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Pentax Q review

A tiny, but robust 12MP camera with interchangeable lenses

Our Verdict

For

  • Excellent build
  • Stylish retro design
  • Standard flash hotshoe
  • Well designed built-in flash
  • Compact size

Against

  • Slow AF in low light
  • High price
  • Only a few additional lenses
  • Fiddly buttons
  • No video button

Not to be outdone by other manufacturers rushing to release mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras such as the Nikon 1 J1 and the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1, Pentax has stepped into the fray with the Pentax Q, which is currently the smallest and lightest camera body that will accept interchangeable lenses.

Designed completely from the ground-up, the Pentax Q sports a new lens mount and currently offers no support for legacy Pentax lenses. To create such a compact design, the image sensor is much smaller than those found on other interchangeable lens cameras - such as the Sony NEX-C3 - being a 1/2.3-inch 12MP, rear-illuminated CMOS type, similar to what you may find in many high-end compact cameras.

This small sensor has a crop factor of 5.5x, so new lenses have been devised for the system to provide the popular angles of view we're used to, and the new Pentax Q lens mount is approximately two-thirds the diameter of Pentax's venerable K-mount.

Despite the small dimension of the sensor, the Q offers a wide range of sensitivity settings from ISO 125 to ISO 6400.

Pentax q review

With a camera body around the same size as a pack of playing cards, Pentax seems to be attempting to carve a new niche with this little camera. The tiny retro-styled faux-leather clad body and 'Q' moniker are reminiscent of sub-miniature spy cameras of old, even if the design is more miniature range finder than a tool for clandestine photography.

Pentax Q kits with the 8.5mm f/1.9 standard prime lens are available for around £600, or as a kit with an additional 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5mm lens for around £730. These prices seem on the high side for a small sensor camera, so it will be interesting to see if prices drop in time.

Three other lenses are currently available for the Pentax Q - a 3.2mm f/5.6 diagonal fisheye and two 'toy' lenses. These toy lenses have moderate maximum apertures and should produce an effect similar to that of popular Holga or Diana Lomo cameras, with darkened corners and a sharp sweet spot in the centre. These lenses are also quite cheap, available for around £100.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution12.4 Megapixel
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Brand NamePentax
FeaturesFace Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Weight (Approximate)180 g
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Total Camera Resolution12.8 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody with Lens Kit
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height57.5 mm
Width98 mm
Depth31 mm
Autofocus Points25
Focal Length8.50 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Flash ModesSlow Sync, Rear Curtain Sync, Red-eye Reduction, Flash Exposure Compensation
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelQ
Product NameQ Mirrorless Camera
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number15072
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.ricoh.co.uk
Marketing Information

The Pentax Q features the newly developed Q mount, with a mount diameter shortened to approximately two-thirds of that of the conventional K mount. This was made possible by reducing the flange back (the distance from the lens mount surface to the image sensor surface) to nearly one-fifth of that of the K mount, as well as by optimizing the size of image circle of its lenses to be proportioned to the size of the compact image sensor. The Q mount system also eliminates an optical finder, mirror box, focusing plate and AF sensor, making the Pentax Q's body the smallest and lightest in its class. The body has been made of magnesium-alloy, which gives an elegant, high-quality texture to the compact, lightweight camera body while improving its durability.

Battery Life250 Shot
Package Contents
  • Q Mirrorless Camera
  • Standard PRIME 8.5mm f/1.9 Lens
  • USB Cable I-USB7
  • Strap O-ST115
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68
  • Battery Charger D-BC68P
  • Software (CD-ROM)
  • Hot Shoe Cover FK
  • Body Mount Cover
Display Resolution460000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone