Pentax Q Compact System Camera with 8.5mm Lens Kit - Black
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- Worlds Smallest and Lightest Compact System Camera
- 12MP CMOS back-illuminated, high sensitivity sensor
- Continuous shooting 5 frames/sec
- 3" High Definition LCD Screen
- Full HD Video, 30 fps
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Colour: Black (8.5mm Lens Kit)
Pentax Q SLR Camera Black 8.5mm Lens Kit 12MP 3.0LCD FHD
The PENTAX Q is the most compact and lightest of the Compact System cameras in the world. Thanks to PENTAX’s high knowledge in digital SLR development, the user can easily enjoy very high-quality pictures, and a full array of features only available on SLRs and Compact System cameras.
The world’s smallest, lightest camera body, featuring newly developed Q mount system
The PENTAX Q features the newly developed Q mount, with a mount diameter shortened to approximately two-thirds of that of the conventional K mount. This was made possible by reducing the flange back (the distance from the lens mount surface to the image sensor surface) to nearly one-fifth of that of the K mount, as well as by optimising the size of image circle of its lenses to be proportioned to the size of the compact image sensor. The Q mount system also eliminates an optical finder, mirror box, focusing plate and AF sensor, making the PENTAX Q’s body the smallest and lightest in its class. The body has been made of magnesium-alloy, which gives an elegant, high-quality texture to the compact, lightweight camera body while improving its durability.
Exceptional image quality delivered by digital interchangeable lens system camera
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with back illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor, which delivers beautiful, high-resolution images with approximately 12.4 effective megapixels. This is made possible by its high efficient light gathering optical construction that assures excellent high sensitivity and low noise characteristics and high speed readout of image data signals. The PENTAX Q also features a new generation imaging engine integrating the best of PENTAX’s state-of-the-art digital imaging technologies, developed and accumulated over many years of digital SLR camera development. By coupling this imaging engine with exclusively designed high performance Q mount lenses, the PENTAX Q delivers clear, high contrast images rich in gradation and texture, even at edges. With high sensitivity noise minimized, the photographer can use the entire sensitivity range — from ISO 125 to the highest ISO 6400 — without worrying about annoying digital noise. By taking advantage of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) function that produces one composite photo from multiple images, it’s easy to create beautiful images with an extra wide dynamic range and free of white-washed and blacked-out areas.
Innovative creative tool to add personal touches to the images with great ease
The PENTAX Q offers a totally new style of photo shooting. By coupling the new Smart Effect function offering nine distinctive visual expressions via the easy access Quick-Dial positioned on the camera’s front panel, the photographer can effortlessly add a desired finishing touch to an image, while previewing the effect on the LCD monitor. The Quick-Dial has four positions, to which four favourite Smart Effect modes can be assigned in advance. The ever-popular Custom Image and Digital Filter functions have been further enhanced to provide an even greater range of image processing tools. In order to customize the PENTAX Q to accommodate specific shooting styles and user preferences, the user can also assign other options such as a custom image setting, a digital filter or an aspect ratio setting to the Quick-Dial.
Smart Effect modes
- Brilliant Colour: Creates a lively atmosphere by raising the saturation level almost to the point of Colour saturation.
- Uni-Colour Bold: Creates an extremely high contrast image that retains one particular Colour in the image.
- Vintage Colour: Produces a toy-camera-like effect, with a choice of several different finishing touches.
- Cross Processing: Produces a unique image with unusual colours, as if treated with the cross processing used in film photography.
- Warm Fade: Creates a low contrast image with the white balance slightly shifted to pink shades.
- Tone Expansion: Produces a dramatic image with an artistic finishing touch, close to an intensified HDR (High Dynamic Range) effect.
- Bold Monochrome: Produces a low-key, high contrast image with enhanced sharpness.
- Water Colour: Creates a watercolour-like finishing touch.
- Vibrant Colour Enhance: Creates a flowery atmosphere with slightly enhanced contrast.
- USER: Used to enter a user-selected combination of custom image mode and a digital filter.
High quality, Full HD movie recording
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with a Full HD movie recording function employing the H.264 recording format, allowing user to capture high quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The user can also take advantage of interchangeable Q-mount lenses to produce distinctive perspectives, or make effective use of the Smart Effect modes and other in-body movie editing tools to produce creative, dramatic visual expressions with great ease, even during movie recording. The PENTAX Q also provides a micro-HDMI terminal (type D), which allows the user to simultaneously output both Full HD movie clips and sound to external devices via a single terminal.
Effortless Bokeh control
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with newly developed bokeh control function, which allows user to capture the image with obtrusive objects in the field of view optimally defocused. With this function, the camera will automatically judge the focused subject as well as relative distance of each object from the camera in the field of view to apply optimal defocus effect to each object to stand out the main subject(s). This function will allow even a first-time digital photographer to easily capture the images with such effects as background defocus or foreground defocus that otherwise require certain extent of familiarity with the photography.
SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images
The PENTAX Q incorporates the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which automatically shifts the CMOS image sensor to offset camera shake detected by the camera’s motion sensor. As a result, the PENTAX Q produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions that are prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark without flash illumination, or capturing landscapes in the twilight. Therefore, whatever lens mounted on the PENTAX Q, it does not need to be stabilized, which is a subsequent financial advantage for the user.
Dependable features available only with digital interchangeable lens cameras
The PENTAX Q offers a host of user-friendly, functional features available only with digital interchangeable-lens cameras. Its top shutter speed of 1/2000 second freezes the decisive moment of the subject’s action. To accommodate user preferences and varying photographic applications, it also offers a choice of four different exposure modes: the user-friendly Programmed AE (P) mode that automatically selects an optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed; the Aperture-Priority AE (AV) and Shutter-Priority AE (TV) modes that allow the photographer to faithfully reproduce specific creative intentions on resulting images; and the Metered Manual (M) mode. It even allows the photographer to instantly switch from the P mode to the AV or TV mode with a simple turn of an electronic dial.
Large, wide view LCD monitor
The PENTAX Q features a large, easy-to-view, high resolution 3.0-inch Colour LCD monitor with approximately 460,000 dots. Its wide view design assures a clear view of the monitor from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, making it particularly useful in low and high angle shooting.
Dependable DRII mechanism for effective dust removal
The PENTAX Q’s DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism effectively prevents annoying dust spots from spoiling captured images, even after the user changes lenses out in the open. Like PENTAX’s K-5 and 645D digital SLR cameras, it incorporates highly effective supersonic vibration mechanism, which vibrates image sensor at high speed to shake the dust off its surface.
High speed continuous shooting at approximately five images per second
The PENTAX Q’s high speed burst shooting mode allows the photographer to record up to five images (in JPEG recording format) in a single sequence, at a maximum speed of approximately five images per second. This mode comes in handy when trying to preserve the action of fast-moving subjects in a series of images.
Built-in auto flash with pop-up mechanism
The PENTAX Q comes with a built-in auto flash (guide number 7 at ISO 200/m). The photographer can either use it at the default position, or raise it to the pop-up position with simple operation to widen its discharge angle to cover a 28mm angle of view (in the 35mm format).
Top customer reviews
Are you used to using a DSLR? When you have left your DSLR at home and taken a compact camera instead, what did you find most frustrating about using the compact camera?
A) Image quality and high ISO performance that doesn't compare to your DSLR
B) The functionality of the camera. The lack of a hot shoe. The lack of raw. The lack of lens choice. The lack of external buttons and controls so that you have to keep accessing the menu to make changes to your settings.
If you answered B, this camera is for you. Despite its tiny size, the feels very much like A DSLR, in terms of its functionality etc. It is just a joy to use.
It is fair to say the Q got mixed reviews. Lots of people didn't know what to make of the Q, or how to categorise it. Others recognised that it was not like any other camera you can buy. Some tried to make comparisons, and claimed that it didn't compare favourably, and criticised it. Others recognised that it was unique, and loved it.
Most reviews compared it to CSC cameras, and complained that image quality - and particularly high ISO performance - was not quite as good as the competition. But those cameras are much bigger than the Q. And even when Sony manage to get their cameras unbelievably small (given the size of the sensors) the lenses remain relatively large. The small size of the Q's sensor allows them to use tiny lenses.
So other reviews compared the camera to high end compacts, which have similar size sensors, and many reviewers concluded that image was quality similar. But of course these cameras don't have interchangeable lenses, and don't go anywhere near as wide as the Q's fish eye lens - not to mention the other benefits of the Q.
Not many cameras this size have a hot shoe for a flash unit. My favourite book on flash photography is this one:
On-Camera Flash Techniques for Wedding and Portrait Photography
With a small flash like this one Metz 24-AF1 Digital Flashgun for Pentax and a hot shoe flash lead you can do (almost) everything discussed in this book with this tiny camera. (And because you will be using flash, the fact that the high ISO performance can't compare with DSLRs won't be a major consideration.)
Also, many of the smaller CSC cameras sacrifice external controls to help keep the camera small, so settings have to be changed through the menu. Given its size, the Q has a surprising number of external buttons for easy access.
The Q, however, really becomes a unique camera when you combine it with K mount adapter, to use Pentax K mount lenses (though it also becomes a manual focus only camera).
One review tested the Q for macro shots, and commented that the Q didn't have a dedicated macro lens. But, combined with a K mount adapter, the Q becomes a great camera for macro, capable of taking amazing photos of insects etc.
See the picture of the spider on this forum
Similarly, when combined with a K mount adapter, a 50mm lens takes you as close to your subject as a 200mm lens would on an entry level DSLR. On what other camera can you get a 200mm 1.4 lens?
See the picture of the moon on this forum: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-q/194467-pentax-q-real-world-user-review.html
Depth of field
The small sensor also gives you more depth of field in your photo (more of the shot is in focus). Admittedly, this is a disadvantage as often as it is an advantage. In some cases (with macro and extreme telephoto for example) this may be seen as a real advantage.
