« Guest Post: Why Do You Photograph?* | Main | A Holiday Photo Puzzle »

Tuesday, 08 January 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

That is fantastic. I love my old Pentax MX that my father bought back in the late 70's. Still is my favorite 35mm SLR camera. Just feels right in my hands and the distinct sound of the shutter makes me nostalgic every time I shoot. I love what Pentax is doing with this digital camera. Are they jumping on the retro thing head first? Sure. But will this strike a chord with a bunch of us? Absolutely. And like you said...the font. Oh the font. :)

Well, I don't have a long history with Pentax as some of you have. But I can tell you that I currently own the Pentax K5 and the Pentax 645D. These are two tools that I really look forward to using! They just are great to work with! Only problem I encounter is the look down the noses of the "other" brand users.

"Fuji introduces a little camera that looks like a commemorative of the Leica M3"

But is's not as little, or as much a M3 lookalike as this


More useful no doubt. I'm still waiting for the useful Rollieflex homage.

Now if only someone would come up with a digital retro-Exakta, with its waist level finder and full frame hi res sensor...
Which reminds me, does anyone else remember when digital was young and someone (Idon't remember who) came up with a digital sensor that could be fitted into the film plane and cassette holder of a film camera?

So ever since I started shooting digital, I've wanted an MX-1. Except that this is not the MX-1 I wanted. I wanted my MX, plus a large-sensor digital back meant to click seamlessly into place, wherein I shoot until I'm done, then pull out the SD card just like I'd pull out a roll of film. No LCD. No fancy features. Just a replacement back with an ISO dial.

That said: I love this! I think it's hilarious, I think it's a beautiful style statement, and I wish that it were the sort of camera I would use, because I'd really like to buy it and support the concept.

Perhaps, though, it's a good sign for things to come, and a real digital MX is in the pipeline.

The difference between Apple and Pentax is that people will wait in lines, overnight, to buy Apple products and virtually on one buys Pentax products. There's a difference between different/good and weird/bad that Pentax doesn't quite get.

I've said it before on these pages. I so much regret selling off my Pentax gear because they were a little late with D-SLRs for my K- and screw-mount lenses. If I won a lottery, I'd go out and buy one of everything that Pentax and Ricoh makes, just to encourage the guys.

"Which reminds me, does anyone else remember when digital was young and someone (Idon't remember who) came up with a digital sensor that could be fitted into the film plane and cassette holder of a film camera?"

Never happened. Longstanding urban-myth-type idea. The idea seems to really appeal to people and it resurfaces regularly.


I'm looking Nikon to come out with a fauxtomic head on the D4. I hope they don't forget the big "F" on the front

Will they have a special edition that comes pre-brassed (like buying stone-washed jeans) with fading leather and a big ding on one of the lens tubes that will prevent it from retracting all the way?

How about one of those film box tab memo holder thingies slightly reshaped to hold a spare SD card?

Another term to hate "experience" as in user.

I'm sure to some it IS all about the photo (née imagery), but if you spend a lot of time with your camera, how can you not relate for better or worse to the aesthetics of the beast? Whether you get pleasure from a camera so small you can hold it in your palm or, like me, love an overgrown DSLR like the Nikon D3, having a camera that you like to look at and like to use makes the experience of photography more soulful.

I had a black (and brassing) MX back in the 70's,80's, and 90's and loved it. So, when I saw the MX-1 yesterday, I got excited because I had a Fuji X-e1 (black) in my B&H cart (through this site:) ready to hit "Buy".
Then I saw the sensor size, no viewfinder, no bayonet mount, so I just hit "buy" for Fuji and "Bye" for Pentax.
That's a shame, because I would have easily paid what the Fuji costs AND thrown in another $100 for the silly brass plates.

