Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-19-2015, 01:15 PM - 15 Likes   #1
Site Supporter
6BQ5's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,070
Q7 : The Perfect Travel Camera (very long + many images)

ZombieArmy recently posted a thread asking, "How would you sell someone on the Pentax Q?" This is an interesting question for Q series fans like us here because we love the ecosystem and want to see others appreciate it as well. The challenge with the Q series is that it is a very hard camera to understand. It's quirky because it's about the size of a small P&S, has the controls of a good entry level DSLR/mirrorless, shoots RAW, and has a small number of lenses that can be swapped in and out. This goes against the current premium compact trend where the bodies are a little bigger and the lenses are fixed mount zooms. Let's not also forget that the 1/2.3" and 1/1.7" sensors inside the Q series are teeny tiny compared the 1" sensors found in something like the Sony RX100 series. Despite all the quirks and seeming disadvantages of the Q series, the camera is capable of producing excellent images. This forum and the internet is filled with great examples. I think a successful image is the result of leveraging the Q series' strengths in the right scenario and scene. In other words, the Q series is not a general purpose camera that can do it all. Applying the Q series everywhere will quickly reveal the weakness such as high ISO noise and limited dynamic range while concealing the strengths like good color sensitivity and sharp optics. This is why Q series users always run with a large sensor camera like a Pentax DSLR as well. Something like a DSLR is strong enough to cover more complex lighting scenarios successfully.

With all that in mind, we can easily think of some scenarios where the Q series excels. Photographing model train dioramas and telephotography with K-mount lenses are two such examples. I previously posted about running a half marathon with my Q7 + 01 lens in hand. It is the perfect action camera for the photographer on the go (literally). Today I would like to offer up the Q7 as the photographer's perfect travel camera where the application is tourism and street photography! I always like to remind everyone how small the Q7 is by (re)posting this picture of my Q7 + 06 lens with a screwed-in metal hood.



That picture never gets old for me. There are other small bodies such as the Lumix GM5 but lets not forget that the 06 gives the Q series the equivalent reach of a 200mm lens ... and it still fits in the palm of my hand ... with a metal hood! I can fit my complete Q kit that consists of a Q7 + 01 + 02 + 03 + 06 + spare battery in a simple sling bag. I'd like to see a similar setup from the competition. So let's leave our DSLR and u4/3 cameras behind and let's go to Amsterdam in the Netherlands with our Q7!

In addition to being small, the Q7 is a very quiet camera. The leaf shutter makes a very slight "click" when photographing a scene. Switching to an electronic shutter renders the camera completely silent. Being small and quiet enables the Q to go places unnoticed. It's not going to attract attention like a big DSLR. You can get great candid shots of people without making a fuss or causing a scene. My Q7 + 06 recorded this German gentleman traveler striking a very remarkable pose.


_IMP0948 06 TELEPHOTO ZOOM 34.1mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

The high ISO setting add some noise that can be seen when pixel peeping but the image is still perfectly adequate for small prints and online sharing. I don't know if he is looking ahead to the long flight ahead but I know I was! While other people are sleeping I'm busy photographing. With the 06 telephoto lens still mounted on my Q7, I turned my camera to my neighbor and found a beautifully lit water cup.


_IMP0967 06 TELEPHOTO ZOOM 15mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

The limited dynamic range compared to a big DSLR is obvious to those who know what to look for ... but for the traveler looking for a memory it's perfect. It must have been perfect for the drinker of the cup too because the cup is empty. Maybe he was really thirsty. My other neighbor was probably less thirsty because she left some drink in her beautifully illuminated cup.


_IMP0973 06 TELEPHOTO ZOOM 36.9mm f2.8
by Boris, on Flickr

It's amazing to me that these images can be captured on an airplane while flying with the usual bumps and turbulence of air travel. Zoom in by clicking on the image. That will take you to my Flickr account where you can pixel peep to your heart's contentment. Even more amazing is that I can always find something to photograph everywhere. Beauty is all around us. We just need to follow the light and see where it can take us.

I fell in love with the Dutch populace. They are a happy, hale, and hardy folk who don't strive for excess. I did not see anyone complain or stagger around meaninglessly. They are a loving and tolerant people. This Dutch couple seemed like the norm to me.


_IMP1006 02 STANDARD ZOOM 10.1mm f3.5
by Boris, on Flickr

Everyone is on the go - by train, by foot, or by bicycle. Yes, bicycles! How could I get this far in my article without mentioning the most famous mode of transportation in the Netherlands? Take this young lady as an example.


