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Pentax Q-S1

Build Quality 
User Interface 
Image Quality 
Reviews Views Date of last review
3 55,207 Sun November 13, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
67% of reviewers $300.67 8.00
Pentax Q-S1

Pentax Q-S1
Pentax Q-S1
Pentax Q-S1
Pentax Q-S1
Pentax Q-S1
Pentax Q-S1

The Pentax Q-S1 is a fashionable redesign of the Pentax Q7 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

It became available in late August, 2014. In the US, the launch price for the body was $399.95, while 02 zoom kits were priced at $499.95.

4 standard color options (black, gold, white, gunmetal) are available on top of 36 special-order color combinations.

Pentax Q-S1
Year introduced
Pentax Q bayonet
12.4 MP 1/1.7 inch backlit CMOS w/ primary color filter
Sensor size
5.6 x 7.4 mm
Color Depth
3 x 12 bit (RAW)
Dust removal / alert
Yes / No
Pixel mapping
Meter range
1 to 17 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range (expanded)
100 - 12,800
100 - 1,600 in bulb mode
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight and shadow correction
Exposure modes
P, Av, Tv, M, B, Blur control (JPG only)
Program modes
Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Blue Sky, Forest
Scene Modes
20: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Forest, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG only), Night Snap, HDR (JPG only), Quick Macro (JPG only), Food, Pet, Kids, Surf&Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30s - 1/2000s (lens shutter, stepless)
30s - 1/8000s (electronic shutter, stepless)
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 30s - 1/4000s
Shake reduction
Yes (sensor shift)
Self timer
Interval shooting
Multiple exposures
Yes, up to 9 images
Continuous shooting
Hi: 5 fps up to 5 frames (JPG)
Lo: 1.5 fps up to 100 frames (JPG)
Auto bracketing
3 frames
Autofocus Assist
Dedicated lamp
Autofocus sensitivity
0 to 18 EV
Front/Back focus corr
Not necessary
AF Focus modes
Face Detection, Tracking, AF Select (25 Points), Select, Spot, Manual (with focus assist 2x, 4x and focus peaking)
AF in Live View
Contrast detect
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 4.9 (ISO 100/m)
Coverage from 5 mm focal length
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
1/2000s (lens shutter)
1/13s (electronic shutter)
Synch modes: Normal, slow speed, trailing curtain
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Lens correction
Optional optical viewfinder matching the 8.5 mm Standard Pime 01 lens
Digital preview
Yes, can be assigned to the green button
Live view
Focus peaking
Video/Movie Mode
1960x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 30, 25, and 24 fps
1280x720 (16:9) at 30, 25, and 24 fps
640x480 (4:3) at 30, 25, and 24 fps
Recording time up to 25 minutes
Interval Movie
HDMI out
Movie mode restrictions
Sound in Movie mode
Camera controls
One control wheel. Quick dial and Green button (both customizable). Most functions accessed through info screen or menus
File format
Memory card type
Back LCD
3 in. 460,000 dots
Weather resistant
USB 2.0, AV out, HDMI out
D-LI68 lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Capacity
260 images (no flash usage)
Movie playback time 160 minutes
Battery grip
Size (W x H x D)
105 x 58 x 34 mm (4.13 x 2.3 x 1.34 in.)
203 g (7.16 oz) with battery and SD card

Embed copyright information in EXIF
In-camera RAW development
Megapixels: 12.4
ISO Range: 100-12,800
In Production: Buy the Pentax Q-S1
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax Q-S1 in-depth review!
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-3 of 3
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 118
Review Date: November 13, 2016 Recommended | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, weight, interchangeability, best small sensor
Cons: Quick dial is limited, white balance, viewscreen, Ergonomics
Ergonomics: 5    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 8    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 7    New or Used: New   

I have one of these with all the non-toy lenses plus the fish-eye and many other adapted lenses.
I am constantly surprised at the high IQ for such a small sensor. I really appreciate the SR and the depth of field of the lenses. All the Q zooms are great. They make taking vacation pictures a joy, not a chore when carrying a heavy DSLR. The Pentax 110 lenses, adapted with a diaphragm, are excellent as well, especially the 50mm. A perfect match for quality C-mount lenses.

The images do need careful PP, but will be very good up to ISO 400 in 12x16 in size. At ISO 800 and above they do lose resolution, but in a film-grain way, not in nasty artifacts. Table top photography is a snap, even hand-held, as is informal macro work.

