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08-30-2016, 05:49 AM   #1
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To Invest in Q System?

Hi everyone, I'll try to make this is as succinct as possible. I am the owner of a Pentax Q and 01, as well as a Ricoh GR. I used to own a K-r and three K mount lenses until they were stolen. I am not very good yet at photography, and my photographic interests are primarily rooted in capturing travel highlights, and also everyday things (as I carry a camera with me everyday - usually the GR).

I went on a trip with only the Q as I didn't have the GR yet, and the photos were mostly alright. I blame myself more than the camera for most issues. I picked up the GR for recent trip and those photos were fairly good (again accounting for my skills), but there were some instances where I would have liked to have been able to change lenses. I plan on doing more traveling in the not so far future, and am at an impasse. I don't know whether I should invest more into the Q system, as I don't think there is a resale value for the body itself, or switch systems now while I haven't accrued much gear. I'm very much a window shopper of camera gear, and I'm very intrigued by the Panasonic GM-5 (7 when it comes out), GX8 and GX85, as well as the Fuji system. The reason I don't know what to do, is that I felt like I missed a lot with the Q, and while it is fair to blame my skills for many of the photos, I did find that there were some where the settings would indicate that the photo should have turned out, but didn't. But I already have the body, a lens and am a fan of Pentax/Ricoh, the size factor and non-attention seeking profile of the Q.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and if questions like this have already been asked, my bad.

08-30-2016, 06:20 AM   #2
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I'm gonna go ahead and quote chase jarvis "the best camera is the one you have on you"
so if you think the Q is the camera your gonna have on hand most of the time, then its worth picking up the 02 lens and thats it, the other lens after that lack the leaf shutter and nd filter, and only a collector or someone suffering from gear acquisition syndrome would get the full set and that money is better spent on experiences, not gear.
08-30-2016, 06:37 AM   #3
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Currently I would say not to invest in Q system. That is to say, as you would see it as a long lasting relation. Would you stumble up on a Q-7 or Q-S1 with the 02 zoom for a friendly price.......then with your 01 prime you would have a nice set to go for a few years.

If you invest.......then going with gx85 would maybe make a nice small set.
08-30-2016, 06:42 AM   #4
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Agreed, the -01 and -02 is a pretty good Q kit. Maybe the fisheye. Beyond that, for long distance or specialty work I would use a full DSLR or Bridge.

Beyond that, it's practice, practice, practice. Even if you delete images. You may need to find the mode which works best for you, certainly the Q has plenty of operator options.

Is it a camera for action shots? No, probably not. For casual use and artistic work, absolutely it has everything you need.

I'll also recommend you get lens hoods for your lenses. It does make a difference.

08-30-2016, 07:12 AM   #5
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I have a Q-7 plus 01, 02, 06 lenses. I have trouble taking pictures in sunlight with an LCD, so I also have a Hoodman loupe, which essentially turns the LCD into a viewfinder. When I bought that kit, my primary camera was a Canon Rebel, but the Rebel unexpectedly died six months later. By that time, however, the "Q" had proven itself, and I was completely comfortable using it as my only camera until I found a Pentax K-30 at a price I was willing to pay; I even went to my younger daughter's final graduation {Masters degree} with that as my only camera. In the time since I got the K-30, roughly half the pictures I've taken were taken with the Q-7.
08-30-2016, 07:21 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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A new camera is not going to make you a better photographer. Your money is better spent taking a photography class and learning the fundamentals of exposure and composition if you don't already know or practice them.

With practice, the Q is capable of producing magazine-quality images.

Maine photos in RoadRUNNER Magazine
by John Flores, on Flickr

08-30-2016, 07:52 AM   #7

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QuoteOriginally posted by ASP Quote
The reason I don't know what to do, is that I felt like I missed a lot with the Q, and while it is fair to blame my skills for many of the photos, I did find that there were some where the settings would indicate that the photo should have turned out, but didn't. But I already have the body, a lens and am a fan of Pentax/Ricoh, the size factor and non-attention seeking profile of the Q.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Over the past year or so,
I have been using the Q system a lot,
particularly the 08 and 06 lenses on Q7 bodies,
either on their own for casual photography,
or as a compact way to extend the range of a DSLR with a normal zoom for travel.

The IQ is comparable with what APS-C gave just over a decade ago.
So if that's good enough for what you need, I'd strongly recommend it.

What you've called the "non-attention seeking profile of the Q" is a major factor for me.
I've been able to use the Q in situations where any bigger camera would have been intrusive.

Can you identify why you feel you "missed a lot with the Q"?
Some users want an eye-level finder,
but photographers worked successfully with waist-level finders
on SLRs and TLRs for years.