[I don't mean to sound greedy, but just so you know, if you put something in your cart, go away, come back, and buy it, we DON'T get credit for it--even if BOTH your visits originated here. Only things you choose and buy in the same visit that starts from here count. That's my understanding, anyway. --Mike]

I'll be the first to agree that aesthetics matter, particularly when the design is informed by function. Retro often means that the design has been proven to work for many years (if it also happens to tickle your nostalgic bone, that is just icing on the cake). But, personally, design alone cannot carry a camera in today's market and I am not finding much else to be excited about or even satisfied with, with this camera. Could be just me, though.

Yet another potential answer to my question, "Why do you photograph?". Answer: "To 'brass-out' my camera."

In a world of me-too cameras, it's the little touches that aren't about the "imagery" that matter. Let's face it, in the future, all cameras sensors are Sony (and all restaurants are Taco Bell). In this case, the lens is Olympus, too. The only thing that's going to affect your "imagery" is going to a bigger (or smaller) sensor. Buy the camera that floats your boat.
As for Pentax, I don't know what they're up to. On the surface, it seems like they're having fun. Half their press releases serve to announce that some camera is available in some country in some new colors. You could describe the Q as fun. I wouldn't. You can find bags of miniature chocolates the size of your thumbnail that say "fun size" but I always found bigger chocolates to be much more fun. I just can't quite tell whether to label Pentax fun, goofy, or mad, irreverent or incompetent. They think different, but different for the sake of different isn't necessarily a good thing (Q and K01). I think I'd like the MX1 more if they put a Ricoh prime lens on it instead of an Oly zoom. It's still a neat camera and would be a strong contender for my next digicam had Sony not effectively obsoleted all 1/1.7" "premium compacts" (except the ones that go on clearance for under $400) in one fell swoop.

You're bringing up memories of when I went to buy a Bessa-L at a camera show held by Samy's Cameras, in Los Angeles in about 2000. They had a crazy price (IIRC, $200 with 25/4 lens). I had posted on some maillist about the opportunity, and there were some people almost angry that I would put any effort into deciding either for silver or black bodies because, as you say, 'all that matters is the pictures it takes'. Well, to me it did matter in the sense that the two were otherwise identical, so why *shouldn't* I 'obsess' over which color to buy? As I am fond of mis-quoting Mark Twain, "Man is the only animal that accessorizes...or needs to!"

I ended up getting the silver because I knew it was not brass underneath. I figured it would polycarbonate to a color similar to the silver paint and would look better than black. I do miss that combo. I don't recall why I let it go.


My first good camera was an H1a and my best pal had a black H3 that was just beautiful. The thing just has presence.
Good for Pentax. Those guys have soul.

My old Nikon D40 has a bit over 40K shutter actuations on it. The thumb rest on the back, and the area around it, is worn smooth from use. It may only be worn plastic, and not as charming as brassing, but I like it anyway. It shows that I've used the thing.

Sonys are cool hi-tech cousins who show up at thanksgiving dinner and all they do is show off what they've bought.
Then there's daddy Canon. Pretty much the same as usual, but he gets the job done.
Nikon? Your brother that spends most of his time at the gym. You're tough, we get it!

And then theres grandpa Pentax. Nobody seems to know he's around, but he's still active, taking great pictures as usual and loving every minute of it.

"Is Pentax goofily daring us to use one digital camera for long enough to wear the black paint off, or shrewdly commenting that nobody will?"

Are they putting on a really thin coat of black paint on those brass plates to speed up brassing?

Or are they selling them "pre-brassed"? Think stonewashed jeans (as they're retro now).

Shame about the user interface though. If they want to go retro they could follow Fuji and provide "retro" controls for aperture and shutter speed. That would be unique in the crowded market for "enthusiast compacts".

Putting your camera through a lot of use, loving it and keeping the same camera for a long time are things to be proud of, showing them off shouldn't really be necessary but can be fun/enjoyable. I like the idea of electronics that are designed to be used for many years, and encouraging longer term use than just two or three years. Using such a camera for ten years seems feasible, after all. It's not like it's going to fail safety or emissions standards down the road or anything.

