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Body & Design

The Q gives the impression it might be a product of its namesake from the James Bond films - it's easy to conceal about one's person, there's a hint of cold-war camera chic in its apparently impeccable engineering and the overall concept is just ever-so-slightly eccentric.

The magnesium alloy body, with its rubber coating along the front panel feels very well built and the body has been scaled-down about as far as possible without requiring preadolescent hands. The buttons are a little small but despite this, we've not found ourselves having any difficulty in operating them, and the control dial on the top right-hand shoulder makes it child's play to change settings quickly.

We particularly like the customizable Quick Dial on the front of the Q. Not only does it add to the classic look of the camera, it also offers a very simple way of gaining access to one of the camera's functions that might otherwise be lost in a menu. One of four features can be applied to the quick dial: Smart Effect (image processing filters), Custom Image (JPEG parameters), Digital Filters (more image processing filters), or Aspect Ratio. Once you've chosen which feature you want access to, you can then apply four of that feature's options to each of the positions on the dial.

In the same way that the aspect-ratio switch on Panasonic's LX3 and LX5 does a great job of encouraging use of a function that could otherwise be easily overlook, the Q's Quick Dial brings some of the camera's fun functions to the fore.

Beyond that, the camera shares many of its firmware features with the company's DSLRs, so you have access to an array of high-end features such as Multi Exposure mode, Interval Shooting and HDR mode. You also have control over everything from noise reduction to how the camera attempts to handle highlights and shadows, giving a good degree of control over the final image, even if you don't resort to using the DNG Raw output.

In your hand

The Pentax Q is small for an interchangeable lens camera but, since its lens can't retract, it's still not quite as pocketable as something like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 or Olympus XZ-1. From the front and top, the Q has a pleasantly 'retro' look to it, but from the back, it just looks like any other modern digital compact, and this view is dominated by a 3" 460,000 dot LCD screen.

Body Elements

The Q features a small flash that does its best to distance itself from the lens, to minimise the risk of shading and to help offer less-stark flash images.

A menu option lets you choose whether the flash can fire in its unextended position.
Despite its compact size, the Q has a good range of external buttons, including an INFO button that brings up a function menu detailing the camera's current settings. This can be navigated using the four-way controller and each setting adjusted without leaving this screen, using the control dial.
The Quick Dial on the front of the camera provides quick access to one of four special features that might otherwise be lost in the menu system somewhere.

It also adds to the camera's retro look, of course.
The battery slots into the camera's left flank (as viewed from behind). This is probably a consideration of packaging but is a huge bonus for anyone using the camera on a tripod.

The D-LI68 battery pack is good for 230 shots according to CIPA standard testing (or 250 without flash).
Likewise, the side-mounted card door means swapping cards is simple, even if you've got the camera fixed in position.

The Q is compatible with the latest SDXC standard.
Looking at the sensor shift mechanism it becomes apparent why the camera hasn't been made even smaller.
Unlike Pentax's K mount, the Q mount doesn't have a mechanical aperture control mechanism. Instead the 01 Standard Prime lens and 02 Standard Zoom have lens shutter mechanisms, such as the one pictured.

Lenses

Alongside the Q, Pentax has announced a series of lenses, which will become available in the coming months. In addition to the 47mm equiv. '01 Standard Prime' there will be the '02 Standard Zoom.' This $299 28-83mm equivalent F2.8-4.5 lens will, like the Standard Prime, offer a built-in ND filter and lens shutter, allowing flash sync all the way up to 1/2000th of a second.

In addition to these relatively high-end lenses, Pentax will offer three other lens options that highlight the camera's youthful, creative potential, as well as its enthusiast appeal. The manual focus '03 FishEye' offers a 160° field of view and a fixed F5.6 aperture. Meanwhile, the 35mm equiv. '04 Toy Lens Wide' and 100mm equiv. '05 Toy Lens Telephoto' are fixed aperture, manual focus lenses designed to recreate the look of cheaply-made film cameras such as the Diana. Each will cost under $100.

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Comments

Total comments: 279
1234
Mistavee

I have used this camera for about a month and I am very impressed. Prior to this, in the last few months, I purchased a Nikon J1 and then a V1 because I wanted a viewfinder.

This little thing (original Pentax Q) has made me forget about the lack of viewfinder. It is truly small and what I really like about it is:

1. Changing settings takes second, instead of 20 seconds with the J1/V1's multiple menus - this thing has dials and buttons!
1a. Intuitive menu system - unlike the Nikon
2. Size - this "thing" is truly portable, I carry it everywhere
3. It is so complete - I do not have to pay another $160 for a flash! (V1)
3a. Great Flash - powerful - the one on the V1 is so underpowered in comparison leaving anything outside of 3m looking dull
4. Great image color
5. Great video
6. The V1 feels like a brick when I pick it up - unusable - I am spoiled
7. The prime lens is great.
8. I have taken more (great) pictures in the last month than I have in the last year!

Lenses: #'s 01, 02, 06

3 upvotes
joe1512

Why on earth would anyone want this thing? It has a 1/2.3 inch sensor. Thats like...a compact camera!
What is the point of an interchangable lens camera if the image quality sucks?

You can get a normal compact camera with pretty good aperature and decent zoom, with a bigger 1/1.7inch sensor for quite a bit cheaper. Look at the XZ2 and LX7 and so on. Its just as pocketable, way more versatile, and cheaper, while retaining all the advanced features due to them being 'enthusiast compacts'.

0 upvotes
areichow

I would've liked to have seen a review myself... but the melodrama of the people commenting here. "Shame on you, DPR!" I can't help but LOL.

1 upvote
ebull

I have just picked one of these up mint second hand with the 47mm f/1.9 fixed lens and have to say I love it.
Its ergonomics and build quality are frankly amazing
I shoot mostly in Aperture mode and I have direct access to A/E Lock and Aperture, one button press to ISO and Exposure Compensation my most used buttons.
At launch RRP it was clearly overpriced and with the small sensor seemed like there was better value elsewhere but with prices coming down it makes more and more sense as a fun but serious photographic tool
Very addictive, its hard to go back to bigger cameras regardless of ultimate image quality .
If you are not fixated on resolution and IQ that goes beyond what is discernible in real life uses, the image quality is good enough and you can get on with focus on important things like what it is exactly you are shooting and composition, exposure and light which is what its supposed to be all about isnt it?

3 upvotes
bskbo

Why haven't you completed this review?

4 upvotes
waxwaine

I guess DPR will at least PREview the new Q10.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Matt1645f4

Still waiting and now the Q7 is out!!

0 upvotes
pumeco

I agree with the others here.

The fact is the Pentax Q marks the beginning of a new range or cameras, the camera has a brand new mount, it's a totally new concept and you've failed to review it.

In years to come when the format has evolved and people look back at this site they're going to wonder what your problem is. Why on earth you haven't reviewed the first ever compact interchangeable lens camera with a whole new mount. You have to admit that looks pretty bad for DPReview, and that's a shame, because DPReview is usually a good site.

Please review the Pentax Q, I think you owe it as much to your own credibility as you do to everyone who has waited all this time for one, and got nothing.

Failing to review the first in a line of cameras that has a new mount, is quite a failing.

6 upvotes
RStyga

To: DPReview

Well, here we are, Pentax Q10 announced, most likely replacing the original Q and no DPR review still. Well done, not. Consistency in your reviews is rather important, if you want people to use you as a reference site, don't you think?

Disappointing..

4 upvotes
RStyga

At least photozone.de has reviewed the Q system lenses...

2 upvotes
waxwaine

Shame on you, Digital Photo Review.
Pentax Q at US399 (even less) could be an unique photo tool for every who want to explore new experience in photography, and you insist on rererereview the same kind of equipment time after time. Just bored. I will get this camera based on other more reliable site´s reviews.

4 upvotes
RStyga

ATTN: Richard Butler & Simon Joinson

Don't you think it's worth doing a full review, now? I mean before it is out of production!

5 upvotes
Biro

Hey, the Q is now $399 with the 47mm f1.9 prime lens. Everyone I know or have spoken to who owns one loves the camera. I think the risk is quite low by now. If you like the Q, just buy one (I certainly plan to). Just don't expect it to be a K-5 or K-30.

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Nicolas Isaksson

I want a full review!!!

Also, is Pentax quality ok? I read the K01 review and there seemed to be serious problems. I am concerned about this because I will buy it through Amazon and I live in South America where there is no presence of an authorized Pentax representative.