So, in short, if you want this to do what a compact camera does, you will probably be better off getting a compact camera.
If you compare this to a DSLR, the DSLR will win (unless you compare it in terms of size, or if you compare in terms of cheap and light weight telephoto and macro capabilities).
If you compare it to other CSC cameras, it will be simply be a question of what you value most: the best image quality and high ISO capability or being as tiny as possible, while still giving you interchangeable lenses and a hot shoe for a flash.
But the Q qualities of the Q are missed if you compare it to other cameras, asking if it can compete with a DSLR for shallow depth of field, or if its image quality competes other CSC cameras at high ISO.
The real strengths of the Q are in areas where other cameras simply cannot compete with it. A tiny camera that is not limited to point and shoot, can shoot in RAW, has a hot shoe, has a fish eye lens, functions much like an entry level DSLR (with similar controls and external buttons), has tiny lenses that you can carry in a pocket, and which becomes an entirely different camera when fitted with a K mount adapter.
If reviewers simply have a set of standard tests they go through, the Q often doesn't compare well with other cameras. Typically, the reviewers who were the most enthusiastic about the Q were those reviewers who didn't simply do a set of tests, reporting the results, but who actually used the camera.
Also, the price has dropped significantly. You can often find it new, with the 8.5 prime lens, for under £200.
- smallest compact system with interchangeable lenses
- great standard standard prime lens with f/1.9 maximum aperture
- great image quality despite the sensor size
- built is very close to my Ricoh GR Digital
- controls are like a Pentax DSLR
Things that could be improved:
- more proper (not toy) lenses like a 28mm and 85mm equivalent prime
- include a lens hood
- make automatic distortion correction work with DNG files in Aperture 3 (this might be Apple's job)
Overall, a highly recommended camera and system!
If your not currently a photography enthusiast, skip to the last paragraph, this will only bore you.
I'll briefly mention the lenses, they are both auto-focus lenses, the prime has some lovely characteristics, but remember that with a sensor this small your not going to be getting low DoF (Depth of Field, how much of the image is in focus) effects going on, well not naturally, however the Q has something up its sleeve for this.
The tele lens I'd recommend because after playing with the wide 6.3mm lens aka toy lens 04, I wouldn't recommend the 6.3, get the tele. It has auto-focus, and remarkably less noticeable barrel distortion than the prime?! If this is just a case of the the tele having better in body correction I don't know, but I would recommend someone getting this cheaper bundle with the telephoto, and forgetting the 6.3mm.
With lenses its worth noting you can fit via attachment rings available as of writing this review Cannon, Pentax and Nikon mount lenses on here. Just remember the crop factor is over five times!
The cameras performance in low light is remarkably good for such a small sensor, sure owners of the K-5 or D7000 grade sensors aren't going to be reaching for a Q to take high quality snaps, but thats not really the point.
Which brings me on to what I think the point of this camera is, quick snaps, and quick fun. All of the in body effects even a complete amateur could manage in photoshop / lightroom after a quick search of howoto videos on youtube, however its nice to quickly get a very acceptable quality snap and see it right there and then.
The fact it has a 'Blur Control' or 'Bokeh Control' if you rather, on the function dial should help explain the purpose of this camera. Sure the sensor is so small you can't have fun with DoF in the way you can with your nifty fifty lens, not a problem, its taken care of in body. Start having some fun.
Want to capture a simple HDR scene, not an issue, want HDR at night, yes its done, easily in body. The scene modes go beyond what you find in most cameras, its not a case of just cranking the staturation in sunset. I for one like this. I like 'chimping' the art of taking a digital picture, looking at the instant preview and making an 'oogh' sound. This camera is perfect for that, you will see quickly if your HDR shot isn't quite capturing the scene you want, and you can take another, something which is a lot harder if your planning on doing all of this work later.
Yet the quality that comes from these SCN mode pictures isn't half bad either, you will have no problems printing a super A3 from any of the images this mode generates, which is good, because I'm that awful type who obsesses more over the technical flaws of the image whilst neglecting the composition, so thats good. However I'm not going to think about getting rid of my 'proper' DSLR anytime soon.
TLDR: So would I recommend one? Depends who it is for. If you've not got a DSLR, want something to say take travelling then yes, this is pretty much perfect, the only thing lacking is Pentax's normally high quality weather resistant build quality. If your wanting to get in to digital photography, then probably no, despite the small size been attractive for some people its damned expensive and there are comparatively few lenses available. If you already own a DSLR but love gadgetry it's a much harder decision, if you want something which you can have a lot of fun with, take with you when you don't want the whole DSLR kit then maybe, but otherwise everything you can do with this camera, you can do with your proper one, better, it will just take longer.
For me it's perfect, I already have a K-5 and a k20d, I can use my flash guns, even share lenses with the aftermarket adapter, thou my ultra wide angle becomes a telephoto. I can take 'snaps' which are HDR with maybe 4 seconds of effort, see the result immediately.