I think the digital/film plane device did exist, at least briefly, even if only as an early introduction item. I remember seeing ads for it and I considered buying one. But I also think it wasn't too successful as making it compatible with the different makes of camera, and data storage and output were a problem.

rnewman: "Silicon Film", discussed on here. So far as I can tell they never shipped product, though, so Mike's "never happened" is pretty much correct.

Who does the brassing at Pentax?

" ... brass top and bottom plates meant to brass out.... "

Shabby chic. Tres chic.

I made lots of pictures, and a sort-of living as part of a graduate fellowship, in the 1970s and -80s with a couple of MX bodies and lots of lenses. The bodies were chrome and I took good care of them, since brassing back then would have seemed like irresponsibly poor maintenance. But I am absolutely positively going to spend probably stupidly too much money for a black MX-1, regardless of its specs or its "imagery" capabilities, and brass the thing if I have to carry it in the same pocket as my keys. ¡Viva Pentax!

Good move Pentax.

People grossly underestimate the effect of style on discretionary purchasing choices.

As the new Mini and Fiat 500 have proved, retro chic is a major differentiator in a world of identical products, though to work it does require some actual heritage to draw from.

These products don't have to compete on specification or performance, they are about style and fun. They can create a decent niche with higher margins for the same outlay in R&D as a regular mass market product.

And if you are a low volume maker, it can be a lot cheaper than a world wide ad campaign.

"In this case, the lens is Olympus, too"

Are all 50mm focal length full frame lenses made by the same company? :-)

The lens is not the same as in Olympus ZX-2. This convergent evolution not inheritance. Both cameras use the same (sized) sensor and decided on the same focal length range (which is a round number 6 to 24mm for 4x zoom range starting at 28mm eq).

Olympus has 6 aspherical elements and in-lens IS. Pentax has 4 aspherical elements with in-body IS. The Olympus maximum aperture is larger at larger focal lengths.

The wailing on the InnerTubes about Sony type 1" sensor obsoleting the type 1/1.7 sensors is amusing. The trade offs in camera system design with different sensors (especially those just "one stop" apart) are much more subtle than people realize especially if you are designing for size and weight too. The Sony BSI sensor has a wide acceptance angle and works well with fast lenses. Especially smaller lenses for the more compact sensor that you can make fast all the way through the focal length range (Canon G15 and Olympus ZX-2 come to mind). Having a wide aperture at longer focal length is a win (and something the RX100 can't do).

I'm interested to see what Ricoh do later in the year. A GRD 5 prime lens compact is due (with type 1/1.7 inch or type 1 inch sensor?). I thought in this partnership Ricoh was doing the compacts and Pentax the bigger cameras. Was the MX-1 design started before the merger or after?

One thing is clear: the diversity of camera designs is increasing overall.

Pentax is no Apple.

Cheap trick, hiring Newson to put a gaudy costume on an irrelevant camera. The 645 is just 'another digital,' Albada or not. The brassing thing is cute, but again, meaningless and possibly a thorn to the second-hand market. It's not a Leica. I don't think anyone even wants a worn-looking M8/9. It's a matter of context, and Pentax isn't getting that.

Innovation for innovation's sake is, as someone once put it, 'masturbation.' Apple innovates and people imitate. Pentax 'innovates', and it goes no further than a blurb on Uncrate.

And I'm not ant-Pentax. They had a good thing going in the 80s and 90s when EVERY (other) fashion photographer had to use the Pentax 67. But, even then, over 20-ish years(?) they only substantially updated it once, and it was still a primitive piece of kit. I had three of them (one old, for Polaroid) and two of the II. Clunky, all.

Pentax needs a real industrial designer, and a PLAN.

"Never happened. Longstanding urban-myth-type idea. The idea seems to really appeal to people and it resurfaces regularly.


There was a company called Silicon Film (around 1999-2001) that claimed to be developing such a product, but it never reached the market.