The quick dial has some good settings but isn't really very useful, some settings I would use are not supported.

I can't get much improvement in RAW files, jpgs are very good for most purposes (assuming you set the WB and exposure.

The viewscreen should be at least twice a fine pixel density, but is usable.

When using APS-C or FF lenses with an adapter, the Q-s1 will mercilessly reveal their limitations.

The ergonomics are worse than the Q-7: the Q-S1 dials on the front have sharp edges and the mode dial on top is easily moved by mistake.
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 185

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 19, 2015 Recommended | Price: $369.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very good build quality, very fun to use, spurs creativity
Cons: Limited selection of quality lenses, default configurations need tweaking
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 8    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I have determined that the Pentax Q-S1 (and this applies to all the Q series cameras) is a very fun camera to use, and it has really inspired me to "play" with photography in a way I haven't done in so many years. This camera is a blast!

I must admit that this is my second go at a review of the Q-S1, having trashed my first review when I realized I'd not given the camera a fair trial. This time I read up on all the various recommendations people have made for tweaking the default settings for this camera (e.g., turn down noise reduction and sharpening, set exposure compensation dial about 1/2 stop lower, shoot at most 1 or two stops from wide open, etc.). That has made all the difference with regard to boosting the image quality, and I am now shooting with pretty consistent quality.

My only complaint with this camera is that the 01 Standard Prime lens is not sold with this camera (at least in the US). It is a must have lens for this camera, and I love the results. The more common 02 zoom lens is not bad, but stay away from the various "toy" lenses like the fisheye - they are absolute rubbish.

Ergonomically, the little finger grip provides an adequate surface around which to hook your middle finger and render a feeling of safety, especially given the very small size and light weight of the camera. In fact, that arrangement frees up some of the digits of your right hand to allow you to easily work just about all the controls of the camera very naturally. As others have noted before, the camera has a very solid feel to it. I have read one reviewer who complained that the battery and SD card doors seem lighter and flimsier than those on the original Q, but I can not tell a difference, whatsoever.

It may just be me, but it seems the Q-S1 has a brighter (or at least a less reflective) display than the original Q, and that has made it easier for me to use in high ambient lighting. The menus are very well arranged for the most part, at least if you come from a Pentax world. I still have not found any use, whatsoever, for the little quick dial on the front of the camera, but I suppose someday I might invest the time to play with that, too.

No -- the Q-S1 is not going to give you image quality as good as your APS-C camera (usually), but of course it was not meant to replace a DSLR. What I think it was designed for (or at least what it does very well) is to serve as a tool to easily explore the fun and creative side of photography -- to spur you on to seeing things differently -- gosh, just to have fun! It's more fun to shoot with the Q-S1 than it is with my Lumix LX-100; it's as fun as my Fuji X100 (but much less expensive so I don't have to worry about it as much); and it's not as cumbersome as my K-5 kit.

I love this thing!
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 123
Review Date: December 2, 2014 Not Recommended | Price: $358.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Fun to use, flexible.
Cons: Just so uncomfortable for me to hold!
Ergonomics: 2    Build Quality: 7    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 7    Value: 8    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 7    New or Used: New   


Looks like I have may a defective camera!
For some reason when in Auto ISO mode the camera would refuse to drop the ISO when using the flash, which causes all my indoor images to have excessive grain for no reason!
Example, with Auto ISO on and the ISO is 1600, I pop the flash and take the shot and it keeps it at ISO 1600 even with the flash! tested with my Original Q and never had this problem (it drops to ISO 125 on my identical test), nor any other camera I have owned.
After talking to people nobody else seems to have this issue.
So I have decided to return the camera. To be honest it was such an uncomfortable camera for me to to hold I think ill pick up a Q7 instead.


The Q S-1 is the 4th generation camera (But 2nd generation sensor!) in the Q line and a slightly different shape from the previous Qís.
Just to let you know I have been an original Q owner for a while now and love it to bits! so Iíll be comparing it to the original Q a lot, If you have not used a Q before, sorry some of my rambling may not make too much sense. I have only used a Q7 for a brief time, but I was impressed with the design and handling of it.