2 upvotes
marike6

It's a pity that there will be no review for this little beauty. Seems like DPR decided that because it has a smaller sensor, it's not relevant. But so many people don't print these days, and cool photo blogs and Flickr galleries are all the rage. So I'm wondering does an ILC has to meet a certain sensor size threshold to earn a review? The Q offers big performance for it's size, easily beating some larger sensor P&S for IQ. Isn't that compelling enough to warrant a review?

3 upvotes
Matt1645f4

just another chanced missed to review this little gem, DP Review has been slipping for a while now. Shame was a great site a few years back.

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic

When specs on paper are obvious, then the review is also obvious and that is kind of task DPR can deliver promptly, and make the majority their audience happy and content.
But when you have a camera like a Pentax Q, or a Leica M9, or, when specs on paper and real life performance in hands of imaginative people are in discord, then DPR has a problem delivering a review that is understandable to its audience and not damaging to the camera brand.
So DPR knows majority of their audience well, they know what they like by analysing clicks, most visited pages, etc. and are thus aware of their limits of comprehension too.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
SteveNunez

Agreed- full review sorely missed!!!!

2 upvotes
Kenri Basar

I would like to buy one but it is too expensive for me... I don't know where I can find one in India so I looked on ebay.in and it is around $800-$1200...
I like the small concept. I am a 5feet tall female and carrying my Canon 40D with additional lenses is quite bothersome so I got Olympus EPL2. Olympus is just fine but I would like to buy something even smaller....
I like the concept and the look of Pentax Q but I hope the sensor was bigger or 4/3...now I am no technical person as to why it can't be bigger...
The price is the killing factor for me... :(

0 upvotes
solarider

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005BG0IWS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=87342-20 - $388, spectacular price.

0 upvotes
iTrax

purchased for AU$445 with 01+02
took well over 3000 photos in last 6 weeks and love it
marvel in engineering and highly addictive

0 upvotes
jon404

I like my XZ-1, and I'm not reading anything here that would get me to buy it for my shirt-pocket camera.

0 upvotes
ponyman

When do we get a full review - it is long over due.

8 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio

i would so much like to have the internals of the grd4 in that :)

0 upvotes
Nate21

Well its good to hear the Pentax Q has dropped to $499 if and when the camera hits $399 i take a dive

0 upvotes
LaFonte

It is absolutely fantastic and I would not have problem to pay $299 for it, or maybe even $399.
Very Q-ute. But the $799 price in Henrys, is sure a mistake, right? Typo, 7 instead of 2 or 3 at worst.

0 upvotes
SteveNunez

Having purchased the camera and shooting with it for awhile it is a pleasure to use. It's small size and build quality causes the owner to want to carry it everywhere thus never missing the opportunity for candid photography.
I've achieved very impressive photos when using manual lenses with adapters. The video quality is quite good at 14 Mbps and opens up quite a bit of tele-video capabilities for those seeking long range videography.
The image quality is on par with the current crop of point and shoot cameras but is underpar to the other interchangeable lens cameras.
If you consider it a point and shoot camera with interchangeable lenses you'd have a good summation of the camera.......for some it will be worth it and for others it will not.

2 upvotes
Reg Natarajan

This thing is selling for $619 at the local camera store and $500 with free shipping on eBay, both with the 8.5mm kit prime. It's the same price as the X10 in the real world. They're both great cameras, imo.

1 upvote
inevitable crafts studio

one having white orbs and one doesnt :)

4 upvotes
DaveOl

With a GN of 6 for the flash, you can only get about 8 feet away from your subject.

DaveOl

0 upvotes
DaveOl

For $ 800 I could get a Fuji X10 with a couple of hundred dollars left over and bigger sensor plus free orbs or a Canon G1X with a sensor a little bigger than micro 4/3.

DaveO

0 upvotes
Haider

Well handling system. good samples images. Have to keep an eye on the lens line up...

0 upvotes
rocklobster

Yes, those sample images are good but is this camera really relevant apart from it's novelty value? A Canon S95/100 is about the same size and offers a similar zoom range with its non-interchangable lens and allthough the lens options in the Pentax may be faster, the canon offsets this with better low light performance.
Also, the portrait lens equivalent is not going to give shallow depth of focus meaning that really there is no point to having interchangable lenses on this camera.

