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Pentax 12.4 Megapixels Q Mirrorless Camera Review by BobAtkins

2011-12-19 05:42 | Source
6911 reviews
On June 23 2011, Pentax announced the 'Q' mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The camera is the first to use the company's Q mount and features a 12.4 Megapixels 1/2.3 inch image stabilized (sensor-shift Shake Reduction) CMOS sensor. This backlit sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument that produces very little noise at high sensitivity levels particularly in low light settings. It also comes with a variety of creative modes, Smart Effect options, or camera settings that assign to the Q's Quick Dial located on the front of the camera. Smart Effects modes enhance digital photography by applying a series of effects to images to achieve high quality finishing. Brilliant Color, Vintage Color, Warm Fade, Bold Monochrome, and Water Color are just some of the Smart Effects available and may be assigned on the Q's Quick Dial. This is a in-camera HDR capture mode shoots 3 images of varying exposures, blending them to bring out the picture details. The Q camera can support high quality video at full 1080p HD 30fps resolution using H.264 compression. It can capture at a speed of 5 fps for continuous shooting.  

Along with the Q camera, Pentax also announces the PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens and an optional optical viewfinder. The unifocal standard lens has a focal length equivalent to 47mm in the 35mm format. With a maximum aperture of F1.9, it performs superbly in dim lighting and may be easily adjusted for bokeh. It is incorporating two high grade aspherical optical elements and the AF motor installed assures smooth & quiet focusing operation. The lens shutter mechanism allows the built-in auto flash to be synchronized to the camera's top shutter speed of 1/2000 second (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). This lens is also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter. The shoe-mounted viewfinder attachment is an optional accessory. Available in white or black body models, the Pentax Q and Standard Prime lens (available in silver) kit is listed for retail at around $750. Here's the summary of review by BobAtkins:

"For a camera with such a small image sensor, image quality is very good. Pentax seem to have done an excellent job in squeezing all they could out of the image. ISO ranges from 125 to 6400, but the higher setting are best avoided unless it's absolutely necessary to use them. Up to maybe ISO 800 noise is well controlled, but at ISO 1600, 3200 and especially 6400 noise is present and image sharpness is reduced due to the amount of noise reduction it's necessary to apply to keep noise under some sort of control. As a reference point the Canon T1i (500D) has about a 2 stop advantage over the Pentax Q in terms of noise, so you'd get about the same amount of noise in a Pentax Q image at ISO 400 as you would in a Canon EOS 500D (T1i) image at ISO 1600. In fact this isn't bad considering the sensor size of the Pentax Q. The Pentax Q noise performance is about the same as that of the Canon Powershot G12, Canon's top of the line compact digital camera. Dynamic range is pretty good at ISO 125 and is comparable to that of the Canon Powershot 12G and slightly lower than that of a DSLR camera like the EOS 500D. However as ISO is increased the dynamic range of the small sensor cameras drops much faster than that of the APS-C DSLR and at mid and high ISO settings the DSLR probably has about 2EV more dynamic range.

Overall, the Pentax Q is something of a mixed bag. There's no denying it has a huge appeal to anyone who loves gadgets. It's a fine piece of engineering and obviously built to a high standard of quality. However it has a tiny sensor and it's expensive at around $800. From the point of view of image quality it's not really any better than a high end P&S camera such as the Canon G12, and the G12 costs under $400, has a slightly larger sensor and has a 28-140/2.8-4.5 zoom. Granted it's not f1.9, but from a DOF viewpoint a faster lens really doesn't get you much with a small sensor camera. The G12 also has an optical viewfinder and a swing out LCD screen. You can't change lenses, but then again there aren't that many Pentax Q lenses and the only "serious" lens other than the 47/1.9 (actually 8.5/1.9) prime is the 27.5-83/2.8-4.5 (actually 5-15/2.8-4) zoom at $300 and the G12 already has a 28-140/2.8-4.5 (and an optical viewfinder) included in the price. The optical viewfinder for the Pentax Q (usable only with the 47mm prime) is an extra $250. So who is the Pentax Q going to appeal to? Well, maybe the camera collector or someone who values a camera as much for its design and uniqueness as much as it's actual photographic utility. There's no denying that the Pentax Q is "cute and sexy", but given the price you can certainly get more bang for your buck by going a more conventional route, whether that's a cheaper high end compact P&S camera or an equivalently priced entry level DSLR with kit lenses and a 50/1.8 prime."


