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Pentax Q

Build Quality 
User Interface 
Image Quality 
Reviews Views Date of last review
28 77,253 Sat March 18, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
93% of reviewers $300.04 8.54
Pentax Q

Pentax Q
Pentax Q
Pentax Q
Pentax Q
Pentax Q
Pentax Q

Announced on July 23, 2011, the Pentax Q is the first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Pentax. Alongside the camera, five lenses were launched, as well as accessories including a polarizing filter, lens hoods, and an external optical viewfinder for the kit lens (01 Standard Prime).

Our In-Depth Pentax Q review

The Pentax Q uses all-new lens system which is much smaller and more basic than the traditional K-mount system. The lenses are broken up into two categories: "High performance" and "Unique". The high performance lenses are compatible with filters and lens hoods. Visit our lens database to browse Pentax Q compatible lenses.

The Pentax Q is marketed as the "world’s smallest, lightest interchangeable-lens digital camera body," which is made possible due to the lack the intricate (and bulky) components of SLRs. The body weighs a mere 180g without the battery, and less than 250g with a lens! The camera is only slightly larger than a standard playing card and can even fit on your keychain, if you fancy.

The image sensor employed is a 12.4-megapixel, 1/2.33 inch backlit-CMOS unit. Pentax claims that this new sensor can deliver high-quality images due to innovation in design and image processing. The camera is also capable of recording full-HD (1080p) video at 30 frames per second, and its maximum photo framerate is 5 FPS, with a buffer for up to 5 images at 5 FPS and 100 images at 1.5 FPS, at 12 megapixels and maximum quality.

The Pentax Q shares several exciting features with Pentax DSLRs, including a sensor-shift Shake Reduction system, the Dust Removal II system, built-in auto flash with a pop-up mechanism, HDR mode, and a variety of shooting modes such as P, Tv, Av, M, and SCENE. It also has a host of new software functions designed to enhance image appearance, such as "Smart Effect modes", "Bokeh control", and "Electronic shutter".

Sample photos taken with the Q

Price with lens: $799
Expected US availability: September, 2011

Complete specifications (from the Pentax Japan web site):

Type Lens-interchangeable digital-still camera
Lens Mount PENTAX bayonet Q-mount
Compatible Lens Q-mount lenses

Image Sensor Type: CMOS sensor with a primary color filter, Size: 1/2.3-inch (4.55 x 6.17 mm)
Effective Pixels Approx. 12.4 megapixels
Total Pixels Approx. 12.75 megapixels
Dust Removal Image sensor cleaning using ultrasonic vibrations "DR II"
Sensitivity AUTO: ISO 125 to 6400 (1/3 EV steps), Bulb mode: up to ISO 1600
Image Stabilizer Sensor shift Shake Reduction

File Formats
File Format RAW (DNG), JPEG (Exif 2.3), DCF2.0 compliant
Recorded Pixels <JPEG>
[4:3] 12M (4000x3000), 9M (3456x2592), 5M (2688x2016), 3M (1920x1440)
[3:2] 10M (4000x2664), 8M (3456x2304), 5M (2688x1792), 2M (1920x1280)
[16:9] 9M (4000x2248), 6M (3456x1944), 4M (2688x1512), 2M(1920x1080)
[1:1] 9M (2992x2992), 6M (2592x2592), 4M (2016x2016), 2M (1440x1440)

<RAW>[4:3] 12M (4000x3000)
Quality Level RAW (12bit): DNG
JPEG: (Best), (Better), (Good)
RAW and JPEG simultaneously recordable
Color Space sRGB, AdobeRGB
Storage Medium SD, SDHC, and SDXC Memory Card
Storage Folder Date (100_1018, 100_1019...)/PENTX (100PENTX, 101PENTX...)

