Pentax has announced the Pentax MX-1 high-end compact, offering plenty of features for those who like a little more control over their photography.
The Pentax MX-1 has a 4x optical zoom lens (28-112mm in 35mm terms) with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. That's impressive, but the maximum aperture at the far end of the zoom - 112mm - is f/2.5, which is still pretty handy for those distinctive blurred backgrounds.
There's a newly designed 12-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, offering a top sensitivity of ISO 12,800, which could make this a great low-light camera, when combined with that fast f/1.8 max aperture.
Pentax reassures us that the sensor will deliver low-noise shots at high sensitivities, backed by the "state-of-the-art" image-processing engine. There is also a Handheld Night shooting mode that takes multiple shots and combines them into one composite image.
Around the back is a 3-inch tilting LCD display and the body of the camera has great retro styling, with a textured rubber finish to ensure good grip, and quality brass top and bottom panels to complete that vintage look.
The controls are also fairly comprehensive. The mode dial offers the normal auto shooting options, but also gives you direct control over the shutter, aperture or full manual if you prefer.
There's an exposure compensation dial so you can quickly make adjustments and the MX-1 also offers RAW capture, so it sounds like an appealing model for those looking for a second camera to partner a DSLR.
Of course you get a pop-up flash, full HD video capture, and dual-axis shake reduction too, but perhaps you weren't expecting front and rear remote sensors or the digital level for horizontal and vertical alignment.
Best of all, the Pentax MX-1 is priced at £399.99, which sounds like good value for money for a camera that looks to offer a lot of nice shooting features.
Of course the proof of the pudding is always in the eating and we can't wait to get our hands-on the Pentax MX-1 to see how it performs under pressure.
The Pentax MX-1 will be available in black, or black and silver, from February 2013.
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