Review: Pentax Q Digital Camera

By Branko Miletic

Claimed to be the world’s lightest and smallest interchangeable lens camera, the Magnesium alloy Pentax Q comes with a tiny retro-styled body and a 12.4 megapixel CMOS image sensor that is designed to put the fun back into your photography.

It’s no secret that I find Pentax one of the best camera makers around. I have been using Pentax digital cameras for my work now for the past five years and have never yearned for another brand. Simply put P is both for Pentax and for Perfection.

With the Q, the company has really outdone itself. Let’s face it, why bother going out to buy just any old point and shoot snapper, when for a few dollars more, you can have a camera that gives you a choice of lenses that are smaller than some micro point-and-shoot models.

And it is light. If you were blindfolded and I gave you two cameras to hold, one a Pentax Q and the other say a Sony or Panasonic point-and-shoot model, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Installing lenses and SD cards is a breeze and like most good digital cameras, the unit uses a rechargeable battery rather than having to use throwaway Li-ion versions.

Coming in black and white, the 8.5mm standard lens is equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera and the 5-15mm lens is or akin to a 29-87mm in the 35mm lens format and uploading your pictures onto a PC or Mac was a breeze.

As mentioned, the CMOS sensor has an image resolution of 12.4 megapixels and uses a so-called ‘Q Engine’ processor, which is described by the company as being a 'new generation' chip.

But on that point there is a downside. Being such a small camera, means the CMOS sensor is also small which in turn means it sucks in less light, which affects the picture quality. In this case, whilst the picture quality was fairly good, at an RRP of around $799 for the twin lens kit, compared to a Nikon 1 (RRP $899), whose picture quality is way better, means that for about $100, you can get better results with your output.

But remember, the Q is way smaller than its Nikon rival, and also much lighter and dare I say, much better looking. It comes with HD movie mode, 21 scene presets and a host of other features that make this latest offering from Pentax a real contender.

Overall, the Pentax Q with its built-in pop-up flash which is effective to 8 m at 200 ISO that also covers a wide angle 28 degree field of view, built-in micro HDMI port for outputting high resolution images and video and sound to your TV is a lovely little snapper and a fine addition to the Pentax photographic pedigree.

Pros: light, tiny and interchangeable lens kit
Cons: fair picture quality, price

4 Shacks Out Of 5