As the last major manufacturer to join the enthusiast compact category, does Pentax deliver anything unique with the Pentax MX-1? Read the Pentax MX-1 review...
Pentax MX-1 review – Build and handling
In the same way that Olympus chose to base the design of its digital Pen offerings on its film models of the same name, Pentax has adopted the design of its MX film camera for the MX-1. The most obvious separation between these is that the new model lacks a viewfinder chamber, to leave a flatter, more streamlined top-plate.
Pentax is keen to stress that both top and bottom plates are made from brass – going so far as to engrave this on the top-plate – and it’s difficult to dispute their solidity. It’s a shame, then, to find the plastic back plate doesn’t follow suit, creaking very slightly when subjected to slight pressure. The articulated LCD screen also stands proud of the back plate by around 4mm, which gives an already bulky camera a deeper profile.
Something Pentax hasn’t carried over from the MX is the threaded shutter-release button, which would have no doubt lent the MX-1 a more authentic charm. Still, this button is sufficient for its purpose, and it is pleasing to find generously sized exposure compensation and mode dials on either side. Unlike on some other cameras, the exposure-compensation dial is stiff enough to remain in place as the camera is taken out of, and put back into, a pocket or bag, although the mode dial is positioned too far towards the middle of the top-plate for it to be accessed by the shooting hand in its default holding position.
This is partly due to the camera’s elongated body, although this in itself does bring some benefits. There is, for example, plenty of room for an assortment of physical controls next to the 3in LCD on the back, including a command dial for the changing of exposure parameters and zooming into images, as well as space for the thumb to rest comfortably between these. Furthermore, while there’s no grip around the front, the space on this side, together with the rubber that covers the entire front plate, means that it’s possible to get a secure hold, regardless of the size of your hands.