Pentax Q vs Samsung NX30
The Pentax Q and the Samsung NX30 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2011 and January 2014. Both the Pentax Q and the NX30 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) and an APS-C (NX30) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Samsung provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax Q and the Samsung NX30? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax Q and the Samsung NX30 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the NX30 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Samsung NX30 is considerably larger (118 percent) than the Pentax Q. Moreover, the NX30 is substantially heavier (108 percent) than the Pentax Q. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Pentax Q nor the NX30 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 power pack in the NX30 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Pentax Q||98 mm||57 mm||31 mm||180 g||230||n||Jun 2011||649|
|2.||Samsung NX30||127 mm||96 mm||58 mm||375 g||360||n||Jan 2014||999|
|3.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|4.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|6.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|7.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|8.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|9.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|10.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|12.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|13.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|14.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|15.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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 Pentax Q was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 percent) than the NX30, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax Q features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Samsung NX30 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NX30 is 1218 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the Pentax Q has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NX30 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 20MP, the NX30 offers a higher resolution than the Pentax Q (12MP), but the NX30 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the NX30 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 6 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the NX30 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Samsung NX30 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NX30 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax Q are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The NX30 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Pentax Q has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Samsung NX30 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the NX30 offers substantially better image quality than the Pentax Q (overall score 29 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.3 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|9.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|10.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|12.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|13.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|14.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the NX30 provides a faster frame rate than the Pentax Q. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the NX30 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. 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 Pentax Q, the Samsung NX30, and comparable cameras.
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
One feature that differentiates the Pentax Q and the NX30 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Pentax Q reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the NX30 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The NX30 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the Pentax Q does not have a selfie-screen.
The Pentax Q and the Samsung NX30 both have 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 Pentax Q and the NX30 write their files to SDXC cards. The NX30 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 Pentax Q and Samsung NX30 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the NX30 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the Pentax Q does not provide wifi capability.
Both the Pentax Q and the NX30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the NX30 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax and Samsung websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Pentax Q or the Samsung NX30 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax Q:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 195g or 52 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Samsung NX30:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (29 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the Pentax Q launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NX30 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Pentax Q and the Samsung NX30 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 Pentax Q or the NX30. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Pentax Q||3/5||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jun 2011||649|
|2.||Samsung NX30||3/5||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||999|
|3.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|4.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|6.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|7.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|8.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|9.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|10.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|12.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|13.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|14.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|15.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Pentax Q vs Samsung NX30
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||Pentax Q||Samsung NX30|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax Q mount lenses||Samsung NX mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2011||January 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 649||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax Q||Samsung NX30|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||4.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47||76|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.2||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||189||1014|
|Screen Specs||Pentax Q||Samsung NX30|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1036k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax Q||Samsung NX30|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax Q||Samsung NX30|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Pentax Q||Samsung NX30|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
98 x 57 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
127 x 96 x 58 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.3 in)
|Camera Weight||180 g (6.3 oz)||375 g (13.2 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.