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10-27-2017, 01:56 AM   #1
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Would you recommend the Q7 for a beginner?

Hi!

I am considering in buying either the Q7 or the Q-S1, for casual photography. I've only had point and shoots in the past, but I've grabbed some DSLRs and am not completely iliterate when it comes to basic rules like aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc etc.

Would you say the Q series is a good choice in 2017 (to be honest might as well say 2018, we're some steps away from November)? One thing I keep reading is the sensor size and that support for it has pretty much been dropped. Is it going to considerably set me back, compared to an entry level DSLR? I mean, in ebay, a Q7 or a Q-S1 costs as much, if not more, than some entry level DLSRs from these two you-know-who companies from the photography business. Should I just buy an entry level, DSLR? Is the difference considerable when it comes to image quality?

I really like the Q series because of the portability, but if its going to sacrifice considerable image quality compared to an entry level DSLR that costs pretty much the same, I might rethink it. I've seen some photographers in flickr that use Q series with their stock lenses and I must say they look extremely good! But still, I wanted to ask you guys.

Thank you!

10-27-2017, 02:29 AM   #2
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The Q does sacrifice quite a bit of image quality compared to DSLRs. It has its moments, but overall this isn't a camera I'd recommend to someone who's just starting out (the main appeal is being able to adapt larger lenses for crazy reach/magnification, and even this requires really good technique and a lot of practice).

My personal recommendation would be the Sony RX100, mark III or higher if you want a viewfinder. It's pretty much an all-in-one solution, features manual settings as well as a really good auto mode, and it slips in your pocket. It has a 1" sensor, which is a good compromise between size and performance.

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10-27-2017, 05:29 AM   #3
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Henry,

unless you want to print bigger than 11 x 18 inch,
I woould recommend the Q7 or Q-S1 for a very portable system,
including fish-eye, super-wide, and wide-aperture telephoto.

I use two Q7s, one with the 08 wide zoom and one with the 06 tele zoom,
to bracket an APS-C DSLR when I'm traveling,
or alone for a small and versatile walk-around package.

A camera like the Sony Adam recommended doesn't go very wide,
and the aperture is very narrow at the telephoto end.

OTOH, if something like that Sony does all that you're likely to want,
it could be a better option for you.
10-27-2017, 05:40 AM   #4
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The Q line is practically discontinued, although still present in the Pentax catalog. It's really difficult to recommend a product having no future development to a beginner.

For a beginner, the best still is an entry level DSLR. Plenty are available both new and used at very affordable prices. They're very versatile and offer room to grow and explore things. The systems are all mature and will allow you to try almost anything in photography. The Q system is much more limited in what it can do, although still much better than a P&S.

10-27-2017, 05:41 AM   #5
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How about Pentax K-S1? Very compact, new generation sensor (good quality sharpness, very low noise, good low light performance), lots of lens choices, good viewfinder..
user reviews: Pentax K-S1 - Pentax K-mount DSLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
forum review: Pentax K-S1 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
If I was starting today, I would get the K-S1.

The Q is a very niche product. If you can get it at a good price and know what you are getting into, sure It is super compact and allows you to switch lenses, and it has lots of functionality above a P&S. Of course, this means you need to learn how to use it (same goes for all DSLRs). Once you know how to use it, what settings to use, then you get results better than a P&S. But if you just pick up a higher tier camera, you won't immediately get much better photos than a P&S. Its like going from a small automatic car to a manual race car. You can do more with it, but you have to know how. This forum is a good resource to learn, though
10-27-2017, 06:15 AM   #6
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I have the K-S1 and I think the K-S1 or K-S2 are wonderful DSLRs for beginners - affordable for the image quality you get, they are also quite small and still have a lot of features you can use as your knowledge grows. They are not the current model so they're being sold for less than a K-70, but still easy to find in stores.

I also have a much older generation K10D and have had K20D and K-r - all of them have good advantages and very good image quality within their limitations, and are pretty well made and rugged bodies. I learned on the K20D which is a more "semi-pro" body with lots of controls on the body itself, and it was a very good experience to learn with that. So another option would be to find an older, affordable body like the K-5, it would be a wonderful learning tool. It's still quite small compared to similar offerings from other camera makers, but it will be quite a bit bigger than the point and shoots you are used to - so if you decide one year from now that you'd like something smaller like the RX100 premium point and shoot that Adam suggested, you can sell it for basically what you paid for it. So if I were you I would at least give DSLRs a try, get one of the smaller ones and see how you like it, you might end up getting hooked
10-27-2017, 06:46 AM   #7
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The Q series has a lot of things going against it on paper. It has a small sensor, slow AF, and no EVF as many premium compacts do nowadays. In reality the Q can produce wonderful images. For example :



That image was processed in Capture One to taste. The bird came out exceptionally sharp. Here is a 100% view of it.



