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Pentax Q small-sensor mirrorless camera announced and previewed

By dpreview staff on Jun 23, 2011 at 04:00 GMT

Pentax has announced the 'Q' mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The camera is the first to use the company's Q mount and features a compact-camera-sized 1/2.3" image stabilized CMOS sensor. This is wrapped in a magnesium alloy body with a distinctly rangefinder-esque design but distinctly compact sizing. Its feature set ranges from the 1080p30 movie shooting (with H.264 compression), to a series of fun filters that can be applied to the Quick Dial on its front plate. We've had a chance to play with a pre-production Pentax Q and have prepared a quick preview.

Click here to read our Pentax Q Quick Preview

PENTAX UNVEILS THE PENTAX Q:

The World’s Smallest, Lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera

GOLDEN, CO. (June 23, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the PENTAX Q – the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera (ILC).* The Q offers the versatility and precision of an advanced DSLR in a body that is significantly smaller than every other digital ILC body available on the market today.

The camera’s tiny size, lightweight design, and superior image quality are made possible by an innovative PENTAX developed imaging system. With a high-resolution 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor, the Q carves out an entirely new camera category that extends beyond traditional digital compact, APS-C or 4/3 digital cameras. The backlit sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument that produces very little noise at high sensitivity levels particularly in low light settings. Further, the new Q lens mount is a perfect match with the new sensor and every interchangeable Q lens is designed for more advanced image quality than may be found on traditional compact digital cameras. This innovative PENTAX design is the foundation of the Q’s position as the world’s smallest, lightest ILC system with superior image quality.

Several important features of the PENTAX Q include:

  • A newly designed PENTAX Q-mount lens system for convenient interchangeability with a variety of specialty Q lenses including prime, zoom, fisheye and more.
  • Exceptional image quality in 12.4 megapixels from the Q’s 1/2.3 inch backlit CMOS image sensor. Capable of producing 12 bit DNG RAW and JPG images, the backlit CMOS sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument designed specifically to produce very low noise at high levels of sensitivity.
  • Extremely compact, durable, lightweight, scratch resistant magnesium alloy body.
  • The power and flexibility of traditional DSLR shooting modes such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, and Metered Manual exposure control as well as highly convenient PENTAX Auto Picture and 21 scene modes for casual shooting, including new Forest and Stage Lighting options
  • A variety of creative modes, Smart Effect options, or camera settings that assign to the Q’s Quick Dial located on the front of the camera. Smart Effects modes enhance digital photography by applying a series of effects to images to achieve high quality finishing. Brilliant Color, Vintage Color, Warm Fade, Bold Monochrome, and Water Color are just some of the Smart Effects available and may be assigned on the Q’s Quick Dial.
  • In-camera HDR capture mode shoots 3 images of varying exposures, blending them to bring out the details in even the darkest shadows and brightest highlights of extreme contrast shots.
  • High quality motion video with stunning full 1080p HD clarity at 30 frames per second. The Q processes the full HD video using high quality h.264 compression for superior color and detail and offers creative video effects through custom image modes, digital video filters, and interval shooting.
  • A sensor-shift Shake Reduction system with integrated DRII Dust Reduction for blur and dust free images even in low lighting.
  • 5 frames per second continuous shooting mode for any fast action setting.
  • Effortless bokeh control with the Q’s Bokeh Control filter. (Traditionally controlled through a DSLR lens’s aperture, bokeh is the out of focus part of the background that helps to emphasize the subject, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the most important part of the photo.) The Q offers a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter operation.
  • Powerful USER modes allow the creative photographer to save a series of favorite camera settings, filters, and custom image modes for instant reuse.
  • Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 30 seconds for freezing fast action or capturing long nighttime exposures. Bulb mode adds flexibility for low light photography and motion effects.
  • A built-in popup flash adds the perfect amount of extra light to an image with a high extension to naturally reduce the redeye effect common to compact cameras. The Q’s flash is effective to 23 feet at 200 ISO, and covers a wide angle 28 degree field of view.
  • Compatibility with the latest generation SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards for ultra-high capacity storage as well as outstanding image file portability.

Along with the Q, PENTAX introduced the PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens and an optional optical viewfinder. The unifocal standard lens has a focal length equivalent to 47mm in the 35mm format. The lens offers a natural perspective similar to that of the human eye and is ideal as a multipurpose, everyday standard lens for various subjects including landscape and portraiture. With a maximum aperture of F1.9, it performs superbly in dim lighting and may be easily adjusted for bokeh. Incorporating two high grade aspherical optical elements, this lens compensates various aberrations to a minimum .

Featuring the state-of-the-art optics incorporating special optical glass elements and PENTAX exclusive lens coating technology, this lens delivers beautifully defined, high quality images that are sharp and high contrast even at the edges. The AF motor installed in the lens assures smooth, quiet focusing operation. The lens shutter mechanism allows the PENTAX Q’s built-in auto flash to be synchronized to the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/2000 second (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). This lens is also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter, which comes in handy when shooting with open aperture at bright locations or when using slower shutter speeds.

The shoe-mounted viewfinder attachment is an optional accessory. This External Viewfinder O-VF1 offers outstanding compositional framing, even in the brightest sunlight where viewing an LCD screen is traditionally a challenge. (Note: The Viewfinder offers framing marks for the Standard lens.)

Available in white or black body models, the PENTAX Q and Standard Prime lens (available in silver) kit will be around $800. Initially, the PENTAX Q system will ship in Japan. Anticipated shipping time to the United States is early Fall 2011.

The optional shoe-mounted viewfinder will be available at the same time for $249.95 USD. Each may be pre-ordered now on www.pentaxwebstore.com The PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens will not be sold separately. More information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news

* The world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera, as of June 15, 2011 (based on PENTAX research).

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Comments

Total comments: 323
2345
dcdigitalphoto
By dcdigitalphoto (Jun 23, 2011)

All of the inconvience of an ILC without any of the benefits

18 upvotes
gaspard_savoureux
By gaspard_savoureux (Jun 23, 2011)

Good sum up.

0 upvotes
dcdigitalphoto
By dcdigitalphoto (Jun 23, 2011)

Why indeed?

4 upvotes
Graystar
By Graystar (Jun 23, 2011)

WHY?

4 upvotes
robbo d
By robbo d (Jun 24, 2011)

Good on you Pentax, Bold and innovative again, stirring up the traditionalists.......
Lets think Canon 1100d....for anyone who watches these websites would hardly buy one.....because they are lacking in features....Its not for this market though, as a photographer will buy one for his wife and it will stay on program mode all its life.
So, Different markets like japan, China and niche for keen amatuers or professionals could see a winner here.
I for one could see the benefits of portability when I dont want to lug around a DSLR and all the lenses.
The improvement of noise in small sensors cannot be far away for low light and high iso, perhaps this is the start.
Lets wait and see, not so keen to wipe it off just yet, Be keen for the first pics to come thru and see if the backlit sensor will improve things.
Big companies don't often do this sort of thing without a good busness plan and understanding of what market they are aiming at. Go Pentax

3 upvotes
BobEll69
By BobEll69 (Jun 24, 2011)

Never have I seen the announcement of a new camera system generate so much controversy. I think is is marvelous. Glad to see Pentax stirring up the pot of emotions on traditionalists. This system may prove to be more innovative and surprising that first meets the eye.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 323
2345