PetaPixel

Hands on with the Pentax MX-1, the Latest Horse in the Retro Camera Race

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One of Pentax’s big announcements for this year’s CES 2013 was the MX-1, a camera that is designed to compete against other retrotastic compact cameras that are currently generating a lot of buzz (namely the Fujifilm X-Series and the Olympus OM-D).

The camera features a durable brass body and a textured rubber grip. While the top and bottom metal plates feel like most of the retro-styled cameras we’ve seen, the grip is actually a bit different: it actually offers quite a bit of grip.

It’s a textured grip that actually feels sticky and rubbery rather than slightly-sticky and leathery. You probably won’t be dropping this camera very often.

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The 3-inch 921K-dot LCD screen on the back of the camera is nice and responsive. It can be pulled out away from the camera body and tilted to a 90-degree angle, which allows you to photograph subjects straight ahead while looking down at your camera.

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In terms of speed, both autofocus and snapping photographs was acceptably fast. The camera locks onto subjects without too much hunting.

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The camera’s interface, both digital and physical, are both pretty standard. The exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera is a nice touch — it’ll be appreciated by the same people who love having it handy on the Fujifilm X-Series.

Inside the camera is a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor that spits out 12-megapixel photographs. This will likely be the camera’s downfall if it doesn’t do well on the market, since you can get some pretty respected 1/1.7” cameras for the same price (the Canon G15, for example).

We’ve found that the number of people clamoring to handle cameras at CES 2013 company booths is a pretty good indication of how much interest those products are receiving. When we visited the Pentax booth, there was no waiting for the four MX-1 cameras laid out on the table. In fact, there was no one looking at them:

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