First Impressions: Pentax Q7

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 product images (1 of 5)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The Pentax Q system has often been the butt of many jokes due to their itty bitty size and their even more minuscule sensor–even though it has gotten bigger. