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Pentax joins the advanced compact crowd with the MX-1

At CES, Pentax surprised us with an overdue, if somewhat unremarkable, advanced compact, the MX-1.

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Lori Grunin
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Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice

I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.

Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories

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Watch this: The MX-1, an enthusiast compact camera from Pentax

LAS VEGAS--When I awoke this morning to the headline "Pentax Debuts Retro Design Camera...Classically Crafted Brass Body" in my inbox, my first thought was "Steampunk! Yeah!" Sadly, after that, nothing could possibly live up to my expectations. Nevertheless, Pentax entering the advanced compact market with the $499.95 MX-1 -- even though it's yet another vintage-style camera along the lines of the Fujifilm X20 -- still merits some attention.

Pentax's MX-1, a sort-of-snazzy advanced compact (pictures)

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As far as I can tell, the Pentax follows a well-traveled path. Unfortunately, it uses a BSI sensor as has become popular of late, but otherwise, the specs make it pretty comparable to models like the Olympus XZ-2 and Samsung EX2F, both of which also have 1/17-inch BSI sensors; the Pentax's is 12 megapixels. It has a similarly fast, though not very wide, f1.8-2.5 28-112mm lens.

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Other specs include a relatively high-resolution 3-inch articulated display, 1080/30p H.264 video, and sensor shift stabilization.

While there's nothing particularly wrong-sounding about this camera, nothing jumps out at me that screams that it fills some unmet need in the camera market. I guess we'll see. It's slated to ship in February.

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