LCD Monitor
Type TFT color LCD monitor, wide angle viewing
Size 3.0 inches
Pixels Approx. 460,000
Adjustment Brightness and colors adjustable
Display Field of View: approx. 100%, Grid display (4x4 Grid, Golden Section, Scale display), Bright/dark area warning, Histogram

White Balance
Auto TTL by CMOS image sensor
Preset Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light (D: Daylight Color, N: Daylight White, W: Cool White, L:Warm White), Tungsten, Flash, CTE, Manual
Manual Configuration on monitor
Fine Adjustment Adjustable ±7 steps on A-B axis or G-M axis

Autofocus System
Type Contrast detection AF
Brightness Range EV1 to 18(ISO125)
Focus Method AF/MF switching
Autofocus Method Face Detection, Tracking, AF Select (25 Points), Select, Spot
AF Assist Light Dedicated LED AF assist light
MF Assist OFF/×2/×4

Type TTL image sensor metering, segment metering, centerweighted metering, and spot metering
Exposure Compensation EV1.3 - 17 (ISO 125, F1.9 lens), +2EV using the Electronic Shutter setting or using the ND filter
Exposure Modes <Auto Picture mode>
Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Blue Sky, Forest

<Scene Mode>
Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR*, Night Snap, Food, Quick Macro*, Pet, Kids, Forest, Surf & Snow, HDR*, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum, Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Bulb, Blur Control*

*JPEG only
EV Compensation ± 3EV (1/3EV step)
AE Lock Can be assigned to the green/delete button from the menu. Continuous as long as the shutter release button is pressed halfway.
Shutter Lens shutter: 1/2000 - 30 seconds
(1/3EV step, 1/8000 - 30 seconds when Electronic Shutter setting is enabled), Bulb
*Shooting at 1/8000 - 2 seconds with Electronic Shutter and Bulb shooting are not available when using a lens that has no lens shutter.
Aperture From wide open to F8 *Not available when using a lens that has no lens shutter.
ND Filter Off/On *Not available when using a lens that has no lens shutter.

Drive Modes
Mode Selection Single frame, Continuous (Hi, Lo), Self-timer (12s, 2s), Remote Control (0 sec., 3 sec., continuous), Auto Bracketing (3 frames, remote control)
Continuous Shooting Approx. 5 fps, JPEG (12M Continuous Hi): up to 5 frames
Approx. 1.5 fps, JPEG (12M Continuous Lo): up to 100 frames

Built-in Flash
Built-in Flash Built-in retractable P-TTL flash
Guide number approx. 5.6 (ISO125/m) / approx. 7 (ISO200/m)
Angle of view coverage: wide angle-lens, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm format
Flash Modes P-TTL, Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Trailing Curtain Sync
Sync Speed Lens shutter: 1/2000 seconds, Electronic shutter: 1/13 seconds
Flash Exposure Compensation –2.0 to +1.0 EV

Capture Functions
Custom Image Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome, Cross Processing
Noise Reduction High-ISO NR
Dynamic Range Setting Highlight Correction, Shadow Correction
Lens Correction Distortion Correction
Digital Filter Toy Camera, High Contrast, Shading, Slim, HDR, Invert Color, Extract Color, Color, Water Color, Posterization, Fish-eye
HDR Capture Auto, HDR 1, HDR 2
Multi-exposure Number of shots: 2-9, Exposure adjusted automatically.
Interval Shooting Shooting interval: 1 sec. to 24 hr., Start Interval setting: immediately from the set time
Number of shots: up to 999 images
Smart Effect Brilliant Color, Unicolor Bold, Vintage Color, Cross Processing, Warm Fade, Tone Expansion, Bold Monochrome, Water Color, Vibrant Color Enhance, USER 1 to 3

File Format MPEG–4 AVC/H.264
Recorded Pixels Full HD (1920x1080, 16:9, 30fps), HD (1280x720, 16:9, 30fps), VGA (640x480, 4:3, 30fps)
Quality Level (Best), (Better), (Good)
Sound Built-in monaural microphone
Recording Time Up to 25 minutes; automatically stops recording if the internal temperature of the camera becomes high.
Custom Image Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome, Cross Processing
Digital Filter Toy Camera, High Contrast, Shading, Slim, HDR, Invert Color, Extract Color, Color, Water Color, Posterization, Fish-eye
Interval Movie Recording interval: 1 sec., 5 sec., 10 sec., 30 sec., 1 min., 5 min., 10 min., 30 min., 1 hr., Recording time: 5 sec. to 99 hr. Start Interval setting: immediately, from the set time

