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

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.