_IMP1072 02 STANDARD ZOOM 5mm f2.8
by Boris, on Flickr

An American would be in shock at this. No helmet, not looking at the road ahead, and using a mobile device! But despite this seemingly unsafe scenario riders aren't crashing left and right. Capturing that shot was a bit difficult due to the slow AF of the Q7. I was half prepared and half unready. Watching and waiting for the Q7 to focus before the leaf shutter clicks can be dreadful event. "Oh, c'mon-c'mon-c'mon-c'mon-c'mon .... yes!" This next shot of another rider is an improvement. At least he's looking at the road ahead!


_IMP1196 01 STANDARD PRIME 8.5mm f2.2
by Boris, on Flickr

Bicycles to the Dutch seem to be as linked to their culture as cars are to Americans. Amsterdam is filled with bicycles! I think there are more bicycles than people in that city.


_IMP1303 02 STANDARD ZOOM 5mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

There are so many bicycles that most are left unlocked. I suppose if someone takes yours then you just take someone else's. It's all good. Go ahead and pixel peep that image to get a good look at the bicycles lining the canal. While you're at it go peep at the bricks in the buildings and the other fine details. That's the 02 lens at 5mm, f/3.2. The 02 lens gets a bad reputation since it is a kit lens but I find the lens to be excellent when used properly. It can be really, really sharp! Use it wide open or one click down for best IQ.

Canals take a back seat to the bicycle and the foot. I'm sure there was a time when they were teeming with boats but now it seems mostly tour boats go on them. Every now and then you'll see a local travel by canal.


_IMP1035 02 STANDARD ZOOM 5mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

Every good tourist information source will tell travelers to avoid the narrow alleyways of big cities. They are tactically dangerous for vulnerable tourists at the wrong time of day. I find these narrow alleyways some of the most interesting paths to take when exploring. Some of the best restaurants, shops, and photographic scenes are to be found there. These alleyways are packed with bicycles and broken umbrellas. Wait ... what? Umbrellas? Well, that's what I found and here's proof!


_IMP1068 02 STANDARD ZOOM 8.4mm f3.5
by Boris, on Flickr

The 02 lens is starting to soften up just a bit compared to the performance at 5mm but it still performed admirably capturing the details in the ground and the colors of the umbrella.

Amsterdam, and the Netherlands as whole, is a very lush and green country. Everything can't help but grow! There's plenty of rain, it seems, since it rained for four of the seven days I was there. I only had one true sunny day. Rain can be refreshing because it cleans away the grime of the old and makes way for the beauty of the new. Water can also add beauty to what is already beautiful, such as this spider web.


_IMP1175 01 STANDARD PRIME 8.5mm f3.5
by Boris, on Flickr

Now we see the 01 lens in action! Two distinct features of this lens is its excellent sharpness and closer-focusing abilities compared to the zoom lenses. I used f/3.5 to get a little extra depth of field to make sure all the layers of the spider web was captured with best sharpness. Go ahead and pixel peep. You'll see that the droplets act like little lenses and there are many images inside that single image!

Getting a shallow depth of field with the Q series is extremely difficult due to the small sensor. Photographers need to get really, really close to their subject in order to achieve subject isolation ... and even then the bokeh may not be that great. The 01 lens is f/1.9 wide open. I tried photographing this moss up close to give readers an example of blur in the Q series cameras.


_IMP1198 01 STANDARD PRIME 8.5mm f1.9
by Boris, on Flickr

That's about as good as it's going to get with the 01 prime but that's OK. A near infinite depth of field is one of the Q series' strengths in street photographing. A near wide open aperture letting in oodles of light while rendering crisp detail from edge to edge is a photographer's dream. That's how we can capture this young lady walking confidently to her destination.


_IMP1329 02 STANDARD ZOOM 7.5mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

Or how about this worker out for a quick smoking break.


_IMP1342 01 STANDARD PRIME 8.5mm f2.8
by Boris, on Flickr

Sharpness is important in photography and I've touched upon it throughout the article. Many people deride the Q series because there is a perception that the system cannot produce sharp images. In some ways, that is true. The sensor is small and high ISO settings introduce noise that can blur details. That is a fault of the sensor but that should not reflect on the optics. The optics of the Q lenses is excellent! The spider web shown above was one example. It showed how sharp the 01 lens can be. Even the 02 is good! It captured the fine detail of this little kitten without a problem ... and that was near the end of the zoom range at f/4!


