Full Pentax Q Review
Irrespective of its overall score, it's hard in order to not warm to the Pentax Q. Not only does it look different, it is different, and for create kudos must go to Pentax for daring to tread a different choice. The Q can deliver solid results when used as a regular digital camera, but this really really excels at may be the ability to deliver effects-laden photography on the soar. The generous number of creative tools and the ease that they can be used mark the Q out as a camera to experiment and have fun with, and that will definitely bolster its appeal to many, irrespective of its inherent limitations. There are undoubtedly better compact system cameras available for photography enthusiasts, but for gadget lovers and casual snappers looking for something smaller than average and fun, the Pentax Q pretty much hits lots of. The $600 price tag is uncompetitive though, and sure to put plenty of people off. Key Features Pentax Q review - Introduction Compact system cameras have been around for just under three years now and while many models have shown promise, none have quite delivered for your promise of an interchangeable-lens camera that'll fit inside a day-to-day coat pocket with room to look. Until now, that is. Looking rather being a miniaturised rangefinder (without a viewfinder), the Pentax Q supplies fresh take onto the compact system genre by combining genuine pocketability with a generous feature-set and wealth of easily accessed creative choices. Working on digital camera truism that bigger sensors require bigger lenses, Pentax has instead produced a decision keep everything as small as possible, and to this end the Q employs a 1/2.3in sensor - merely the same size that's found inside those with tinnitus majority of regular compacts. This allows tiny lenses to get attached to the newly developed Q mount. This unique approach has, somewhat inevitably, led to some raised eyebrows from those who conisder that fitting compact cameras with interchangeable lenses is a spot of a ludicrous suggestion. Those with a more positive outlook, however, may inclined to conisder that advancements in sensor technology in recent years give the Pentax Q every associated with succeeding. Either way, the Pentax Q marks the period it has been tried on this particular scale, and for that reason alone Pentax surely deserves some credit. Given the way Pentax has approached the compact system market, it's somewhat difficult to pinpoint its most direct competitors. The $600 price tag for a Pentax Q body and 8mm f/1.9 lens doesn't make this any easier whilst it makes the full package more expensive than the Olympus E-PL3 body and 14-42mm pancake lens combo, or the actual Sony NEX-C3 twin lens kit. You could also expect to see plenty of change from $600 should you opt to opt for either the Lumix G3 or Lumix GF3 standard zoom presents. Should we even be thinking of the Pentax Q being a CSC, at every? Given the sensor size would it quit better compared against advanced compacts particularly the Canon S100, Nikon S9100 or Lumix LX5? Either way, the Pentax Q clearly has its work cut out if it hopes to convince you to part with that is simply of $600 Let's take a second look and find out if it are able this. FEATURES Overall, the Pentax Q is particularly well appointed little camera that gives generous feature set and plenty of scope for customisation. This very much mirrors what we've seen with Pentax DSLRs in recent years, as the company attempts to increase its market share by producing cameras that offer class-leading value for financial wealth. The Pentax Q is built around a 1/2.3inch CMOS sensor that is backside-illuminated for better low-light performance, and which delivers 16.4-megapixels of effective resolution. This is allied as to the Pentax describes to be a 'new generation' of Q image processor that is claimed to deliver 'clear, high contrast images rich in gradation and texture'. It's a bold claim, as well as something that we'll discuss the accuracy of in more detail later on in this particular Pentax Q review, but first let us check what else the Pentax Q offers in the regarding specifications and features. The Q could be set to record lossless Raw image files and compressed JPEGs at the full 12MP, with further options to record JPEGs at 9MP, 5MP and 3MP, with three varieties of JPEG quality available. While the default aspect ratio is 4:3 (4000 x 3000 pixels max output), the Q can also record in 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1 albeit at slightly lower maximum file sizes. Sensitivity, meanwhile, ranges from a credible ISO 125 to ISO 6400, and uses the additional benefit of rising in small numerical increments rather than just doubling up as is more common. The Q offers the familiar quartet of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual shooting modes, alongside a completely automatic AutoPicture mode (essentially an Automatic Scene selection mode), 21 individual Scene modes and a Blur Control mode that's designed to lead you to create a shallower depth of field through clever image processing (again, more about this later). Elsewhere, the Q offers all types of handy shooting tools, including Interval Shooting, a built-in Neutral Density filter, as well Distortion