A good fun toy for a child or novice but not even of much use to learn about the differences in the characteristics of lenses of different focal lengths. i.e. not even a good learning tool as an intermediate step from compact to DSLR or other interchangable lens system camera.

2 upvotes
Kwick1

I'm pleasantly surpised with the sample images as well. Hmm, this will require some further investigation. I like what I see!

1 upvote
Roger Knight

I have to say that I am amazed by those shots in the preview gallery posted today.

I really did not expect such quality.
I also have to say that I agree with everything raised by Raist3d.

It seems that the quality of the results from tiny sensors has risen remarkably with the Pentax Q and the Fuji X10 especially when one considers that many in both galleries were taken at around 6MP rather than the full 10 or 12MP size.

I do however think that the cost is a problem to me and it's a shame because the sales of lenses would bring the total outfit cost up very high especially if you factor in a viewfinder which I find I must.

This makes the Fuji X10 a bargain even though tele range is limited somewhat.

2 upvotes
Cyril Catt

I already have a robust, Minox-like Canon TX1 with a 39-390 mm equivalent zoom which will focus down to zero mm, and retracts behind a solid metal shutter when not in use. Its smaller than the Pentax Q. It is a very useful on-hand-at-all-times model which cost me a third the price of the Q, and I won't be tempted to buy other lenses and carry them with me.

james

0 upvotes
Raist3d

The camera may be pricey but I think many here are missing a lot of points.

The sensor actually does better ISO than the LX5 or XZ-1. Yes, I have tried it from raw, both. And I have had the LX5 for well over a year so I know what I am saying here (and the LX5 is by no means a bad camera. We also need to get rid of the notion that talking good about a camera model necessarily means the other one s*cks).

Most here haven't even touched it. This camera is super well built and has superb ergonomics. I want to see how much the AF and startup has improved with the firmware upgrade- which it has.

Better photography is being done with an iPhone than many of the complainers about sensor size are doing here. The key thing to the Q is a sensor that allows at least a wide enough range of expression while keeping the smallest well built camera around with superb ergonomics. Good interface and ergonomics matter. This camera has those.

7 upvotes
BobBill

No eye level viewfinder -1. No matter what.

1 upvote
Ibida Bab

I would've bought this camera if it was Japanese made quality product. I have a ZX5n film camera that bought 15 years ago, Made in Japan quality, still as awesome as it was that first time I took it out of the box. On the other hand I own 2 Pentax digital cameras that are already showing signs of wear and problems, needless to say they were not manufactured in Japan. Forget Pentax, I am in line for the x10 as well, as long as the production models are made in Japan.

0 upvotes
Neil Morgan

you wont say that after youve handled one. Very well made.

3 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee

Wrong planning from Pentax - No one will buy this camera with a 2.3 sensor at this price and so many lenses. A 2.3 sensor has its own limitation.

0 upvotes
offertonhatter

Like pcblade, I also had a play with a Q today. I am warming to it. beautifully made, tiny, well designed, and from the look of the images already taken, impressive performance, especially considering the sensor size. The toy lenses arn't actually toy's, yes they may be fixed aperture, and have no AF nor in-built shutter, but the optics are typical SMC-Pentax glass, ie high quality multi coated optics.

Still, the initial price is far too high!, and the as yet unhandled Fuji X10 may put the spanner in the works.

However, if you already have Pentax and want a well built pretty good performing camera that will work with all Pentax accessories that you have, it might be worth looking at. But only when that price comes down!

3 upvotes
pcblade

I've tested this afternoon and make some photos :
- I've experienced some lag : time to focus and trigger the shooting ;
- the raw are in DNG format ;
- the noise is already present at ISO 125 in the dark areas ;
- the camera is very small and nice looking ;
- the build quality is great ;
- they are some automatic corrections taking place with the 8mm f1.19 ;
It's like a jewel : you can put it in your pocket and touch it to get the feeling of having a camera with you all time :)
you can see some sample on my flickr account : http://www.flickr.com/photos/PeFClic/

2 upvotes
snake_b

Gonna get killed by the X10...

0 upvotes
chibisquirt

I see a few commonalities, but the X10 feels so utterly different from the Q that the recurring comparisons don't ring true to me. They both look retro and they share some traits, but as cameras 'in the hand' (feel, size) they are so so different. And aside from the Euro-settler states, these two cameras seem to have different gender appeal.

