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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 28 reviews
on July 22, 2012
There have been a lot of reviews that focus on the characterstics of this camera, particularly on the small size of the sensor (1/2.3") and other characteristics. I will not mention this here, but rather discuss my experience with the camera and what you can expect and then give you a verdict.

First off, despite the small sensor size, the image quality you get is very good. When I first received the camera (without firmware updates) the output jpegs looked a bit soft but with latest firmware even the jpegs look great (with the standard prime lens). You can record both jpeg and raw and then process a few of your favorites to make them look even better.

Secondly, the build quality of the camera is very good. It is good enough so that I don't worry about putting in my bag and about some minor bumps it may encounter along the way. This is not your average plastic camera and this characteristic, along with its small size and good controls is what makes it attractive to me: it is possible to carry it around every day; I don't think you would carry your dslr with you every day.

Thirdly, the controls on the camera are very good and straightforward to use.
You can adjust all the main characteristics: iso sensitivity, aperature, exposure, etc. This is about as good as on a good dslr. Low light performance is good for a camera of this size. Start up times are very fast (with new firmware). Built in modes such as HDR work well.

Lastly: you should understand that the camera comes with just a single prime lens. The lens has very good (in my opinion) optical performance, but it is not a zoom lens. A zoom lens is available, but it is not very cheap, so if you do not plan to buy any more lenses you will not have zoom. For me it is not a big problem I don't want to carry around multiple lenses anyway: I bought this camera to take with me every day and produce generally very good IQ images, which it so far has accomplished. It also does video in 1080p and the controls are better than on most high end point and shoots I've seen in the store.

For a very compact single lens package with good build quality, manual control, and good image quality; below 500 I think it is a good buy.
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on January 18, 2017
UPDATE: there are only two weak spots in this q-series: 1) the white balance (no matter how much you mess with it) is in its own little world. That said, the gamma out performs even sony a5000 when rendering in-jpegs (this is unimportant for either brand if you shoot raw). 2) the absence of a shutter over the sensor (vs m43 i.e. e-pm1, e-pm2, gf3, etc.) is almost a dealbreaker IF you plan on shooting moving objects with non-pentax-q lenses. To be clear, the leaf shutters in each of the lenses (01, 02,...06) is fantastic BUT when mount other lenses there will be no shutter. This somewhat defeats the in body stabilization that I purchased the q for. Still, I will always love the Q and am not looking towards a pentax dslr - the controls ROCK.

While this is the first and humblest of the Pentax Q series, it is by no means a slacker. DXO ratings speak for themselves.
If you want to buy camera kit that was once over 800 bucks, that can shame any smartphone, point and shoot, has expert controls, and low cost lenses with above average quality, this is the way to go. If you already own an ICLS like micro four thirds, save the money for new lenses there instead.

Shooting with this camera is great fun. You can learn so much about light, composure, and quickly change pro settings with all hardware buttons that make my GF3's rather intuitive touchscreen feel clumsy. I also like the usability better with "lens 02" 5-15mm (cf 4.6) more than my moms e-pm1 with a 14-42mm (cf 2.0) pancake.
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on August 2, 2014
The only reason this does not get 5 stars is due to the limitations in speed from the sensor size, as well as the relative difficulty and rarity of lenses and attachments that come for this small size. Even adapters for this camera are not that easy to find, and Pentax-approved ones are quite expensive, especially for a camera of this size. However, this is, without a doubt, the best camera for a sensor of this size.

That being said, do not let that put you off, as this camera is 5 stars in every other area. It is the perfect camera for budding photographers, which is what I was when I got this camera. The build quality is superb, well-exceeding my current RX100 III. The interchangeable lenses do feel kind of cheap, as well as the focus ring, but the quality of the glass itself is just fine. Chromatic aberration in the system lenses for this camera is minimal, and the noise profile of the sensor is an easy fix in post processing. I have even been able to put this camera on interval shooting towards the sky in the middle of the city at night and resolve the Orion nebula after some stacking.

I was able to go into dimly-lit restaurants and take some professional-looking glamor shots of the food I was eating just by hand-holding the camera and manually focusing on the subjects. I am thinking about selling mine, and probably will, after getting the 02 zoom lens and a polarization filter, but it will be a tough camera to sell. I am emotionally attached to this little thing. It has been extremely dependable and has the performance above and beyond what are on its spec sheet.

Its ability to shoot in full manual mode makes panorama shots a breeze. The fast 01 prime lens is a fine companion, albeit a bit telephoto for my tastes. If you want a normal lens, the 02 Zoom when zoomed all the way out is a good choice, but you will sacrifice speed by 1 stop.