_IMP1056 02 STANDARD ZOOM 12.2mm f4
by Boris, on Flickr

The 06 ranks up with the 01 in my sharpness scores. Here's a shot of a stray cat at Wanderlos park in nearby Hoofddorp taken with the 06 also at the far end of its zoom range.


_IMP1229 06 TELEPHOTO ZOOM 39.3mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

Even more extreme : walking back to my hotel I saw a massive spider weaving a web by a street light next to the train station. This spider was huge! I would hate to get near it. Thank goodness I had the 06 with me! Zoomed in and heavily cropped, I was able to capture the web and the hairs of the spider!


_IMP1281 06 TELEPHOTO ZOOM 43.7mm f3.2
by Boris, on Flickr

Even though the Q series' AF performance is a little weak, it shouldn't stop the determined photographer. I wanted to photograph a nearly transparent spider web and had to resort to MF. Thank goodness the Q series offers focusing peaking and auto-zoom! The result :


_IMP1145 06 TELEPHOTO ZOOM 42.8mm f3.5
by Boris, on Flickr

That's nearly all the photographs I have to share with the forum in this post. More can be found on my flickr account if this kind of imagery is interesting to you. The Q series is a unique camera system that opens doors to new photographic opportunities. A camera is more than just specs and test scores. It's an experience of usage and the usage has to fit the scene and scenario you find yourself in. The Q packs a lot of control features commonly found in a DSLR into a space normally occupied by P&S and spy cameras. All the lenses are modern marvels that offer excellent sharpness across their range. Perceived performance may be muddied up by high ISO noise but that's a fault of the sensor. I truly hope that Ricoh will upgrade the sensor that registers a little cleaner at all ISO settings.

Let me close with this final image.


_IMP1032 02 STANDARD ZOOM 13.2mm f4
by Boris, on Flickr

If this guy can ride a bike with crutches then we photographers ought to be able to work photographic miracles with our Qs!

07-19-2015, 01:57 PM   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Herefordshire, UK
Posts: 197
Thank you for a really interesting post
07-19-2015, 02:21 PM   #3
Site Supporter
ramseybuckeye's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Elida, Ohio
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,491
I enjoyed the journey, a very nice article exposing some Q7 and Q lens strengths. Thanks for sharing this.
07-19-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
Site Supporter
CWRailman's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Photos: Albums
Posts: 503
Great shots of your trip to the Netherlands and another good demonstration of the Q7s capabilities. I like that photo of the cup and can on the plane. That really shouts flying.
As a former distance rider and current around town cyclist I especially like you identifying and focusing on that form of transportation. I noticed the girl was consulting her cell phone while riding and not looking and the guy looks like he was having an argument. As far as the helmets I for one think the whole thing about helmets is GROSELY over rated. My dad is 94 and he agrees with me on this. Makes me wonder how all those folks there survive without helmets. I never wear a helmet when cycling but then I also do not dress up in colorful spandex either and my riding style is rather conservative.


This shot was also taken with a Q7.

Thanks again for the trip!

07-20-2015, 12:16 AM   #5
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 151
Did you have to do that? Since last week I have been fighting with myself over the Q-S1 kit with the 02 and 06 zooms - and I just had decided I don't really need it!

Great pictures, by the way.
07-20-2015, 12:25 AM   #6
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 841
Now you made me tempted to buy one...
07-20-2015, 12:48 AM   #7
Veteran Member
magkelly's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,905
QuoteOriginally posted by mano Quote
Did you have to do that? Since last week I have been fighting with myself over the Q-S1 kit with the 02 and 06 zooms - and I just had decided I don't really need it!

Great pictures, by the way.
Yeah you do. It's too much fun. Having one AF zoom is cool and I would not give mine up, but do yourself a favor and find yourself a set of Auto 110 lenses and get the lens baby aperture discs to use in them. You will be VERY glad you did because it is the perfect combo. I was mulling this the other day what I'd take if I was going to Europe. At first I thought of the Q and the little lenses because of easy portability and the fun factor, but then I thought would it be useful enough and wondered if I should take an Oly E-P3 or a DSLR along too. I'm still torn about whether or not to do that, but after seeing this I'd definitely take my QS1/little lenses kit. Awesome series. One thing I particularly liked was the cat shots. That would so be me while on vacation too. I'd be walking around in one of the greatest cities in the world totally taking pics of the local cats, laugh. Most people go to Rome to see the Coliseum, the Vatican? I'm determined to go and see all their roaming cats, which I am told are EVERYWHERE. I want to take pics of cats sitting on the Roman ruins...:P
07-20-2015, 12:05 PM   #8
Senior Member




Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 269
Great pics! I've only taken the Q7 on maybe one trip. I guess I've been too "scared" to not take something more "serious," but your pics definitely show that, well, in the right hands, the Q7 is definitely more than capable.

