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Pentax Q Mirrorless Digital Camera Review$799.00
The Pentax Q put up decent dynamic range numbers in our testing, but the inability to turn off noise reduction resulted in inflated scores when looking at JPEGs out of the camera. We found that by suppressing noise automatically, the Q pulled in 6 stops of dynamic range at its minimum ISO of 125, but that dropped to less than three stops by the time the camera reached ISO 6400. By applying noise reduction fairly liberally the camera keeps grain to a minimum, but this methodology wipes away fine detail, meaning it will be harder to pull detail out of darker regions in photo editing programs after the fact. More on how we test dynamic range.
Amongst our comparison group the Nikon J1 and Olympus E-P3 both put up slightly worse dynamic range scores than the Pentax Q, though both those cameras offer noise reduction-free options. In real-world applications the dynamic range results from the three cameras are similar. The Panasonic GF3 was slightly improved but also offered heavy noise reduction. The Sony NEX-5 doesn't offer the ability to turn NR off for JPEG images, but its APS-C sensor still lapped the field in this test, producing vastly more dynamic range.