ManufacturerPentaxSonyOlympusNikon
ModelQ MirrorlessAlpha NEX-C3E-PM1J1 Mirrorless
StyleMirrorlessMirrorlessMirrorlessMirrorless
Megapixels12.416.212.310.1
LCD Screen3.0-inch TFT color LCD Resolution: HVGA 460,000 dots 3-inch CTFT Xtra Fine? LCD (921,600 pixels) w/TruBlack? technology Angle Adjustment : Up: Approx. 80 degrees, Down: Approx. 45 degrees3-inch LCD 16:9, AR(Anti-Reflection) coating, 460,000 dots3-in. approx. 460k-dots, TFT-LCD with brightness adjustment
Memory CardsInternal memory: n/a Removable memory: SD, SDHC, SDXCMemory Stick PRO Duo?/Pro-HG Duo?/PRO-HG HX Duo? media SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cardSD Memory Card(SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible), Eye-Fi, Class 6 is recommended for Movie shootingSD SDHC SDXC
ResolutionStill 4:3: 12M (4000x3000), 9M (3456x2592), 5M (2688x2016), 3M (1920x1440) Still 3:2: 10M (4000x2664), 8M (3456x2304), 5M (2688x1792), 2M (1920x1280) Still 16:9: 9M (4000x2248), 6M (3456x1944), 4M (2688x1512), 2M(1920x1080) Still 1:1: 9M (2992x2992), 6M (2592x2592), 4M (2016x2016), 2M (1440x1440)Still Image Size 16:9 : L (14M): 4912 X 2760 M (7.1M): 3568 X 2000 S (3.4M): 2448 X 1376 Still Image Size 3:2 : L (16M): 4912 X 3264 M (8.4M): 3568 X 2368 S (4M): 2448 X 1624RAW: 4032(H)x3024V) (approx. 1/1.5 lossless compressed) Approx. 13.8MB Set1(LF): 4032(H)x3024(V) (1/4 compressed) Approx. 5.9MB Set2(LN): 4032(H)x3024(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 2.7MB Set3(MN): 2560(H)x1920(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB Set4(SN): 1024(H)x768(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.3MBStill Images (3:2 aspect ratio) 3,872 x 2,592 2,896 x 1,944 1,936 x 1,296 Smart Photo Selector (3:2 aspect ratio) 3,872 x 2,592 2,896 x 1,944 1,936 x 1,296 Movie Mode (16:9 aspect ratio) 3,840 x 2,160 (1080/60i) 1,920 x 1,080 (1080/30p) 1,280 x 720 (720/60p) Motion Snapshot (16:9 aspect ratio) 3,840 x 2,160
File FormatsStill: RAW (DNG), JPG (EXIF 2.3), DCF 2.0, DPOF, PIM III Movie (compression): MP4 (AVC h.264)Still Image Mode : JPEG (Standard, Fine), RAW, RAW+JPEG Video Format : MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)) Audio Format : MPEG-4 AAC-LCRAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MPO (3D still), AVCHD AVI Motion JPEGCompressed 12-bit NEF (RAW) JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx 1:4), normal (approx 1:8), or basic (approx 1:16) compression NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats, Audio file format: ACC Movie file format: MOV
Focal LengthDepends on lens3x zoom, 18-55mm (27mm-82.5mm 35mm equivalent)N/AN/A
Shutter Speed1/2000 to 30 sec (lens shutter), 1/8000 to 30 sec (electronic shutter w a lens shutter lens), Bulb1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb60 - 1/4000 sec. 1/16,000 sec. in steps of 1/3EV
ApertureDepends on lensAperture (Max.) : f/3.5-5.6 Aperture (Min.) : f/22-34N/AN/A
ISO SensitivityAuto: ISO 125-6400 (1/3 steps), Bulb mode up to ISO 1600, auto ISO range selectable Manual: ISO 125-6400 (1/3 steps), Bulb mode up to ISO 1600Auto, 200 to 12800AUTO: ISO 200 - 12800(customizable, Default 200-1600) / Manual ISO 200 - 12800100-3200 6400
White Balance SettingsAuto preset modes: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent (D, N, W, L), Tungsten, Flash, CTE Manual mode(s): Yes * WB fine adjustment available in all modesAuto,Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Setting the color temperature, Color Filter, Custom7 settings (3000K - 7500K) Lamp (3000K), Fluorescent (4000K), Daylight (5300K), Flash (5500K), Cloudy (6000K), Shade (7500K) , Underwater WBAuto Incandescent Fluorescent Direct Sunlight Flash Cloudy Shade Preset Manual All except preset manual with fine tuning
Flash ModesAuto, Auto + Redeye, On, On + Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Off Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync., Slow sync., Red-eye reductionExternal flash is bundled. Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Slow sync at 1st curtain, Slow sync at 2nd curtain, Fill-in, Off.Fill-flash Slow sync Red-eye reduction Slow sync with red-eye reduction Rear curtain with sync Rear curtain with slow sync
Flash Range28mm wide angle equivalentFOV coverage up to 16 mm (in the focal length)N/AN/A
Shooting ModesAuto Picture (Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Sport, Flower, Candlelight), Program, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Half Length Portrait (3M or 2.1M), Movie, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Sport, Digital SR (ISO 3200-6400 5M or 3.8M), Kids, Pet, Food, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports action, Sunset, Night portrait, Night View, Handheld TwilightPortrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Macro, Sport, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Document, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv, Wide Conv, Macro Conv, 3DPortrait Landscape Night Portrait Close-up Auto
Maximum Movie Resolution1920x1080p30, 1280x720p30, 640x480p30MP4 HD: 1280 x 720/ 30p MP4 VGA: 640 x 480/ 30pAVCHD Format: - Full HD Fine : 1920(H)x1080(V), 60i Recording, 20Mbps, Aspect 16:9 - Full HD Normal : 1920(H)x1080(V), 60i Recording, 17Mbps, Aspect 16:9 - HD Fine : 1280(H)x720(V), 60p Recording), 17Mbps, Aspect 16:9 - HD Normal : 1280(H)x720(V), 60p Recording, 13Mbps, Aspect 16:9 Frame rate of image sensor output is 30fps Motion-JPEG Format: - HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 30fps (Some Art Filters are exceptional), Aspect 16:9 - SD: 640(H)x480(V), 30fps (Some Art Filters are exceptional), Aspect 4:3(VGA)HD: 1920 X 1080/60i HD: 1920 X 1080/30p HD: 1280 x 720/60p Slow-motion: 640x240/400fps Slow-motion: 320x120/1200fps Motion Snapshot: 1920x1080/60p (plays at 24p)
Maximum Movie Frames Per Second3030 fps30 fpsN/A
Maximum Movie DurationNot SuppliedTo capacity of memory cardAVCHD Format: Max 29min (Full HD Normal/HD Fine/HD Normal : 29min, Full HD Fine : 22min) Motion-JPEG Format: HD: 7min, SD: 14min (There are exceptions with select Art Filters)N/A
Macro Focus0.33-1.64' (wide) iAuto (W:Approx.5cm (0.16') to Infinity, T:Approx.100cm (3.28') to Infinity)N/A2 cm (0.8 in.) to infinity
MeteringMulti-segment, Center-weighted, SpotMulti-segment, Center-weighted, SpotTTL Image Sensor metering system (1) Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering) (2) Center weighted average metering (3) Spot metering (approx. 1% for the viewfinder screen. Highlight / shadow bases are available)Matrix Center-weighted: Meters 4.5 circle in center of frame Spot: Meters 2 mm circle centered on select focus area
Image StabilizationYes, Sensor Shift Shake Reduction (4 stops max)No, use Lens ISYes, Built in (Imager shift image stabilizer) Movie: Shifting electronic image (so called Digital IS, IS1 mode only)Yes, Lens-shift VR
Self Timer10 sec, 2 sec2-sec. or 10-sec. delay, (single, continuous 3 or 5 frames)Operation time: 12 sec., 2 sec. (cancel available)2, 5, 10 sec. Timer duration electronically controlled
Video Out (TV Playback)Yes, NTSC, PAL Yes, HDMI (TypeC mini)Yes, HDMI(HD/Stereo Sound), VIDEO-OUT(SD/Mono Sound)HDMI output: Type C mini-pin HDMI connector
BatteriesRechargeable Li-Ion battery D-LI68 InfoLITHIUM? NP-FW50 (7.2V)BLS-1 Li-ion battery (included)EN-EL20 Lithium-ion Battery
Dimensions3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in.4-3/8 x 2-3/8 x 1-5/16" (109.6 x 60.0 x 33.0mm) (W/H/D); 1 1/16" (25.9mm) excl grip and lens mount4.31 in. (W) x 2.50 in. (H) x 1.33 in. (D) (excluding protrusions)Width 4.2 in. (106mm) Height 2.4 in. (61mm) Depth 1.2 in. (29.8mm)
Weight6.3 oz 7.9 oz (225g)7.65oz8.3oz. (234g)
Other InfoContinuous FPS: Approx 5 FPS (Continuous Hi: 5 JPG), 1.5 FPS (Continuous Lo: 100 JPG)Continuous Shooting Speed : Continuous (2.5fps) Speed Priority (5.5fps)Sequential shooting speed 4.1 fps in sequential shooting (5.5 fps in case of "I.S. OFF".)Top Continuous Shooting Speed at full resolution 5 frames per second 10, 30 or 60 fps using Electronic (Hi) shutter
Release Date2011-06-232011-06-082011-06-302011-09-21

