Nikon 1 vs. Pentax Q.

Started Oct 6, 2011 | Discussions thread
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tigrebleu
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Nikon 1 vs. Pentax Q.
Oct 6, 2011

When it was announced, the Pentax Q generated a lot of (sometimes heated) debate, for good reasons or not.

IMHO, the idea of putting interchangeable lenses in front a of tiny, digicam-size, sensor wasn't such a bad idea, provided that the camera was very small as well.

And the Pentax Q became the smallest interchangeable lens camera in the world. Well, for a very short while...

Because in the meanwhile, Nikon came up with what I believe will become the second standard format of interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras (after the M4/3 format). A camera that will sit very well between the full auto digicam and the entry level DSLR. Not as big as the basic DSLR, not as limited as the digicam. While still being small.

It small... Smaller than the Pentax Q, in fact. And yet it has a much larger sensor that should (and unless something goes horribly wrong, will) provides higher dynamic range, better high ISO image quality and better tonal gradation.

In my opinion, Nikon nailed it just right.

Let's face it, the 2.0x Micro Four Thirds sensor should provide a slightly better image quality, but as a result, the lenses are also slightly larger, which adds to the bulk of the camera. All that said, I believe it is and it will remain the standard format for mirrorless cameras. I'm not interested in mirrorless cameras for now, but if I was, I'd go for an Olympus or a Panasonic M4/3 without thinking twice.

And while being bigger than the Nikon 1 and Pentax Q systems, the OlyPana M4/3 system remains remarkably small, offering potential buyers a great compromise between a much larger DSLR and a much smaller digicam (yes, the Pentax K7/-K-5 with a pancake is small, but it's not that small). The Nikon 1 will offer a slightly different, possibly more interesting compromise: even smaller, but without having to make a big sacrifice on image quality (vs. the Q).

Sony and Samsung have good mirrorless systems too. The Sony mirrorless-dedicated lenses line up is still a bit limited, though. And the lenses themselves are pretty big, which reduces the appeal in terms of compacity and portability. A bit bigger and I'd rather go for a DSLR instead, which is also less expensive. And while the Samsung mirrorless camera is great (not many mirrorless come with an EVF), it's also bigger than the Olympus, Panasonic and Nikon mirrorless cameras, and the lenses line up is still a bit limited too.

At the other end of the sensor size spectrum sits the Pentax Q. It's very small and very cute (much better looking than the Nikon 1, IMHO), but while some will buy it for its design, it's lacking a bit under the hood in terms of sensor size. And speaking of design, the Fuji X-series is even better, for roughly the same price... The Pentax Q might have a hard time finding its spot in the market. Even if it's just a niche spot.

The Q wasn't meant to be mass produced in the first place. The people at Hoya said it was a niche product from the start. It's appeal is in its small size and in its fun, creative possibilities. When it was first annonced, I thought it would do good (not great, but not bad either) as a niche product. It was called the "Poor man's Leica M9" and on many points, I agreed with this.

But now that the Nikon 1 is there, I'm not so sure anymore. The Nikon 1 seems equal or superior to the Pentax Q in many aspects. The only advantage of the Pentax Q is a smaller sensor, which should result in smaller lenses. But there's a limit at how small lenses can be made (there must be room for an aperture mechanism, AF motor or AF motor gears, etc.) and the Pentax Q-mount lenses probably won't become much smaller than the Nikon CX lenses in the future.

Suddenly, the success of the Pentax Q doesn't seem as bright as it was a few weeks ago. I got a feeling that the Nikon 1 will take the Pentax Q spot in the market... Am I the only one to think that?

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If photography can be considered like painting, then I'm still at the preschool "paint with your fingers" level.

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