Playback Functions
Playback View Single frame, image comparison, multi-image display (4, 9, 20, 42, 90 segmentation), display magnification (up to 16x, scrolling and quick magnification available), rotating, histogram (Y histogram, RGB histogram), bright/dark area warning, detailed information display, folder display, calendar display, slideshow
Delete Delete single image, delete all images, select & delete, delete folder, delete instant review image
Digital Filter Monochrome, Toy Camera, High Contrast, Shading, Slim, HDR, Invert Color, Extract Color, Color, Water Color, Posterization, Fish-eye, Retro, Soft, Sketch Filter, Miniature, Frame Composite, Starburst, Base Parameter Adjustment
RAW Development File Format (JPEG), Aspect Ratio, Color Space, Custom Image, White Balance, Sensitivity, High-ISO NR, Shadow Correction, Distortion Correction
Edit Resize, Cropping (aspect ratio adjustment available), Index, Movie Editing (divide or delete selected frames), Capturing a JPEG still picture from a movie, Red-eye Edit, Saving buffer as a RAW file

Custom Functions 13 items
Mode Memory 12 items
Button/Dial Customization Green/Delete button: Green Button, Preview, One Push File Format, AE Lock, Enable AF
Quick Dial: Smart Effect, Custom Image, Digital Filter, Aspect Ratio
World Time World Time settings for 75 cities (28 time zones)
Language English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese

Power Supply
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68
AC Adapter AC Adapter Kit K-AC115 (optional)
Battery Life Number of recordable images: approx. 230 images (with 50% flash usage)
approx. 250 images (without flash usage)
Playback time: approx. 160 minutes

Connection Port USB 2.0 (high-speed compatible) / AV output terminal, HDMI output terminal (Type D)
USB Connection MSC/PTP
Video Output Format NTSC/PAL

Dimensions and Weight
Dimensions Approx. 98.0mm (W) x 57.5mm (H) x 31.0mm (D) (excluding the operation parts and protrusion)
Weight Approx. 200g (loaded and ready with the dedicated battery and SD Memory Card)
Approx. 180 g (body only)

Package Contents USB Cable I-USB7, Strap O-ST115, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68, Battery Charger D-BC68P, Software (CDROM) S-SW115, Hot shoe cover FK, Body mount cover
FirmwareLink to Latest Firmware
Software SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 for PENTAX
Megapixels: 12.4
ISO Range: 125-6400
Weight: 180g
FPS: 5
LCD: 3.0 inch
In Production: Buy the Pentax Q
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax Q in-depth review!
Price History:

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Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,794

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 18, 2017 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Size,weight, form factor and functionality
Cons: no view finder, cost
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 8    Value: 6    Image Quality: 6    New or Used: Used   

A bit of history as to why I bought this camera new(old stock) in April 2015. I had recently come back from holiday from Italy and found the 28mm equiv lens on my GRD iv a bit limiting. I am not a fan of standard zooms, and I wanted a small light camera with a standard prime to carry around all day when on holiday, the GR in my pocket for wide shots. The only options were the Pentax Q range or MFT. Having tracked down a Q10 to play with and like the handling I found a Q with the 01 prime going for £200. I could n't afford a MFT camera with a prime. I soon added a polarising filter. Also an optical viewfinder followed as the screen as others have mentioned is not the best. Costs starting to rise!
But I love this camera. Its fun, it produces good results in good light. I have a couple of pictures blown op to 16" X 12" on my wall. Yes if you walk up to them and study them you can tell that this is the limit you would go to, and next to picture of the same size taken with my K3 the IQ is understandably not as good. At normal viewing distances for a picture this size its just fine though. I like the fact that I can put a different lens on it, the wide zoom has followed though I would have preferred Pentax to have made super-wide prime. I love the fact that it has in built sensor dust removal, especially as my GRiv suffered from dust and was not cost effective to repair.
Yes you can get more pocketable compact cameras that offer the same or better IQ and the extra versatility of a zoom, but how reliable are they with their mechanised retracting zoom lenses, is dust going to get on the sensor whilst you are on holiday and ruin your photos? This has happened to me and not just on the GRiv. I am not saying this camera is for everyone or is better than a compact but that you should consider these factors when choosing which is right for you.
A word also about its size. Yes it is small and seems to weigh nearly nothing but my big hands have no problem holding it steady. However despite what you may have read elsewhere it is not really pocketable due it being a very 3 dimensional camera with a lens attatched, unless you want to walk around with an ugly bulge in you coat or cargo pants pocket, and you are not too bothered about damaging it by putting it somewhere where it does not belong. Better to use a neck strap and carry it that way.
So in summary despite its limitations I think it makes really good travel camera option due to its small size and weight and good enough image quality. It wont suit everyone but everyone should have a look at the Q range and consider it before making a purchasing decision.
New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Montreal
Posts: 4
Review Date: February 17, 2016 Recommended | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: very small, inexpensive, well-built
Cons: battery life, no viewfinder, ISO
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 8    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

