First Impressions: Pentax MX-1

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax MX-1 CES 2013 first impressions (7 of 7)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 2.8

At CES 2013, Pentax took us into their secret chambers with an open door to feast our eyes on their sexy new MX-1 point and shoot. When in a meeting with the company, we asked if they would coin it their new flagship point and shoot. Pentax stated that while they wouldn’t really say that, it could surely be called that.

As a refresh, the new camera was announced recently at CES 2013 and also resembles their old ME SLR body; which the company reps also confirmed to us. Here’s what we thought after some fondling time.

Tech Specs

Tech specs taken from the Adorama listing.

  • Beautiful design is made to resemble a classic film camera; with its genuine brass covers and metal accents for a refined finish.
  • The 4X optical zoom features a versatile range for shooting at 28-112mm in the 35mm format, making it ideal for everyday use.
  • Enjoy a fast and bright, wide-aperture smc PENTAX lens at F1.8-2.5 for outstanding depth of field control and beautiful bokeh.
  • This high-end compact is equipped with a 1/1.7 inch, 12 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor for exceptional performance.
  • The large, high-resolution 3-inch 920K pixel LCD screen can be tilted up or down for easy viewing and shooting from difficult angles.
  • Dual PENTAX body-based Sensor-shift & Pixel Track Shake Reduction (SR) stabilization system ensures sharp, blur-free images and video, even in dim lighting.
  • Capture full 1920 X 1080 HD video with h.264 compression and make use of an HDMI port to allow smooth and functional output of high definition images, videoand sound to HDTVs
  • This compact camera includes DSLR-like features such as textured mode dials, an exposure adjustment dial, In-body RAW development capability, HDR shooting and Custom images modes.


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax MX-1 CES 2013 first impressions (1 of 7)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 2.8


The Pentax MX-1 point and shoot tries to hold itself to a minimalistic retro styling. No more is this more apparent than on the front of the camera. There is rubber that looks like leather as well as brass and the lens. That’s really about it.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax MX-1 CES 2013 first impressions (3 of 7)ISO 16001-60 sec at f - 2.8


The top of the camera is made of brass: so when the finish wears away you’ll start to see the actual brass come in: which is something else that adheres to the vintage look. There are mode dials, an exposure compensation dial, a zoom dial around the shutter button, and an on/off switch in addition to a video record button. Plus, there is a pop-up flash.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax MX-1 CES 2013 first impressions (4 of 7)ISO 16001-25 sec at f - 2.8


The back of the MX-1 is where all of the operation control happens. Here, you’re treated to an exposure control dial that doubles for zooming in and out on images, an aperture control button, custom function button, directional control layout, playback, info, and menu. The overall layout takes some getting used to, but in some ways reminds me of a DSLR.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax MX-1 CES 2013 first impressions (6 of 7)ISO 16001-30 sec at f - 2.8


The back LCD screen of the camera also tilts up and down for composing in compromising situations.

Build Quality

Te MX-1 feels pretty solid in the hand, but something about it just didn’t feel right to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I thought the camera was just a little too light for my liking.


For a point and shoot, this camera focused as expected in our short tests but slowed down tremendously for macro shooting even with an AF assist lamp. However, we handled a pre-production unit, and the final version may be faster. We will test this again during our full review.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax MX-1 CES 2013 first impressions (5 of 7)ISO 16001-75 sec at f - 2.8


If you’re used to Pentax’s DSLR cameras, you’ll want to spring for the MX-1 due to the DSLR like interface and menu system. The company touted that the point and shoot was very DSLR-like, but noted that there is no wireless flash control. Sadly, competing point and shoots have this feature; but not the MX-1’s good looks.

Image Quality

We couldn’t put a card in the camera during our preview, nor did we see any images shot with the camera.

First Impressions

Overall, I walked away from the Pentax MX-1 a bit disappointed. When I saw the camera, I had hoped for more because of all the hype already surrounding it. But something about it just didn’t add up for me. Manual shooting was a bit cumbersome because of the cluttered back controls and the best experience I had with it was truthfully in program mode. But I feel like a camera like this should be much more capable than it is for the price point.

I’ll save my final remarks for the full review.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.