Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-16-2013, 07:22 PM - 1 Like   #1
New Member




Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 9
Pentax MX-1 two weeks impression and many samples!

Hey everyone! So about two weeks ago I ordered and recieved my MX-1, since I was in the market for a serious P&S camera. Here are my impressions/opinions so far.

First, something about myself: except for the MX-1 I currently don't own any other digital camera anymore, although I have often used either APS-C or Full-frame Canon gear. I have owned a Canon APS-C DSLR at one point for school, but sold it afterwards. My own photographic gear is basically all film based, ranging from 35mm to medium-format to large-format. For some reason, the passion for photography is just stronger for me when using film-gear. Having said that, I was badly craving for a compact snapshooter. Developing film and having it scanned is super expensive here, to the point that I'm saving up rolls and rolls to send to Malaysia for development because it just gets too expensive for me. So for the casual and social scenarios at which shooting film doesn't make sense to me, where it ends up just being used on facebook anyway, I was looking at the MX-1 after having seen some positive reviews online.

So far, it hasn't dissapointed me! The image-quality is good, mind you intend to shoot JPEG only with this camera. Having the RAW option is defintely welcome though and I might try it out somewhere down the line, but realistically I don't see that happening too often so I'll keep away from commenting on it's RAW performance. As far as sensor sensitivity goes I don't even mind raising the ISO that much. I mean, noise is definitely there and that's not surprising for a compact, but for example taking a shot in B&W at ISO 3200 is no problem for me. I'm not a IQ-whore type of photographer, my photography is usually full of grain or other image-degradation artifacts anyway. Though I would have liked the option to turn off or select the amount of noise reduction. However, in practise I've rarely had to go further than ISO400 since the image-stabilisation works quite well! Again, I have no complaints on the image-quality this compact-camera produces. I'm actually quite surprised a compact can render so nicely these days, technology really moves at a fast pace!

The lens was particularly interesting to me. I'm a big fan of the 28mm focal-length on 35mm formats, for me personally it's really close to how my photographic eye views the world. So having a 28mm equivalent on the wide-side is a really nice feature for me. Honestly, I even wish the lens on the MX-1 was a prime! Though I understand how unrealistic that would be for a P&S catagory camera, I'd totally be down with it having 'just' a 28mm prime pancake on there. In my opinion, the MX-1 looks the sexiest when turned off which is when it does look like a pancake-lens.

Build quality of the MX-1 is great by the way, the camera feels solid and the materials are really well chosen. The brass + rubber combination feel good! The only part that feels less solid is the lens itself when it's extended. One of the main selling points Pentax advertises is it's brass top and bottom, focusing on how it will show wear over time like an old SLR. While this is definitely cool, one has to wonder whether it will ever reach that type of wear considering how fast camera-tech evolves. An old SLR can remain relevant for decades, people these days are still shooting with cameras from half a century ago because they'll often accept the same film one can load into a modern film-SLR. I.e. to put it simply, the 'sensor' hasn't really changed all that much. Looking at the MX-1, how long will I keep shooting with it before a replacement seems necisarry? Now mind you, I'm quite thrifty when it comes to gear but there's no denying a digital compact camera simply doesn't stay as relevant as an old film-camera does thus not having as much an opportunity to actually get as worn. Not to mention there's more to a digital camera that can break, for example the screen which I sadly can't turn onto the body itself. As solid as this compact feels, I don't trust it to survive an accidental beer-shower as easily as any film-SLR either. This brings up quite a paradox actually: as much as I want the MX-1 to get rugged and show wear, I am more hesitant in it's usage, hus getting in the way of getting worn.

Alas, that doesn't really take anything away from the quality of this camera though. It's just a little thing about it's marketing that puts me on this ironic train of thought!

As far as phyical buttons and the general interface go, this camera is great. I have practically all the control I need, everything from the mode-dial to the exposure-compensation dial are very welcome additions to this camera. They make shooting so much easier, especially after you start getting used to where everything is on the body and in the UI. Now there are a few buttons that I still instinctively get wrong most of the time. Having only experienced Canon DSLR's in the digital realm before this, the delete/trashcan button just feels like it's in the wrong place. In the last two weeks I have found myself constantly pushing the wrong backbuttons, to clarify I'm specifically talking about the exposure-lock, trashcan, playback and info button. There's just something about the way these 4 buttons are arranged that doesn't make sense to me... yet. I'm sure some more shooting will get me used to this though, hence the 'yet'.

I must say, I would have loved the option to use an EVF. It would have instantly made this camera more equipped for more serious shooting styles, which I'm actually quite convinced this compact-camera would be adequate at. If at any point Pentax decide to introduce a successor with built-in/optional EVF... I'd be all over it!

