Pentax Q Comparison Review
The Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in June 2011 and is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 12 megapixel.
Is the Pentax Q a good camera? The Pentax Q has a Camera Elo of 1411. This rating puts the Pentax Q below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (small sensor cameras), the Pentax Q also ranks below average. – Well, the Pentax Q is more than 9 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2011.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Pentax Q mount lenses|
|12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|ISO 125 - 6 400|
|3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|1.5 shutter flaps per second|
|230 shots per battery charge|
|98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Pentax Q vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax Q alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 comparisons there.
|Pentax Q||98 mm||57 mm||31 mm||180 g||230||n||Jun 2011||649|
|Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax Q was launched in the US market at a price of $649. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Pentax Q features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax Q among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Pentax Q indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the Pentax Q can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax Q in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One convenient feature of the Pentax Q is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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 Pentax Q and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the Pentax Q in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Pentax Q||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jun 2011||649|
|Fujifilm X10||..||76/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|Olympus XZ-2||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-P3||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|Olympus E-PL2||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PL1||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Panasonic GF3||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF2||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Pentax Q FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the Pentax Q.
What type of imaging sensor is used in the Pentax Q?
The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the Pentax Q?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 6400.
Can the camera be equipped with an optional viewfinder?
Yes, Pentax provides the O-VF1 as an accessory (here on amazon) that can be mounted on the hotshoe.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax Q?
Pentax does not publish a shutter rating for the Pentax Q. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Pentax Q?
Pentax embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your Pentax Q has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?
No, the Pentax Q has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
Does the Pentax Q feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The Pentax Q's flash sync speed is 1/2000 sec.
Which battery does the Pentax Q use?
The camera gets its power from the D-LI68, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
|Camera Model||Pentax Q|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 649|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 000 x 3 000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 6 400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||189|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||D-LI68 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge|
98 x 57 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||180 g (6.3 oz)|
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