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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
bergat

Per me è una tavanata pazzesca

2 upvotes
Tormenborba

speriamo Pentax fallisca!

0 upvotes
bergat

What is the need, if the sensor is so...small. The problem of compact camera is the sensor dimension, not they havefixed lens.
For me is a stupid project

3 upvotes
King YONG

Is the Q mount sensor as big as my Panny TZ15 which has a 1/2.33 CCD? If so, I guess the DR/low light IQ will be much inferior to my Samsung NX100. What a waste of time for Pentax..........

1 upvote
Photog74

1/2.3" image sensor? When I first read the specs I thought it was a 2/3" sensor and thought, that's still on the small side (1/4th the area of a FourThirds chip). But a 1/2.3" sized imager is just ridiculously small with extreme pixel density.

1 upvote
Trollshavethebestcandy

It's a cute well built hipster camera with good video

0 upvotes
rtogog

I can not imagine this Q mount will success. People who likes interchangeable mostly very concern about IQ. How this small sensor can deliver images that meet most users expectation. I thought will be much reasonable to develop mirroless camera which working with their limited series lens or they think will be miracle on small sensor development to compete with bigger sensor in the near future.

0 upvotes
ujay

of course...i hope the price will drop to 300-400 dollar mark. I dont even want that lens. Just the body.

0 upvotes
Faivre thierry

drôle d'idée, sans réelle avenir, comme le Ricoh gxr !
appareil trop gros
capteur trop petit
vitesse trop faible
etc

1 upvote
ujay

I am probably the only one who thinks its a good idea. Actually I have been hoping that somebody would make a interchangable lens P&S camera or make a camera like Canon G11 where you could take the lens off.

Lo! pentax did it.

Reason: I want to use a cheap supersharp telephotos on this with an adapter to get great magnifications for bird photography.
This option is smaller, lighter and portable and I will be able to use silky smooth MF lens on cheap 135 or 200mm lenses with a great LCD and take bird photos at equivalent of 600-900mm or even greater magnifications.

with patience and some luck.....I am sure we can get amazing photos. Sure to beat Digiscoping!

For the rest of the things...I have my 40d, 50d, EOS 50 and a speed graphic.

2 upvotes
Peter Post

First, the G11 has a bigger sensor. second, wich lens can perform with a crop like this? Not my canon lenses, not even a 'L' lens.

0 upvotes
Nick Bangkok

Can't use any cheap (or expensive) telephotos on this one. The body doesn't have shutter - it's in the lens.

2 upvotes
MonkeyHouse

Seems to me that any number of cameras in the superzoom category fit the bill for portable P&S birding. DSC-HX100V for example. If you're putting on a telephoto and keeping it there, the IL aspect doesn't seem to offer much.

0 upvotes
Wye Photography

Will this tempt me away from my 1963 Canon Demi and an acetate based exposure system where I don't have to worry about dynamic range and blown highlights - probably not. Its an ugly camera, BUT could be a lot of fun.

0 upvotes
MisterBG

No viewfinder = No sale.
If it had an articulaed screen it /might/ have been worth considering, but the price is a joke.

2 upvotes
Artistico

I like this: "And the Q is no toy camera" - gave me a good laugh in the morning.

When I saw the headline I was hoping Pentax had launched someting MFT-esque - or preferably even joined the standard. With their pedigree of good optics, that might have been something really interesting. But why make really amateur gear at pro prices? One can get a real mft camera for what this stuff costs, which at the moment is the best compromise between size and image quality.

0 upvotes
Jorginho

Can't see this becoming a succes. Those who want interchangable lenses are usually the types that are more demandingin IQ etv also.

Smallest for me would be the rumoured Nikon Mirrorless with 17mm diagonal. Could deliver panny G1 IQ in a few years. That would be nice.

1 upvote
tkbslc

Man, with a 1/2.3" sensor this will have zero appeal for the enthusiast crowd.

4 upvotes
MonkeyHouse

If it's meant to be fun, it needs to be cheap. I believe this will be around $800 will it not? I'd pay "enthusiast compact" prices to get this instead of an enthusiast compact were I in the market for such a thing. But not $800.

