Today we're happy to be bringing you our in-depth review of the Pentax Q7, the latest member of Pentax's lineup of ultra-compact interchangeable lens cameras.
The Q7 represents the first major upgrade to the Q-mount family of cameras. Although Pentax released their second Q-mount body, the Q10, just last year, it was identical to the original Q in almost every way except for its appearance. While the Q7 and Q10 share the same casing, on the inside, they are completely different.
Pentax has brought a plethora of changes and improvements to the Q7. First and foremost, they have fitted it with a new 1/1.7-inch sensor that is some 50% larger than the old 1/2.3" sensor, promising improved image quality. The Q7's menu system has seen a facelift, with almost every screen being changed in some way. Its performance and startup time has been improved, and the autofocus system has been overhauled. Despite these modifications, the Q7 of course continues to be a niche camera appealing primarily to those who prioritize small size above all else, and who crave the ability to swap lenses.
If you're a current Q user, you might be surprised by the improvement in image quality that the Q7 brings to the table. We've devoted much of our review to comparing the Q7 to its predecessors, but we also evaluate the Q7 on its own, from the standpoint of a prospective buyer interested in a mirrorless camera. We hope you find the review helpful in deciding whether or not the Q7 is right for you!
I love photographing wildlife and birds in particular. This photo was obtained with lots of luck from the god who watches over all photographers.
Alachua Sink in central Florida is known for its large flock of wintering Sandhill Cranes. I had just purchased the smc Pentax DA* 300mm and was anxious to give it a workout. We spent several days scouting the area and taking lots of photos at different times of the day. Finally, the birds, the setting sun with its attendant rays all came together for this image. All I had to do was wait.
I rarely use a tripod for flying birds; just never quite got the hang of it. I use TAv mode so that my shutter speed stays where I want it. Metering off the brightest area in the sky, I underexposed one step to bring up the colors in the clouds while keeping the shutter speed at 1/1000s to prevent blur. I set the shutter to continuous mode high.
Keeping my finger on the shutter, I began firing just before the birds entered the scene and kept going until they had landed. Lots of the shots ended up in the trash of course. Again, luck gave me a group of three birds whose wings were in pretty much the same position with fourth bird as odd man out to make the whole group interesting.
Very little post processing was needed. I increased the blacks a bit and added a bit of contrast then some output sharpening. Taken with a Pentax K-5, F6.7, 1/1000s, -1 EV, ISO 80.
When reading initial announcements about speed-boosting adapters, I will admit to thinking it was an April Fools joke. The concept was simple: make a focal lens reducer which adapted lenses built for 35mm cameras onto the NEX and µ4/3 cameras. The effect was dramatic, and to me, unbelievable; namely, the adapter would widen the field of view at the same time make the aperture one stop faster. In other words, it brought those 35mm camera lenses back to (almost) their original rendering. Wide angle lenses are back to being wide angle lenses, with a faster aperture to boot.
The initial adapters were made by Metabones for Canon and Nikon lenses, and more recently Chinese manufacturers have started making adapters for the smaller brands. There are now options for using brands like Contax, Leica R, Canon FD, and importantly for me, Pentax.
Despite switching to ‘full frame’ (24mm x 36mm sensor) Nikons several years ago, I never replaced my beloved Pentax lenses. In fact, weighing all the attributes, I don’t think any other manufacturer offers analogous replacements for my Pentax collection at any price. These sorts of adapters could be the solution for which many of us with 35mm-format lenses have been waiting.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Sony, Pentax, Metabones, Zhongyi or any other manufacturer. This review was not paid for by any party.
Pentax has just officially posted new firmware versions for all recent DSLRs on their Japanese web site; this totals 9 firmware updates. This new firmware adds support for the recently-announced flashes and HD Limited lenses. As usual, the latest firmware releases also include some minor bug fixes. By upgrading your camera's firmware to the latest version, the contents of all previous updates will also be applied.
Specifically, with the latest firmware version, the Pentax K-500, K-50, K-5 II/IIs, K-5, K-30, K-r and 645D will be able to use the LED light on the new AF360FGZ II and AF540FGZ II flashes as an AF assist beam. In addition, on the Pentax K-500, K-50, K-5 II/IIs, K-5, K-30, K-01 and K-r, the contrast detect (live view) autofocus performance with the new HD lenses has been improved.
Below is a complete list of cameras with new firmware versions, as well as links to the official firmware download page for each camera.
|K-5 II/IIs||1.05||K-5 II/IIs firmware|
Read on for easy-to-follow firmware installation instructions.
Pentax USA has decided to bring back instant savings on the waterproof WG-3 camera for the month of September, lowering its price by $50 to $249, or $299 for the GPS version. The rugged WG-3 is an excellent choice for photographers who are looking for a camera that can truly go anywhere, and it's seen numerous improvements over previous models in its series.
To learn more about the Pentax WG-3, check out the video above or read our in-depth review.
The Ricoh GR is like a Swiss Army Knife of the camera world. It can play with the bigger boys and surely competes with and beats many at the 28mm focal length. One of my favorite things about the GR is the versatility of its RAW files when it comes to black and white conversions.
Everyone has a method of converting their images to BW. Some may stick to in-camera processing and others may use simple adjustments like de-saturation, but you'll want to go a bit farther than that for the best possible results.
Today, I'd like to talk about my own black and white conversions in Adobe Lightroom. While I also use Silver Efex Pro and Photoshop CS5 as part of my digital darkroom, I really wanted to concentrate strictly on Lightroom to see how far it would take me.
Here's the original photo, shot in RAW of course. As I was talking a stroll I noticed this teenager was playing hoops and I wanted to get a shot of him. I framed it in my typical street photography way and captured this image. Unedited, this file is nothing crazy and a rather mundane image. Because I knew I had the razor sharp lens of the Ricoh GR and loads of detail in that RAW file, I knew I could make it better. So with that said, let's take a look at what I did next.
Ricoh Imaging has just announced the Ricoh Theta 360, a new type of camera that will soon be joining the ranks in the Pentax and Ricoh lineup.
The Theta, which is designed to capture spherical images with a 360-degree field of view, is in no way a traditional camera. Thanks to its dual-lens design, this device is capable of literally capturing everything around, above, and below you. In addition, rather than being fully standalone, the Theta transmits photos to smartphones for viewing, editing, and sharing using a wi-fi connection. At launch, the Theta will be compatible with iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 6 or higher; Android support is expected by the end of the year.
The unprecedented type of imaging that the Theta delivers will no doubt open up new possibilities for photographers to choose to try out this intriguing camera. However, Ricoh is also venturing into unexplored territory with this launch. The Theta's introductory price tag of $399 may be too much for most consumers to handle— especially considering the fact that you're probably not going to be in the mood to capture everything around you very often. Below are some examples of "flattened" files from the Theta (from the official press release):