True, this is at base ISO. Most people will be shooting close to base ISO in broad daylight though. They may even need to turn on the ND filter. Image quality will degrade quickly as ISO goes up but the images will still be usable all the way up to ISO 1600.

The greatest feature of the Q is its size. It's tiny! I always like to share this photo.



That is the Q with an 06 lens. This lens gives the Q an equivalent reach of ~200mm in full frame speak. It fits in the palm of my hand!!

So, the Q is great for everyone from beginners to advanced enthusiasts to pros. Its as simple to use as any camera in Auto mode and it provides enough flexibility to grow and develop your skills.

(P.S. I hope my images aren't too dark!)
10-27-2017, 08:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
The Q system is much more limited in what it can do.
I beg to differ: DSLR's come with their own limitations.

The Q system gives you a top-notch superwide zoom and a constant f/2.8 70-200 mm equivalent
that will fit easily as your "personal item" on a regional jet.

And no DSLR fisheye focuses as close as the 03 in the Q system,
or will fit in the confined spaces where a Q7 + 03 will fit.

Again, if you try getting in to a concert with a DSLR and a good telephoto,
you may well come up against another limitation of DSLR's.

Here's another limitation of DSLR's for a beginner:
their AF systems are not 100% dependable.
With the depth of field that the smaller sensor gives you,
you don't have to second-guess the AF on a Q.

10-27-2017, 09:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
I beg to differ: DSLR's come with their own limitations.

The Q system gives you a top-notch superwide zoom and a constant f/2.8 70-200 mm equivalent
that will fit easily as your "personal item" on a regional jet.

And no DSLR fisheye focuses as close as the 03 in the Q system,
or will fit in the confined spaces where a Q7 + 03 will fit.

Again, if you try getting in to a concert with a DSLR and a good telephoto,
you may well come up against another limitation of DSLR's.

Here's another limitation of DSLR's for a beginner:
their AF systems are not 100% dependable.
With the depth of field that the smaller sensor gives you,
you don't have to second-guess the AF on a Q.
I had an original Q and still have and use a Q7. So, I'm quite aware of what it can and can't do and there's no denying it's a great travel kit. But it's main and only advantages over a DSLR are size and weight. If compactness isn't above all other considerations, there's no reason to take a Q over a DSLR or other hybrid systems.

The huge DOF of the Q is rather a big issue for a beginner. It doesn't allow one to learn how to control depth of field nor to experiment much with it. Which is a big problem since it's a basic knowledge every photographer must know very well. Not even talking about the many photography styles relying on limited DOF to make their effect, which are simply out of the realm of what can be achieve with a small sensor camera.

The AF is fine in good light on a still subject. But performance degrades very quickly in not so good light and is awful on a moving subject. Anyway, you can also use CDAF focusing on a DSLR if the situation required it. Any recent DSLR offers liveview focusing which will work as well or better than what is available on the Q. By today hybrid camera standards, the AF system of the Q is quite outdated if not obsolete. Today I would certainly not list the AF of the Q as a pro, rather as a con. Even at its lauch it wasn't a match for any DSLR AF system, it certainly isn't today.

But even then, the simple fact that the Q is now a dead ecosystem makes it hard to recommend to anyone unless it's really dirt cheap. It's much wiser to spend money in a supported system.
10-27-2017, 10:04 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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This is an old school point of view but the best things that a beginner can do to improve as a photographer are:

1. Always carry a camera with them. Shoot a ton and review photos with a critical eye.
2. Learn the basics of lighting and composition with a single focal length normal lens

A Q7 with the 01 Prime would meet these requirements perfectly, better than a DSLR and kit lens that will stay home or in the bag more frequently than the Q.

A Q7 with an 01 Prime is the modern day equivalent of a K1000 film camera with a 50mm F2 lens.