And didn't I recently read that Nikon had just been awarded patents for a digital back that could be retrofitted to its old film cameras. It's still a silly idea and will never reach the market.

"Is Pentax goofily daring us to use one digital camera for long enough to wear the black paint off..."

Well, it doesn't really take that long to get such wear in a camera. My Panasonic LX3 got quite nice wear, but then it unfortunately broke in a thunderstorm, after 203,318 photographs taken with it.

Does the shutter work at all speeds without batteries?

I have to admit I'm disappointed.

When Olympus revived their fondly-remembered ‘PEN’ and ‘OM’ designations, they also revived something of the spirit that had gone with those designations - both digital lines, like their film namesakes, gave us an unprecedented amount of system camera for the size of the package.

Meanwhile, the MX-1 may have delightful cosmetics, but it has none of the photographic characteristics endear my MX to me. The MX combined impressive miniaturization with a huge viewfinder and conservative manual controls and mechanical operation. The MX-1 is just another high-end small-sensor compact, and one without anything especially exciting in the way of external controls. The only noteworthy tradition of the (excellent) Pentax M series that the MX-1 honors is the tradition of imitating Olympus: the MX-1's lens has specifications (and probably an optical formula) that look identical to the the XZ-2's lens.

Like you say, it's a good joke, but after all the hopes that filled my head in the instant when I saw the letters ‘MX’ on a Pentax digital camera, it's hard not to feel a little betrayed.

Well...in the pre-digital era Pentax made all these wonderful compact lenses (like the 43 and 77mm Limited ), and they still do. And they made compact SLRs that matched the size of the lenses. But in the digital era, they haven't yet come up with cameras that match these lenses in compactness and style. Amusing from a distance, perhaps, but disappointing if you love these tiny lenses. To me, it looks like Pentax lacks a clear sense of direction.

Thus the "amusing" surprises. I guess they are just as confused as their customers.

Rob coined: "fauxtomic head"

He wins the internet for today!


Andy Kowalczyk: May I humbly present the comments to this earlier post:


Lovely idea about the boxlid holder for SD cards (grin).

The film MX was a superbly pared-down, just-so camera which I still miss every time I think about it. Not an LX, but not trying to be one. This new one looks fine: good lens probably, good sensor probably, but (at heart) the "MX" designation really needed to go to something with a wonderful, big, bright viewfinder to look through.

Hugh Crawford: "I'm still waiting for the useful Rollieflex homage."

Your wait is over. Can't fault it for either usefulness ... or sharpness.

TLR Pencil Sharpener

Does this mean that Nikon will come out with a DSLR with a rubber coated back that will look really bad in a week or two just like my N90s?

"Which reminds me, does anyone else remember when digital was young and someone (Idon't remember who) came up with a digital sensor that could be fitted into the film plane and cassette holder of a film camera?"

Indeed it never happened. But Leica got close with the Digital Modul R which could replace the standard back of an R8 or R9 35mm camera, albeit with a 1.33x crop factor (oh, and at a price. . .).

Pentax reminds me a little of Minolta before they went under from bad management. Minolta was constantly inovating and coming to market with those ideas. Sometimes they worked other times they didn't. The Minolta 5D came to market with Canon and Nikon sitting on their hands. So I say give'em hell Pentax.

Guitar makers have been making distressed road worn guitars for some years now, and they give you the look like you've been playing for many many concerts.

You can buy a brand-new road worn out Stratocaster and Fender will send it to you all broken in. http://www.fender.com/en-BD/series/road-worn/road-worn-60s-stratocaster/

You can even buy this one new. Guess it doesn't matter if you put a scratch on it while trying it out at the shop.


I kind of like the brassing on my cameras! Way to go, Pentax!

