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08-26-2014, 05:46 AM   #1
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Do I need both GR and MX-1?

As some may have read before, I am a K-30 owner - a newbie to DSLR but forever working to get a bit better. Wherever possible, I take my K-30 and a couple of lenses with me and try to practice, practice, practice.

A few months ago I determined I needed a camera to take with me on occasions where the K-30 was impractical. I chose the Ricoh GR and find it to be a very powerful tool - amazing IQ and a wealth of settings. However, it seems almost too professional at times, and I don't feel I can use it as a P&S in the same way I might with a less demanding camera. A lack of shake-reduction in the GR also forces a little more time to compose.

So, do I need another camera? I had toyed with the Panasonic LX7, but further reading comparing leads me to the MX-1 - which is of course tumbling in price. Will this give me the 'enthusiast' option with an ability to simply P&S if the situation demands. Or am I being unnecessarily cautious on my use of the GR, which should suffice?

Does anyone out there own both GR and MX-1? If so, why? And what are the relative advantages and disadvantages? Finally, if you (and I) can bear it, am I being all too fussy?

many thanks,

08-26-2014, 05:52 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentishrev Quote
As some may have read before, I am a K-30 owner - a newbie to DSLR but forever working to get a bit better. Wherever possible, I take my K-30 and a couple of lenses with me and try to practice, practice, practice.

A few months ago I determined I needed a camera to take with me on occasions where the K-30 was impractical. I chose the Ricoh GR and find it to be a very powerful tool - amazing IQ and a wealth of settings. However, it seems almost too professional at times, and I don't feel I can use it as a P&S in the same way I might with a less demanding camera. A lack of shake-reduction in the GR also forces a little more time to compose.

So, do I need another camera? I had toyed with the Panasonic LX7, but further reading comparing leads me to the MX-1 - which is of course tumbling in price. Will this give me the 'enthusiast' option with an ability to simply P&S if the situation demands. Or am I being unnecessarily cautious on my use of the GR, which should suffice?

Does anyone out there own both GR and MX-1? If so, why? And what are the relative advantages and disadvantages? Finally, if you (and I) can bear it, am I being all too fussy?

many thanks,
Well the GR is a fixed lens camera, so that's an inherent limitation. I would pick up a LX7, MX-1, or RX100 if you feel like you need extra reach/zoom. The latter is of course a bit more pricey but you get image quality that's closer to that of the GR.

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08-26-2014, 05:57 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Well the GR is a fixed lens camera, so that's an inherent limitation. I would pick up a LX7, MX-1, or RX100 if you feel like you need extra reach/zoom. The latter is of course a bit more pricey but you get image quality that's closer to that of the GR.
Thanks Adam. I did try the LX7 and RX100 in the shop, and have to say that the RX100 felt very 'fiddly'. And I have small hands! The LX7 was fine. Is the image quality of the MX-1 better than average? I know it will not be as good, but is it a significant downgrade from the GR/K-30?
08-26-2014, 06:01 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentishrev Quote
Is the image quality of the MX-1 better than average? I know it will not be as good, but is it a significant downgrade from the GR/K-30?
I would say yes to both. The MX-1 has a very good lens, so it's safe to use wide-open. However, in RAW mode, the camera is painfully slow to process files. You'll want to stay under ISO 1600 for decent results IMO, whereas the GR and K-30 are fine at 1600 and 3200.

Here's my review of the MX-1 by the way (back from when it cost $500):
Review: Pentax MX-1 - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews


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08-26-2014, 06:11 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Fuji X20 or the new X30.

I bought an X20 to carry instead of my Pentax kit when I wanted to just carry a light, but good, camera. Tend now to carry it most of the time to the detriment of my Pentax kit!

Both Fuji's are 'real' cameras - with either a OVF (X20) or an EVF (X30). Either way you hold them properly, to your eye, rather than at arms length.

As you might gather I have no time for cameras without a viewfinder, including the MX-1. Sorry!

Last edited by JohnX; 08-26-2014 at 06:17 AM.
08-26-2014, 06:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Here's my review of the MX-1 by the way (back from when it cost $500):
Review: Pentax MX-1 - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Really helpful thank you. I read the review over the weekend - it's one of the things that led me in the direction of the MX-1. Good to hear your views on the relative quality with GR/K-30 as well, thank you. The SR and zoom lens appeals for those 'straight out of the pocket' moments. The fixed lens and professional beauty of the GR demand more care - which is great, but I cannot always give it the time it requires (and have ended up with some shocking photographs!).

I may take the risk and trial an MX-1 carefully for a week or so. If it doesn't meet the need, it can go back.

All other thoughts from others still welcome though!
08-26-2014, 06:37 AM   #7
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I'm really liking the MX-1 as an alternative to the K-30. My first choice would've probably been the GR but it's just not in my price range at this time. The bit of zoom capability of the MX-1 is a nice consolation prize, though. As Adam said, the lens is very nice. It's well built with nice controls. It's not lightweight, though, nor will it fit in a shirt or jeans pocket. I keep mine in my bag or in the car if the weather is nice. It certainly fits the bill as a good carry-around camera. I've already gotten a few nice shots that I would've missed out on because I just don't carry the K-30 with me all the time.