If you want to get into photography and don't have any direction, this camera is a form of implicit guidance. You will be compelled to visit the Pentax forums on tips to maximize its performance. You will find people who will give you tips on ideal settings for white balance and color profiles. I have not tried the later Q10 or Q7, but they have apparently further improved on the original. However, I am betting the price for used models of this are superb. Definitely give this camera a serious look. It is absolutely the smallest digital system camera. There is no other camera quite like this.
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on August 1, 2012
Online reviews gave a fairly lukewarm reception to the Q when it was released, partly because the initial price polarized opinions. When the price came down to more manageable levels, I could no longer resist the temptation to try the Q myself.

I'm pleased that I made the leap. Almost straight out of the box, the Q endears itself to the user--it's so cute, so well-built, and so fun and intuitive to use. The many creative filters and incredible customization options allow for a tremendous amount of flexibility and creative expression--if you're one that enjoys tinkering to get a signature "look" you will adore the Q.

It's just an inspiring camera to shoot with; speed of operation is good, autofocus is reasonable and fast enough to generally keep up with toddler unpredictability, and because it's easy to get the shots you want you feel the freedom to experiment more than usual. All in all, a very fun experience.

What about image quality? Reviews early on pegged it as no better than the compact camera crowd, but after nearly 2500 frames, I disagree. Dynamic range is very good, and even without using HDR image stacking you won't see blown-out skies often. Detail is significantly better than most compacts, helped tremendously by the excellent 01 Prime lens, and less-aggressive-than-typical noise reduction. My preferred settings are NR set to low, highlight and shadow correction OFF, and fine sharpness +1. Make sure you update the firmware to get the best that "fine sharpness" can offer, and I think you'll be impressed. I'd say it's roughly on par with my old Nikon D200 up to about ISO 320, or for you film lovers roughly equivalent to a Leica screwmount with a Summitar. That's really quite good, isn't it?

Negatives? For me, color reproduction isn't where I'd like it to be, lacking depth and richness. Some of the color modes (bleach bypass, in particular) are fantastic, but I've never really settled on an "accurate" color mode I love. I tend to shoot the Q in monochrome mode, and B&W is one area I think the Q really excels in. Play with the B&W color filters, contrast, etc and you can mimic many classic old films. That's fun. Another negative is battery life. No beating around the bush--it's pretty terrible. I think I get about 150-175 shots before I start to worry. If you plan on traveling with the Q, invest in another battery. Lastly, the size... Yes, it's the smallest interchangeable lens digital camera in the world, and theres something to be said for that. But something like the new Sony RX100 is smaller still, and packs better image quality, in my opinion.

All that said, the Q is a good buy if you plan to utilize different lenses--you can't shoot a real fisheye with other compact cameras, and that's expensive to do with a DSLR... And hopefully we will see more Q lenses in the future. And that's where the Q excels. An inexpensive but superbly well built and functioning absolutely tiny interchangeable lens camera. If you want what that admittedly small niche offers, the Q's your only game, and to be honest it's a good buy. It's also a good buy if you're a photo nut that likes to endlessly tinker and try new "looks," like Tri-X one minute, lomo the next. If you're looking for an all-rounder, though, I'd look elsewhere.
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on August 19, 2012
My wife and I bought this camera in preparation for our London Olympics trip. We actually didn't open it until we arrived in London at our hotel. We charged the battery for about 2 hours and then headed for our bus tour of London. Being on a moving bus, I was worried that the photos might end up blurry or improperly focused, but all the pictures turned out great. Later on, we messed around with the exposure settings and HDR. We got some very nice close ups and the flash was awesome. The battery held its own for a good 3 hours of constant photo taking, which seems pretty reasonable.
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on June 19, 2012
I have read all the reviews of this little Pentax camera I could find before purchasing. Many people are focused on the image sensor size and various other technical aspects but for me the overall experience with the camera interface, capabilities and image quality are the real measure of success.

Overall this is probably best classified a niche camera and not intended to replace your higher end DSLR units.

The camera is physically small but not too small to handle or use. Lens system is tiny but good optically. Camera body is 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 inches. I purchased an adapter to use normal sized Sony and Pentax lenses with the Q. The use of the larger dslr lenses extends the cameras usefulness a bit but changes footprint dramatically.

I find the Pentax Q a very small full featured and capable camera. Startup time for my unit is on par with all my other big bodied DSLR cameras. The focus speed is certainly not the fastest but mine will focus within 1.5 seconds max with kit lens. All the normal manual and automatic features are available that I normally use from my Pentax K-r or other.

I restrict the ISO settings to 1250 max for low light photos and have taken excellent pictures. Yes the image sensor size does limit the very high ISO ranges based on noise introduced but most cameras have this limitation. The dual position flash is interesting solution to avoid lens light blockage. The HDR in camera process works well.