I took over 40,000 photos last year while riding a motorcycle in 19 states. I'll be happy to brass anyone's MX-1 for free.*

It's not the camera for me at the moment, but if I were in the market for a serious compact and didn't want to pay Sony RX100 prices, the MX-1 would move to the top of the list because of the brass caps. It's not that I'm superficial (which I may or not be), it's that there's very little - photographically speaking - separating the cameras in this category. They all are capable of very nice photos in the same conditions and all start to struggle at about the same time after sunset. So with all else more or else equal, there's gotta be something else to draw my attention. And it might as well be brassing.

*Camera not included. Your mileage may vary. I may not be back until next November.

Admittedly I'm a Pentaxian, and love their products, but I really do wonder why no one has thought of this before? A couple of metal parts costs not a lot compared to the rest of the camera and I'm guessing it completely changes how it feels.

And just when I buy a Q ... this comes out?


I had Pentax cameras in the 70's. The ES was the first of a new era, crippled by the screw mount. The K2 was a very competent camera, expensive and limited by Pentax's switch over to the K mount. The MX was a real disappointment. Too small, quite unreliable ( went in for repairs several times) and crippled by a lack of lenses necessary for someone trying to break into news photography. Sold them all and bought a Nikon FM. And many other Nikon cameras and lenses since.
Still have a fondness for Pentax, keep thinking of a 6x7, but nothing there to cause me to buy a new whole set of lenses to go with another camera.
And in Canada, I certainly hope that Ricoh doesn't still use the clowns that supported them back in the 80's. They were truly worse than useless.

Dear rnewman and Mike,

The digital insert for film cameras was not an urban myth, it just never made it into commercial production.

It's not surprising that many people think it was a myth. Back when it was announced in the 1990's it appeared, on the face of it, to be technologically impossible at that time to cram sufficient electronics, memory, and battery into a 35mm cassette casing.

I looked into the company and they were uniquely situated to produce such a product. They did aerospace electronics, and their specialty was ultra compact and low power computing and sensing packages for small satellites. They actually did have the technology to squeeze everything into a film canister.

So, their product announcement was real and serious and they even had prototype products. It never made it to market for two reasons. The first was development times. The cost/performance ratio in digital cameras was plummeting so fast that they couldn't keep up. The products they announced at a plausible price point didn't look at all attractive 18 months later when the product was going to be ready. They were in a red queen's race.

The second problem was that they needed to design a custom sensor carrier for each different model of camera. The distance from cassette to exposure frame to take up reel differed from camera to camera and in many more modern cameras, there were sensors in the body that used information from the film (e.g., sprocket hole counts) to control film advancement and shutter cocking, etc.

So, instead of a universal 35mm insert, you had a dozen or more specialized designs. Which made mass manufacturing less possible.

Anyway, they plugged away at it for perhaps a half-dozen years and finally decided it was a commercial dead-end.

Those problems, by the way, still exist today. Some are not as serious -- for one thing, average image quality has advanced so much that last year's sensor technology is no longer a deal killer for most photographers. Others are more so: camera manufacturers have gotten really efficient, both economically and physically, at building complete systems. Makes it difficult to produce an insert that makes sense cost- and performance-wise to enough photographers. The number of “legacy users” for each particular make and model of film camera is relatively small in terms of mass production.

I'm not saying someone won't take up the gauntlet again, but I think it's going to have to either wait for sensor/electronic packages to get REALLY cheap (they will), or it will be an expensive, bespoke kind of product like the Leica M.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

For rnewman and Mike. Recent DPreview story on the digital film.

[Michel, Different idea. Dpreview is talking about a replacement back. Leica did that, with the Module R. What we're talking about is a sensor w/electronics that would be INSERTABLE into the existing 35mm camera using the camera's own back. It presumably would look like a film canister with what would look like a tongue of film hanging out, which would include the sensor.

Ctein, I absolutely don't believe there were ever any prototypes. I think they were telling people that for external reasons--won't guess out loud, but it's easy enough to guess. Have you ever seen any hard evidence at all of a prototype? I haven't. If there had been one there wouldn't be any reason for us not to see it once the venture went under. Ever talked to a beta tester, an engineer? After they were no longer employed by the company they wouldn't have any reason not to talk. You can prove me wrong if you can. If there was ever a working prototype we would have seen some trace of it by now, IMO. --Mike]

Oh, and would you look at these lovely built to order Q cameras :


Add in-body instagram filters, a facebook share and wawouoou !

