Irrespective of its overall score, it's hard in order to warm to the Pentax Q. Not only can it look different, it is different, and for truly want kudos must go to Pentax for daring to tread a different choice. The Q can deliver solid results when used as a normal digital camera, but is actually really excels at could be the ability to deliver effects-laden photography on the run. The generous number of creative tools and the ease with which they can be used mark the Q out as a camera to experiment and have fun with, and that will obviously bolster its appeal to many, irrespective of its inherent limitations. There are undoubtedly better compact system cameras available for photography enthusiasts, but for gadget lovers and casual snappers looking for something small, and fun, the Pentax Q pretty much hits needs to be. The $600 price tag is uncompetitive though, and sure to put plenty of people off.
Pentax Q review - Introduction
Compact system cameras have been around for just under three years now and while many models have shown promise, none have quite delivered on the promise of an interchangeable-lens camera that'll fit inside an usual coat pocket with room to totally free. Until now, that is.
Looking rather like the miniaturised rangefinder (without a viewfinder), the Pentax Q is equipped with an fresh take to your compact system genre by combining genuine pocketability with a generous feature-set and a noticeably wealth of easily accessed creative treatments.
Working on a digital camera truism that bigger sensors require bigger lenses, Pentax has instead decided to keep everything no more than possible, and for this end the Q employs a 1/2.3in sensor - the same size that's found inside the vast majority of regular compacts. This allows tiny lenses to be attached to the newly developed Q mount.
This unique approach has, somewhat inevitably, led to some raised eyebrows from those who conisder that fitting compact cameras with interchangeable lenses is a slice of a ludicrous advice. Those with a more positive outlook, however, might be inclined to believe that advancements in sensor technology in the recent past give the Pentax Q every associated with succeeding. Either way, the Pentax Q marks the occasion it has been tried on any scale, and for the reason alone Pentax surely deserves some credit.
Given the way Pentax has approached the compact system market, it's somewhat difficult to pinpoint its most direct competitors. The $600 price tag to have Pentax Q body and 8mm f/1.9 lens doesn't get this any easier mainly makes the full package more expensive than the Olympus E-PL3 body and 14-42mm pancake lens combo, or your Sony NEX-C3 twin lens kit. Many also expect notice plenty of include $600 should you're to opt for either the Lumix G3 or Lumix GF3 standard zoom packages.
Should we be also thinking of the Pentax Q as being a CSC, at all the? Given the sensor size would it stop better compared against advanced compacts while the Canon S100, Nikon S9100 or Lumix LX5? Either way, the Pentax Q clearly very own work cut out if it hopes to convince in order to definitely part with good part of $600
Let's have a closer and also find out if it can do this fact.
Overall, the Pentax Q is a completely well appointed little camera that presents a generous feature set and plenty of scope for customisation. This very much mirrors what we've seen with Pentax DSLRs lately years, since your company tries to increase its market share by producing cameras present class-leading value for money.
The Pentax Q is built around a 1/2.3inch CMOS sensor areas backside-illuminated for better low-light performance, and which delivers 12.4-megapixels of effective res. This is allied to what Pentax describes as a 'new generation' of Q image processor that is alleged to deliver 'clear, high contrast images rich in gradation and texture'. It's a bold claim, and one particular we'll discuss the accuracy of a lot more detail down the road in this Pentax Q review, but first let's in what else the Pentax Q offers in during of specifications and aspects.
The Q can be set to record lossless Raw image files and compressed JPEGs at complete 12MP, with further options to record JPEGs at 9MP, 5MP and 3MP, with three sums of JPEG quality to select from. While the default aspect ratio is 4:3 (4000 x 3000 pixels max output), the Q in addition be record in 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1 albeit at slightly lower maximum answers. Sensitivity, meanwhile, ranges from a credible ISO 125 to ISO 6400, and has the additional benefit of rising in small numerical increments regarding just doubling up is actually more known.
The Q offers the familiar quartet of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual shooting modes, alongside a totally automatic AutoPicture mode (essentially an Automatic Scene selection mode), 21 individual Scene modes or a Blur Control mode that's designed to let you develop a shallower depth of field through clever image processing (again, regarding this later).
Elsewhere, the Q offers all associated with handy shooting tools, including Interval Shooting, a built-in Neutral Density filter, as well as a Distortion Correction tool. In addition, you can also get an automatic HDR capture tool, utilizing separate controls for Shadow and Highlight Correction. The Q has built-in Image Stabilisation which has a full-size hotshoe connection that's able they come in the Pentax VF1 optical viewfinder that's sold being an optional extra cash. Hopefully we'll see more accessories designed specially for use with it in coming months.
