Overall Rating:


Pentax Q

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Price as Reviewed:


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

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?

  • Dioptre Adjustment: No
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets, custom
  • Built-in Flash: Yes, GN 5.6m @ ISO 125
  • Shutter Type: Electronic
  • Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: No, optional optical viewfinder
  • Output Size: 4000x3000 pixels
  • LCD: 3in, 460,000-dot LCD
  • Field of View: 100% on LCD
  • White Balance Bracket: No
  • AF Points: 25-area, face detection, AF tracking, select, spot
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/2000sec
  • Sensor: 12.4-million-effective-pixel CMOS
  • Focal Length Mag: 5.5x
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, auto, blur control, scene modes
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion D-L168
  • Weight: 200g with battery and card (180g body only)
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Up to 5fps
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/2000sec (1/8000sec in electronic shutter setting)
  • File Format: JPEG, DNG (raw) 12-bit, MPEG-4
  • Focusing Modes: AF/MF
  • DoF Preview: No
  • Dimensions: 98x57.5x31mm
  • Metering System: TTL multi-segment, spot, centre
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Connectivity / Interface: Mini HDMI, PC/AV
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1/3 steps
  • RRP: £599 with 47mm prime lens
  • Lens Mount: Pentax Q bayonet
  • ISO: 125-6400
  • External mic: No
  • Video: Full HD (1080p), 30fps, MPEG-4

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