Iíll try to justify why I gave it the scores,

Ergonomics: Yes a 2! The Q S-1 looks good but I have found it to be the most uncomfortable camera I have ever owned, I have big hands but the original Q was never uncomfortable, it felt solid and the buttons were easy to push. I would walk around with the original Q in my hands for hours and not even notice.
The S-1 on the other hand feels wrong, when walking around the sharp edges dig into my fingers the camera strap lugs are very sharp and pointy, and the round grip although I wonít say itís horrible, just gets uncomfortable to use after a while. I also have found the OK button much harder to press, whereas on the Q it was fine.
All in all I am disappointed to a point where I am considering returning it and getting a Q7, although I had a limited time using one I donít remember it being that hard to hold.
This is my opinion and everybody have different shaped hands, so whatís wrong for me may be right for you, but I would recommend trying one before you buy it.

Build Quality: The build quality is generally fine, but the doors to the SD card and battery do feel a little flimsy, the effects dial is a little easier to turn, and the other button and dials fell solid enough. All in all it does not feel like it will fall apart.
The camera does have a good weight to it, again compared to the original Q itís not as good, but itís on par with other camera this price range.

User Interface: Pentaxís user interface is second to none, logically laid out and quick to access, itís not the most pretty design but it gets the job done with no faffing about. The interface is the same as on their SLRís so if your coming from them you will feel right at home, and if you have a Q camera then decide to buy a Pentax SLR there will no learning curve. Itís a great idea to share the UI. Well done Pentax!
The Q S-1 also starts quicker and does feel a bit more responsive.

Autofocus: Snappy enough, it seems about the same as the Q on a sunny day, but faster in low light. I have noticed one occurrence where my Q S-1 will refuse to lock focus on a slightly low contract subject (Light switch 2 meters away) in low light, whereas my Q with the same lens on will always nail the focus first time! I hope a firmware update will fix that.

Features: Not much new compared to the other Qís (Or Pentax SLRís), but if itís your first Q you be greeted with one of the most customisable image and filter effect selections you have probably ever seen! There is an infinite way to combine and tweak the image, plus they work for movies as well which really adds flexibility. Although this is reduced by the fact the Q does not have the ability to use an external mike and you can only shoot up to 30 FPS, so no lovely slow 60/120 FPS footage.
The new continuous autofocus in movies seems to be smooth and is useful. The 06 canít use it so youíll need to press the OK button to focus or manually focus when using it.
The two new colour effects have no appeal to me, but if your into your Lomo you probably will love them.
It would have got a 8 from me, apart from the discovery that Pentax has removed one of my most loved features, the ability to view 2 separate images on screen and pan and zoom both of them, apparently this has been missing form all the recent Pentax cameras. Some people will not miss it or even use it, but for me I found it so useful I am sad to see it gone (Yep I am taking off a point in pure spite).

Value: The Q S-1 seems good value for money. But the beauty of the system is the interchangeable lenses and adapters, if your just going to leave the kit lens on you might as well buy a Pentax MX-1, Sony RX-100 or Olympus Stylus 1, they have equal/better image quality.
The Q is about playing around and experimenting with lenses, and with that in mind it can get expensive when you start adding the cost of lenses and adaptors (unless you already own other lenses).

Image Quality: Itís still a tiny sensor donít expect miracles! I have noticed itís a bit better than the original Q but if youíre a pixel peeper Iíll doubt you like the Q. This camera is about fun rather than outright image quality. But thatís not to say it canít take a good image, because it can.
The Q is capable of taking a very good image, colours are natural, white balance seems to work well, but it does seem to underexpose on me.
Think of it as a compact camera with interchangeable lenses rather than comparing it to a NEX or MFT camera. Saying that my old Q could go toe to toe against my old Olympus E-P3 a lot of the time.

Noise: The small sensor means big noise, but it handles well up to ISO 800, at 1600 its usable in a pinch. It seems a bit better than the original Q. Pentax images always seem to have a bit of texture in the images even at base ISOís, itís something you either love or hate, or not even notice.

How would you rate this camera overall? Itís a unique camera, itís fun, powerful and flexible. There is so much to love.
There are faults with the Q System. It has an average screen resolution, you canít flip out the screen, no EVF attachment, low battery life, limited native lenses, no mini flash that can bounce and tilt (Nikon can do it for the 1 system).
But for all that, the fact I can keep such a fun and enjoyable camera in the bottom of my bag with 4 lenses and I donít even notice the weight is just fantastic.
I think I would recommend the Q 7 over the Q S-1 due to it being so horrible to hold, but you really need to try it for yourself before you decide. And if you buy either one youíre in for a great time.
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