What the Q really excels at, however, is in-camera camera work. These consider the form of Smart Effects and Digital Filters, stored by an entire range of Custom Image (JPEG processing) settings. Smart Effects are a new accessory for Pentax cameras and are essentially a hard and fast of processing presets might be applied either pre- or post-capture. The nine Smart Effects on offer are: Brilliant Colour, Unicolour Bold, Vintage Colour, Cross Processing, Warm Fade, Tone Expansion, Bold Monochrome, Water Colour, Vibrant Colour, as well as an user-defined Custom preset.
In addition to its Smart Effects, the Q in addition has an equally generous associated with Digital Filter effects. With 19 filter effects in total it's undoubtedly the most generous set we've used in a camera of this size, with specific options including: Toy Camera, High Contrast, HDR, Invert Colour, Extract Colour, Posterization, Fish-eye, Starbust and, of course, our old favourite Miniaturisation.
While these Smart Effects and Digital Filters will not be combined, the growing system be accessed in a fast via the prominent four-point dial that sits concerning the front in the Q. Easily set up via the main Menu, this dial enables you to flick between stored presets in an instant, which turn actively encourages to be able to make regarding the Q's built-in creative potential.
In addition to quick-accessing the camera's Smart Effects and Digital Filters, this dial can be also used to exchange between Custom Image presets and aspect ratios. Sadly, you can't mix and match your presets, but overall it remains a flexible arrangement that permits you to shoot normally, but in your favourite creative effects that exist in an time.
Lastly, the Q is able to record movies at a maximum 1920 x 1080p Full HD at 30fps, with further 720p and VGA options. Audio is strictly mono only, as there's no port a great external microphone and recorded movies are converted into MPEG-4/H.264 files. While you can use Custom Image settings to movies, it's not possible to put on any of your Smart Effects or Digital Filters.
DESIGN AND PERFOMANCE
When gazing at the camera's design, one way thing that strikes you is that the Pentax Q really is tiny. In fact, it's currently the smallest interchangeable lens camera available, and by some distance too. Take away the lens along with the camera is actually small even by regular fixed-zoom compact camera demands. And yet, having its all-metal outer construction the Q feels decidedly robust and well made. At 200g body only, or 237g with the 8mm standard prime lens attached, the Q gets a nice, reassuring weight about it, that.
Styled too much like a miniaturised rangefinder, albeit one without a viewfinder, the Q sports a rounded-off finger footing. Given the tiny overall size of the camera it's at best a two-finger grip, however its rubberised finish along by using a raised thumb-rest at the trunk combine products and are the Q feel fairly secure involving hand. Major question for many users end up being whether to secure the Q by using a neck-strap (which makes aspect look somewhat toy-like and out of proportion), in order to just settle for a wrist strap you can.
Lenses can be swapped by pressing the production catch regarding the front among the camera which usually twisting the lens off as it appears as though with a DSLR. One does need in order to become careful when swapping lenses though, as the sensor sits almost immediately behind the lens, hence you it's fully exposed the particular lens recently been removed and therefore highly subject to damage from fingers and mud. While and also automatically activates a sensor-cleaning action each and every time it's shut down, you really don't wish to be getting any dust on a sensor associated with the size their first place as, proportionally, it'll cover a larger part of your sensor's surface than end up being on a MFT or APS-C sensor, making it a) more noticeable and b) harder to proper.
The Pentax Q took its name from the new Q-mount (reportedly the 'Queen' to Pentax's 'King' K-mount for DSLRs). Nowadays Pentax delivers a range of five lenses - a 8.5mm f/1.9 Standard Prime, a 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 Standard Zoom, a 3.2mm f/5.6 Fish-Eye, a 6.3mm, f/7.1 Toy Lens Wide along with an 18mm f/8 Toy Lens Telephoto. Because of Q's compact-sized sensor, a crop factor of three.5x needs to be reproduced to determine the 35mm equivalent of the above focal programs. In this way, the 4.5mm Standard Prime equates to 47mm on the 35mm film camera.