Most of my shooting happens in either full manual mode or aperture priority mode, which are both easy and effective to use, but this camera has warmed me up to another one of it's modes... HDR mode! Let me first say this: I absolutely hate the look of those halo-y tonemapped HDR's photographs, I like to keep things looking natural. And that's exactly what the HDR standard setting gives me, most of the time. There have only been a few instances where the final in-camera HDR had done some really weird things like create super noisy images. Then again, that probably only happens in extreme light-situations anyway (like trying the HDR function in the middle of the night at the riverside... yeah why even try?) and sometimes the 'effect' was even quite cool. But most of the time, it has deemed reliable and it will simply give me a nice evenly exposed photograph much like a sensor with more stops of dynamic range would be able to.

Some of the picture effects are actually quite nice too. I have found that some combinations produce some really cool edits that I'd happily throw onto facebook or an email without further editing. Like for example shooting monochrome, use a the minimum setting of the 'high-contrast' filter and finishing with a warm-toning 'retro' filter. Too bad it automatically adds a white border though, would have been perfect without it because eventhough I like white borders I'd rather not have the camera making that decision for me.

Also, having different crop-ratio's is nice! 4:3, 16:9, 3:2 and 1:1 really allows you to experiment. I'm definitely looking at shooting more in the square-format, which I enjoy on my TLR too!

Another thing that's really exciting with this camera: macro or close-up shooting! The MX-1 is simply awesome at this and the out-of-focus areas are rendered really nice in my opinion. While 1cm macro-mode isn't the sharpest (there's some softness surrounding details and especially highlights), it sure is fun to use! Focusing is quick in it's full range too, I mainly use spot-focusing and so far I've only ever had slight trouble getting focus in low-light conditions. I've even used manual focusing in certain situations, while not the quickest it's a decent implementation either way.

Something that doesn't seem to get all that much attention in the reviews I've seen is it's ND-filter, which I've been using on so many situations! It's simply awesome to have such a feature in a compact camera, really opening it up to yet another set of serious photo opportunities. It is especially welcome considering the lowest ISO setting is ISO200. I like movement in my photography and intentionally use motion-blurring in many situations. Anything that makes it easier to do this under scorching sunlight is awesome in my book.

Is there anything I don't like? Well, besides the initial confusion in hitting the right buttons (which I'm sure will fade away) there are a few other things...

For one: Movie-mode. It's simply lacking in manual-control and really dissapointing, considering how much control this compactcamera will give you over it's stills-modes. Something that is seriously annoying is the automatic crop that happens whenever you switch to movie-mode, it almost looks like it goes from a 28mm to an almost 40-50mm field of view and I have not figured out whether or not I can disable that from happening. It's so annoying and I really hope a future firmware update will give me the option of using it's full focal-length, because that 28mm equivalent is exactly what I want to use and expected to get! Another thing I would like to have seen is being able to refoces manually when using manual-focus in moviemode. As it is now, after you've set focus manually and started recording, you cannot change it. I'd love to be able to switch from a foreground to background without having to move the camera (to trigger refocusing when using autofocus). Fix these things, Pentax!

Also, I'd love to be able to playback my photos/videos without the lens having to extend. The MX-1 simply won't go any further than a text-prompt if I leave the lenscap on, that doesn't make sense to me. Speaking of lenscaps, this is just a minor thing but I think the lenscap is ugly and doesn't compliment the camera at all.

A welcome option for a firmware update: settings stored per shooting mode. Sometimes when switching from manual to Av to movie-mode to etc etc, I'll want settings to be different per specific mode. Or maybe just having the option to override the shooting-modes with custom shooting modes?

- - -

To wrap thing's up though: I'm really happy with this camera. It's 'just' a compact camera, but I find it amazing that despite it being 'just a compact' I am interested enough in it that I would write so much about it! Really, I'm looking up at my post with astonishment that apparently I'm quite invested in using this little camera. So yes, it is just a compact. But it feels like there's much more to it, it's definitely a little camera that feels special. It has character, it has control, it has image-quality but most of all it has my interest. My long-gone Canon DSLR's never felt as inspring to just pick up and shoot with, this however does. And it does so quite convincingly, definitely better than any cell-phone would (which arguably is the #1 competitor for any compact-shooter these days).

And now, on to the samples!

- - -

(all samples here are straight out of the camera and onto flickr, unless noted otherwise)

Close-up shooting and macro's:



























HDR's:









Normal/far distances:











(used pop-up flash)

(jpeg edited very quickly on computer)



(different ratio setting)



ISO3200 + camera filter:







Camera filters:

(HDR setting used, super psychedelic!)