Photo Album: Pentax Announces 12.4MP Q Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera Priced $800


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Pentax Q Mirrorless Camera Reviews Roundup


Fstoppers - Nov 01 2012
"The small size of the Pentax Q is unassuming. You can take it anywhere fairly unnoticeably. Yes, the lens sticking out might not make it pocketable, but the Pentax's entire Q lens system could be crammed into your girlfriend's (or boyfriend's) clutch. And that's a whole new kind of portability for mirrorless cameras. Yes, the idea of the mirrorless camera i..." More »
Not Rated
RegHardware - Feb 12 2012
"The review sample came fitted with a non-zooming or 'prime' lens with a wide aperture of f1.9. Its focal length of 8.5mm translates to a field of view equivalent to a 47mm lens in 35mm terms, which makes it great for natural-looking people shots and street photography. It's a great lens to leave on the camera pretty much all the time and yes, it will fit in..." More »
80out of 100
Digital Camera Review - Dec 28 2011
"I expected the "Q"s tiny 12 megapixel CMOS sensor to produce either very noisy images or smooth, flat, over-corrected images with little or no fine detail from an overly aggressive noise reduction system. When I reviewed the first group of images I'd shot with the "Q" on my monitor I was impressed to discover that the images were relativ..." More »
70out of 100
CNET UK - Dec 22 2011
"The Q's prime lens is extremely sharp, with its wide fixed aperture allowing for a gentle fall-off in the focus as backgrounds recede from the lens. This makes it easy to isolate your subject matter, and pick out fine detail in wood or cloth. Colours were extremely well handled, with an even balance of tones across the frame at both ends of the colour spect..." More »
60out of 100

Pentax Q Mirrorless Reviews Roundup [Total 25 Reviews] »


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