Last edited by lytrytyr; 08-31-2016 at 04:57 AM. Reason: Typo corrected
08-30-2016, 08:06 AM   #8
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I think it's OK to dive into the Q ecosystem as long as you do it eyes wide open.

1. The system is small but complete. Zoom lenses are available that cover from wide to tele. Everyone always wants more lenses - who doesn't? - but I don't think you'll find yourself lacking in focal length. Quality of the lenses ranges from OK (02 zoom and 03 fisheye) to excellent (01 prime and 06 and 08 zooms). Personally, I don't lust for any new lenses in the Q ecosystem.

2. Ricoh hasn't updated the Q in quite a while. A lack of updates shouldn't mean anything one way or another. Scissors, pencils, shoes, and beach towels haven't been updated in a long time as well along with ground beef, milk, and cucumbers. I still enjoy all those things today as I did yesteryear.

3. The sensor tech is dated and limited compared to today's more modern units. That doesn't mean it's bad. Just be aware that the Q is not for low light, fast focusing, action shots. Get a DSLR or something else if that's what you're looking for. It's a creative tool. Use it properly and you'll be rewarded. Don't be afraid to experiment either.

4. Speaking of experimentation, this camera nearly begs you to experiment and "take the shot". What's the worst that could happen? You miss the shot? It's blurry? So what - erase it and try again. The camera is an underdog but still wants a chance to succeed. It's so small and compact that it go with you unnoticed in places where a DSLR would be an elephant in the room. The Q with an 06 lens fits in the palm of a hand - and that's with a lens hood! Try that in any other system.

5. Going further with experimentation, the Q is meant to be fun to use. You should enjoy pressing that shutter button. You will use a fun camera more often than a boring camera. If a Q tickles you the right way then go for it and forget what other people say. Don't let the tech specs dissuade you.

On paper the Q is an expensive camera when compared to other systems. Don't be shy to look at other systems and understand the alternatives. I think the u4/3 system is going to rule the world of "small" one day if it doesn't already. It won't be as small as a Q but maybe small enough for people to easily take where they want to go. You have to really want the quirkiness of a Q to justify it. I have a Q and a u4/3 system. The two compliment each other quite nicely.

You have to really want the quirkyness of a Q system to buy into it and enjoy it. Otherwise, it will sit on your shelf like an old book. Buy what you will shoot.

08-30-2016, 08:53 AM   #9
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For me the Q is all about having a lens that plays to its strengths and makes it handle best. Starting with the 02 zoom lens it was (for me) a dog--although the lens is capable enough. When I got the 04 lens (35 mm equivalent) and a 35 mm optical view finder, it became my full time/always with me camera--except for my theater work.

I have since added the 03 fish eye and 01 prime. But the 35mm equivalent lens, taped to a position: 2nd left bold mark on my lens (and the fish eye) that covers maybe 7 feet to infinity, and the optical viewfinder, does 2/3 of the pictures; and the remaining 1/3 with the fish eye (which was a surprise/something I would not have expected); and only rarely the 01 (50 mm equivalent) prime.

But it is the fact that I can stick the camera and additional lense(s) in my jacket pocket, and that w/ the 04 lens it is my "older Leica" as regards handling and image quality. If you do A to B image comparisons there is likely lots of optically better stuff, but I think mostly this mind set/such comparative testing are not a good idea. There is always something better (optically)--but would you know/care if you did not do this test?

Last edited by dms; 08-30-2016 at 09:34 AM. Reason: clarify about setting distance
08-30-2016, 09:37 AM   #10
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I have 2 original Qs and a 01, myself. I took the Q to Europe and Iceland, and it did a great job. I really loved the Q and had forsaken my K-5 outfit for that little camera... However, I found that the Q is a bit slow in operation, and I was missing shots and occasionally getting out of focus images, so I switched to Micro Four Thirds (I still have the Q, however).

I understand your interest in the Panasonic GM-5, as I was originally tempted to replace my Q with the GM-1. The GM-5, of course, has the advantage of an electronic viewfinder, so in my mind, that's a home run. However, do not expect a GM-7 to be released, as the GM series has been discontinued. That doesn't mean that it would be unwise to invest in it, as the prices are coming down now as retailers clear them out (B+H appear to be out of stock, but Adorama was running sales on them recently), and Micro Four Thirds is a very good system with a future that you can grow into. Compact, powerful, great image quality, and the number of bodies and lenses available far outnumber the options for the Q (I feel that Pentax has all but abandoned the Q these last couple years...).

The GM-1 and GM-5 are nearly the same size as the Q, but have much larger sensors. Panasonic cameras, however, do not feature in body image stabilization, which may be a consideration for many. I have also found that on the Olympus M43 cameras, the menus are nowhere near as user friendly and intuitive as on Pentax cameras. It's been a while since I've handled a Panasonic M43, so I cannot comment on their menus - I vaguely remember them as being better than Oly's... There are great prices on the Olympus OMD EM10 II right now as well, which is a great entry level camera with electronic viewfinder.