This camera works well and my impression is positive. There are a lot of functionalities and modes (like a true DSLR). However, the bad thing is the noise (ISO). Do not exceed ISO 800. The battery life is average. Ok for 4-6 days, no more if you frequently use it.

I bought the official converter (Q to K-mount) and the results are amazing (see pictures).

Pentax Q + converter + Pentax DA 55-300

Pentax Q + converter + Tamron SP 90 (macro)

Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 62
Review Date: August 26, 2014 Recommended | Price: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: like a big camera, but small.
Cons: as all small cameras - have a little more noise and blur
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 9    Value: 8    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 8    New or Used: Used   

very small camera, but not a "toy".
01 prime have a very fast AF, as fast as SLR can do.
02 zoom 5-15 mm slightly slower, but still fast enough.

menu and buttons almost same with K-30 DSLR, so I do not need to learn it.
hot shoe, great dials and all over controls - are best.
RAW+ option - same as DSLR
best manual focus option, just same as my LIm-lenses.
You can use or MF only mode, or "quick-shift" after AF finished to work. with magnification it works just perfect.

IQ - as all small sensor-cameras, this camera likes a more lite.
indoor I'm using remote flash GN 25-40, outdoor just need sunny day. in my country 300-320 days-a-year are much sunny, so I do not worry about

picture taken at RAW format at full resolution, with small amount of "sharp" at RAW-converter, resized to 6MP has a SAME IQ as K100 DSLR + 18-55 kit lens (!). only a dept-of-focus are different. but in many cases more DOF are better.

if You need DOF as APS-C + 50mm lens at f/5.6 just shoot with Q+01 prime at f/2.
I have a self-made optical viewfinder so playing children at sunny day are not a problem, AF is fast and precise.

I like this little camera a lot, as additional (pocket) option for gripped K-30 - it is a best.
New Member

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 21
Review Date: June 7, 2014 Recommended | Price: $59.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Dslr users will feel at home
Cons: Limited quick dial assignments
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 6    Noise: 3    New or Used: New   

I bought mine brand new for a leisurely £59.00 new, but without the kit lens.

I love the size because it gives me no excuse not to always have it with me. So going to work and coming home allows me to plan different routes just to take in new scenery and take pictures.

The camera instills usability and is very customisable via its simple menu and easy navigation system. I find i change it alot but its fast even when you mess up and reset it.

Right now i'm using D-mount and C-mount lens, with PQ-mount-Nikon lens arriving soon i'll be able to mount some nice primes from Nikon and M42 primes/zooms via an m42-nikon adapter too.

The screen terrible in bright sunny areas and you will find turning the LCD up to +7 the only viable option. This in turn along with all that processing going on drain the batteries like crazy. I got three minimum.

Its good with Jpegs so i just leave it there and shoot mostly manually unless i want to get a shot quick then Av mode.

WB in auto only goes down to 4000 kelvin so its bad to use auto in tungsten lighting cause the cast will come over too warm. I notice auto iso shoots very high iso, but manually you don't get to go so high. Meaning there's some pentax NR and other techie stuff going on, that you could not do manually.

I get allsorts of people checking it out, so its a cool camera even for kids to own and grow photography on.

Better quality exist but not with the fun that goes with owning the Q .
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 123
Review Date: March 9, 2014 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fun to use, well designed, solid build.
Cons: Terrible battery life, so far not many Q lenses.
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 6    Features: 7    Value: 10    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 5    New or Used: New   

When the Q came out i was intrigued, i loved the idea, but when i found out the price i never never really bothered with it. When the Q7 came out the Q was reduced to a ridiculously low price, and when I found one going new for just £60 from SRS i could not resist.

