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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).

90
I own it
4
I want it
9
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 323
12345
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jun 23, 2011)

I guess I can put a wide angle adapter on my Point and Shoot camera and call it an interchangeable lens camera now. EPIC FAIL!

2 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Jun 23, 2011)

I hope DPR is not going to waste its precious resources on a full review of this marketing brainfart.

5 upvotes
Dan Clark
By Dan Clark (Jun 23, 2011)

Interchange lenses? Marketing gimmick only. Tiny sensor = Non-starter!

0 upvotes
tessar_man
By tessar_man (Jun 23, 2011)

The tiny sensor is really utterly ridiculous. It would make some sense on a digital remake of the classic Minox spy camera, but it is way undersized for this type of camera.
This, all the while many of us are still waiting for a 24 x 36mm full frame AFFORDABLE rangefinder body for our arsenal of Leica-mount SM, M and ZM and maybe even classic Pentax M42 lenses.

1 upvote
ogl
By ogl (Jun 23, 2011)

The price for body + fixed lens should be $350. It's real price for such gadget.
The problem is...
it's NEW BAYONET. NEW MOUNT AND NEW SYSTEM FOR YEARS.
It's not a P&S or gadget or toy camera.

It's NEW SYSTEM - HOYA thinks that EVIL SYSTEM must BE precisely what HOYA offered today - PENTAX Q.

Different from APS-C mirrorless system. We never see another mirrorless camera from HOYA for a long time.

IMO.

1 upvote
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Jun 23, 2011)

$800 for that? Are you serious? A popup flash /and/ a hot shoe? The popup flash looks like it will break easily. Some cameras have the "toy camera" effect built in, have a much bigger image sensor, and cost a lot less! Yikes, what the hell was Pentax thinking?!

1 upvote
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Jun 23, 2011)

Nearly 100 comments, and not one person (that I've seen) saying they would buy this. Who did Pentax market research this on?

6 upvotes
marc03
By marc03 (Jun 23, 2011)

Japan of course!
It will be a good success there.

2 upvotes
MarcMedios
By MarcMedios (Jun 23, 2011)

In all honesty, not having a viewfinder and with such a small sensor, it's a gimmicky camera, that's about it

0 upvotes
senn_b
By senn_b (Jun 23, 2011)

Hi,
Be patient, .. wait for the tests results ..

0 upvotes
h00ligan
By h00ligan (Jun 23, 2011)

we don't need test results with a sensor that side... there are constraints to design - and even if it is better than an average PAS, it's still going to suck compared to spending similar money on basically anything else..

Ridiculous camera that will flop horribly.

2 upvotes
Riccardo IT
By Riccardo IT (Jun 23, 2011)

Horrible and too expensive

2 upvotes
Calvin Chann
By Calvin Chann (Jun 23, 2011)

OMG, it's horrible!

4 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jun 23, 2011)

This is a real "what the?" moment.

1/2.3 inch sensor? That's a 7.0mm diagonal.

The 7.9mm f1.9 lens is equivalent, in terms of DOF and low light photographic ability, to a 49mm f12. No shallow DOF, no nice bokeh like some of the Oly/Panasonic or NEX lenses.

It's interchangeable, purely for the sake of being interchangeable.

10 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Jun 23, 2011)

absolutely nailed it there! pentax is smoking pots

0 upvotes
eddie_cam
By eddie_cam (Jun 23, 2011)

If Canon, Panasonic and Canon keep their bigger-sensor compacts (hoping!), they'll thrash that would-be enthusiast cam.

1 upvote
eddie_cam
By eddie_cam (Jun 23, 2011)

I mean, Olympus, Panasonic and Canon ... ;-)

0 upvotes
jondh
By jondh (Jun 23, 2011)

Is this theone that come from tranformer movie?

1 upvote
raimaster
By raimaster (Jun 23, 2011)

where is "dislike" button ?

14 upvotes
Jakubo
By Jakubo (Jun 23, 2011)

guess we'll have to wait for the actual photos when it comes to quality.

But anyway when fuji is gonna make x - something with interchangeable lenses this q system might become absolute. unless the quality is better than expected or the price falls.

0 upvotes
Silat Shooter
By Silat Shooter (Jun 23, 2011)

Cute & creative idea but....
Wrong Sensor for anyone looking at interchangeable lens system camera, should have at minimum been the same as the S95, LX5, etc

At $800 kit price, waaay too much competition with better IQ

NO OVF, has anyone at Pentax been reading ANY Photo Forum and seen the excitement generated by the Fuji X100 and why?!?!?

This reminds me of the old Pentax 110 with tiny little interchangeable lenses. It was neat but we all wished that camera was that small and took 35mm film instead of 110. History repeating itself???

1 upvote
ezradja
By ezradja (Jun 23, 2011)

if only the price is 500$ or under, then ...

0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Jun 23, 2011)

:facepalm:

1 upvote
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Jun 23, 2011)

I say kudos to pentax for trying something new, looks like a fun little camera. As for the haters... it is not everyones wish to have shallow DOF and good high ISO peformance ( the needs of the few are not the needs of the many haha). I'm sure there will be a market for this...my only gripe is the price.

3 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Jun 23, 2011)

kudos? if you dont want DOF and higher quality images, why would u buy a lens to a system

0 upvotes
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Jun 23, 2011)

I have no idea...its obviously not aimed at a professional looking for top motch IQ. Its a bloated toy, but may have a market...obviously Penatx thought so. Time is the only answer to the many questions and comments regarding this system.

0 upvotes
JohnFredC
By JohnFredC (Jun 23, 2011)

The great thing about small sensors is the fantastic depth of field possible from the lenses. Big DOF is my main photographic tool, so I always hope for better quality sensor cameras.

If they would just fold those optics into the camera body a la the little pocket Sonys et al, now that would be a convenient picture taker!

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jun 23, 2011)

The novice consumer who wants to upgrade from a point and shoot to an ultra small DSLR will have no idea how big/small 1/2.3 inches really is. They will see the small size, that it can take inexpensive interchangeable lens, has 1080p video, and a big bright screen. Then they will see it is made by Pentax and they will buy the Sony next to it instead because of the name.

You can’t win for trying.

1 upvote
Max Pometun
By Max Pometun (Jun 23, 2011)

I was excited to learn about this camera system until I read about the sensor size... It seems that Pentax is willing to sacrifice a lot of image quality for the sake of shaving off couple of millimeters in camera dimension, which is just wrong on so many levels. What's next, Pentax?? The same camera in orange?..

I suspect this will be a major flop as no serious photographer would ever consider buying a system with a crappy IQ and horrible high ISO performance. Whoever pushing for small camera size as a major selling point (at the expense of IQ) at Pentax should be fired immediately, IMHO.

Cheers!

1 upvote
Spotpuff
By Spotpuff (Jun 23, 2011)

I would hope for:
1. Less megapixels. Go down to like 6.
2. CCD instead of CMOS for less rolling shutter for video.
3. <$150 lenses.
4. Larger sensor.

If they can do all that I'll buy into the system, otherwise no thanks.

1 upvote
Spotpuff
By Spotpuff (Jun 23, 2011)

Just read kit price is going to be $800 USD... forget it.

1 upvote
Ibida Bab
By Ibida Bab (Jun 23, 2011)

If the US model is Made in Japan I will buy one. If not, I will not. Otherwise this camera looks absolutely awesome. Good job Pentax.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jun 23, 2011)

Here is an idea. Let's make an interchangeable lens camera with a point and shoot sensor and call it a day.

2 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jun 23, 2011)

Next...

1 upvote
gaspard_savoureux
By gaspard_savoureux (Jun 23, 2011)

What a disappointment !

3 upvotes
gaspard_savoureux
By gaspard_savoureux (Jun 23, 2011)

umh... smallest ?
http://www.photographyblog.com/images/uploads_news/pentax_q_18.jpg

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Jun 23, 2011)

There is absolutely a market for thise camera in Japan. If it will hit the masses...seeing some of the promotional material Pentax is using for it, it seems to be a product for the long term, with follow up models in the couple of years to come.

1 upvote
Kitacanon
By Kitacanon (Jun 23, 2011)

The Q has the same size (and perhaps even the SAME) sensor as the Nikon P500 and I've seen nice pix from that camera in reviews...

Still, as suggested by some, the P500 and the all-in-one superzoom may be the KIND of camera better suited for that sensor...at least for SLR users looking for a travel/backup camera, for half the price of the Q...

...maybe the P600 will have RAW imaging, (the 500 doesn't), and make that camera more appealing to SLR users.

0 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Jun 23, 2011)

Yet the Canon G12 trashes the P300 left and right for image quality with its much bigger image sensor. Even Nikonians buy the G12 over the P300.

0 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Jun 23, 2011)

Sony Nex are far superior in image quality and you cant achieve any backgroundblur with these small sensors.
What is Pentax thinking???

1 upvote
Dragonfire
By Dragonfire (Jun 23, 2011)

from the IR (reduced size) samples: it may have "usable" IQ at higher sensitivies. Altough i hope it ill not kill Pentax... Pity they did not joined m4/3 format. Hope Nikon's small sensor will not be that small...
I think I would choose Oly XZ-1 over this Pentax for a small camera with usable IQ.

1 upvote
alwye
By alwye (Jun 23, 2011)

That's suicide. I'm sorry.

6 upvotes
silvano
By silvano (Jun 23, 2011)

I agree with you :-(

0 upvotes
role_of_72
By role_of_72 (Jun 23, 2011)

Studio sample images from Pentax Q:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/PENTAXQ/PENTAXQA7.HTM

2 upvotes
Tormenborba
By Tormenborba (Jun 23, 2011)

Yes , I didnt say anything about the uglyness of it and the fact that most compact have also + pixels...

1 upvote
rmcdonough
By rmcdonough (Jun 23, 2011)

To me, this camera seems to indicate that Olympus was right that the m4/3 sensor has the sweet spot for both camera size and lens size. Based on sensor size alone, I'm going out on a limb and saying that the Q will have terrible high ISO performance when compared to the GF3. I will wait to see a full review before I criticize too much, but a sensor this small seems doesn't seem as compelling and it is not significantly smaller than the NEX or GF3.

1 upvote
xiod_crlx
By xiod_crlx (Jun 23, 2011)

Epic fail! ...and it's not a 1st of April today...

2 upvotes
Tormenborba
By Tormenborba (Jun 23, 2011)

Pentax, what a joke!!!
of course it' s the smallest interchangeable lenses camera, it's also the only one with a crappy compact camera sensor!
what a sadness Pentax I really think game OVER.
This new segment could have really been the last stand for Pentax, and I guess they've missed the train!

2 upvotes
Peter G
By Peter G (Jun 23, 2011)

The only reason I have any interest in a M43 or NEX is for the larger sensor, when compared to compacts.

This things is a Joke in bad taste.

I would spend less money and get "large" sensor Canon S95 before this.

0 upvotes
kadarpik
By kadarpik (Jun 23, 2011)

Sick comments, everyone is just thinking about sensor size, sensors have evolved in last 5 years tremendously and those images are definitely better than from APS-C cameras from year 2005. I think this camera produces decent A4 prints are you going to shoot professional photos with it ? No but you can walk around with it, use Leaf shutter, manual modes dials and other nice features. NEX cameras are quite menu oriented.

0 upvotes
Rob Klein
By Rob Klein (Jun 23, 2011)

It appears that we are getting closer and closer to something affordable set up like the Leica M9 and able to use multiple lenses. What is missing is the viewfinder in or on the camera that is NOT. Ideally, I would like to see Canon or Nikon or both put digital components in one of their rangefinders from the 70's with optical rangefinder focus.

0 upvotes
role_of_72
By role_of_72 (Jun 23, 2011)

We'll see..
I think, at a good price it can be interesting for some.

I have my own cameras and won't change them but at least I'm curious now. :)

1 upvote
DemonDuck
By DemonDuck (Jun 23, 2011)

What a dumb camera. There it is. They could have had something really nice and useful if they had put an M43 or APS-C sized sensor in it.

But no. A smaller sensor than most compact cameras.

What happened to Pentax's ability to make good cameras? Is it Hoya's influence?

1 upvote
Wachti
By Wachti (Jun 23, 2011)

Not sexy.

0 upvotes
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (Jun 23, 2011)

Yep, $800 is too much. However I see potential in attracting compact users who otherwise would feel ridiculous lugging a dSLR around but want something more than a fixed-lens compact can deliver (that is why I have a u4/3). Obviously it is not targeting the regular crowd here at DPR very well, but there are not many compact cam users here as compared to owners so we can only assume Pentax did a little market research before pursuing this.

Only time will tell how low Pentax will need to go with the price to make it work.

0 upvotes
ny10522
By ny10522 (Jun 23, 2011)

Small sensor at $800 without OVF?????? What are they thinking?
Company needs a new crew of executives.

1 upvote
kff
By kff (Jun 23, 2011)

Why so macht screaming did You make?
Maybe, Pentax know what thay do ...
... history confirmed it :)

Propably, we will see the pictures from it,
we will be able to say if that small size camera with interchange lens
to make great shots ...
I want to try it and if it will be superb
then I will buy it and my K-5 will be use in the studio
and for works with will need to have more than 12Mpix ..

I think that all new revolution devices (tablets, smartphones and cameras photo/video hybrids) which are an article of development today, all these must to have smaller lens mount ...

1 upvote
kff
By kff (Jun 23, 2011)

better than FF idea for Pentax
if they have APS-C camera line and MF Pentax 645D ...

0 upvotes
patoth66
By patoth66 (Jun 23, 2011)

Remember the old half-frame cameras from olympus and canon, and Pentax Auto 110, they where so fun working with for street photography. You got more images on one roll of film, and not that much loss of image quality! I think many of you are to negative and whining to much! Be glad Pentax is doing something fun, and no- nonsense product to just have fun with!! That is what photography is all about, having fun and being creative!!))

3 upvotes
ch01
By ch01 (Jun 23, 2011)

then use a M43 if u are into that

1 upvote
Charlie Jin
By Charlie Jin (Jun 23, 2011)

Oh, No.... I will not use it even though it's free...
Pentax is hopeless... I think that it's time to sell my Pentax gears and completely move on to the other system...

1 upvote
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Jun 23, 2011)

Everyone seems to hate this camera but I have the Oly XZ-1 which I love and I'm interested to see what this Pentax does. I think the back-lit cmos sensor is going to surprise people.

3 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Jun 23, 2011)

Sorry, not a 1/2.3" image sensor for $800.

0 upvotes
snake_b
By snake_b (Jun 23, 2011)

It will take nice pics for 1/2.3, no doubt, but why? $800? Are they nuts? Even at full price, I can buy a Samsung NX10 or 100 for way cheaper and get an APSc. They're going like that for less than 300 euros right now.

It's also going to be interesting to see if these cams compete with the high end compacts with 1/1.7 sensors and f1.8/f2.0 lenses at the wide end.

5 upvotes
Michael Barkowski
By Michael Barkowski (Jun 24, 2011)

Samsung NX100 with added 30mm f/2 is about the same price as the Pentax Q with 8.5mm/1.9. Compare the 20-50mm zoom with the 5-15mm zoom - both have 40.5mm filters but the Pentax is f/2.8-4.5, and has a wider zoom range. The real difference in lens sizes will be in the telephotos assuming they are going to do them. Strange that they haven't shown that hand yet but instead chose to focus on the "fun" aspect. Obviously not a strategy targeted to please this forum.

0 upvotes
seta666
By seta666 (Jun 23, 2011)

Wauhhhh!! that 8.5mm 1.9 is going to become the industry standard for portraits, together with the 35mm f7.1 with mobile phone + lomo filter capabilities
While everybody is trying to get smaller bodies with better IQ pentax is doing just the oposite, a non-sense compact camera IQ with expensive lenses.
I would like to see this camera against G12 o LX5, even against nokia N8

1 upvote
Total comments: 323
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