I do not care about the lack of viewfinder, even though I thought it would bother me. I'm in a different frame of mind when using the MX-1 and just don't really miss it. So far, I haven't encountered any situations where the LCD screen wasn't bright enough either. The tilt capability is very nice, too.

The price of the MX-1 is inching up, though. I got a refurbished one from KEH for a good price, but I've seen them new approaching $300 recently where they had been $250 and less.

Honestly, though, if I had the GR to go with my K-30, I think I'd be satisfied. I'm not sure I understand your need for another camera. Doesn't the GR have automatic modes? It's also very compact. The only thing it's missing is a zoom, which I could certainly understand you might want.
08-26-2014, 07:26 AM   #8
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The Olympus XZ-2 is an alternative to the MX-1. Basically the same camera and lens, but the XZ-2 has a touch screen and I think better video implementation - including a stereo mic in. Also, the XZ-2 is smaller/lighter/more portable (but the MX-1 is more stylish! IMHO).

They sell for the same price on Amazon, so I'd go for the more featured XZ-2, unless the style of the MX-1 is important to you. They're both fine cameras.

Having said that, I don't think there's anything like the GR right now - a 28mm equivalent APS-C camera with what might be one of the sharpest, contrastiest lenses available in the market today, and such a pocketable little camera. So if one can swing it, it's a nice addition to an interachangeable lens camera system, especially the Pentax system where there is no such type of lens available today. I know I'd love to have one.

08-26-2014, 08:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Having said that, I don't think there's anything like the GR right now - a 28mm equivalent APS-C camera with what might be one of the sharpest, contrastiest lenses available in the market today, and such a pocketable little camera. So if one can swing it, it's a nice addition to an interachangeable lens camera system, especially the Pentax system where there is no such type of lens available today. I know I'd love to have one.
You are of course absolutely right - there is no real excuse to own both. I have the GR and, on reflection, I think I might try to put a bit more effort into turning it into a camera I can feel comfortable with, rather than one I am convinced is too 'professional'. The wide-angle lens is frustrating, but I can crop to 35mm or 47mm (with only a little loss in quality). I'm used to the image quality from the K-30 and GR, and earlier comments suggest I would notice the 'drop' to the MX-1.

These have all been really helpful comments, thank you.
08-26-2014, 08:37 AM   #10
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On the other hand, the most useful camera is the one that you actually use If you find that you never really need the 28mm wide angle FOV, then something else might be a better suit, even if the IQ isn't just quite the same. I find we get a bit too hung up on absolute IQ and forget that these are just tools. A wise man (or woman?) once said, "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the very good". In other words, if it's not the best but it's still pretty good and it's what will do the job well (I'm talking about the MX-1/XZ-2), then why not use it!

Once you give a look at what people are getting from the MX-1 I think you'll be pleased: https://www.flickr.com/search/?tags=pentaxmx1
08-26-2014, 10:24 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I have a Ricoh GR, an MX-1, and a K-5II. My preference is to use my K-5II whenever possible, but I rarely bring it with me, whereas my GR is always in a pocket in my laptop bag. I never carry my MX-1 because there's really nothing about it performance-wise that justifies the extra bulk and weight. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fun camera, and get pleasure out of it from a gear perspective (with its good looks, brass body plates, etc.) but I don't find it solves any real problems for me.

Now, mind you, I'm very comfortable shooting with only a 28mm prime, as I only had a 28mm prime on my first SLR (a Minolta) for years. My friend had some sort of regular zoom on her Canon back in those days and I always just sorta shrugged at it, never wishing I had the same. Anyway, if you feel like you're missing out by not having a zoom lens on your GR, then the MX-1 is a fine choice -- it has a great lens and the tilting screen is nice. The Q7 with the kit zoom is another option and handles more like your K-30 than the MX-1 does. I see those are getting cheap these days.

The drawback I see to your plan is you might spend even less time with the GR, which won't help you get better at using it. If I were you, I'd stick to the GR.
08-26-2014, 03:25 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I have a K-5, MX-1 and film era GR1s (which I gather is similarly sized and the analogue comparison to a GR). You don't need an MX-1. I bought my MX-1 because it was significantly cheaper than a GR, more flexible and I'd have wanted the 'full fat' GR (GR, 21mm adapter, 21/28mm viewfinder etc.). The extra zoom of the MX-1 helps occasionally - but far less than you'd really imagine.

So you don't need an MX-1, however at the current UK prices (almost half what I paid last April) it's a very very good camera for the money. If traveling with the K-5 I'd only take my DA17-70/4 and the MX-1 covers that in a much smaller package easily - although I'd also take a GR if I had one.
08-26-2014, 04:24 PM   #13
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The waist level "viewfinder" on the MX-1 shouldn't be underestimated. It's a whole
new world.
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