6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great value for money, 7 Oct. 2012
I am a keen amateur photographer and I own a Nikon D40 DSLR as well as a Canon S90 compact. The Canon I bought mostly for my wife to use as she was not keen on using my bulkier SLR. I have used the Canon quite a lot as well because it is much easier to slip into a bag or pocket when we go out and I don't feel like lugging along the SLR. However, the Canon always felt too much like a point-and-shoot to me, despite it being an "expert" compact with many manual control options. As the Canon is used mostly by my wife, I have been looking for a small, but DSLR like camera to carry with me to work during the day so that I can snap pictures whenever I feel like, and the Pentax Q looked like just the camera I wanted when it first came out.
However, I was put off by the very high price and the very negative reviews I saw of it on most photography sites. Then a few days ago I walked into my local electronics store and they had five brand new white Pentax Q cameras at a very low price. It was just too good a price for me to walk away from it and I bought one on the spot, figuring that if it was really that bad, at least the price I paid was very low and secondly, it couldn't be that bad could it?
After three days of use all I can say is that this little gem is providing me with more fun than any of the other cameras I ever owned and I just can't stop taking pictures. I didn't bother to fit the neck strap as it is just so small and compact that I prefer holding it in one fist or slipping it into my pocket to be ready for quick snaps, no strap and no bag.
Looks wise this little camera is just gorgeous, it looks better than most cameras out there, like a mini Leica or range finder camera with a sort of retro look. Two main things are important to me in a camera apart from looks and of course the most important is image quality, and secondly the set of features and how to acces them. I am not a fan of cameras where all of the settings have to be accessed via menus, I love cameras with a knurled knob for changing between P, S, A and M modes. The Pentax Q is spot on in this regard. Quick access to main settings, including white balance and exposure compensation, the rest being accessed by easy to understand menus. I didn't touch the manual for the first two days and only eventually looked at it to see how to change the size of the AF area.
Image quality is very very good. Of course bigger sensor cameras with better lenses might beat the Q's image quality if you really look closely, but I did some side by side tests with my Nikon DSLR with a really good prime lens and I can honestly say that 90% of people out there will not see the difference. I took pictures of the same objects with the two cameras, one after the other, and then looked at different areas of the pictures in detail blown up to between 200 and 500%. Apart from some differences due to processing and color settings etc., there is hardly any difference in image quality between the cameras and in some cases it can be argued that the Q performs better than the DSLR.
Although the Q is small, it is quite heavy in the hand, it's really built like a tank. It feels like a real camera and handles like one as well. I am 6'4" tall and have big hands, yet the Q is incredibly easy to handle, even the minute buttons don't pose any problems.
I don't know if I would give it five stars at its old price, but at the prices that you pick them up nowadays this camera is a steal. If you want to really delve into technicalities such as purple fringing, barrel distortion, reaction times etc. and compare with other cameras, by all means visit the review sites where they do in-depth technical reviews. However, don't let minor technicalities let you miss out on one of the best photographic experiences out there.
I know that from now on my DSLR will be taken out a few times a year, however the Q will be with me all the time. I simply love it and am actually thinking of getting a second one.
I recommend this little camera without any hesitation.