Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera Roundup (2013)
12.4MP CMOS 1/1.7" Sensor | Raw Shooting | 1080p HD video
What we like:
- Extremely compact size
- Good JPEG image quality
- Rear command dial
What we don't:
- Few compatible lens and accessory options
- Below-average video capabilities
- Limited high ISO performance.
The Pentax Q7 is a point-and-shoot-sized camera with a 12.4 megapixel 1/1.7"-type sensor with an un-point-and-shoot feature: the ability to change lenses. It accepts Q-mount lenses and is sold with a 5-15mm F2.8-4.5 kit zoom. Other features include a 3.0-inch, 460k-dot LCD, manual and semi-manual exposure modes, in-camera image stabilization and Raw shooting with in-camera conversion. It's the third in Pentax's diminutive Q-series and boasts a slightly larger sensor than its predecessors, putting it on par with most of the enthusiast compact class.
"The Q7 fits into jacket pockets without a problem."
The little Q7 produces good images with pleasant color rendering and sharpness with the kit lens. Auto exposure is reliable, and the ability to shoot Raw and process in camera gives more control over the final product. High ISO performance is good for the compact enthusiast class, but falls below the best compacts and larger sensor mirrorless cameras. The Q7 fits into jacket pockets without a problem, and therein lies its appeal. It can feel a bit finicky thanks to its (naturally) small controls, but a rear command dial adds a level of responsiveness.
With sensor-shift image stabilization, a full array of in-camera 'effect' modes, auto HDR and neutral density filters in the kit and standard prime lenses, there's a lot here to appeal to both beginners and more advanced photographers. The Q-system, however, is thin on lenses and accessories as compared to more robust systems like Micro Four Thirds. While the Q7 was enjoyable to shoot with and cuts a very trim figure with the 01 Standard Prime, we found it somewhat limited. Image quality is good, but it's hard to recommend over a very good compact like the RX100, or a slightly larger interchangeable lens camera.