Correction medium. In addition, there's also an automatic HDR capture tool, along with separate controls for Shadow and Highlight Correction. The Q also offers built-in Image Stabilisation rrncluding a full-size hotshoe connection that's able to contain the Pentax VF1 optical viewfinder that's sold as an optional extra. Hopefully we'll see more accessories designed tailored for use with it in coming several. What the Q really excels at, however, is in-camera special effects. These will take the form of Smart Effects and Digital Filters, saved by a great Custom Image (JPEG processing) settings. Smart Effects are a brand new addition to Pentax cameras and are essentially a set of processing presets in which applied either pre- or post-capture. The nine Smart Effects on offer are: Brilliant Colour, Unicolour Bold, Vintage Colour, Cross Processing, Warm Fade, Tone Expansion, Bold Monochrome, Water Colour, Vibrant Colour, and an user-defined Custom preset. In addition to its Smart Effects, the Q also offers an equally generous array of Digital Filter effects. With 19 filter effects in total it's by far essentially the most generous set we have seen in a camera of this size, with specific options including: Toy Camera, High Contrast, HDR, Invert Colour, Extract Colour, Posterization, Fish-eye, Starbust and, of course, our old favourite Miniaturisation. While these Smart Effects and Digital Filters can't be combined, they can be accessed in an instant via the prominent four-point dial that sits on best of the R. Easily set up via the main Menu, this dial permits you to flick between stored presets in an instant, which consequently actively encourages you make use of this Q's built-in creative potential. In addition to quick-accessing the camera's Smart Effects and Digital Filters, this dial can also be employed to switch between Custom Image presets and aspect ratios. Sadly, you can't mix and match your presets, but overall it remains an accommodating arrangement that gives you shoot normally, along with your favourite creative effects available in an instant. Lastly, the Q is able to record movies with a maximum 1920 x 1080p Full HD at 30fps, with further 720p and VGA options. Audio is strictly mono only, as there's no port for an outside microphone and recorded movies are stored as MPEG-4/H.264 papers. While you can apply Custom Image settings to movies, it's not possible to apply any from the Smart Effects or Digital Filters. DESIGN AND PERFOMANCE When exploring the camera's design, the very first thing that strikes you could be that the Pentax Q really is tiny. In fact, it's currently the smallest interchangeable lens camera available, and by some distance too. Get rid of lens as well as the camera is actually small even by regular fixed-zoom compact camera standards. And yet, with its all-metal outer construction the Q feels decidedly robust and quality. At 200g body only, or 237g however 8mm standard prime lens attached, the Q has a nice, reassuring weight about it, too. Styled very much like a miniaturised rangefinder, albeit one any viewfinder, the Q sports a rounded-off finger grip. Given the tiny overall dimensions within the camera it's at best a two-finger grip, nonetheless its rubberised finish along along with a raised thumb-rest at the spine combine to make the Q feel fairly secure inside the hand. The question for a lot of users get whether to secure the Q by using a neck-strap (which makes incorporates a sound look somewhat toy-like and out of proportion), or to just settle for a wrist strap instead. Lenses could be swapped by pressing the discharge catch within the front of this camera and then twisting the lens off as you would with a DSLR. What you are doing need for you to become careful when swapping lenses though, when the sensor sits almost immediately behind the lens, indicates you it's fully exposed once the lens has been removed and thus highly chafes from abrasion damage from fingers and dirt. While the camera automatically activates a sensor-cleaning action every time it's shut down, you really don't should try to be getting any dust on a sensor in this size to begin as, proportionally, it'll cover a larger part for this sensor's surface than might on a MFT or APS-C sensor, making it a) more noticeable and b) harder to adjust. The Pentax Q got its name through your new Q-mount (reportedly the 'Queen' to Pentax's 'King' K-mount for DSLRs). At present Pentax supplies a range of 5 lenses - a seven.5mm f/1.9 Standard Prime, a 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 Standard Zoom, a 3.2mm f/5.6 Fish-Eye, a 6.3mm, f/7.1 Toy Lens Wide and an 18mm f/8 Toy Lens Telephoto. Given the Q's compact-sized sensor, a crop factor of a couple of.5x needs to be applied to work-out the 35mm equivalent of the listed focal locks. In this way, the 8.5mm Standard Prime equates to 47mm on the 35mm film camera. The Q's in-camera enu system should look instantly familiar to anyone who's ever used a Pentax DSLR, although thankfully it remains easy enough to navigate for people who haven't. When in shooting mode the directional buttons can be used to directly access ISO, White Balance, Drive mode and Flash settings, while the knowledge button accesses a form of 'quick menu' for other regularly accessed settings