Pentax Q review

A tiny, but robust 12MP camera with interchangeable lenses

TODO alt text

Pentax q

In attempting to create a new niche, Pentax has created a niche camera. Many photographers looking towards interchangeable lens cameras do so to be rewarded with higher quality images. Although the Pentax Q offers a good range of features, and controls to please photography enthusiasts and beginners alike, the image quality achieved isn't leagues ahead of many compact cameras that employ the same backlit CMOS sensor technology.

It does cost a lot more than these cameras, though, and this is where the main problem lies.

For example, a Canon Powershot S95 that costs around £400 provides similar performance and manual control and is more compact when not in use, since the lens collapses into the body. Even though this cheaper camera lacks the scope for interchangeable lenses, its zoom lens already covers a greater focal range than the standard zoom found in the Pentax Q £730 twin-lens kit. The Q costs around £600 with just the 8.5mm lens and it isn't sold body only or with just the zoom lens.

We liked

We liked the excellent magnesium alloy build, retro design and the inclusion of a standard flash hotshoe. The image quality produced holds up well against other premium compact cameras.

We disliked

Although the Pentax Q performs compares well with compact cameras, it's priced at a more expensive level than many CSCs that have larger sensors, provide better performance and have a larger range of additional lenses and accessories available.

Final verdict

The concept of the Pentax Q is a good idea, and with time and new lens additions the system could prove to be an interesting one. If the price came down to a more sensible level, it may even prove to be very interesting.

At the moment, it's just too expensive compared to high-end compact cameras, and the performance isn't quite there when likened to similarly-priced compact system cameras such as the such as the Nikon 1 J1, Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 and the Sony NEX-C3.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution12.4 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Brand NamePentax
FeaturesFace Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Weight (Approximate)180 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height57.5 mm
Width98 mm
Depth31 mm
Focal Length8.50 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelQ
Product NameQ Mirrorless Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number15072
Manufacturer Website Address
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.

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
Limited Warranty1 Year