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12-06-2014, 12:51 AM   #1
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MX-1 and latest big sensor compact cameras

It seems that "bigger sensor is better" is the new "more megapixels are better" mantra.

But is that so? Is the MX-1 outdated and you should upgrade to a Sony RX100/3 or Panasonic LX100?

The answer is: it is not only the number of pixels and it is not only the sensor size which defines the quality of a camera.

It is the whole package: sensor, lens, image stabilization

Let's have a look at the over-hyped Panasonic LX100.

I spent a few days reading the dpreview forum on the LX100. This is certainly a nice camera, but shall you upgrade? Its sensor is m43 size and that gives an advantage of approx. 2-2.5 stops in low light, compared to the MX-1.

But the LX100 seems to have a softer lens. People suggest to step down aperture a stop or two. The image stabilization seems also weaker. The MX-1 has one stop advantage.

So let's take both of this into account, and let's assume we take a low light photo, hand held.

The MX-1 would use open aperture f1.8, slow shutter speed (down to 1/10s) and ISO 800.

To achieve a sharp photo with the LX100, you had to step down to f4, maybe 1/20s and ISO 3200 or even ISO 6400.

This would still deliver satisfying quality due to the larger sensor on the LX100. But where is the advantage to the MX-1? If you check picture quality at ISO 3200/6400 on the LX-100 compared to ISO 800 on the MX-1, you will see little or no difference.

The smaller sensor on the MX-1 can compete well, due to the better lens and better stabilization.

The bigger sensor has one advantage, though: smaller DOF and better bokeh for nicer portrait shoots.

But that can be also a disadvantage. To get a comparable DOF as with the MX-1 at f1.8, you have to step down the LX100 to f4 or f5.6

And again, you lose the advantage of the bigger sensor.

To conclude: there are certainly a few cases where a bigger sensor is better. In most shooting cases, the small sensor of the MX-1, its very sharp lens and very good image stabilization would result in comparable or even better picture quality. You won't gain very much if you buy one the latest hypes.

12-06-2014, 01:34 AM   #2
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To sum up, me more photons that hit a sensor pixel (thus the size) and the more efficient sensor (backlit sensor are the most efficient now), the best image quality you can expect. BUT a big sensor implies big lenses. To keep compact and affordable lenses, these lenses are often F4-5.6 zoom lenses that has to be stopped down at f8. A tiny Q camera with the 01 prime at f2 can easily challenge a bigger sensor camera - a 8 times bigger sensor like an APS-C if the lens is stopped down at f8.
12-06-2014, 01:50 AM   #3
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The MX-1 has an incredibly sharp lens, so I think it holds its ground fairly well at low ISOs. It does struggle compared to the other cameras at night though, IMO.

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12-06-2014, 04:07 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by RiderX Quote
Is the MX-1 outdated and you should upgrade to a Sony RX100/3 or Panasonic LX100?
It's one of a kind and can never be outdated. I'm still waiting for the brass to show through on mine !!

12-06-2014, 04:39 AM   #5
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I have a set from a holiday festival last year where I took the MX-1...all of the photos were shot at night between 1000-3200 ISO, B&W, JPEG SOOC. I know I didn't get the shutter speed high enough to freeze the motion in all of the pictures but I feel like it is a decent low light performer, especially for its sensor size. The great lens and SR help it out a lot. The autofocus seems to be pretty damn accurate in lower light as well. This was the first time I took the camera out after recieving it, https://www.flickr.com/photos/analoglight/sets/72157638457817234/



In contrast here are the pictures from this years festival taken on a Sony A7 at much higher ISOs...the low light also killed the AF accuracy. I feel like the pictures do look better, maybe because of the better depth due to the larger sensor, but I feel like a lot of it is just being a year older and having more experience. I have no doubt I would of got great results out of the MX-1 too or even the K5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/analoglight/sets/72157649213875227/
12-06-2014, 10:07 AM   #6
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"Is the MX-1 outdated and you should upgrade to a Sony RX100/3 or Panasonic LX100?"

MX-1 takes great shots. As every one said the lens is really good and I have gotten some very great shots with it. Having said that I bought a RX100/3. A big part of that was due to size. RX100 fits comfortably in a shirt pocket, the MX-1 can't do that. I prefer the simpler interface of the Pentax to the Sony though I have found the Sony to not be as bad as most say.

As far as shooting hand held in low light my money is on the Sony. Lens speed is very similar between the two and the Sony handles high ISO better than the MX-1. Additionally I find that using the EVF is a more stable shooting position than using a rear LCD.

My problem is what to do with my MX-1. I should sell it but I am strongly considering converting it to an IR camera.

Shawn
12-08-2014, 06:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shawn67 Quote

My problem is what to do with my MX-1

Shawn
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12-10-2014, 06:11 AM   #8
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There is an interesting discussion going on at dpreview "LX7 vs LX100". So far many say that the LX100 is not that much better, despite the large sensor.

The LX7 is also a small sensor camera, but slightly inferior to the MX-1. So I guess a "MX-1 vs LX100" would come to similar conclusions.

Check it here:
LX100 vs LX7 low-light capability: Panasonic Compact Camera Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

04-04-2015, 11:55 PM   #9
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There's a another factor: The MX-1 can be had for 300 bucks max, the LX100 costs more than twice as much. In about 2 years the Lumix will be at the same price and you could have invested the money you lost in a fine lens for an interchangeable lens camera. I got the MX-1 only because a) it's my first digital camera (coming from film) and I wanted to learn on something affordable b) The lens alone is so quality I really only need to buy a macro lens later on when I really feel it must be on my dslr instead of "in the MX-1s body". d) Simple math, long term: Lets say an investment on a compact camera always retains 50 bucks. The maximum loss with the MX-1 is 250 bucks. With the LX100 it's 650. That's a 400 bucks difference minimum. And not just at your initial investment, that investment is gone forever (unless you sell the LX100 earlier than people are selling their MX-1 now - chances are you won't sell the LX100 that early, because (this is were the mind will trick you - you invested so much).
04-05-2015, 01:44 PM   #10
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On the Polish website optyczne.pl are tests the MX-1 and LX100. You can compare accurate measurements of lenses.
LX100: Test Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 - Optyka - Test aparatu - Optyczne.pl
MX-1 Test Pentax MX-1 - Optyka - Test aparatu - Optyczne.pl
I know that is Polish, but you can use an translator. There are also charts.
MX-1 has very good lens, but I do not think that the lens MX-1 is better than LX100
04-13-2015, 06:25 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
It's one of a kind and can never be outdated. I'm still waiting for the brass to show through on mine !!
Brass is just starting to peek through. I have arrived!!
04-18-2015, 08:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomek_j Quote
On the Polish website optyczne.pl are tests the MX-1 and LX100. You can compare accurate measurements of lenses.
LX100: Test Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 - Optyka - Test aparatu - Optyczne.pl
MX-1 Test Pentax MX-1 - Optyka - Test aparatu - Optyczne.pl
I know that is Polish, but you can use an translator. There are also charts.
MX-1 has very good lens, but I do not think that the lens MX-1 is better than LX100
Thanks! This is a very thorough test site and with a translator quite understandable even for non-polish speakers.
04-22-2015, 01:26 PM   #13
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There is an interesting comparison which proves my point between the Olympus XZ-2 and the Nikon APS-C D3300. The site is in German, but you can use a translator. Pictures (full size with Exif downloadable) speak for themselves.

Sonstiges 1/1.7" Olympus XZ-2 und APSC Nikon D3300 - DSLR-Forum

I'd assume that the MX-1 is even slightly better than the XZ-2.
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