My first impression of the camera was really positive, it looks great and feel really solid. the buttons and dials are comfortable to use (and i have big hands!) the display is typical Pentax and easy to navigate.

Overall i find it a wonderful camera to use, the front dial is genius.

My only negative points are the really terrible battery life and the lack of autofocus for video.

Image quality is good, and out of all the simular sensor sized cameras i have used i think it produces the nicest results, but at the end of the day it is a tiny sensor so you cant expect it to perform miracles.

I have so far not been that impressed with the lenses, the lack of primes is worrying plus i had hoped they would have produced a native lens that zooms further than 250mm by now.
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 32

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 26, 2014 Not Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: tactile
Cons: no better (in reality) than a $75 compact
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 7    Features: 8    Value: 5    Image Quality: 3    Noise: 3    New or Used: Used   

I am 100% in agreement with those (reviewers) who have so perfectly put the pentax q into perspective..namely: that it is a very poorly performing camera with pictures that are akin to a $75 compact. now that its price has come down to under $200 this represents fair value as its build quality and ease of use is commendable .. but its picture quality borders on being awful. soft. lacking in definition...and precisely in keeping with its sensor size. by comparison to a pentax k01 or sony nex there just is NO comparison. the ricoh cx4 and cx5 (owned) can be bought for half the cost (under $100) and gives you a far greater versatility. it (the cx camera) does not have raw capabilities but its jpegs are better. not by too much but they are better. there are some fuji cameras that can be bought for under $100 that DO have raw capture and I have found them to eclipse the q in all departments. the q is remarkably tactile and possesses a charm that is hard to rival..but once the novelty of it runs out the q is no more than that: a novelty. if picture quality is important to you there are dozens of camera that give you more for less money. opinion is always a polarizing process with many submitted highs and lows. ultimately.. the good (great) cameras achieve a 'significantly' better than average rating. for me this camera (the q) is currently classed as being above average when user/expert scores are taken into account..but I believe this score to be extremely flattering and wholly undeserved .. and for those of you reading through user scores/opinions in order to determine whether to buy one MY bottom line opinion is: spend your hard earned cash on something more photographically and technically giving...
Inactive Account

Registered: October, 2011
Posts: 147
Review Date: January 12, 2014 Recommended | Price: $189.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 'Perfect' as a second camera (to my K-01)
Cons: Battery life (minor issue - they are cheap)
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Many good reviews below… so I will instead bring up some lesser-mentioned reasons for getting a Q – as a second camera. In short – ‘run don’t walk’ to pick one up new with the 02 lens while they are still available at $189. A fantastic bargain. Here is why I got one as my second camera…

After many years when my camera was an ES with a slew of manual M42 Takumars, and with great advice from this forum, I went with a K-01 body and genuine Pentax M42 30120 adapter, and am very happy. The focus peaking with 6x blowup is great with manual lens. K-01 will remain my primary camera for now, permanently setup for use with all my M42 Takumars.

Yet I faced an issue after getting the K-01 and setting it up for manual use. Wife wanted an autofocus/autoaperture lens. Looked at the K-01’s 18-55 kit at about $80 as I remember - plastic mount turned me off. The better one was maybe twice that... Close to $160.

Then I saw the original Q on sale with the 5-15mm for $189 ‘with bag’ - just as 6BQ5 did. Grabbed one – and really glad I did. After now a few days of use, here is what I see:

1. Menu system very much the same as K-01. No learning curve.
2. Also has Focus Peaking with latest firmware. Also Shake Reduction - also great for manuals..
3. Liked metal lens mount and built-in motor of the 02 lens.
4. Wife won't know the difference on sensor size
5. Got a great long-range telephoto camera with M42 Taks and inexpensive (V1) Fotodiox adapter. Think of it as a 4X TeleConverter for your APS-C camera lens – without the stop or as much image quality loss.
6, No messing with K-01 and the 30120 adapter to use an 18-55 autofocus lens. I leave M42 adapter on all the time.
7. Solves the wide-angle problem with using M42s on the K-01 (little available). The Q and 02 come out for that.
8. Wife and I now have a 'camera each'

All for $30 - $100 more than a K-01 18-55 autofocus lens.

