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- Pentax Q
- Pentax's petite interchangeable lens shooter, the Q, has finally made its way through our lab tests.
Pentax Q Mirrorless Digital Camera Review$799.00
Lens & Sensor
The kid lens included with the Pentax Q is the f/1.9 8mm pancake lens. It's all metal construction (the filter threads appear to be plastic, though) with a focus ring, although there are no hard stops or distance markings. The lens has significant distortion without in-camera distortion control activated, but we found it pretty sharp in the middle of the frame. It has a limited aperture range of f/1.9-8.0, but the lens is very serviceable in most situations and is about as compact a kit lens as you'll find on an interchangeable lens camera.
The Pentax Q uses a 1/2.3'' CMOS sensor, which is quite a bit smaller than every other interchangeable lens camera on the market. For comparison purposes, the Pentax Q offers the same sensor size as your typical $100 compact camera. That doesn't mean it doesn't perform well (it does), but it leaves it a technical disadvantage compared to other interchangeable lens cameras that offer substantially larger sensors.
That disadvantage at sensor size does offer benefits for the Q, namely that the lenses for the system can be much smaller than comparable lenses for cameras with larger sensors. That gives the Q the ability to be one of the first truly compact interchangeable lens cameras. The Q isn't exactly pocketable (the body has too much depth), but it's still very compact, durable, and you can carry a body and lens for the day without needing back surgery at the end of it.
The Pentax Q uses a pretty standard 3-inch LCD with 460k dot resolution. The screen does not have touch control but it's clear enough that fine focus judgements are possible. The screen's viewing angle is rated at 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, so while it doesn't articulate, it does allow for viewing even when shooting at odd angles. The screen does get washed out in bright sunlight, however, so that's less of a possibility during the day.
The Pentax Q's flash isn't the strongest at default sensitivity, but it is effective to 23 feet (seven meters) at ISO 200. The flash is built into the camera, but it can also pop up and away from the body to help prevent red-eye and spread light over a wide angle than when pressed into the body.
The Pentax Q houses both a micro-HDMI out and USB/AV port on the camera, though both are in an usual spot as they're placed behind a rubber flap on the bottom of the camera, beside the tripod mount. This may open up the option for a Pentax Q dock of some sort down the line, but it doesn't present any major issues when simply attaching cables to the camera. The real hindrance is for users who wish to shoot video with the Q, as the position of the ports all but eliminates the possibility of live video output or playback while attached to a tripod.
The Q uses a rechargeable lithium-ion batter, model number D-LI68. It has a capacity of 1000mAh, at 3.6V, and is rated to approximately 250 shots by CIPA standards (230 with the flash activated). The battery charges through an included standalone charger. The Q moves the battery slot to the left side of the body, so it can easily be swapped even when on a tripod.
The Pentax Q uses SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, which are slotted into the right side of the body. There's no extra internal memory for images, so a memory card is required to shoot with the camera. At maximum resolution, the 4GB card we used during testing was able to hold 823 JPEG images (169 RAW images).