Pentax Q

pentaxq.jpg Pentax's Q has similar looks to rangefinder-style digicams from Fujifulm and Leica, but is smaller and, at $800, less expensive. Like Micro 4/3 and NEX models in that bracket, it has interchangeable lenses—with five on offer and a 47mm-equivalent, f1.9 lens bundled with the body. A major caveat, however, is its 1/2.3" sensor, which puts the spec sheet closer to cheap point-and-shoot models a third of its price. It'll be out in the fall. [Pentax]


  1. These days your glass is going to affect your image quality than your sensor is. The sensor may be just as good at imaging as any other in its class, or maybe even better. However, if the optics are of high quality compared to other cameras in its class, then it will take superior images.

    I wouldn’t knock the sensor specs until it’s tested and compared.

    1. The smaller sensor, the more optic quality dominates. Cameras using 4″ x 5″ negatives relied on crude lenses, but the prints would typically be contact copies, i.e. no magnification. You would not spot any lens flaws at all. In contrast, heavy magnification puts a heavier load on the lens.

      But even a theoretically perfect lens cannot improve on the inherently large noise level in a teeny 1/2.5″ sensor. Even comparing large sensors, a Nikon D700 24x36mm sensor eats my D300 16×24 sensor for lunch.

      In conclusion, I would like to see a comparison between this Pentax and a Powershot G12 or a Panasonic LX5,

    2. 100% wrong. These days your sensor quality will affect you more than glass.

      The name of the game is “how many photons can you capture”. A best in class 1 / 2.3″ sensor can’t catch crap and will be lucky to produce useable 800 ISO, while run of the mill APS-sized sensors can give clean 3200.

    3. While I don’t really give two hoots about high ISO, the real issue for a lot of photographers with small sensors is the fact that your depth of field is guaranteed to be really, really deep. Creative control over focus is not really possible. The Q is supposed to have a software solution to this, but I’m a bit skeptical since expensive tools on powerful computers aren’t capable of producing simulated shallow depth of field that looks anywhere near convincing…

  2. Agreed, for the most part most consumer level sensors are roughly equal. Its a Pentax, so I’m going to give their glass the benefit of the doubt, though it will probably be more expensive and limited than other big camera makers (Nikon, Canon). I just hope that making another mount isn’t going to further reduce the limited amount of decent, affordable (ha!) K mount lenses.

  3. The small sensor must be the reason that the lens is so darn tiny. Sure, it has a 40mm filter ring, but the glass is only 12mm in diameter.

    What’s the point of having a big lens housing, if it’s not full of nice glass?

    1. To make the stock package affordable without disqualifying lower income customers from being able to purchase lenses.

    2. the lens housing is so “big” compared to the glass, because if it was only surrounding the glass, it would be impossible to use for being too small. i think the image for this post does not at all relay how small this camera is. it is tiny – slightly larger than a credit card in size and just under an inch and a quarter thick. that reduction in size is probably where the high price comes from.

    3. The lens pictured houses more than just the optics. It also has inbuilt ND, and more importantly, an inbuilt leaf shutter. The body lacks a shutter, and relies on the sensor acting as a shutter for lenses without their own. For lenses with their own shutters, like the one pictured, a full range of shutter speeds are available, and flash sync is 1/2000.

  4. Warning, vociferousness about to be engaged.

    {RANT ON}

    Ok, I have to ask… What the hell is 1/2.3 of an inch?

    Is is 1 over 2.3, which is 0.435?

    Is it 1/2 plus .3, which is 0.8?

    Is is some sort of voodoo numerology thingy I’m missing?

    To be honest, there’s a reason I like decimal numbers, easy to figure out and all. Actually, just listing the sensor resolution and the ppi would be fine, thank you very much.

    (Don’t get me started on Pica, Points, Agate, etc.)

    {RANT OFF}

    Now get offa my lawn, you d*mn kids.

    1. Kiergsmith, see this picture of sensor sizes from Wikipedia:

      And a word to anyone considering this Pentax camera with the tiny sensor: You can look like a real photographer without having to buy this expensive camera! Just go to a carnival and look for the machine that grabs toys. There should be a camera-shaped water pistol in there that has pretty much the same quality as this Pentax.

  5. Meh. Get something with a sensor that isn’t dinky, this one’s more about looking fancy than taking excellent images.

  6. I love Pentax, but this is not the Pentax you are looking for. This is overpriced by a factor of at least 2. It isn’t a rangefinder, it’s live-view, which means that your focus will be slow and the screen will always slightly lag the action.

    For about the same money you can get a refined Pentax SLR with 2 of their best lenses, a super-sensitive, low-noise APS-C sensor with about 9 times the area of the “Q” model above, and loads of professional features such as in-body image stabilization and HDR. Up until a few months ago it was better than anything costing under $2000, but it’s still the best under $1000.
    Google: Pentax K-r 18-55mm & 55-300mm.

  7. Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t see why anybody would pay $800 for a camera with a sensor that tiny, and a CMOS type to boot (inherently higher noise than a CCD). And what on earth is “approximately 12.4 effective megapixels” supposed to mean? What is it really?

Comments are closed.