New Gear: Pentax MX-1 Advanced Compact

A fast lens, manual controls, RAW capture, and a brass body make this the king of the Pentax compacts

Pentax MX-1 Advanced Compact Camera

Pentax MX-1 Advanced Compact Camera

For some time now, style has been high on the list of Pentax's priorities and their new venture into advanced compact territory is no different. The MX-1 has a fast 4x zoom lens that starts at 28mm and has a maximum aperture range of F/1.8-F/2.5. Behind that is a familiar 1/1.7-inch, 12.0-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor.

The case is actually encased in brass and covered with a textured grip that also gives is a rather retro aesthetic not unlike the Leica X2. There are even tactile mode knobs on the top for mode selection and exposure controls.

The MX-1 also has other familiar advanced compact features like RAW capture, 12,800 maximum ISO, and a full suite of manual shooting modes.

The LCD screen is a three-inch articulated display with 921,000 dots of resolution. You also get 1080p movie mode at 30 fps and a built-in pop-up flash.

In all, it sounds like a solid foray into advanced compacts for Pentax. The fast lens and the slightly bigger sensor make it appealing to enthusiasts more than apps or touchscreens. At $500, though, it does have a lot of competition. In fact, you can get their APS-C-toting K-01 interchangeable Lens Compact for less than that if you look around the web. We're eager to see how it stacks up against its competition.