0 upvotes
zanypoet

Puny sensor, low IQ, high price .... hmmm, who would buy this crap!!??

3 upvotes
spoorthy

low IQ? This beast is creating images on par with m4/3

2 upvotes
spoorthy

BTW you posted this thrice

0 upvotes
marike6

@zanypoet, I guess you haven't seen the images. They are excellent.

0 upvotes
marike6

@zanypoet, I guess you haven't seen the images. They are excellent.

3 upvotes
ThorKre

Quality compacts like the XZ1 or the S95 have /bigger/ sensors, are just as pocketable, much less expensive than the kit, have a reasonable zoom range and glass is mostly just as fast throughout the zoom range.

Even if the sensor of the Q is better right now, the next generation of compacts will have the same sensor technology, but in a smaller package, and at a price not much higher than the Pentax standard zoom.

Why on earth should anyone buy this obscenity?

Which of these two cameras has a smaller sensor and costs twice as much?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/masatsu/6100180034/

2 upvotes
Raist3d

The next generation of Q will also have a better sensor. It's how this game is played. What the other ultracompacts don't have is the ability to use different lenses, a better ergonomics/interface (despite the smalls size) and a better build.

1 upvote
spoorthy

if this had a k-mount with an apsc sensor it would be perfect. especally considering how well it would compliment the limited lenses

0 upvotes
Tee1up

At $350-$400 this would be a maybe. At $800, this will definitely not be considered.

2 upvotes
spoorthy

i think even $500 would be fine given the IQ this thing has. $600 is pushing it but even the MAYBE. $800? no way

0 upvotes
Duckie

From full sized samples seen in Flickr, the lenses are foggy even on a sunny day and contrast is woefully low. But those fixed lenses are optically well behaved perhaps due to simpler construction without those fuzzy optical artifects typical of zooms. But the coating and glass quality do not appear to be convincing. Was attracted by the rediculous small size but overall I am disappointed and will not pursue this.

0 upvotes
zxaar

@Duckie, visit a doctor and have your eyes checked. It seems you can not see properly. To a normal person whose eyes are alright there is no such problems. Lenses are not foggey, they are high quality lenses (normal and zoom). About the coating educate yourself about pentax's SMC coating, who knows even you might learn something.

8 upvotes
Duckie

Who told you anything from Pentax must automatically be acceptable and anthing else must be wrong? Your mother I guess? This outrageously laughable. Don't tell me you are fathered by one of those Pentax SMC coating engineers!

0 upvotes
zxaar

@Duckie, I tried and used the camera and seen the pictures that come out this camera. So based on my experience , you not only need to visit doctor for vision problems , you also need some mental help.

6 upvotes
f_stops

Wow, this really makes the Leica M9 a bargain.

It would take $24,685 worth of Pentax to equal the sensor area of one M9.

(30.89 times the area for FF)

2 upvotes
ZDP-189

Images? There's a lot of doubt regarding the sensor size. I'd have said that the IQ would be an essential part of any review.

0 upvotes
Don Simons

Saw the mockup today in a Tokyo camera store where there is a big promotion for it. It is another toy accessory for the people who want something different are willing to pay for it. Looks like one of those Minox minatures on steroids and will attract the eye of passers by.The FX 100 can at least do some serious photographic work and be a nice accessory. "Q" for Quirky.

0 upvotes
Vladilena

$200 and I will consider it! :) This looks small and easy to carry around.

0 upvotes
harrisoncac

$200? I think Pentax won't stop tossing up our consumers's pocket until they find $2000.

0 upvotes
spoorthy

i think $450 is much more resonable

0 upvotes
marike6

$200? Yeah, and I'd consider a Fiat 500 for $3000. Not gonna happen. It's not cheap to produce something this small.

0 upvotes
maryannhernandez

has anybody reviewed this yet?

0 upvotes
Pynch

Using today's sensor technology, it doesn't really make much sense. However, if and when sensor technology improves further, maybe someday a sensor this small will have enough sensitivity and dynamic range for most photographer. By then, the system will have more applications.

1 upvote
L Bradford

This camera makes absolutely no sense to me at all. With the small sensor, just go buy a fixed lens competitor from Canon,Panasonic, Olympus or Sony. Otherwise just go for the slightly larger cameras from the aforementioned companies, and it will be a much larger sensor.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 279
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