"Which reminds me, does anyone else remember when digital was young and someone (Idon't remember who) came up with a digital sensor that could be fitted into the film plane and cassette holder of a film camera?"

It was vaporware. They fleeced a lot of investors.



Go ahead, start at the corners.

I suppose that a digital insert for film SLRs is about as likely as a digital SLR that has the bare minimum of controls. Like, say, a digital Pentax MX. Which is what I think a lot of people would like.

Perhaps this MX-1 brassing is Pentax's way of making their version of this sort of thing stand out. A proper viewfinder would have been a better choice.

They missed their chance with the K-01, too. Coulda made it less deep by moving the rear screen to the top, placing an electronic viewfinder in the corner, stripped the specification down to the essentials and sold it alongside a small gaggle of new pancake lenses. Now that would make a worthy successor to the MX.

Mirrorless APS-C hardly bigger than a Pen, cheap way into the Pentax system, electronic v/f K-mount camera, a cheap and compact second body, a daily carry around camera (with one of the pancake lenses). It could have been all these.

I went back to Pentax for my first DSLR and I'm glad I did, but come on chaps!

No offence meant to the K-01 owners out there.

Dear Mike,

It's my IMO against yours. I could address your hypotheticals, but what's the point?

I think I know that culture and their technology better than you, and I'm sure prototypes did exist. Throwing together a prototype would've been a weekend exercise with off-the-shelf (their shelf, anyway) components. Hell, with their parts, *I* could've slammed one together in a weekend.

(OK, I exaggerate. It'd take me at least two weekends.)

That's a long way from production units. And I do doubt that what they brought to Photokina were working units. But that was very late in their venture, several generations in from their first designs. If I were to guess, I think that dog and pony show had nothing to do with tech-- I think it was a last attempt to "show the flag" and see if they could drum up second party interest (financial, marketing/joint venture/ whatever) with camera manufacturers.

I could be wrong about the trade show stuff. You know that side of the business better than me, and if you say that's not plausible, I'll buy it.

But I think I do know the tech side better than thee.

pax / Ctein

The retro charm doesn't mean whole lot with a tiny sensor and no viewfinder. Pentax would be better served by finding other ways to differentiate its offerings from its competitors. Brass isn't going to do it.

Look at how much great press Olympus has gotten with the E-M5. Everyone wanted to love the retro-esque EP-1 and EP-2.. but the sensor quality just wasn't there. Add a fantastic sensor (and viewfinder).. and Olympus has the camera of the year.

Mike, Ctein, et al.

Take a look at http://www.dpreview.com/news/2001/2/16/pma04#siliconfilm.

There's yer prototype.

What's to love? What are they bringing to the table? Other than brass? Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic I think.

All right, I'm wrong. But I still think I'm right. [g]

Complete non-starter product, never amount to nuthin'. Just an idea people like.


(P.S. Thanks GKF.)

For those interested in using a digital sensor in old film cameras, Nikon already has a patent for such a thing. Looks kinda fun:


I don't know if Pentax is having fun with their recent offerings, but I'm pretty sure that they are hoping to make money. They do produce some terrific cameras and lenses, but there is a side of Pentax (probably not a whole side) that says: "People like style, so let's be stylish." Even if they don't sell many units, at least they get people's attention as a company that is willing to be different and take some risks. As a Pentax user, I wish them good luck. And to those who think that Pentax is a ship without a rudder, I would remind them that Ricoh has the resources to build the biggest and best rudder in the world, if they so choose. They can afford to experiment, but how long they are willing to do so is anybody's guess.

Late to the party, but the EFS-1 is featured in Gustavson's "500 Cameras" on page 453. And the text does say that the product was "demonstrated"

For anyone that's interested, the Wayback Machine has got a substantial number of webpages from Silicon Film in their archives:

Nice article.