The Q's in-camera enu system look and feel instantly familiar to anyone who's ever used a Pentax DSLR, although thankfully it remains easy enough to navigate for people who haven't. Within shooting mode the directional buttons can be used to directly access ISO, White Balance, Drive mode and Flash settings, while the text button accesses a regarding 'quick menu' for other regularly accessed settings for example Custom Image, Digital Filters, Aspect Ratio, Image Stabilisation, Metering mode, AF mode, JPEG size/quality and suchlike. The only real complaint we have with overall operation is that the Q's physical buttons are very small, rendering it them a tad fiddly on this.
Start-up time is at the three second mark, which isn't particularly quick. Utilizing the Q in Single-shot mode we managed to shoot around one full-res JPEG every two seconds, that's pretty slow. There was no upper limit on amount of of shots we consider in in such a manner though. Switching to Continuous (Low) we were able to shoot gambling under 8.5fps, again at full resolution with no upper limit on the quantity of strokes. In Continuous (High) we were able to shoot in the claimed 5fps, although we actually managed 10 shots (as opposed on the claimed five) before the buffer filled and modifications are available slowed make a list of to approximately 0.5fps.
Autofocus performance, while adequate in the majority of situations, is still a little slow generally speaking. Indeed, we found the Q's AF speed turn out to be more comparable to a regular mid-range compact than a $600 CSC - we'd expected something a bit faster. There is also a notable delay between pressing the shutter button and contains actually firing - again, in the same way for a regular very small.
The 3in, 460k-dot monitor is fine when used indoors or away from direct sunlight outdoors, but doesn't cope very well with sunlight. Somewhat annoyingly, significantly shooting mode the Q displays underexposed and overexposed areas with yellow and red fill-colours. Try as we might, we couldn't choose a way to modify this function off. Battery life isn't great either; we managed approximately 200 images on a single charge on the juice ran out.
While the Pentax Q might appear like a miniature DSLR, on your mind it's very much an advanced compact additionally needs to be kept inside your mind when judging overall image quality. Compared against other compacts the 1/2.3in sensor, including men and women that fall inside of high-end or advanced compact segment of your market, we're pleased to report that the Q performs exceptionally well. Indeed, to revisit the bold claim made by Pentax men and women referenced in the beginning of this review it's certainly genuine that the Q can deliver 'high-contrast images, rich in gradation and texture,' and far more increased. As far as regular compact cameras go, the Pentax Q delivers any one the best image quality we've yet seen, with mid-range ISO performance particularly strong.
Between ISO 125 and ISO 400, images remain sharp and free of noise, while ISO 800 shows only minor symptoms of noise with impressive amount of detail retained, especially in shadow areas. It was ISO 1600, however, that really left us impressed; whereas the largest majority of compacts tend to send fairly poor results at ISO 1600, the Pentax Q is producing great images. Under close examination, detail could be seen with an softened, but noise is kept largely at bay, with overall image quality remaining high enough to view and/or print at larger sizes could possibly usually because the case.
Metering is generally quite consistent, although would seem Pentax DSLRs, the Q has a bent to preserve highlight detail through underexposure. Thankfully, incorporated offers /-2EV compensation that may out cases such as where getting into to intercede. We didn't encounter any problems with Automatic White Balance, with the Q proving consistent at metering for variations in colour heat.
Sadly though, there several limitations, this Q's compact-sized sensor severely limiting how shallow a depth of field a person attain, in the event that shooting at maximum aperture. Even that isn't 8mm lens opened to f/1.9, you should need to be using the Q at its minimum focus distance (around 15cm) to really throw the historical past sharply out-of-focus. And while such close focusing end up being ok for Macro and still-life work, it simply isn't practical for larger subjects and for portraits.
Clearly associated with this limitation Pentax has attempted to implement a solution in the design of a Blur Control shooting mode that could be accessed right from the main mode dial. This basically uses image processing to intensify the defocused areas a good image, with three variety of strength recommended. In theory it's a nice idea, however used we thought it was to be somewhat flawed, often neglecting to properly distinguish our main subject and blurring random areas with a same focal plane, the particular net result that some images wind up looking like they've been put through one of those fake tilt-shift apps you can get for smartphones.
The generous number of creative tools and simplicity with they can can be utilized mark the Q out as a camera to experiment and then have fun with, and that will surely bolster its grab many, no matter its inherent limitations. Really are millions undoubtedly better compact system cameras available for photography enthusiasts, but for gadget lovers and casual snappers hunting for something small, and fun, the Pentax Q pretty much hits the spot. The $600 selling price is uncompetitive though, and sure to put plenty of people off.