It's a difficult choice, to be sure. It's always been hard for me when I've swapped systems. Although I am primarily a M43 user now, I visit Pentax Forums nearly every day. This is the best photography community anywhere. the knowledge and friendliness of the people here should be the model for all forums everywhere.

Last edited by emergo; 08-30-2016 at 01:11 PM.
08-30-2016, 11:16 AM   #11
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I have the Oly EM10 and I agree that the menu system and info menu system is nowhere near as slick and polished as it is in Pentax-land. As Av mode shooter I really don't need a lot so I configured the camera once when I received it and left it alone ever since. What do I need to reconfigure anyways? I have a way to change ISO and aperture. The camera uses contrast based AF so continuous AF is lacking and the need for burst frames is minimal. In the unlikely event I want to experiment with all that then I can make myself muddle through the menus. Otherwise the M10 is an excellent single AF, single shot camera with sensor performance coming very very close to a K-3 in many regards. It will run circles around the Q ... but a u4/3 body with a lens is significantly bigger than an equivalent Q. You have to ask yourself how big are you willing to go and still consider it "small".
08-30-2016, 12:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Agreed, the -01 and -02 is a pretty good Q kit. Maybe the fisheye. Beyond that, for long distance or specialty work I would use a full DSLR or Bridge.
I think the opposite:

I like 06 on my Q. the prim is OK, but I dislike the wide zoom lens. There are usually much more small details in photos taken from wider lens and Q7's sensor is not very good in resolving them. You can see the limit by viewing at screen size; while for long lens, we usually blur the background to separate the objective. So the fine details are not as much as in wide angle photos. BTW, 06 can blur the background pretty well if background is not too close!

plus, carrying a Q7 with 06 can so dramatically save the weight and space in the bag! imaging K5+ 50-135 vs Q7+ 06.
08-30-2016, 12:45 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by emergo Quote
This is the best photography community anywhere. the knowledge and friendliness of the people here should be the model for all forums everywhere.
Agreed, and thank you everyone who responded. You have all given me lots to think about. There have been some recurring themes in the messages.

Firstly, that the camera may not be for my intended style of shooting, as of now. Aside from the form factor, I think it would be better suited for someone who shoots in a more artistic way than I do. But since I have the GR, I may not need to worry about the Q as an every day carry camera.

Secondly, that my skills may be culprit of the missed shots. Up until now, I just always assumed as much, but never really gave it much thought. johnmflores's suggestion that I take classes or practice fundamentals instead of new gear is a great idea, and I think it will be the next step. However, as others have pointed, the missed shots are also more likely from not knowing the camera's limitations (and expecting more). That is an entirely fair point and something I have to learn.

Thank you all again, I appreciate all the feedback, I think I'll be waiting to purchase any new gear, and instead actually focus on learning both the craft and the system (instead of hoping it will just "get better" with time). But when I do, I know I'll have to re-visit this situation again. I think DMS you made a good point about searching out IQ tests, which is something else to think about. For now though, Q + GR is what I'll stick with.
08-30-2016, 12:47 PM   #14

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QuoteOriginally posted by ASP Quote
I'm very intrigued by the Panasonic GM-5 (7 when it comes out), GX8 and GX85
These are 3 quite different sized M43s....small(just smaller than qs)medium(gx85)....and large(for m43)The Gx8 is referred to as "brick like" and is K-01 size and weight.WR too.

The advantage of M43 is the available lenses,theres lots and plenty of 3rd party support as well.The video aspect is excellent too(much better than Q)

The model before the GM5 is the Gm1(its very Q like,no viewfinder)and is a great little cam(the first m43 for me).

The "GM" configuration is no more...speculation is that the small sized Panos will somehow be under G/GX/....with GH remaining for the top end...this also means Pano has dropped the GF.

It would appear the Q system isn't expanding at anywhere near the rate as the M43 system is....the GM5(kit12-32 is very good) would be a good place to start out after selling the Q and 1

Last edited by surfar; 08-30-2016 at 12:57 PM.
08-30-2016, 01:20 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I consider my Q system to be top notch. I recently took a 3 week back country trip following the California Trail from Idaho, through Nevada and into California in my truck camper. I carried two large format cameras and my Q.

The 02 lens was basically all I used with the Q, though I carried my other lenses. That lens is very flexible. I think the photographs turned out terrific and I am in the process of doing the post processing work to build a photo book for my family.

I have any number of cameras to play with but the Q and Q7 are mainstays. If I grab for a digital, it is almost always the Q. It is good enough that I see no need to replace it anytime soon.

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