I also rate the IQ maybe a bit better than some others. This as a result of comparing four different M42 Taks - SMCT 50/F1.4, ST55/F1.8, ST55/F2.0. and Macro Tak 50/F4.0. using a Fotodiox V1 adapter on the Q. I was happy with them all.

As with the K-01, the Macro Tak was sharpest with best contrast and color saturation - but the difference was not as pronounced as it seems on the K-01. The SMCT 'rubber ring' 50/1.4 was not far behind - and you do get three extra stops. The ST1.8 was marginally better in sharpness and contrast compared to the ST2.0 (could be just sample variation). I've got the SMCT 50/1.4 on the Fotodiox at this point.

Get a Q!
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Posts: 3,348
Review Date: January 12, 2014 Recommended | Price: $189.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely small system, ND filter, DNG, DSLR-like features
Cons: Small sensor, top buttons too recessed
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 9    Image Quality: 6    Noise: 6    New or Used: New   

The Q can be a very polarizing camera. On the one side is a group of strong advocates and on the other side is an equally strong group of detractors. I read many reviews and forum postings about the Q so I was aware of each side well before I got my own Q. Though once I got it I found myself siding with each camp, one at a time, only to betray it and go back to the other. In doing so I finally understood what the camera was really about. To truly appreciate this camera you have to love it and hate it at the same time. This creates a tension - a healthy tension - and it will push you to explore photography in ways you would not have been stirred to do so otherwise.

First and foremost, I believe that the Q was intended to be a creative JPG output camera. This becomes clear when you travel through the menus and see the plethora of color schemes and picture presets. I know lots of people enjoy playing around with these sorts of “digital filters” on isolated devices (vs. their desktop computers). You find yourself on a little tiny island with few, if any, distractions and this allows you to focus your attention. Many point and shoot cameras have the same processing capabilities. So what sets the Q apart from them? It’s the lenses. Digital effects can only go so far in the creative process. Swapping lenses adds a physical, tactile, and analog dimension to the creative process of photography. This is no more evident than by the lenses themselves. Rather than concentrate on creating a line of consisting only of pin-point sharp lenses Pentax took on the complete opposite approach. They created a line of lenses that can also distort and blur - with manual focus only capabilities in some cases. This is a stroke of genius in my mind. These kinds of lenses not only open up new graphic capabilities that would be beyond the beginner to implement in post processing but they also open up new avenues of creativity for the avid user to explore. Give a person a pencil and they will draw one way. Then give them a crayon and watch them draw the same thing completely different or maybe even draw something complete different altogether! The combination of analog effects through lenses and digital effects through color schemes and presets opens up a whole world of creativity that can appeal to both beginner and expert artist alike.

Pentax seemingly (and wisely) reused a lot of their user interface design from their DSLRs. Doing so opened up and allowed for features that suit the detractors. The Q can output raw DNG files, shoot in more advanced modes like Av, offer exposure bracketing, exposure stacking, HDR, and the list goes on and on. In one of my threads somewhere here on the Pentax Forum I heard a fellow member refer to the Q as a mini mirrorless DSLR. I would have to wholeheartedly agree with that description. In creating this camera Pentax opened themselves up to this group of people who at first would be intrigued and then disappointed. They look at this camera and see a tiny sensor that will inherently have a low S/N ratio, limited dynamic range, poor detail rendering, and suffer the effects of diffraction and optical aberrations due to the laws of physics. Pixel peeping will reveal what many would consider defects in the image. Color shift, softness, and poor subject isolation are common complaints. I found myself doing my own pixel peeping and I can confirm all of this. It’s compounded when you come from the world of high quality DSLRs with large sensors and excellent optics that have set your standards and expectations very high. All these qualities would all be excusable in a similarly sized point and shoot because it costs much less than a Q and simply because it would be a point and shoot camera.

