX2 which I felt was much too loose and sensitive, easy to make accidental presses. I have had enough of that type of poor ergonomics with the Canon SX50 superzoom- when you want to take a pic, then your finger brushes the ring and you've missed your shot.

- Bokeh- aka soft and gentle out of focus background. You can see the result of having a quality wide open lens. Good stuff.

- Battery life. Took 200 photos and the battery gauge showed still 75% full.

- Attractive retro look. Not as fanciful as Fujifilm's style, so a bit of a personal preference here.

- Pentax has one of those lens caps which blocks the lens extending out when you turn it on. I was given one of those third party automatic lens covers- the front splits into thirds, like 3 pieces of pie, when the lens is turned on and pushes forward. This thrid party lens cover adds about 4mm to the thickness of the camera, but I use it.


- Won't save photos as quickly as a dslr., the burst rate is nowhere near the k-5 dslr or some other enthusiast cameras. I'm using a Class 10 SD card, and it's not saving as fast as I think it could

- While the brass makes for good marketing, I'd rather keep the paint from wearing off and have some lighter metal and shave off 100grams from the weight.

- Despite being enthusiast, it lacks some manual controls, or ease of reaching some functions, than you'd expect, such as white balance. The Pentax X-5, a compact sensor super zoom at half the price of the MX-1 has more features.

- With the release of the Q7, which is a mirrorless system unique to Pentax, but with a sensor size the same as the MX-1, it has given itself a direct competitor. However, I believe the Q system lacks enough lenses to challenge the MX-1 yet. The MX-1 has a zoom range with wide open aperture in a complete camera. The Q system only has a single prime (45mmf1.9 in 35mm equiv) which is remotely similar. The Q is much lighter, and has the handy shortcut dial on the front, but to me doesnt offer much advantage, besides being able to attach dslr lenses to it via an adaptor.

- Only as wide as 28mm- would have been nice to have a wider lens, say 24 or 22mm.

So compared to it's competitors, it depends on whether you want- style, ergonomics, size, pocketablility, weight, aperture wideness, cost, tilting LCD. For me, MX-1 has wheat I want- familiar system, wide open lens, good bokeh, tilting LCD, attractive looks, ergonomics.

I can't say if the MX-1 is the one for you, but for me, it's one I can carry around and I can use for low light areas and evening/night time outings.

Hope this review is helpful to you.

Update Sept 16th 2013

I recently travelled and brought this along as my night camera. It didn't let me down. The wide open lens allowed me to take photos of almost anything in the city, as long as there was some light. I also changed the white balance to tungsten to avoid the yellow from dominating the photos. With such an awesome lens, it brings home the fact that the sensor is only 1/1'7. When I pixel peeped (please forgive me for being anal), I could see noise, and artefacts in outlines after zooming in. This is partly due to sensor size, and the fact that it's at night/lack of light. Still, it is far far better to get a photo at a good shutter speed by using a wide open fast sharp lens, than having a crappy photo. The bokeh remains smooth, creamy and you can see starbursts at lights- headlights, streetlights, etc. I should also say that I only view pics on computer screen at home, or upload on internet, so size doesn't really matter.

If I were to make a final whinge, it is about the Pentax lens cap. The camera is very stylish and retro. The lens cap is just a flat slice of plastic. If you look hard, you can see the word Pentax imprinted on it. Let's compare that to the Olympus lens cap for the OM-D EM-5- it's got a shiny chrome circular outline and the wording is also like shiny brushed aluminium. That's the sort of quality Pentax should show off and convey. I'm proud of my MX-1 dammit! Don't leave the last 5% off and cover this beauty of a lens with a black piece of ubiquitous plastic!

The MX-1 remains a keeper. :)
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous looking camera with superb macro abilities, April 25, 2013
MyKeyReviews (Hampshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
Length:: 5:48 Mins

♦ Brief ♦

I have to say I was in complete awe when I first unwrapped the camera, it has a wonderful sleek retro look and is very comfortable to hold.

The camera does feel a little heavy in weight, but has a great amount of grip along the body to compensate.

One of my favourite external features is the screen, you can extend it outwards and then tilt it if needed, I found this extremely useful when taking macro shots at ground level.

♦ Navigation ♦

The camera has a mode dial located up the top, this allows you to quickly change from the modes most suitable for point & shoot situations such as 'AUTO PICTURE' & 'SCENE' modes, to the more advanced settings like the 'Manual' mode.

The button layout on the camera I found to be very well placed and everything has a clear label/icon so you know what your clicking on.

As for the menu, it may not look like someone has designed it in Microsoft paint, however it's clear and due to the tab system, makes it easy to find the settings you want.

♦ Picture Quality ♦

Honestly, the overall image quality I think is superb, although there are some situations it doesn't cope so well in, it generally does well:

☑ Outdoors/Daytime; Results have been great in such conditions, however be careful when pointing near the direction of the sun as it's highly likely you will get lens flare.

☑ Beach/Sea; Would recommend using the 'SCENE' mode and select 'Surf & Snow', this will really bring out the colours, alternatively use the 'Blue Sky' for a vivid blue sky.

☑ Macro shots; To guarantee a crisp macro shot, press the flower icon located on the back of the camera and choose "Macro" for close-up shoots, or "1cm Macro" to succeed in focus insanely close to the subject, I was honestly blown away at how well this camera can focus at such close range, with stunning results.

☑ Flash; There are a lot of flash modes to choose from such as 'auto', 'off', 'on', 'auto + red-eye', 'on + red-eye', 'slow-speed sync' and more. I normally use auto, which when used has been the perfect amount and doesn't drown out the subject. #NOTE: Flash isn't really suitable for close-up shots.

☑ Indoors; Although I've had a few dud shots, most have been good results. For even better results indoors, I would recommend putting the flash on auto.

☒ Night scenic shots; Considering this camera boasts a low-light performance, I wanted to see what it could do. I tried the camera on a lovely moon-lit night that had a good amount of light lighting up the sky whilst using a tripod. The initial results on the cameras screen seemed promising, but when I had viewed the photo on my computer, there was a lot of noise on the photo. At the same time I attempted the same shot on my Sony RX100 (a rival competitor in these range of cameras) whilst using the same settings, the RX100 had little to no visible noise in the photos.

♦ Final Opinion ♦

The MX-1 by Pentax is probably the nicest looking camera I've seen in a long time, it's comfortable to hold and is easy to navigate.

Whilst it may struggle in some lower-lighting conditions, the overall performance is extremely good, especially when it comes to macro shots, the results really are out of this world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best P&S camera I've ever handled, March 22, 2014
I. Clements (Washington State) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax MX-1 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Display (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
There is a lot of P&S cameras out there so a lot of this is personal opinion on my use of this particular model. I'd heard a lot about the Macro capability of this camera and as I shoot a good deal of Macro work I thought I'd give it a try. I've had Canon G series cameras and Panasonic LX5/7 models as well as Olympus XZs. For what I shoot the Pentax MX beats them all.
The Macro capability is nothing short of amazing on a camera of this type. You literally can get down to 1cm from the object and focusing stays razor sharp. For regular shooting the fast f1.8 lens really helps, especially indoors where I've found I rarely have to use the flash.
The camera has an incredibly solid feel and is somewhat larger than other P&S in this class. I personally love it. I found most of the other cameras I tried to be just too small. They seem really intended for one handed use, which is fine but they are just too small and fiddly. The Pentax MX fits my hand nicely and I can use it comfortably with one or both hands.
Perhaps my one wish would be for a hot shoe so I could trigger a remote flash.
I know some mentioned that the write speed is somewhat slower. I have noted this on a couple of occasions but its nothing crippling.

Overall I think this one is a keeper for me. Just getting started using it so may update more later.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Despite some awkward design flaws...a very competent and capable camera, February 10, 2013
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This review is from: Pentax MX-1 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Display (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
The Pentax MX-1 is a perfect example of a camera that was dismissed before anyone really had a chance to shoot with it. It's not perfect and there are some flaws in the design but overall it's an excellent camera which is responsive, with a fairly intuitive menu system, and provides excellent image quality considering its sensor size and price.

As mentioned, this camera's image quality is excellent. Colors are accurate and punchy, with good lens sharpness and detail capture. ISO performance is not class-leading but is about on par with its peers. In other words, things start getting pretty sloppy at ISO1600 and further deteriorate from there. It shares the same Sony sensor with the Olympus XZ-2 and Nikon P7700/ its not surprising that the ISO performance is similar between the three cameras. The good news about the ISO is that the camera employs that excellent F1.8-2.5 4x lens found on the Olympus XZ series cameras & since it's such a fast lens you may never have to pick a high ISO to shoot with when in manual mode. RAW files use the Adobe DNG format which is universally compatible. I found the RAW files excellent to work with, especially when it comes to recovering blown out highlights. The camera overexposes a little, but that sort of exposure behavior is pretty typical for enthusiast comacts. Luckily, like other enthusiast compacts, you have a manual exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera.

I was generally very pleased with the Autofocus performance on this camera, even in low light. There has been some complaints about the RAW write times, but using a 45MB/sec SanDisk SD card, I found only a very brief delay at times writing to card. Which is something that I experienced on the P7700 as well. Fast SD cards are relatively cheap these days, so it's worthwhile to spend the extra $20 or so to get one for this camera.

Another complaint is that the menu system looks dated. I guess that's true but the menu is otherwise very well laid out and easy to use. I think most folks would be willing to forgive a dated looking menu system if it's easy to navigate around.

Overall build quality is good but I am not fond of the cheap-feeling plastic dials on top. They work alright, but for as much boasting as Pentax has done about about the brass top and bottom, you would think they would use something higher-quality for the dials. The camera feels a little awkward to shoot with at first but you get used to it after shooting with it for a little while. I think it could benefit from some sort of grip of front, but the textured surface ultimately makes it feel secure in your hand. The control layout on the camera is very straight-forward, and changing settings is very easy despite not including a second control dial. One critical area that Pentax got right on this camera is the LCD, excellent to use even in bright sunlight (when the settings are adjusted accordingly). The camera has a lot of neat features for still shooting, such as vertical and horizontal horizon correction. Battery life is also excellent.

Pentax has created a respectable first entry in the enthusiast compact field and it high reccommended for folks who want still want decent image quality and an excellent still shooting feature set, but don't want to plunk down $750 for the Sony RX100 II.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentax MX-1, March 18, 2013
azog (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax MX-1 Silver 12MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Display (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I'm what I like to consider somewhere between a "consumer" and an "enthusiast" (not a "prosumer", as much as I detest that word). I want a bit more than a generic point-n-shoot camera, but a full blown DSLR is unnecessary. Something that has a few tweaks for various environments is nice. I had a Fuji X-Pro1, and while I loved it, it was just too much camera for my personal needs and returned it. The only other real contender at the moment was the Sony RX-100, but at a steeper price in a less aesthetic package. I find that the Pentax MX-1 fits nicely with what I would like in a camera.

For starters is the visual appearance. It is a handsome camera. It looks like what a camera should look like, without all that hideous bulk of a SLR. One of the apparent hype points is the brass upper and lower caps. I'm not sure weighed that into my consideration, because the hype revolved more around the "brassing" which occurs over time, the wearing of the paint, revealing the natural metal underneath. Besides the "brassing", the brass gives a nice weight to the camera. It fits very well in my hands. Not too heavy, not too light, it just feels right. It is wrapped with a textured faux leather grip that also makes it easier to hold. No worry that it is going to slip out of my hands.

The buttons are placed fairly conveniently in a logical layout. The power button is actually a push on/push off switch, which may be something to be aware of, that I will accidentally turn it on without realizing it and drain the battery. The menus are minimalist, almost starkly so. Being rather bare-bones, but do you really need pretty pictures to find where to change various settings like file format, or camera time?

The rear screen is big and bright, and hinged in a way that you can rotate it 90 degrees upwards or downwards and make it easier to take pictures without need to hold the camera directly in front of you. This is the first time I've owned a camera with a rotating screen, so it'll take some time to get used to it. There is also no viewfinder, nor is there even accommodation for one, as there is no hot-shoe. This means there is no means for external flash, viewfinder, or other accessories.

I do have some concern is with retractable lens, but that concern is not unique to this particular camera, just the mechanism in general. I have another camera with a retractable lens, but I was able to attach a lens tube, which adds some protection to the lens at the cost of adding some additional bulk. It's a trade-off I chose, and currently I am unaware if any lens tube/hood attachments for this particular camera. Another benefit to the lens hood is that it allowed filters to be attached. I have a ExpoDisc white balance filter which I like to use, because I find manually setting WB with the ExpoDisc usually out-performs the automatic (or pre-programmed) white balance settings. Without an adapter, I am unable to use this WB filter.

There is what seems to be knurled ring flush against the body on the lens, which might imply that you could add a filter adapter. But there are also very visible screws that go thru this ring. You can see these screws on the product pictures, from the side views. Perhaps you could remove the screws and remove the knurled ring to see if there is a threaded mount, but I'm not personally willing to try it. With my luck, the whole lens will fall out and invalidate any warranty.

Considering the needs which I have for a camera, I set the camera to save to 9mb JPEG rather than RAW. I did play with RAW saving, and it is very (VERY) slow to save RAW. Why is this? It's not RAW+JPEG. Since there's no processing, one would imagine it would be faster to save as RAW. When I say slow, I mean like counting "one two three" slow, with a visible progress bar on the screen. I am saving to a SDHC SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB, so I seriously doubt that the excessive time is related to a slow SD card. Perhaps they'll address it with a firmware fix, but I also notice there are no new firmwares on the Pentax site at all... Hopefully they'll not let this camera languish into oblivion.

Because I prefer to save in JPEG and my post-processing is nil-to-none, I don't really need to use the included SilkyPix software. I did load it and played around with it, but I am ambivalent to the whole thing. I suspect anyone who does professional post-processing will use a more robust product anyway.

Since I am nowhere near expert, I won't cover things like ISO speeds, and whatnot, so consider these things which mainly stand out to me. You'll find more technical on the web, and I'm surprised there aren't many reviews here on Amazon yet. But in short, I am very happy with the camera, and have no regrets buying it. If I could rate half-stars, I probably knock off a half-star and post my review as 4.5, but that is only due to the apparent non-capacity to add external filters. But that feature is so minimal, and everything else considered, I do consider it as 5-stars.

Added on April 26 2013: I found what may be a possible lens tube/filter adapter for the MX-1. Since it's not relevant to the actual product at hand, I'll add a comment to my review.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars HAD TO RETURN WAS GRAY MARKET BEWARE, August 21, 2014
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I ordered the Sony RX100 and the Pentax MX1 and tried them both out. I really expected to send the MX1 back if it didn't measure up to the RX. But guess what, I mailed the RX100 back this afternoon. The MX1 was by far the best build quality. Solid as a brick. Sure it's heavier and a little larger but at least it feels nice when holding it . The LCD screen is so much sharper and is much easier to see in sunlight than the one for the RX100. You will have to spend some time reading the FULL PRINTED MANUAL that comes with it. You also get a one sheet quick start guide. There are lots of features to cover but my ultimate favorite is it's Macro settings close and real close(1"). They work great. I got some beautiful pictures at our local zoo of small creepy critters like frogs,snakes and spiders. I can see I'm going to have fun with this camera. My main wants in a camera are 1. Image quality 2. Build quality 3.Features 4. Ease of use. The MX-1 fills the bill for me. I know some camera experts will nit pick it apart with some paper test results but this is a great fun camera. It is only 4X zoom so if you're looking for more zoom move on. I found the images are so sharp they can easily be cropped larger so that makes up for some zoom. I haven't tried the clear or digital zooms yet so I can't comment on them. There is a lithium battery you charge out of camera. A lens cap with a string to attach it is included. I looked up accessories for the MX and there is a large tube like filter 58mm adapter that attaches with two Allen wrench screws, however I don't think I want to mess with that, but it is available. A rather cheap stiff neck strap is included also. I got it on Amazon for $289 and it was well worth that for the image and build quality to me. Look at the pictures and see if you like the retro look of the MX. I love it and it fits easily in a camera case on my belt. Great for a walk around camera. It seemed like the $500 camera not the RX100. Pentax doesn't get the hype Sony does, but I was shocked by the image quality out of the box and tiny controls of the RX. I can't believe anyone paid $800-$900 for that camera when it was new. I didn't try the video yet, because it's not that important to me but I think it will probably be good enough for me. You can shoot raw(I don't) if that's important. To me this camera reminds me of the old Pentax cameras like the K-1000 back in the film days. I owned Pentax point and shoot film cameras because they always had better image quality than canon and nikon PS. In conclusion I only say give this Pentax a shot before buying anything else. You might be very glad you did. UPDATE TO THIS REVIEW: I sadly returned this camera because it was gray market not a USA warranty. The card in the box stated it was only a serial number card and not a warranty card. I checked with Amazon and they said it was not covered by a USA warranty but only by Beach Camera who were the sellers. No where in there description did they say no USA warranty. BUYER BEWARE!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Enthusiast Compact with Unique Features, February 10, 2014
Anyone from the budding amateur photographer to a seasoned professional has a need for a capable, discreet compact camera. There are times and places where it just isn't appropriate to take along thousands of dollars worth of gear and lenses and for these situations, a compact excels.

Enter the Pentax MX-1. I was interested in seeing how this camera performs compared to the Pentax Q I bought a year ago. I picked up both of these cameras at fire sale prices and have spent some time comparing them. Despite being compact cameras from the same manufacturer, there are some striking differences.


The MX-1 has top and bottom plates made from solid brass, painted either silver or black (my model is black). If you tend to bang your camera around a lot, the paint will wear off to reveal the nice shiny brass underneath. You have to wonder though - this amount of wear would likely crack the LCD, jam the lens mechanism or inflict other untold horrors on the camera long before you achieve the intended "weathered" look.

That said, the camera is solid for the most part. Apart from the brass top and bottom plates, the body is made from solid-feeling plastic. The body has nice tight seams and the USB/HDMI cover flap is a model of solidity. The grip is very grippy and the moving bits like the flash mechanism and handy tilting LCD operate with precision. The top dials, on the other hand, are a let down. They are plastic and have a bit of play in them. A far cry from the machined Fujifilm X10/X20 dials, for example.

For comparison's sake, the Q has overall better build quality, with a full magnesium body and tighter-feeling controls.


This is my first camera with a tilting LCD and I've found myself using it a great deal. The proverbial cherry-on-top is the pair of electronic levels that allow you to true the horizon even when your camera is held up high or down low in awkward positions while comfortably viewing the tilting LCD. The 920k resolution is a welcome step up from the Q's 460k panel, and the brightness and contrast of the panel is better as well.

Operational speeds are quick. Start up is faster than the Q, commendable considering that the MX-1 has to extend the wonderfully bright 28-112mm equiv. f/1.8-2.5 lens. Yes, RAW write times aren't especially fast but they aren't so slow that they ruin the experience. I'm using a SanDisk Extreme 32GB 45 MB/s card.

The menu layout will be familiar to those who have used Pentax in the past. Menus are very legible and well laid out but have a very retro look to them. The Q menu layout has a good deal more customization available... more color profiles, assignable green button, option to save last JPEG as RAW, quick zoom in playback, focus peaking and other features that are just flat-out MIA on the MX-1. Disappointing.

The MX-1 still has some unique features, however. Interval movies and interval still shooting are available and well-implemented - helped by the MX-1's noticeable battery life advantage vs. the Q. The selectable ND filter can even be set to Auto. Very handy on outdoor hikes where lighting conditions can change rapidly.


Here is where the benefits of the MX-1 larger sensor vs. the Q become apparent. Both cameras shoot 12 megapixels at 4:3 but the MX-1 files have a good deal more clarity and detail. Color transitions are smoother and shooting RAW reveals a good deal of highlight headroom. A sky can look completely white and blown-out at the default exposure and after a quick teak of the highlight slider in Lightroom, blue sky and clouds appear. The Q did not have this much latitude. The MX-1's RAW files are so pliable that I very rarely feel the need to use the HDR mode.

I am disappointed by the JPEG processing that this camera does. Noise reduction and sharpening are aggressive and leave some crunchy chromatic artifacts behind. The Q handles this processing more gracefully, albeit with less detail. These artifacts are only especially apparent at 100% view and won't likely be an issue for non-poster-sized prints, but I still make a point to shoot RAW when I can.

The lens is fast and sharp - a great all-rounder that allows you to keep the ISO level way down. The image stabilization is very effective as well. With steady hands I've been able to get a sharp shot at 6/10ths of a second. The zoom motor is smooth and quiet and autofocus is quick in good light and quick enough in low light. An "Infinity" focus preset is very handy for long exposure astrophotography and selecting manual focus calls up a very handy distance scale.


This camera has a bit of everything wrapped in a nice-looking package. The fast lens, capable sensor and tilting high-res LCD combine to form a generally pleasant shooting experience. It is a shame that Pentax-Ricoh isn't treating this camera with the same love that they have shown the Q, with its various firmware updates and refinements. Still, especially if you are a RAW shooter, the MX-1 is hard to pass up at these prices.
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You gotta love Pentax: brass on a modern camera?!?, May 2, 2013
Nathan D Jedinak (Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
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I'm a recent fan of Pentax cameras, having within the last year purchased my first two from the brand (a Q and the much maligned but excellent K-01). I like the fact that Pentax is a bit quirky, with their own style and way of building cameras. You need look no further than the fact Pentax included brass top and bottom plates for this modern digital camera, harkening back to the late, great film cameras of old. Being a not-so-youngster myself, I have some of those film cameras, and a little brass showing beneath paint reminds me of all the nice memories I have made while using the camera. I believe that's exactly what Pentax was after here, and I really like the sentiment, especially in today's throw-away newer-is-better society.

The question is, though: would you keep this camera long enough to wear through the paint, exposing that lovely brass? Or was this just a chic move by the marketing team of Pentax?

The answer isn't simple, unfortunately. Certainly, the image quality of the camera is "good enough" for the vast majority of common photographic pursuits. We are living in good times, and "digital" has (IMO) finally caught up with where the average point-and-shoot film camera left us after many decades of innovation. I'd be willing to say that if you are a typical photographer who never prints larger than 11x14 or so, wants to grow your photographic skills but doesn't have a specific pursuit that this camera won't handle well (you will know this already), and doesn't have any specific notion that a camera should operate in a particular manner, this could very well be your "everything" camera for enough years that you will wear the paint off the brass.

However, as a photography enthusiast with many years of film (and digital) under my belt, I was left a bit confused by the MX-1 as the body made promises I didn't feel the camera kept. The retro styling suggests that this camera will handle and flow like an old film camera; in my admittedly short exposure to the MX-1 I didn't find this to be the case. Although the interface and user experience was good, it felt decidedly "modern" to me, which was jarring in the face of the very retro styling. Looking at the camera, I was expecting something like a Fuji X10, X100, or XPro 1, but in operation this was more like an Olympus XZ-1 or XZ-2 than a Fuji X10. For me, unlike the aforementioned Fuji's, it didn't "flow" as well. Additionally, the effort put into the styling and brass plates made me think this was an enthusiast's special, but I was a little perplexed as there are fewer options for customization than the Q and K01. This left the camera feeling a bit less like the enthusiast camera it seems to be positioned as. Why "dumb it down" comapred to the other Pentax cameras? It was a but puzzling, and like the juxtaposition of old and modern, during the time I had the camera I was perpexed as to who exactly this camera was marketed to.

That said, when I finally viewed the images on screen I found the photo quality VERY good. Using Lightroom 4.4 to convert the RAW files, I was very impressed with the resolution at base ISO, displaying a crisp, colorful image with excellent contrast, even in harsh lighting. Dynamic range was also quite good, particularly when pulled and pushed a bit from RAW. With respect to image quality, it is a notable step above older high-end compacts I have had experience with such as the Canon G9, Ricoh GRD-IV, as well as Pentax's own Q. At high ISO (>=1600), it was notably better than the Q, the GRD-IV, and also the brand-new and otherwise excellent Fuji X20. It matches or bests the Olympus XZ-1 in good light, and while that camera falls apart above ISO400, the MX-1 holds up quite well. I don't have my Sony RX100 any more to compare, but I was fine using the MX-1 around ISO1600 as the grain had a nice fine, tight pattern to it, and detail was retained quite well. With the fast lens, a good image stabilization system, and ISO1600, I'd suggest you can successfully use this camera in any light you care to photograph in.

The MX-1 also has some nice features: the tilting screen is handy at times, and the display itself is very smooth with excellent color, brightness, and tonal gradations (several orders of magnitude better than the Q!). The exposure compensation wheel, popular on throwback cameras right now, is quite helpful and easy to access. The battery life also seemed quite good, although I didn't have it long enough to fully judge battery capacity, I think it's enough for a nice day of shooting as you travel, etc. I also liked the lens; I believe it is shared with the Olympus XZ-1 and XZ-2, and although we all would like bespoke lenses on our cameras (makes you feel "special" somehow!), as far as compact camera lenses go, this one is worth sharing between manufacturers. You can somewhat play with Depth of Field, and bokeh is smoother than expected, even besting the X20 in certain circumstances. It's a bit soft in the corners at wide angle and wide open, but stop down a little for landscapes and you won't notice. Although it doesn't necessarily have the "character" of some vintage and modern lenses, that will actually be a plus in the minds of many.

So that's where we're left, then: a compact that by "looks" promises retro charm, character, and charisma, yet manages to be fully modern in implementation and feel. Will you wear that paint off to expose the pretty brass underneath? That depends upon whether you view this mashup of "old" and "new" as positive, or negative. If you want "new" with a little retro charm, then by all means, this is as good of a camera as many highly-touted models on the market. The price is also quite aggressive, competing with models costing quite a bit more. However, if you desire a retro approach in form AND function, with a more old-school photographer-centric (vs technology-centric) flow, and perhaps a bit more "charm and character" in your images, then I would suggest taking a pass on the MX-1.
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