07-20-2015, 12:32 PM - 3 Likes   #9
Site Supporter
6BQ5's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,070
Original Poster
Thanks for the positive responses, everyone! They are very appreciated.

Here is some text on my shooting methodology.

Camera Mode
I used Av mode for stationary subjects like the the spiderwebs, cats, umbrella, etc. The e-dial primarily controlled the aperture and I manually controlled the ISO to make it low as possible while avoiding blur due to camera shake. I tried to keep the shutter speed at 1/(35mm focal length equivalent). Sometimes I would go lower, like down to 1/25th, if I felt like I was exceptionally steady. SR is the Q7 is very good don't be afraid to go low and slow.

The street shots were done in Tv mode with the ISO set to Auto. I aimed for a high shutter speed of at least 1/1000th but below 1/2000th. While electronic shutters can be very fast they can also introduce a "jello" effect to the effect. I am not good at processing the "jello" effect out of the picture. A little bit of rotation and keystone adjustment is all I know how to do. High shutter speeds are required not only to freeze the subject but to also counteract your walking gait ... unless you walk as smooth as a luxury car driving down a smooth road. We all bob up and down when we walk and camera shake will be massive.

Exposure Setting
The Q7 sets its exposure conservatively to save the highlights in JPG shooting. I am a ETTR RAW shooter kind of guy so I add +0.3 or +0.7 in most cases. Highlights can always be recovered during post processing. Amsterdam was overcast and cloudy during my trip so the only major highlights are a very bright gray sky which is hardly worth saving. In this case I was much more aggressive adding +0.7 to +1.3 to increase detail in the shadows. I watch my histogram during composition and fine tune the exposure compensation. One way to fine tune is to add compensation that causes the bright sky to just begin to blink red during Live View. At some point exposure can be estimated quite accurately without looking at the screen too much.

Aperture and Depth of Field
The Q series offers a huge depth of field due to the aggressive crop factor of the small sensor. At f/2.8 the 01 lens works like a f/13 lens and at f/3.2 the 06 lens works like a f/15 lens. That's a pinhole camera territory. Going beyond those apertures is unnecessary and only worsens the image. If you find yourself with too much light then lower the ISO and/or engage the ND filter.

Focusing
I normally set the focus point area to the center and I use the 3x3 grid size. Sometimes I would adjust the position depending on what I was shooting, especially for candid portraits. The eyes may be higher in the frame so I move the focus point upward. When I was shooting the spider I reduced the focus point to a single grid block. The spider was so small that the camera focused on the lamp behind it otherwise.

Missing the focus point in street photography may be OK in most cases. Remember, your depth of field is huge. So, if the camera focuses on a nearby street lamp or street vs. the person then that's OK. Everything will still be in focus.

AF speed is not great in the Q7 so depth of field and fast shutter speeds helps. If I am walking down a crowded and busy street then I cannot simply stop. The person behind me will bump into me and be upset! Likewise, the person walking or cycling toward me won't stop either. The distance between subject and photographer continues to change even after AF confirmation. Again, a huge depth of field and fast shutter will save you here.

Composition
Sometimes I would be very obvious about photographing something/someone. I lift the camera up to eye level view and capture the image. Other times I would be very inconspicuous. I simply hold my camera against my body, estimate the aim/angle/projection, and press the shutter button. The first few times may result in shots that are too high, too low, too far left, etc. You may miss your subject matter completely! After a few times its quite easy to figure out how to aim the camera. Remember, this is digital so you might as well "spray and pray" a little bit. You can always erase what didn't work out.

I don't over-think the image when shooting. If something is driving me to press the shutter button then I will. That something must be pretty important. Did I miss shots because I wasn't ready? Yes. Did I miss shots because AF was unable to lock. Yes. Did many shots not work out and were erased? Yes. I posted 29 images but many more were taken. Many were not posted because they are "memory snapshots" for me to help me remember my trip. They serve no purpose on flickr. Many more were deleted along the way because they don't offer any value.

