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09-08-2011, 11:33 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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New Q in hand

My new Pentax Q arrived today! First impressions:

  • Wow is this thing small! I literally LOLed when I saw how small the 8.5mm prime lens is. The whole kit is also really light. Feels lighter and gives an impression of smaller compared to my Olympus XZ-1.
  • Popup flash is cool but pops up with a lot of force! I'm afraid I'll break it, but it seems sturdy enough. A quick test on my dogs reveals no blue-eye (dog equivalent of red-eye) reduction by using the pop up flash instead of flash while retracted.
  • Body and lens feel very solid.
  • Buttons are small, but not too small for me. I'm 5'6" tall.
  • If you have a Pentax DSLR, you will feel right at home with the interface. I have a K20D an a K-r currently. The menu system is very familiar and I feel at home with the menus instantly.
  • The option to save the last JPEG as a RAW file is here like in the K-r.
  • The uncorrected RAW files require about a +18 lens correction in Lightroom to remove the barrel distortion. I saw some uncorrected JPEGs online, but you can correct them in camera a la m43 cameras.
  • Burst shooting:
  • JPEG: 6fps for 6 frames, then down to about 2fps
  • RAW: about 1.3fps for 4 frames, then down to 0.3fps. The final buffer flush takes a LONG time, like 14 seconds. And I'm using a Class 10 SDHC card.
  • RAW+JPEG: about 1fps for 4 frames, then big delay of 9 sec, then 3 sec, then 6 seconds. Followed by a 14 second buffer flush. The camera cannot capture another picture during the buffer flush.
  • Another weird thing about continuous shooting, it seems to take one more photo than you expect, after you've released the shutter.
  • ND filter is about 2 stops.
  • You can tell the camera to use the electronic shutter even if the lens has a physical shutter. I couldn't hear or see a difference in the prime lens when I used this option. The physical shutter is pretty quiet.
  • By removing the Q lens completely and holding a 50mm K lens up to the sensor, I got a was able to shoot with no lens attached. The electronic shutter is silent. But I got no option to focus assist or input a lens focal length for shake reduction.
  • Manual Focus assistance is 2X or 4X magnification and gets activated when you turn the focus ring on the Q lens. Not sure how this would work with a manual or adapted lens attached.
  • Bokeh Control doesn't really work that well. It doesn't usually get right what you want to keep sharp.
  • The custom control on the front with 4 positions can control aspect ratio, digital effect filters, color settings, or "Smart Effects" such as Toy Camera or Vivid Color. But you can't mix them to have slot 1 do a Toy Camera with 1:1 ratio. It only controls one aspect of the shooting.
  • Focus tracking works reasonably well, as does face recognition.
  • HDR modes seem to work well. I shot some hand held and saw no alignment errors at 100% crops. Also, the HDR auto mode works quite well. It returned a more realistic looking image than HDR1 or HDR2. Basically added just enough blending to avoid clipping of the highlights.
All in all, the handling and controls feel to me like someone took my K-r, updated a couple things, then shrank it down. It doesn't feel like shooting a P&S in terms of controls. I had a NEX-5 and LOVED the image quality. But shooting with it felt empty to me. I felt like I was using a P&S camera that had a great sensor. That's what you get when a cell phone division designs your UI! In many ways, the Q is the opposite of the NEX-5. It sacrificed sensor size, but has all the controls I want. There are no buttons or dials I miss coming from my K-r. if you don't shoot P mode, you can program the green button to be AE lock.

I was going to shoot one of my "ISO elevator" comparisons with my trusty rainbow flower and compare the Q to the Olympus XZ-1. But I'm too busy to do all that right now. I'll have to do it next week. But I can say that the images are pretty respectable at ISO 800 for the small sensor size. The JPEGs also seem like a pretty good compromise of detail and noise reduction.