My first encounter with SLR is a borrowed Pentax, but my dad bought me a Nikon instead.
I recall I had a rangefinder and I (precisely we, me and other photographic enthusiast friends) hated it so much. Each one of us wanted a SLR which gives us better visual, ergonomics and Image Quality.

Now? Everybody is RF crazy. It's a karma. I don't get it. :)

Yes, I'm a Pentaxian... I had a K200D and now a K-5, which is as serious a camera as I have ever owned (and I started with 100% manual film SLRs in the 1970s). When the Q and K-01 came out, I never thought I'd own either one. Many months later, the prices fell and I bought both. And I discovered each is a total blast in its own way.

Right now, I have no idea if I'll own a new MX-1. But, based on the fun I'm having with my two "non-serious" Pentaxes, I wouldn't rule it out. I have my K-5 for one kind of shooting and I have the others for the fun stuff... which is taking up more and more of my time lately. I say Pentax - and some of their customers - are onto something many can't or won't see - or have forgotten: Photography is supposed to be fun. Go Pentax.

"Is Pentax goofily daring us to use one digital camera for long enough to wear the black paint off...?"

That might not be too good for future camera sales.


I'm puzzled by your comment: "They put out a medium-format digital system camera based on the old 645 with the Albada finder (the latter invented in-house, by the way, by Akihiro Arai of Asahi)."

My understanding is that an Albada finder is a particular type of see-through bright-line finder. Isn't the Pentax 645D an SLR

[I guess it would have been better to say "Albada eyepiece." It's part of the prism optical system. --Mike]

PENTAX: "We're not crazy, but that what our marketing's angling for (well, they would angle for it, if we had a marketing department.)"

I look at this and say...why not? A camera has to look like something, and why not this? It's better than another amorphous plastic blob. Would it be better that the MX-1 resemble the other cameras in the same class not only in features, but in material and design as well? No, I say. As others have said, there's very little separating these cameras...except in design.

It probably raises the cost of building each camera buy a buck or two. But in terms of sheer appeal (whether novelty, nostalgia, or otherwise,) it's worth a lot more than that.

In a remarkable case of serendipity, not two days ago (ie, one day before the MX-1's announcement,) I was chatting with an older gent on a forum and how he hated modern cameras and longed for days when they were brass and you could feel brass under the top and bottom decks, and then the paint wore off and you could then see the brass, and everything wasn't slathered in rubber, consarnit.

And, lo, this thing turns up the very next day. Pentax. Gotta love 'em.

It will be broken, obsolete and/or replaced long before the brasss starts to show through.

Strange that a camera with no viewfinder is given the same initials as a camera noted for its large, clear viewfinder!

In Pentax's history, some products were immediately and universally respected (Spotmatic F, Limited lenses, LX, K5) while other products left people scratching their heads.

I own two of those - the MZ-S (35mm SLR) and the K-01. Both cameras need to be held and used to be appreciated. The MZ-S had an innovative modern (electronic) interface that used aperture-ring lenses. I am sad the MZ-S interface didn't survive long enough to see the rebirth of aperture rings (thank you Fuji!)

The K-01 has been the biggest surprise to me - its an amazingly solid camera that is a perfect match to the Limited lenses. It looks big on the shelf next to a micro 4/3 camera, but pick the camera up and it feels just right. It's well proportioned to the human hand and balances very well with small and large lenses alike (unlike the Sony NEX bodies which look and feel ridiculous behind even modest lenses.) I thought I would miss the optical finder on the K-01 -- but I don't. The screen is vivid and fast, and feels natural in the era of digital point-and-shoots and cell phone cameras. But the quality of controls and ability to view the finished frame before it is shot appeals to the TLR/ view camera shooter in me. The sturdy metal parts and knobs just add to the pleasure of using the camera. Will the K-01 replace my K-5? Not in every case, but more often than I imagined... I expect that the new MX-1 will offer much of the same pleasures.

