Pentax Q Mini-preview
A miniature wonder
By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on Oct 3, 2011
The Pentax Q impressed us right out of the box: It is very nicely finished with a body of metal, the design is attractive and clean but functional and yes, it is small, but not overly so. It handles well thanks to the built-in grip, the non-slip leatherette surface on the front, and the well-placed controls. Thankfully, the camera has a command wheel (e-dial in Pentax terminology), and the user interface and menu system is very much like that of the current Pentax DSLRs, so you feel at home at once.
The lenses are tiny, made possible by the small sensor (5.6x crop factor), and so the total package is much smaller than, say, a micro four thirds system like the Olympus E-PL3.
The camera has Hyper Program mode, Av, Tv, and M modes in additional to scene and auto modes. It is thus not a toy camera - it has most of the features and settings of a DSLR right down to metered manual exposure and shutter speeds from 30s to 1/8000s (with the high-performance lenses via Electronic Shutter).
The camera is probably mostly meant to be carried around and used anywhere on the go, and it has Pentax sensor-shift shake reduction system. Should you nevertheless put it on a tripod for landscape or architecture photography you'll notice that the SD card as well as the battery can be exchanged with the camera mounted on the tripod. Typical for Pentax, they have taken into account what matters to a photographer not only regarding exposure modes and settings, but also regarding handling.
So how does it fare image wise? After all, that's what matters the most. Well, you'll have to wait for our forthcoming in-depth review to find out. Let us just say that our initial impression is favorable given the small 1/2.33" sensor.
Anything that could be improved? Our in-depth review will discuss the shortcomings as we come across them. From our initial use our only complaint is the lack of a view finder. In Arizona's strong sun (even this time of the year) it can be difficult to compose your image accurately using the rear LCD. Yes, an accessory optical viewfinder is available but only for the 01 Standard Prime lens. The camera would really benefit from an electronic view finder, either built-in, or as an optional attachment. The rear LCD is also used when changing settings but this is not a problem even in strong light thanks to the generous size of icons and text in the Pentax Control Panel, and the well-placed and easy-to-use command wheel.
Refer our camera database for the full specifications.
While you wait for our in-depth review, discuss the Pentax Q on the forum!