Pentax Q7 Review
Lenses and Accessories
|From left to right, the 05 Toy Lens Telephoto, 02 Standard Zoom, 04 Toy Lens Wide, and the Q7 outfitted with 01 Standard Prime and 0-VF1 optical viewfinder.|
The Q7 ships with either the 02 Standard Zoom by itself or as a two-zoom kit with the 06 telezoom. You can opt to purchase the Q7 at $479.95 body-only, but for an extra $20, the 02 Standard zoom kit is a good deal. The 01 Standard Prime is available for separate purchase at $199.95.
The 5-15mm 02 Standard Zoom converts to a 23-69mm in 35mm terms, with a maximum aperture range of F2.8-4.5. It's respectably fast at the wide end of the range, but can't compete with fixed lens enthusiast compacts at the telephoto end (the Canon PowerShot G15 boasts an F1.8-2.8 across a 28-140mm equivalent range).
The Q7 has in-body sensor-shift image stabilization, meaning it's available no matter what lens is attached - potentially a very nice feature. Pentax's engineers claim that the Q7's shake reduction provides a gain of three stops before images start to blur with slower shutter speeds. In field testing, the Q7's shake reduction only seemed to consistently provide one or two stops better than the traditionally recommended minimum shutter speed.
01 Standard Prime
The 01 Standard Prime boasts a faster F1.9 maximum aperture with a 39mm equivalent angle of view on the Q7 - very close to a 'normal' focal length. It's a lens that will feel comfortable for everyday photography and provided you're close enough to your subject, will produce some nicely blurred backgrounds. Naturally, it's about half the size of the standard zoom, so it provides a nice compact profile coupled to the Q7.
02 Standard Zoom
The Standard Zoom is sold bundled with the Q7, providing a nice wide to telephoto zoom range. At its 23mm wide angle equivalent it's wide enough for landscapes, providing a 3x zoom range to crop in for a moderate telephoto angle. With an F2.8-4.5 maximum aperture range it's not quite as fast as some of its fixed zoom enthusiast compact competitors. The lens shows nice edge-to-edge sharpness wide open at wide angle, with some slight softening toward the edges. A few stops down diffraction starts to play a more noticeable role in image sharpness (or lack thereof) but the inclusion of an ND filter means wider apertures are available even in bright light. At the telephoto end of the lens there's some expected softness, though our real-world images show it to be relatively sharp for its size.
Aside from more traditional lenses, Pentax offers three 'toy lenses' for the Q-mount - the 04 Toy Lens Wide, the 05 Toy Lens Telephoto and 03 Fish-Eye. The tele offers about an 83mm equivalent angle of view with a fixed f/8 aperture; the 04 wide is a fixed f/7 and about 29mm. The Fish-Eye is around 15mm equivalent on the Q7 with a fixed f/5.6 aperture.
|05 Toy Lens Telephoto||05 Toy Lens Telephoto, white balance adjusted in ACR|
|04 Toy Lens Wide||04 Toy Lens Wide|
They are relatively inexpensive and weigh practically nothing, so the toy lenses could be nice add-ons for the Q-system. However, their narrow fixed apertures require high ISOs for use indoors or in dim light. The toy lenses are intentionally soft, but high ISOs will make details even softer. Since they're manual focus only, checking focus on the Q7's LCD can be a tricky proposition when using the lenses outside in sunny conditions.
The Q7's helpful auto magnification function (available when manual focusing the 01 and 02 Standard lenses) is not available with these toy lenses. Even with focus peaking enabled, checking critical focus is almost impossible using the toy lenses. They're meant to give a soft, dreamy look, but getting anything in focus at all while using them is a challenge. Many Q7 owners will be happy enough with the Toy Camera digital filter to get the kind of effect the toy lenses are designed to achieve.