Panasonic GF5 vs Pentax Q
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2012 and June 2011. Both the GF5 and the Pentax Q are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (GF5) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 160-6400 (160-12800)||ISO 125-6400|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||1.5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|360 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|108 x 67 x 37 mm, 267 g||98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and the Pentax Q? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GF5 and the Pentax Q. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GF5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the Pentax Q is available in two color-versions (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Panasonic GF5. Moreover, the Pentax Q is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the GF5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GF5 nor the Pentax Q are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Panasonic GF5»||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499||Panasonic GF5|
|Pentax Q«||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||6.3 oz||230||n||Jun 2011||649||Pentax Q|
|Olympus XZ-2« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||12.2 oz||340||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||12.8 oz||280||n||Jan 2011||599||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.7 in||11.8 oz||290||n||Feb 2010||599||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.4 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||499||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic LX7« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Jul 2012||499||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic GF3« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||10.9 oz||300||n||Nov 2010||549||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599||Panasonic G1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GF5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the Pentax Q, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GF5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Even though the GF5 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the GF5 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the GF5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 160-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the GF5 provides substantially higher image quality than the Pentax Q, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61||Panasonic GF5|
|Pentax Q||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.2||11.1||189||47||Pentax Q|
|Olympus XZ-2||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.4||11.3||216||49||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic LX7||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||20.7||11.7||147||50||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53||Panasonic G1|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GF5 provides a higher frame rate than the Pentax Q. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The GF5 and the Pentax Q are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GF5, the Pentax Q, and comparable cameras.
|Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF5|
|Pentax Q||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.5||Y||Y||Pentax Q|
|Olympus XZ-2||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic G1|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF5 has a touchscreen, while the Pentax Q has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Pentax Q has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the GF5 and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC cards. The GF5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the Pentax Q cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and Pentax Q and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Panasonic GF5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF5|
|Pentax Q||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax Q|
|Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-2|
|Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM1|
|Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL1|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Panasonic G6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic G6|
|Panasonic GF6||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GF6|
|Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX7|
|Panasonic GF3||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic G10||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G10|
|Panasonic G2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G2|
|Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF2|
|Panasonic G1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G1|
It is notable that the Pentax Q has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The GF5 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the GF5 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the GF5 was followed by the Panasonic GF6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic GF5 better than the Pentax Q or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the Pentax Q).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax Q:
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 108x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 87g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GF5 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GF5 and the Pentax Q place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GF5 or the Pentax Q. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D X vs Panasonic GF5
- Canon 40D vs Panasonic GF5
- Canon 7D II vs Panasonic GF5
- Fujifilm X-E1 vs Pentax Q
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Pentax Q
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Panasonic GF5
- Nikon D2X vs Pentax Q
- Panasonic FZ150 vs Panasonic GF5
- Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic GX800
- Panasonic GF5 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Panasonic GF5 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Pentax Q vs Sony A9
Specifications: Panasonic GF5 vs Pentax Q
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2012||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160-6400 ISO||125-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||160-12800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||61||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||20.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.6||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||618||189|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GF5||Pentax Q|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 37 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
98 x 57 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||267 g (9.4 oz)||180 g (6.3 oz)|
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