Pentax Q7 Review
12.4MP | 1/1.7" BSI CMOS | $499/£399 (MSRP, 5-15mm lens kit)
Long gone are the days when digital camera shoppers were made to choose between a small camera body and the ability to change lenses. These days, there are plenty of small interchangeable lens cameras on the market, from all of the current major manufacturers. But the smallest of all are Pentax's Q-series. The Pentax Q7's arrival was announced almost exactly two years after its original predecessor, the Pentax Q, was unveiled. The Q was the smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market, barely bigger than a point-and-shoot compact, and was announced alongside set of equally diminutive lenses. Though the Q7 (and its immediate predecessor, the Q10) has picked up a few millimeters in size, it remains one of the smallest interchangeable lens cameras you can buy.
Pentax engineers have been pushing the limits of size in interchangeable lens cameras for some time. The Pentax Auto 110 debuted in 1978 as the smallest SLR with interchangeable lenses to accept tiny 110 film cartridges. An advertising campaign from the time claimed "Now, you can be a great photographer any minute of the day," touting the portability of the ultra-miniature system. Decades later, Pentax is still selling small cameras with small lenses for the exact same reasons.
Pentax's first Q-series cameras attracted a cult following, but critics disliked their small 1/2.3" sensors and high MSRPs. In the Q7, both of these complaints have been addressed. It introduces a 1/1.7" type BSI CMOS, a standard in the enthusiast compact category, and at the time of its announcement, comes with a more reasonable price: $499 including 5-15mm (23-69mm equivalent) kit zoom. Note that existing Q lenses are fully compatible with the Q7 despite its larger sensor size, so it appears that Pentax designed the system around the larger sensor format all along.
- 12.4 effective megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor
- 3.0 inch LCD with 460,000 dot resolution
- Manual exposure modes
- 5 fps burst shooting (5 frames, JPEG)
- Full 1080 HD video
- ISO 100-12800
- Sensor-shift image stabilization
- Raw and raw + JPEG shooting
To say the Q7's appearance can be customized is a bit of an understatement. With six different grip colors and twenty body colors to choose from, there are a grand total of 120 different combinations in which the Q7 is available. Potential buyers be aware though, you should plan to add an extra week until delivery if you order a Q7 in custom colors. Our test unit boasts a sporty yellow body and black grip, paired with an ever-so-slightly lighter yellow zoom lens.
Pentax's Q-series cameras use a unique Q-mount, and thus far selection is limited to seven lenses, only three of which are traditional AF lenses:
|Focal Length||Q7 Equivalent Focal Length||Maximum Aperture||MSRP (US)|
|01 Standard Prime||8.5mm||39mm||F1.9||$200|
|02 Standard Zoom||5-15mm||23-69mm||F2.8-4.5||$300 (also included with Q7 kit)|
|06 Telephoto Zoom||15-45mm||69-207mm||F2.8||$300|
The 03 Fish-Eye, 04 Toy Lens Wide, 05 Toy Lens Telephoto and 07 'Mount Shield' (with a single element) are all manual-focus-only with fixed apertures. The Q7 will use an electronic shutter with these lenses as they don't include a built-in shutter (the 01, 02 and 06 lenses do). One real advantage of this approach is that the camera is extremely quiet in operation.
An adapter is available ($250) for use of K-mount lenses with Q camera bodies. Focus and aperture will need to be set manually when using the adapter, and with the Q7's 4.65x crop factor, every lens coupled with it effectively becomes a telephoto. Powering the Q7 is a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery rated to 250 shots.
The Q7 has many features you'd expect from a system camera, including manual exposure modes, raw shooting, 1080p HD video, in-camera art filters and a fairly quick burst rate of 5 fps. In fact, you can find these features in just about every other mirrorless system. But unlike most other interchangeable lens cameras, the Q7 can nearly slip into your pocket, and it's available in a (very) wide variety of colors. Pentax is hoping these two features will make the Q7 attractive to those ready to step into the world of interchangeable lens cameras.
Compared to Olympus E-PM2
Compared to Canon PowerShot G15
So does the Q7's advantage of a smaller footprint than other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras outweigh the potential negatives of a smaller sensor? Would its prospective buyers be better served by something like an Olympus E-PM2? Or is it the ideal enthusiast compact point-and-shoot - namely, one with the ability to change lenses? Read our full analysis.