Should the objects with which we make art be not themselves art?

I have a Canon 1DS (10 years old, works just fine thank you but so darn heavy if actually hurts to use it) that is magnesium-ing out. Bare magnesium looks pretty ugly outside of old racing cars or airplanes where a thin layer of oil or wax gives it a nice patina.

I'd take a picture of it but it's not *that* interesting, and I keep trying to paint it over anyway. (Krylon Paint Pens !)

So, when Hasselblad offers one a choice of esthetically-pleasing grips, it is the worst idea on Earth.

But when Pentax offers esthetically-pleasing Leica-like brass panels on a cheap point-and-shooter nobody feels like shouting "A camera is not a fashion accessory - it's a tool!" ?

"Everyone wanted to love the retro-esque EP-1 and EP-2.. but the sensor quality just wasn't there."

The new Olympus E-PL5 (metal body BTW) has the OMD-EM5's sensor. On a like-for-like ISO basis, its quality is equal to, and better than many, APS-C DSLRs.

Back to the MX - I used one for 30 years. Superseded by polycarb Canon SLRs then DSLRs, I missed it's solid weight, small proportions and well-designed lens system. If the MX1 is a dry-run for a capable MX or LX 'style' MU43 system then great, if not it's a nostalgic bit of techno jewellery.

It would be deeply entertaining to run a camera company that produces products that are nothing but photography jokes. How about a Rollei lookalike that uses a big LCD screen on top to display an inverted image? Or a full-frame camera with a single-element plastic lens, a cheap plastic body, and lots of light leaks?

C'mon folks - is it any coincidence that "cameras" are now promoted marketed and introduced in things called "Consumer Electronics Show".

After sony's 1" sensor success(?), the MX-1's tiny, probably recycled sensor is pretty much a complete fail. I've never seen pictures produced, or samples even, but simply by the size (and it's likely out of date sensor), it is unlikely to attain either sales or cult status. Pentax needs to step up with actual photograph equipment rather than expensive toys.... pretty please pentax?

For Cryin' Out Sideways!!!

this is just plain stoopid...think about it for a minute...

Cheers! Jay

Dear Josef,

"Everyone wanted to love the retro-esque EP-1 and EP-2.. but the sensor quality just wasn't there."

Oh, really?

Ask the folks who buy 17"x22" prints from my portfolio... including any of the nearly 800 TOP readers who bought this print last year, if the quality isn't there:


I'm betting you've never used this camera, am I right?

pax / Ctein

"So, when Hasselblad offers one a choice of esthetically-pleasing grips, it is the worst idea on Earth. But when Pentax offers esthetically-pleasing Leica-like brass panels on a cheap point-and-shooter nobody feels like shouting 'A camera is not a fashion accessory - it's a tool!'?"

I would say the difference is that one is targeted to appeal pretty much to photographers only. The other is designed to appeal pretty much to non-photographers only. (For general overall averaged values of "photographers" and "non-photographers.")


"How about a Rollei lookalike that uses a big LCD screen on top to display an inverted image?"

Just this afternoon I was talking to another photographer and showing him my NEX with a Leica Focotar on it and he mentioned how confusing it was to move the camera to the left to move the image to the right rather than moving to the right to move the image to the right the way that a couple decades of using waist level reflex cameras has imprinted on our brains.

I think that a horizontally flopped LCD option would get some love at the high end, although a square format camera or at least a graceful vertical waist level camera would get even more love from me.

From dpreview:

The company has also totally reworked its built-in image stabilization system. The new design is described as 5-axis (translational movement vertically and horizontally, and rotational movement around 3 axes - shown below), in contrast to the previous system that only corrected for up/down and left/right rotation. If it works, the ability to correct for rotation around the lens axis caused by pressing the shutter button offers a clear advantage over in-lens stabilization systems.

And if it does not work, out of focus areas of the sensor.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007