Had none of this been made available then that group of people would never be attracted to a camera that they would then try to detract others. It’s easy to wonder why Pentax would design the Q and make it so powerful. Why open up the engine for such advanced use? Again, I see this as another path for creativity designed to suit the more advanced post-processing shooter. I am one of these shooters and I personally don’t care much for in-camera image processing. It’s easy enough for me to shoot in raw DNG and do my own processing. I can tailor each shot to what I think is the best processing scheme vs. a more generic algorithm in the camera.

Continuing, I bought this camera not for the effects and processing but for its form factor and almost absolute silent operation. This camera is absolutely tiny - even with a lens. There are many other small ILCs but with their much larger sensors they end up needing much larger lenses than the Q. They end up having a small body with a disproportionately large lens. It looks awkward. Not here. The Q is just right. Everything is small enough to be fit in a coat pocket while offering superior performance over a similarly sized point and shoot camera. I can take this camera where I would not take my DSLR. Pulling out a DSLR or any other similarly sized camera attracts a lot of attention and the mechanisms make plenty of noise. The Q allows you to operate like a ninja in stealth mode. All anyone would possibly hear (if anything) is the very quiet clicking sound of the aperture closing down. Being so small also allows for steady hand holding of the camera. It fits neatly in your palm and you can easily wrap both hands around the entire assembly. The built in shake reduction combined with a good steady hold gives a surprising amount of stability. I think most people would be challenged to find a similarly sized point and shoot camera in the same form factor that offers the same optical versatility and raw DNG output capability as the Q.

Remember, this camera is not about photographing the grand landscape or the soft dreamy backlit portrait. Pentax makes a fine line of DSLRs for that. This camera is something that Henri Cartier-Bresson would pull out to catch that decisive moment and capture the feeling of the here and now. The Q asks you what can you photograph right now to record the pulse of today without anyone asking questions.

Philosophy aside, it’s a marvel that Pentax packed in as much as they did in such a small body. Think about the engineering origami Pentax worked through to fit shake reduction, a pop-up flash, a metal lens mount, a LCD, a battery, etc etc in this wallet sized camera. I can understand why some people feel like the ergonomics are difficult. Personally, I have problems with the on/off and play buttons on the top of the camera being too recessed. Everything else feels fine.

The UI is typical of modern Pentax cameras with a tabbed menu system which is easy enough to maneuver through with the 4-way keypad. If you used a Pentax DSLR then the features should be familiar to you. The only thing lacking is a second wheel that can be used to change ISO or another similar setting without going through a menu. Autofocus is quick, silent, and accurate. The contrast based AF method here is faster than what my K-30 can do.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing any photographer, but maybe DSLR users the most, is learning the lenses and the sensor. The “f/8 it and forget it” guideline gets tossed out the window. For ultimate sharpness you need to stay with wider aperture settings. Remember, with the 5.6x crop factor that f/2.8 is nearly like f/15! Achieving subject isolation is going to be difficult unless you can get real close. Bokeh will be so-so but, again, that’s not what this camera is made for. Sensor noise may be the camera's other achilles heel too.

At $189 with the 02 lens and a small case I think I got a good deal on a new package. Get the 01 lens if you can too. Sometimes it's easier to buy a used kit with the 01 and a Q body in it vs. buying the 01 separately. Aftermarket batteries are cheap and plentiful. They provide enough juice to keep the camera going strong.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: ON, RH
Posts: 2,179
Review Date: December 9, 2013 Recommended | Price: $303.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, light, great IQ considering the size of the sensor, versatility
Cons: Being a small camera, ergonomics are not stellar...
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 8    Value: 9    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

My Q came with the 02 lens.
Great little camera and very fun to use - I find myself snapping away at almost anything.

I was very impressed by the IQ from that tinny little sensor. I didn't find the ISO to be such a big problem as long I didn't went above 400.
What I love most is the possibility to use all type of lenses by having the corresponding adapter. So far I had the chance to play with K, m42, m39 and 110 adapters - is a fun process.
Planning to get a hold of the C mount as well.