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.
To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.
DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.
This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.
|Mayfield Preserve Peacock by davidjcook|
|Look Ma, no cashiers by CalBoy87|
from The retail store of tomorrow
If you're looking for a photography gift that's a bit more substantial than a stocking stuffer, we've got some suggestions that should fit the bill.
Chinese optical manufacturer Kipon has added the Nikon Z and Canon R mounts to its range of adapters made to attach medium format lenses from Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax and others to full frame cameras.
Palette Gear has announced an update to its modular, physical editing interface that lets MacOS users now use their palette with Capture One 11 and 12.
German company OPC Optics announced that it has acquired the trademark rights to Meyer Optik Görlitz at the insolvency procedure of NetSE in Koblenz.
Shopping for a photographer? We've got some gift ideas for all budget sizes, but here you'll find our budget-friendliest suggestions – just right for stockings.
It's not always easy to find marble, wood or concrete surfaces on demand. Enter Replica Surfaces, small tiles designed to replicate popular photo surfaces and backdrops.
Lensrentals Founder Roger Cicala set aside some time to take apart Canon's new 50mm F1.2L RF lens and in doing so revealed a number of interesting discoveries.
Google is cracking down on unsupported video files being uploaded to its Photos platform and taking up free storage space.
With a nickname like 'bokeh master,' we had to see what the Sigma 105mm F1.4 was all about. Take a look at our gallery of samples shot with the Sony a7R III.
The Nikon Museum in Shinagawa, Tokyo has an exhibition showing off some of the most rare and unique prototype lenses Nikon ever developed.
VSCO has announced it will stop selling its film emulation presets for desktop programs March 1st, 2019.
On their latest models the two smartphone manufacturers have replaced the dreaded display notch by a design that features a circular hole for the front camera in the display.
With the latest version, Adobe Camera now lets you import Raw files from the newest iPhones, Pixel devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Nikon Z6 among others.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its 24MP resolution is more than enough for most people, and the money saved can buy a lot of glass. Find out what's new and notable about the Z6 in our First Impressions Review.
Sigma says its 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens is set to hit shelves by the end of December 2018 at a retail price of $1,499.
DxO PhotoLab 2.1 brings a collection of new features to MacOS and Windows users alike.
The new 'Elegant' lens series includes entirely manual F2.4 lenses in 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm focal lengths.
A feature alerts pilots visually and/or verbally when their drone is approaching airspace that is unsafe or areas where drone flying is not permitted.
GoPro announced Monday morning that it plans to move production of United States-bound cameras out of China, citing tariffs concerns.
The Sigma 56mm F1.4 combines a sensible sub-$500 price tag and excellent performance, providing a portrait-friendly 85mm equiv. view on Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras.
Azriel Knight of the YouTube channel This Old Camera explains the history of DX encoding.
The 250mm F4 is Fujifilm's longest lens for its medium-format system. It's equivalent to about 200mm on a GFX camera, and we put it to work on some portraits as well as some scenes around Seattle's waterfront – take a look.
Sony has removed the ability to download firmware version 2.0 for its a7 III and a7R III mirrorless cameras from its website.
Handing out awards for the best gear of the year is a big job, so we called in some reinforcements from Calgary to help us.
A new patent from Canon lays out the schematics for a speedbooster-style adapter for mounting Canon EF lenses onto EOS M cameras, but with a variable baffle to reduce the risk of flare.
The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has started a campaign asking visitors to stop geotagging their specific locations when visiting Wyoming's national parks.
Film simulation app Filmborn has been updated with new presets, features, and overall improved support on Apple's latest mobile operating system and devices.
The Colorado Tripod Company has introduced what it claims is the world’s first titanium tripod system, with a funding campaign on Kickstarter.
We've been shooting with the LX100 II both in and out of the studio, as part of our ongoing review. We're pretty impressed, so far, with the revised JPEG color and addition of a touchscreen both noticeable improvements.
An upcoming Xiaomi smartphone might use a 48MP sensor for pixel-binning, high-quality digital zooming and other algorithm-powered imaging features.