Pentax's MX-1 is a welcome addition to the compact camera lineup. It offers 12 MP, a 4x zoom, maunual modes, and good image quality.
The MX-1 features a 4X optical zoom covering the 28 to 112 mm focal range in 35mm equivalents. More significantly, this lens offers fast maximum apertures of f/1.8 and f/2.5 at the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom, respectively. A faster lens permits higher shutter speeds in dim lighting conditions than a slower lens, all else being equal, and higher shutter speeds help reduce image degradation due to camera shake when handholding. Of course, with digital cameras we have the luxury of simply ramping up the ISO sensitivity to capture light more quickly, but at the expense of increasing ISO noise that can impact picture quality. Along with the fast lens, Pentax has included stabilization in the MX-1 to further assist with handholding image capture.
Another nice aspect of the MX-1 is the sensor - a 1/1.7 inch CMOS model that is physically larger than most other compact digital sensors. Beyond that, the sensor is a back-illuminated design with its circuitry located on the rear of the sensor, providing light a more unobstructed route to the pixels. Pentax has paired this sensor with a state-of-the-art imaging engine and their latest "Super Resolution" technology. This physically larger than average sensor combined with the back-illuminated design and 12 megapixel resolution suggests the MX-1 could provide good ISO noise performance.
Elsewhere, the camera offers full automatic and scene-specific exposure modes in addition to DSLR-like manual and semi-automatic shooting options; RAW and JPEG still image formats are available and the camera features an in-body RAW development capability. Full 1080HD video is onboard via one touch capture, there's a 3 inch articulating monitor and the camera accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC memory media to complement its approximately 75 megabyte internal memory. Pentax includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charger, camera strap, lens cap, USB cable and CD-ROM software with each camera.
Megapixels: 12 MP
Weight: 14.5 ounces
Optical Zoom: 4 x
Media Type: SDHC, SDXC, SD
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