You will grow faster as a photographer with the Q and when you are ready to advance to a bigger camera you can always keep the Q around for fun.
10-27-2017, 10:32 AM   #11
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To cheer on the election .. the other afternoon with the bike, enjoying the 04, 05 and 07 without barely taking up space ...
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10-27-2017, 02:25 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
The huge DOF of the Q is rather a big issue for a beginner. It doesn't allow one to learn how to control depth of field nor to experiment much with it. Which is a big problem since it's a basic knowledge every photographer must know very well. Not even talking about the many photography styles relying on limited DOF to make their effect, which are simply out of the realm of what can be achieve with a small sensor camera.
With the Q, you learn how to compose properly,
and not just blur out the distractions!
QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
The AF is fine in good light on a still subject. But performance degrades very quickly in not so good light and is awful on a moving subject.
With the Q, you handle moving subjects by prefocusing
(the sniper's technique: anticipate and let the subject come to you).
Another opportunity to learn a skill that modern DSLR photographers are missing.
10-27-2017, 03:59 PM   #13
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This might sound dumb, but hear me out....

In your place I would look for a used Q10 or original Q with the modest 02 kit lens. Why? Just because they're available relatively cheap, yet pretty easy to re-sell. If it turns out you love the feel and the DSLR-like control, you can spend the money on a Q7 or QS-1 for the larger, better sensor, and try some other lenses as well. Then sell the first kit. Or keep it as a backup: I have both a Q and Q7, and shoot with both. Between them, they get more use than my K3ii.

As you've seen, it is definitely possible to take great photos with the Q system. In my opinion the real question is, what kind of photographer are you? -- or what kind are you going to be, since you describe yourself as a beginner? Not everyone thinks of tools in the same way. To someone who relishes the control of something that invites interaction and understanding, shooting a Q can be a better experience, and invite better photography, than something with more "distance," so to speak, between the operator and the operation -- even if it boasts better specifications.

Whether the future of the product line is a show stopper is really just your call. It's an endless debate point around here, and one I personally don't worry about.
10-27-2017, 06:20 PM - 3 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
This might sound dumb, but hear me out....

In your place I would look for a used Q10 or original Q with the modest 02 kit lens. Why? Just because they're available relatively cheap, yet pretty easy to re-sell. If it turns out you love the feel and the DSLR-like control, you can spend the money on a Q7 or QS-1 for the larger, better sensor, and try some other lenses as well. Then sell the first kit. Or keep it as a backup: I have both a Q and Q7, and shoot with both. Between them, they get more use than my K3ii.

As you've seen, it is definitely possible to take great photos with the Q system. In my opinion the real question is, what kind of photographer are you? -- or what kind are you going to be, since you describe yourself as a beginner? Not everyone thinks of tools in the same way. To someone who relishes the control of something that invites interaction and understanding, shooting a Q can be a better experience, and invite better photography, than something with more "distance," so to speak, between the operator and the operation -- even if it boasts better specifications.

Whether the future of the product line is a show stopper is really just your call. It's an endless debate point around here, and one I personally don't worry about.
I would like to shoot mostly protraits, street and landscapes with some macros here and there.

Thank you very much for all your replies. Considering all the advantages and disadvantages you guys have placed here, I will consider buying the Q7 if I can find a good deal (Around $230-$250 for a used model, with lens), and then decide for a pricier, bulkier DSLR if I find photography appealing. I strongly feel I need something very compact and lightweight, but that has some artistic flexibility, while being very cheap, and well, printing isn't really something I'm looking forward to, for now, I'd just like to make a flickr album to document all the memories/progress I'm making with my skills.

If I can't find it, I'll go straight for an entry level DSLR, even if I have to pay a bit more.

Thank you all!

Last edited by henryC; 10-27-2017 at 06:25 PM.
10-28-2017, 06:03 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
With the Q, you learn how to compose properly,
and not just blur out the distractions!


With the Q, you handle moving subjects by prefocusing
(the sniper's technique: anticipate and let the subject come to you).
Another opportunity to learn a skill that modern DSLR photographers are missing.
The thing is that you don't need to buy a Q or a DSLR if you only want to learn composition. The OP's P&S can do just fine...

Prefocusing can work, but not always. There's many, many, many situations where prefocusing isn't an option. In fact, most of the time it isn't. As I said above, I own and use Q for years, I know very well what they can do and their limitations.

Last edited by CarlJF; 10-28-2017 at 07:40 AM.
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