0 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee

The concept is good , now we can have smaller lenses than NEX because of the smaller sensors but sure there will be a trade off in quality compared to the NEX's APS-C Sensors......This product is surely more pocketable.....

1 upvote
h2k

One thing that seems interesting about this otherwise vastly disappointing novelty is a flash sync time of 1/2000. I use built-in flash a lot in daytime, for faces, flowers and anything closer than 3 meters. Currently i can only use flash only up to 1/160 and a faster time would be much appreciated.

Still that is no reason to consider Pentax Q, sadly, even though i need a travel cam in that size.

0 upvotes
Corros

I think when the sensor quality will be like the Canon Powershot series of today, this one will rock! Really small with some pretty nice primes, but it's not for a big marked, therefore a m4/3 or else is needed for the big crowd!

0 upvotes
Gyorgy Kenez

Think about how good the CMOS in K5 is, then cropping the size of the sensor would mean cropping out a picture from one made with the larger sensor. If it is the same...

0 upvotes
Corros

I think it's not that simple.

0 upvotes
Donald Chin

Interesting concept and curious to see how it performs especially in image quality.

1 upvote
Simon Zeev

I will stay with m4/3 and 4/3 but I welcome the new concept.
What is missing for now is an EVF.

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.

Well well, look to be very logical layout for the control, a decent mode dial and control dial. Now though I do not like the small sensor choice I can see this as a decent carry around for most condition ( low light and night excluded ).

If Pentax can develop more quality FAST fix focal for this, it can actually work out. With the 01 lens its already a viable combo.

0 upvotes
guvenilter

Looks like a toy... A nice one but a toy nevertheless... I'd love to see some samples and the full review, but it doesn't look like much to write home about.

0 upvotes
tkbslc

With the fisheye and plastic lens options, I do wonder if this will be targeted at the holga/lomo/hipster crowd. But it will have to be fairly cheap for that to work.

0 upvotes
jmmgarza

Very cute... yes, cute sells... in Japan.

2 upvotes
Zebooka

Today Pentax finally died for me.
I will never again buy anything from them.
There are much clever companies selling really cool gear.

1 upvote
tom sugnet

DR will be splendid

0 upvotes
meanwhile

If they made it weatherproof, then maybe ... if the sensor was bigger, and the lenses smaller, then maybe ... but as is ... huh?

1 upvote
meanwhile

So confused. Why would anyone buy this over an XZ-1 or LX5?

7 upvotes
drwho9437

You may one day have a 200 mm telephoto that weighs 100 g or a ultrawide that slips into your pocket.

To buy *any* interchangeable lens camera just to shoot 28-105 mm is rather silly. I personally rarely shoot in that focal length (when I do I shoot at 35 mm).

1 upvote
policeman0077

I am intersted in the mechanism of shutter and appture.

0 upvotes
NineFace

I think it look cool but the sensor is too small

0 upvotes
bloodycape

They could have at least given it a 1/2' sensor.

0 upvotes
ogremage

One can argue many ways which sensor size vs. lens size compromises make sense for mirrorless, with probably everything from 1:2.5 to 1:1 crop factors compared to FF being feasible, and IMHO 1:2 (m43) being in the sweet spot; however 1:6 with a 1/2.3'' sensor is not it, especially if as ugly as this one.

It will sell OK for the first few weeks in Japan while it's a novelty. Then it will die, lingering with a market share somewhere around the GXR.

Pentax should have joined m43, NEX or NX instead.

6 upvotes
drwho9437

They are rumored to be releasing a K-mount mirrorless in fall.

1 upvote
grafixstop

I'll be all product roadmaps will get a careful scrubbing with the
Ricoh acquisition. The one real positive is that former Pentax management did a good job of protecting the K mount though
generational and technology changes. It may be the "pony in there somewhere" as the raison d'etre for the sale.

0 upvotes
rennie12

Just what I don't need - a camera with a non-existant set of lenses. I would be interested in such a camera if it took my K lenses - but I switched to the Sony A55 which seems about the same size but MUCH more camera. Still have the Pentax k20d and 3 lenses, tho.