I do recommend it as a light companion next to your bigger DSLR or as a beginner's camera.
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2013
Location: Herefordshire, England
Posts: 35
Review Date: October 25, 2013 Recommended | Price: $395.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, flexibility
Cons: Battery life
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 8    Value: 9    Image Quality: 7    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I bought this on a whim when a UK dealer offered the twin lens (01/02) kit for £249 in white. I absolutely love the style, the build quality and the way you can really customise the look of photos.
The 01 lens is not quite wide enough for me (a 35mm or wider equivalent prime would be better) so I'm selling that and waiting for that planned wide prime to turn up. The 02 zoom is a joy to use, and feels like a really well-engineered tool. I find the image quality of the 02 just as good as the 01 providing you stop down to f4.
Image quality is better than you would expect from a tiny sensor. I find I need to do quite a lot of post-processing but you can get some really nice results.
The only real downside is the battery life which is dreadful. Luckily it uses the same batteries as my old Fuji so I have a few spares. It's worth keeping a couple in your bag if you have a long day planned.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 333
Review Date: October 14, 2013 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, rich functionality
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I'm still find out about all its capabilities ... no more P & S for me.
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 85
Review Date: October 14, 2013 Recommended | Price: $205.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sturdy, small, digital filters
Cons: no viewfinder, limited lenses
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

The hardest part is not having a viewfinder and with such a small sensor wanting to shoot without cropping. I shoot mostly in Black and White with this camera and enjoy the filters and combinations of effects that you can even use shooting videos. Videos are not as easy to transfer as with with the KX with the file system they chose to use. Audio has been a little hit or miss. Small and light to carry around yet sturdy. Dropped a couple times on payment with no ill effects. It will use adapted lenses to get 5.6x the magnification but then focusing with the LCD becomes a problem. Your subject has to be slow. Since I have gotten this camera my DSLR has sat around a lot so I do like it.
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2013
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 39
Review Date: October 14, 2013 Recommended | Price: $399.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, compact, titanium body, fun, adapted lenes
Cons: Pentax adapter expensive, battery life
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 7    New or Used: New   

Bought a two lens kit while on cruise in US Virgin Islands. Since have added 03 & 06 lenses as well a Fotodiox adapter. Although I haven't used the adapter as much as I thought I would, I am using the Q as my go-to camera in place of an older Pentax K200D. The small compact size, with the ability to change lenses and pack it all in a light weight camera bag means you can carry it all day and not have an aching shoulder. The camera takes very good pictures as long as you are not looking for studio quality. Overall a great buy.
New Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Rochester
Posts: 8
Review Date: September 20, 2013 Recommended | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Pocketable, Wow its small
Cons: Battery Life
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I have just got this camera, here in the UK the discontinued stock has been on sale and I bagged a white version with the 01 lens very cheap.

I wanted a camera that I was able to have with me at all times, which gave me the same Pentax functionality as my K5, or as near to it as possible, so I did not have to re learn a new menu system, or buttons. This is achieved.

I also wanted a camera that took half decent shots, raw capability, and the option to put some other manual glass on it for fun. Again this is achieved.

Battery life is a bit short, but the batteries like the camera are tiny, so putting a few in your pocket will not weigh you down.

Build quality is great, it is a really solid camera.

I would definitely recommend this camera, especially as (if you can find one) you can get them at a bargain price.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2011
Posts: 1,558
Review Date: September 1, 2013 Not Recommended | Price: $475.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Small, Well Built body,
Cons: Tiny Sensor, poor lenses, poor noise
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 6    User Interface: 6    Autofocus: 7    Features: 8    Value: 4    Image Quality: 5    Noise: 5    New or Used: New   

I had bought 2 of these cameras in the hope that the first one was just a bad copy. I tried my hardest to convince myself this was a good cute little camera but alas. The colour rendering in both was poor,aberrant and seemed at times to blur into each other like the heat waves on pavement so most of my shots went straight to bw.
I had the prime 01, the toy wide lens(used once), a K adapter and a c-mount adapter.
I found the lenses to feel cheap with performance not much better than a mid-range point and shoot.
This cameras is incredibly small well built and I suppose that may come in handy. However I am not convinced that Its any better than a point and shoot at half the cost. You may say It has interchangeable lenses well yes it does but only 6 and those 6 should all be labelled as toys.
This camera just does not perform as It's MSRP $ would suggest
Do yourself a favour.
If you want a mirrorless buy a k01 or a Nex(I did)
If you want a camera with this IQ and this small buy a point and shoot or an Iphone
After the novelty wears off.. the Q makes no sense
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