Pentax Q Compact System Cameras

Pentax Q Compact System Cameras 


The first mirrorless, compact system camera from Pentax, the Pentax Q uses a 12-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and is currently (June 2011) the smallest interchangeable lens digital camera on the market. Besides stills, the Pentax Q can also capture 720p HD video. It captures DNG RAW as well as JPEG image files, can shoot up to ISO 6400 and shoot bursts at 5 frames-per-second.


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[Mar 23, 2013]


-Good value now that the price dropped by 2/3.
-Both the 02 and 06 zoom lenses are sharp, surprisingly so.
-Amazing telephoto capabilities with the 5.6 crop ratio.


-Bokeh. The sensor is so small that unless you are very close most of the photo will be sharp.
-The in-camera blur option is OK, but doesn't substitute for creamy bokeh.
-No viewfinder. Using the screen makes it tough to focus a manual lens (if using one) in daylight.
-The fish-eye is more of a "toy" lens.

This camera is supposedly very popular in Japan but not so much here due to the cost, and reviews that compare the cost to the benefit. Those reviews are no longer valid now that the price of the camera has dropped by so much (below $250 with lens). This is not a DSLR and the smaller sensor won't provide the same quality shots. It is small--tiny actually--and will provide great screen shots and very good to excellent quality for anything smaller than an 8 x 10. The small sensor has a big disadvantage: Little bokeh (if you want it). The small sensor has a huge advantage: a 5.6 crop ratio. This means you can stick a 100mm portrait lens on it with an adapter and get an 35mm equivalent of a 560mm lens! A 300mm lens will give you an 1,680 35mm equivalent! You can actually get a better IQ with a long distance shot using the Q as opposed to using a DSLR, assuming you don't have access to quality super-telephoto lenses for a DSLR. Obviously, a tripod is mandatory when using a screen to focus manually at these crazy equivalents. All the other features makes the Q fun to use for a photographer that doesn't just want to shoot in the green mode.
The 02 lens is reviewed in detail by, and I have nothing to add except that the 06 lens is similar in relative performance regarding sharpness (based upon my eye and not a lab test). The build quality seems to be exactly the same. The lenses are very light. They are also well built and should not have any issues over time. The manual focused fish-eye is cheap at around $100. It is an odd lens, sharp when focusing at a close object but having mediocre IQ when shooting at distance. I'll likely sell mine since at 5mm the automatic zoom is very sharp and gives a great wide angle IQ with a 35mm equivalent of 28mm. One negative is the distortion, which can be large shooting at wide angles with the Q's small sensor.
In summary, this is a fun camera that pushes the small size idea to the limit. It is what it is, with IQ limited by the sensor. For those times when I simply want to take along an easy to carry camera for those non-poster quality photos or screen shots, this fits the bill. For example, it is so light I almost forgot I had it with me during a recent cross-country ski outing. Being able to change lenses gave me better shots than my friends.

Note: Purchase price included the 02 lens.

Customer Service

Never used for this camera. The typical Pentax service out of Arizona is very good.

Similar Products Used:

No similar products exist.

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