Lens and Swapping
I took the 01, 02, 03, and 06 lenses with me. The majority of my shots were done with the 02 because it offers a good flexible range. When I needed close focusing capabilities then I used the 01. The 06 is my favorite lens but it is a special purpose lens. It can't focus very close. I used the 03 lens sometimes. It offers a near circular fish eye view in RAW images before the JPG engine crops and stretches the images. I barely used it here.

Swapping lenses is easy. They are tiny and easy to hold. Hang the camera around your next. Grab your next lens in your left hand and with that hand press the lens release button. Grab the old lens with the right hand and mount the new lens with the left hand. Quick and simple.

Processing
Today I use Capture One to create my JPG files. Before that, I used to use Aperture. The software changed but my recipe for Q shots did not. I always add a little bit of contrast, saturation, and clarity. Using layers to brush in exposure compensation, contrast, and saturation in certain areas is a must and depends on the individual shot. C1 is capable of recovering a huge amount of highlights and shadows detail from the Q7. This is due to C1's superior processing and the Q7's sensor ability to register the colors in the 2^12 bit range.

Hmm... that's all that comes to mind.
07-31-2015, 01:02 AM   #10
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 151
QuoteOriginally posted by mano Quote
Did you have to do that? Since last week I have been fighting with myself over the Q-S1 kit with the 02 and 06 zooms - and I just had decided I don't really need it!

Great pictures, by the way.
Why did I even pretend to have a chance here? Q-S1 black is on it's way with both zooms. I'd have preferred the Gun-Metal-Red variant, but this one was available on Amazon Warehouse Deals and while I like a nifty design the most important thing are the pictures and in this case a 200 difference.

Now I got my original Q and a 02 zoom to spare. Hmm, no I will not give away the Q!
07-31-2015, 06:36 AM   #11
Site Supporter
6BQ5's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,070
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by mano Quote
Why did I even pretend to have a chance here? Q-S1 black is on it's way with both zooms. I'd have preferred the Gun-Metal-Red variant, but this one was available on Amazon Warehouse Deals and while I like a nifty design the most important thing are the pictures and in this case a 200 difference.

Now I got my original Q and a 02 zoom to spare. Hmm, no I will not give away the Q!
Do you have the 01 or 06? Trade the original Q and extra lens for something you don't have.
07-31-2015, 07:21 AM   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
pacerr's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Henry, TN
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,880
QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Trade the original Q and extra lens for something you don't have.
I concur with this. If you're new to the Q's, two bodies with immediate access to two lenses is quite satisfying -- especially while you're learning the system. But once you've gotten comfortable with 'em the out-of-the-ordinary lens options will catch your attention -- and then you'll want both the lenses AND the bodies anyway. Give up early and enjoy the ride.
07-31-2015, 07:38 AM   #13
Site Supporter
CWRailman's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Photos: Albums
Posts: 503
QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Thanks for the positive responses, everyone! They are very appreciated.

Here is some text on my shooting methodology. .............

.
I really appreciate you taking the time to put into words and share your shooting/processing information. I wish more folks would do that. It might assist those getting acquainted with the Q series of cameras.
07-31-2015, 07:54 AM   #14
Loyal Site Supporter
paulh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DFW Texas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,331
Thanks for such an informative and entertaining post! Great photos, btw
07-31-2015, 10:33 AM   #15
Veteran Member
clockworkrat's Avatar

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Black Isle, Scotland
Posts: 405
That does look fun, but I'm not seeing anything to steer me away from my 1st gen Sony RX100.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
amsterdam, camera, flickr, lens, lenses, mirrorless, netherlands, pentax q, pentax q10, pentax q7, photography, q-s1, q10, q7, spider, street
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is the K-01 the perfect holiday camera? LensBeginner Pentax K-01 11 04-02-2015 05:53 AM
The Q7 Complete Kit Camera Bag Marktax Pentax Q 5 02-06-2014 11:21 AM
Sirui T-025x Review - The Perfect Travel Tripod? Heie Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 12 12-18-2013 01:27 PM
Is the Ricoh GR the "Perfect" Street Photography Camera & Travel Companion? douglasgottlieb Ricoh GR 6 10-18-2013 02:01 PM
Perfect Future Travel Lens Set? Loren E Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 20 01-02-2011 06:44 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:53 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top