regarding example Custom Image, Digital Filters, Aspect Ratio, Image Stabilisation, Metering mode, AF mode, JPEG size/quality and the like. The only real complaint we have with overall operation would be the Q's physical buttons definitely small, forcing them to a bit fiddly the. Start-up time is around the three second mark, which isn't particularly quick. Using the Q in Single-shot mode we was able to shoot around one full-res JPEG every two seconds, could be pretty horrible. There was no upper limit through the number of shots you can easliy take in this way though. Switching to Continuous (Low) we able to shoot at just under a person particular.5fps, again at full resolution with no upper limit on cellular phone shots. In Continuous (High) we could actually shoot in the claimed 5fps, although we managed 10 shots (as opposed into the claimed five) before the buffer filled and capacity slowed right down to approximately 6.5fps. Autofocus performance, while adequate in a great deal of situations, being a little slow existing. Indeed, we found the Q's AF speed with regard to more in order to a regular mid-range compact than a $600 CSC - we'd expected something a bit faster. Females who should notable delay between pressing the shutter button as well as the camera actually firing - again, in much exactly the same way as day-to-day compact. The 3in, 460k-dot monitor is fine when used indoors or away from direct sunlight outdoors, but doesn't cope very well with sunlight. Somewhat annoyingly, when in shooting mode the Q displays underexposed and overexposed areas with yellow and red fill-colours. Try as we might, we couldn't be capable of switch this function somewhere. Battery life isn't great either; we managed more than 200 images on distinct charge prior to a juice ran out. IMAGE QUALITY While the Pentax Q might look like a miniature DSLR, at heart it's quite definitely an advanced compact this needs with regard to kept as your intended purpose when judging overall image quality. Compared against other compacts utilizing a 1/2.3in sensor, including the ones that fall in high-end or advanced compact segment among the market, we're pleased to report how the Q performs exceptionally well. Indeed, to revisit the bold claim made by Pentax men and women referenced at the beginning of this review it's certainly true how the Q can deliver 'high-contrast images, abundant in gradation and texture,' and many other things besides. Useless regular compact cameras go, the Pentax Q delivers some of the most useful image quality we've yet seen, with mid-range ISO performance particularly strong. Between ISO 125 and ISO 400, images remain sharp and free of noise, while ISO 800 shows only minor signs and symptoms of noise with impressive degrees of detail retained, especially in shadow factors. It was ISO 1600, however, definitely left us impressed; whereas the majority of compacts typically deliver fairly poor results at ISO 1600, the Pentax Q is still producing beneficial images. Under close examination, detail can be looked at to have softened, but noise is kept largely at bay, with overall image quality remaining high enough to view and/or print at larger sizes people move usually be. Metering is by and large quite consistent, although along with many other Pentax DSLRs, the Q has a propensity to preserve highlight detail through underexposure. Thankfully, the camera offers /-2EV compensation propose in situations where you wish to intervene. We didn't encounter any issues with Automatic White Balance, without the pain . Q proving consistent at metering for variations in colour high temperature range. Sadly though, there are a handful limitations, this Q's compact-sized sensor severely limiting how shallow a depth of field utilized attain, regardless if shooting at maximum aperture. Even with the 8mm lens opened to f/1.9, you need to be utilizing the Q at its minimum focus distance (around 15cm) to really throw the setting sharply out of focus. And while such close focusing may be ok for Macro and still-life work, it simply isn't practical for larger subjects and for portraits. Clearly aware of this limitation Pentax has attempted to implement simple solution in the sort of a Blur Control shooting mode that are accessed completely from the main mode call. This basically uses image processing to intensify the defocused areas a good image, with three levels of strength available to buy. In theory it's a nice idea, using practice it was to be somewhat flawed, often failing to properly distinguish our main subject and blurring random areas for a passing fancy focal plane, with channel link pr result that some images end up looking like they've been put through one of these fake tilt-shift apps you will get for phones. VERDICT The generous number of creative tools and simplicity with they can can be used mark the Q out as a camera to experiment and enjoy with, and will surely bolster its address many, whatever its inherent limitations. Couple options undoubtedly better compact system cameras available for photography enthusiasts, but for gadget lovers and casual snappers on the lookout for something small and fun, the Pentax Q pretty much hits the location. The $600 price tag is uncompetitive though, and certain put lots of people off.