1 upvote
drwho9437

They are rumored to be releasing a K-mount mirrorless in fall.

0 upvotes
Dwip

I nominate this for the Golden WTF award of 2011. It manages to combine a tiny sensor with the added cost and hassle of having to carry around multiple lenses, and wraps the package up with an extremely high price. Pentax would have done better by simply giving away the R&D money to the few customers in the target demographic.

19 upvotes
photonion

I think it takes the award hands down! What were they thinking??? You get a NEX or m43s (or Samsung NX) + compact superzoom for this money and you still have some money left in your pocket. This way you get huge pocketable focal length range from the superzoom and some SERIOUS IQ from the large sensored ILC.

5 upvotes
eadrian75

Those few customers are exactly who PENTAX is targeting; demographic that does not conform to aging trends/standards. These PENTAXIANS do their research, find value in the unique offerings and as a result don't follow the herd.

The W(where)TF is your brain award should go to those who are quick to dismiss the potential of this little camera based solely on sensor size without seeing any hard samples or having handled the Q for themselves. This knee jerk reaction is most like due to their never ending quest for the "perfect" camera. Every once in a while they'll take that "wow, check out this awesome 6400 iso shot of my brick wall" and post it proudly to this forum. The pixel peeping "dark side" of photography is far removed from the true nature of photography. Which in my opinion is to have fun.

I applaud PENTAX for taking this bold move. What has Canon or Nikon done lately? Just more cookie cutter products for the herd.

0 upvotes
El Crapio

Shutter on the lens is a bad idea. Lenses are supposed to last longer than bodies.

1 upvote
drwho9437

Lenses with shutters are common many places and enable high speed flash sync a feature this camera and the recent Fuji have but no DSLR that I know of has.

1 upvote
kitsap2

Seems to be what parents would want to present to their aspiring, photo youngster at Christmas time. That's about it. Maybe through, Toys-r-us.

0 upvotes
strata83

Probably the ugliest and least useful camera ever.

3 upvotes
mr inspire

This is really expensive! 800 dollar man

1 upvote
ogl

The user of Pentax Q must clean sensor...None from P&S camera's users make it before...

2 upvotes
drwho9437

The thing I am most interested in is how well the HDR mode works and if it takes 3 pictures quick sensor readings or if it is all software working of 3 in burst off the SD card.

0 upvotes
ulong

HDR out of K-x is not so impressive, I don't think it will be any better out of this tiny sensor, I highly doubt it.

0 upvotes
drwho9437

Glad to see some original thinking in the camera market. Such a system could be useful for extremely compact telephoto work in bright light (think birds, if the AF is good).

Better than the same core camera in yet another body that Panasonic and Olympus have been doing (for the most part) in this market since the launch of their systems. Rumor is there will also be a K-mount mirrorless in the fall...

1 upvote
robertbarber

I wonder what lenses can it be adapted to take.

The crop factor will be 5.5x. That means a 300mm 2.8 legacy lens would be 1650mm 2.8 equivalent--if it could be adapted. That would be useful for wildlife, for sure.

As far as the image quality goes, well, I think it would be good enough for some applications. My Oly C7070 7 megapixel compact makes 13x19 prints that I'm happy with. This shouldn't be too different, with good glass. Sometimes I wonder if posters on these forums actually make prints, or just pixel peep.

1 upvote
Corros

I think it's all about pixel-peeping and not about what this camera is really about. http://j.mp/iB6U97. I think this camera is about portability and creativity. That's what I like about it!

1 upvote
Ketmeister

I think its a cool concept irrespective of where it slots in from a functionality and usage standpoint. It's definitely a niche product siding more in the novelty space. From a practicality point of view its not that portable since you carry around different lenses and its not much smaller than the NEX-C3 shown here. The Canon G12 appears to have more external controls and is hard to beat in IQ as a small sensor camera. It'll be interesting to see how this Q plays. I wish it success. Having more options is never a bad thing.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 279
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