Writing speed of images to SD card is acceptable when saving both RAW+JPG images at same time. Just saving RAW or JPG images are as expected much quicker with a decent image burst speed for an inexpensive camera.

Rechargable battery provides me with about 200 continuous use images without flash.

It is not a Pentax K-5,Sony SLT-A77 or Nikon J1. Think more of a Panasonic LX5 with interchangeable lenses. In my opinion, if you are interested in a TINY interchangeable lens camera with dslr like capabilities then this is a good choice.
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on July 20, 2014
The original Pentax Q will undoubtedly be considered one of the classic cameras someday. It is so tiny and yet is constructed with the care and precision of a fine watch. The magnesium body gives the camera a solid, high quality feel. Although the newer Q7 has a larger sensor and other enhancements the original, magnesium body Q remains the favorite among enthusiasts. Those of us who continue to use full size DSLRs and other mirrorless cameras have been astonished at the quality of images this little camera can produce. This is especially true when used with the outstanding 01 (49mm equivalent on full frame) and 06 (50-250mm full frame) lenses.
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on June 2, 2013
Great camera for someone just starting out with "real" photography. I love the look and the size (SO compact and great for travel). I am not experienced with DSLR cameras or non-point and shoot photography, so I bought this as an introduction with a low investment cost. Great choice. I have played around with it and there are many possibilities.
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on October 24, 2012
The first thing that surprised me was the size of the Pentax Q. I had read and seen how small it was, but when I unpackaged the camera I was shocked by its size. It is tiny. Which is good for some and bad for others. I personally like the small, compact cameras that have become popular over the past 3 years or so. So I have an idea of the performance of this camera compared to lets say the XZ1, LX5, or S100. Although this camera is considered an interchangeable lens type of camera it is almost unfair to compare it to other micro 4/3 cameras because of the image sensor. The Pentax Q has a very small sensor, and I believe it should be compared to other compacts like the ones mentoned above.

But I do have to say that the Q is different to all those compact cameras as well. I noticed right away that the Q is aimed more at enthusiast than casual photo takers. The amount of features the camera houses is impressive and fun if you're into customizing and experimenting with them. These are features you normally see in a DSLR and not in a compact camera. The camera also has a 4 click quick dial mode in the front that can be used to toggle different features including filters. And man, does this camera have filters. The Q has filters galore which can be combined and mixed to create unique and creative pictures. You can also do post processing work on the camera itself, so, if you are not a big fan of editing your pictures through a software program on your computer this could be a very useful tool.

There is also a function button on the front that could be used for 4 different actions (DOF preview button, RAW or JPEG file button, MF, or AE lock)

In short, the camera has plenty of features and customizations.

Shooting with the Pentaq Q to me is very similar to a high end point and shoot. The auto-focus is not lighting fast, but rather average compared to other high end p&s's. The Q is not as straigh-forward as lets say the XZ-1; there is a learning curve with the Pentax. I currently own the Olympus XZ-1 and it was the first Olympus I had owned so I wasn't familiar with the interface or the menu of the camera, however, I quickly grasped the menu and the basic functionality of the camera rather quickly, but the Q took some time to really understand how to shoot with somewhat affectively. I haven't yet mastered the Q, but as I go along and experiment with the features and its capabilites I find myself liking the camera more and more. However, this journey might not be enjoyable for those who just want things simplified and easy to use. The Q is not really that camera. Sure, you can use the auto setting and take nice pictures, but there are other cameras that do that and maybe even better. The camera shines in what its capable of in the features, and that is something that enthusiast will enjoy.

The quality of the pictures are not bad; they're good. I've owned micro 4/3 cameras and the sharpness in those cameras are better. I would even say that my XZ-1 and my previous LX-5 probably produce sharper images more consistently.

The camera performs pretty good at high ISO's, which is surprising considering the size of the image sensor.It performs better than my XZ-1 and about equal to the LX-5 or S100.

The Q is a fun camera to take pictures with; it has plenty of bells and whistles; and it does everything it is supposed to do. The camera is tiny, but it does not feel cheap. The camera is made from aluminum alloy. Battery life is pretty bad with the Pentax Q. The battery will last for a little more than a 150 shots. So, an extra battery could be a good idea. I have no experience with other lenses, but the 8.5mm prime lens is pretty good. Its widest aperture is 1.9. The bokeh on the camera is good as well.
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on December 26, 2012
I got the camera to use with my K mount Pentax lenses for super telephoto usage. 35mm lenses have a crop factor of 5.5 so a 135mm lens has the field of view of a 742mm lens etc...so fat it's a joy to use

Hans
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