The Pentax Q may be the smallest interchangeable-lens camera, but there is more to this model than just its size and retro charm

Product Overview

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Pentax Q

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Pentax Q review


Price as reviewed:

Pentax Q at a glance:

  • 12.4 million effective pixels
  • 1/2.3in CMOS sensor
  • Pentax bayonet Q mount
  • Sensor-shift Shake Reduction
  • Magnesium- alloy chassis
  • 200g including battery and card
  • Street price around £599 with 47mm (equivalent) f/1.9 prime lens

Around three years ago the ball well and truly started rolling for manufacturers producing cameras of compact size but with the versatility of interchangeable lenses – what are now commonly known as compact system cameras (CSC). In light of today’s market, ‘smallest interchangeable-lens camera’ is a title many manufacturers strive towards.

This brings us to the Pentax Q, which enters a crowded market focused on size, where the latest models are released at a steady rate boasting ever smaller dimensions. Claims about such models being ‘the smallest interchangeable-lens camera’ often come with qualifications, such as: ‘with built-in flash’, or ‘with an APS-C-sized sensor’, or ‘with a sensor larger than 1in’. The Pentax Q need not include any such clauses. It is the smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens camera. Period.

Some will be reminded of the Pentax Auto 110 (aka ‘Pentax System 10′), which is a clear inspiration for the design of the Pentax Q. This non-digital counterpart took its own special 110 film to cater for its diminutive size. It is fair to say the Pentax Auto 110 was way ahead of its time; being produced between 1979 and 1985 and with dimensions of 99x56x32mm, it is smaller than any other CSC. This is, however, a film camera, and 110 film production ceased in September 2009.

Pentax was able to achieve such a small size with the Q because, much like the film of the Auto 110, the Q uses a smaller sensor. It becomes interesting, therefore, to consider just who this product is aimed at. Given its size, sensor and features, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Pentax Q is just a bit of fun, and one for the party perhaps. However, as it offers interchangeable lenses, including fixed prime lenses, image quality should be sharp – so could it be a serious second body and a useful street camera?

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Lenses
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. White balance and colour
  6. 6. Metering
  7. 7. Autofocus
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Noise, sensitivity and resolution
  10. 10. LCD, viewfinder and video
  11. 11. The competition
  12. 12. Verdict
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