I think this should be suffice for now :-)

09-16-2013, 09:04 PM   #2
Pentaxian
Bob from Aus's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,085
You have given your MX1 a good work out. Just got one for my partner and she is thrilled with the results. Someone put her plant photos on a slide show (using high end digital projector) at our meeting and people thought it was taken with my k5s and extensive range of lenses. I would have been happier if I could have filter on the lens. I can see the camera rolling around a handbag without the lens cap.
09-22-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
New Member




Join Date: Jan 2012
Photos: Albums
Posts: 19
A very enthusiastic review by the TS which I mostly agree with! I also love my MX-1. The vintage style is great and the lens really saves the day in many situations where light is less than optimal. I'd love a larger sensor but it has so many features that if you're not getting the results you want, you probably aren't holding it steady enough, or haven't found the right function, or you've forgotten to turn off the previous function (Like how I tried to take hiking photos of my friends last weekend while still set in macro mode!)

The only quibbles I have are that there's not enough buttons to customise functions (I'm used to the dslr's and even the X-5 has more customization- it's 60% cheaper!) and the lens cap really cheapens the classy retro/vintage look.
09-24-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
Inactive Account




Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 18
QuoteQuote:
Also, I'd love to be able to playback my photos/videos without the lens having to extend.
You can do this by just pressing the playback button for a little while when the camera is turned off. This way the lens won't extend and you can review your pictures.

This is a very nice review, by the way. I also love my MX-1 very much. Good to see there are other enthusiast users of this great little camera.

09-25-2013, 04:56 AM   #5
hfp
New Member




Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 9
Original Poster
Does anyone know why there's a crop in movie-mode?

QuoteOriginally posted by smarter Quote
You can do this by just pressing the playback button for a little while when the camera is turned off. This way the lens won't extend and you can review your pictures.

This is a very nice review, by the way. I also love my MX-1 very much. Good to see there are other enthusiast users of this great little camera.
Wow, that totally works! Thanks!
10-26-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
Site Supporter
vagrant10's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: portland
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,362
black angels rule!!


nice review and some great pics

Thanks
10-26-2013, 10:12 AM   #7
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 133
Nice, waiting for my battery to charge on my just delivered MX-1.

BTW, they are back up on Woot again today for $249 with $5 shipping.

Shawn

P.S. I know most reviews talk about not liking the lens cap.... I love that the MX-1 has a real lens cap. Those little doors on most compact camera's lenses are way to easy to break or get gunked up in a pocket. The lens cap check message also saves the camera if the power button is inadvertently pressed when in a pocket or bag, the camera won't chew up the lens gears trying to extend the lens.

Last edited by Shawn67; 10-26-2013 at 11:19 AM.
10-26-2013, 03:13 PM   #8
hfp
New Member




Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 9
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
black angels rule!!


nice review and some great pics

Thanks
Yes they do! Thanks!

I might update soon with some new pics.

Also: I noticed that while choosing the B&W picture-mode it will sometimes render a B&W file with color-information, sometimes resulting in a green-tint. It's quite random, this is in JPEG btw. Don't know about RAW.

Something else I noticed with video-recording (besides the ~50mm crop #%S(%GJK#$@ !!!) is that the first mili-second will often have a lighter exposure, properly adjusting after that. Maybe I'm pressing the shutter too quickly?

QuoteOriginally posted by Shawn67 Quote
P.S. I know most reviews talk about not liking the lens cap.... I love that the MX-1 has a real lens cap. Those little doors on most compact camera's lenses are way to easy to break or get gunked up in a pocket. The lens cap check message also saves the camera if the power button is inadvertently pressed when in a pocket or bag, the camera won't chew up the lens gears trying to extend the lens.
Good point!

10-27-2013, 07:53 AM   #9
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 133
Few samples from playing around this morning...


In camera HDR









Last picture was cropped in LR, all others are SOOC JPGs. (I shoot 3:2 in the MX-1)

Shawn
10-27-2013, 09:11 AM   #10
hfp
New Member




Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 9
Original Poster
Thanks for sharing Shawn! I'm impressed at how usable the HDR mode is, looks natural in 90% of situations.
10-27-2013, 10:06 AM   #11
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 133
Agreed, much much better than what I was seeing with the built in mode in the Q. Speaking of the Q.... I *wish* Pentax had added the Q's front dial to the MX-1.

Shawn
10-30-2013, 05:50 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 573
Thanks for the writeup and wonderful photos. Looks like a great camera to use.

UPDATE: Just noticed Adorama has the Mx-1 for $249 which is significantly lower than other places I've seen.

Last edited by RyanW; 10-30-2013 at 11:26 PM. Reason: added price info
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
28mm, buttons, camera, digital camera, hdr, lens, mode, mx-1, option, pentax, pentax cameras, point and shoot, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MX-1 first impression brelip Pentax Compact Cameras 16 12-18-2013 07:19 PM
Pentax FA 35 2.0 vs Nikkor 35 1.8DX many samples simbon4o Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 08-01-2012 04:11 PM
Two weeks with the K-5 and 5D Mark II sb in ak Pentax K-5 27 07-06-2012 04:13 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:25 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top