I'm going to be pretty busy the next few days, but feel free to shoot me some questions. :-)

09-08-2011, 11:49 PM   #2
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It's an interesting little camera. While I know some here don't like the Q to K mount adapter, it would open up a number of options. Looking forward to seeing some pics!
09-09-2011, 12:59 AM   #3
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We want to see some pictures!!
09-09-2011, 02:11 AM   #4
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Ok, everyone just wants to see pics. Here are some quick and dirty out of camera JPEGs at different ISOs. They are center weighted metering. It's funny, from the histogram on the Q, I didn't think anything was clipped on the highlights, but some of the JPGs looks like they clipped. Maybe the histogram is for the RAW file? Anyhow, here is a series of 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400 pics. The 6400 pic I had to use the built in ND filter so it didn't overexpose.

Flickr Link

09-09-2011, 02:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by devorama Quote
Ok, everyone just wants to see pics. Here are some quick and dirty out of camera JPEGs at different ISOs. They are center weighted metering. It's funny, from the histogram on the Q, I didn't think anything was clipped on the highlights, but some of the JPGs looks like they clipped. Maybe the histogram is for the RAW file? Anyhow, here is a series of 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400 pics. The 6400 pic I had to use the built in ND filter so it didn't overexpose.

Flickr Link
The clean look of ISO 1600 made my K10D hide in its camera bag. Pretty heavy processed, though, looks more like a Panasonic JPEG than a Pentax JPEG. In fact, looks more like old Panasonic JPEGs, LX5 may look slightly less processed at 1600 (I haven't looked at many samples, so I'm not sure).
09-09-2011, 05:00 AM   #6
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Wow.... 800 - 1600 looks much better that I was expecting for that sensor size.

Will be interesting to hear how you go with it.

Thanks for posting the pictures!
09-09-2011, 05:02 AM   #7
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Thanks devorama for this interesting feed-back.
Looks like the ISO 1600 could be "usable" for "small size" prints with no problem...
09-09-2011, 06:18 AM   #8
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Thanks devorama. It's been a while since I last saw the flower at work.

The camera is doing OK here. I imagine the output from RAW would boost image quality a bit further still.

09-09-2011, 06:45 AM   #9
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How does the focus by wire feel when manually focusing? Not a big fan of my Olympus.
thanks for the pics and report.
barondla
09-09-2011, 08:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I imagine the output from RAW would boost image quality a bit further still.
The ISO1600 RAW files needed a lot of chroma and luminance noise reduction to look acceptably clean. I'm thinking the benefits of RAW will be more in dynamic range than noise level.
09-09-2011, 08:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
How does the focus by wire feel when manually focusing? Not a big fan of my Olympus.
thanks for the pics and report.
barondla
The focus by wire feels really good. It has just the right amount of resistance and it feels very connected to what's happening on the screen. I had to remind myself that it's focus by wire.
09-09-2011, 08:40 AM   #12
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Hi devorama,

Congrats on the Q! -- and a nice mini-review!

One question on the handling -- If you're shooting individual shots (say at @ 1 shot per second) -- not taking continuous bursts, in either RAW or Jpeg only (not +) -- is there any lag between shots (delay where the camera prevents you from taking the next shot)?

Thanks in advance

Scott
09-09-2011, 12:01 PM   #13
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How is the manual focus interface?
What I mean is how well are the focusing aids for MF.

Eg.
1. Selectable zoom magnification?
2. Zoom in box that is super imposed over main view?
3. Auto zoom in or zoom in at the touch of a button?
4. Focus Peaking like NEX?


Thanks
09-09-2011, 02:23 PM   #14
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Congrats on that nice little camera. It would be nice to see just some real live pictures.

How big are those files that processing and writing take so long?
09-09-2011, 03:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi devorama,

Congrats on the Q! -- and a nice mini-review!

One question on the handling -- If you're shooting individual shots (say at @ 1 shot per second) -- not taking continuous bursts, in either RAW or Jpeg only (not +) -- is there any lag between shots (delay where the camera prevents you from taking the next shot)?

Thanks in advance

Scott
With jpg, you can shoot 1 shot per second indefinitely with no problem. With RAW, you can shoot 3 frames at 1 frame per second. After that it's down to about 2 seconds between shots.
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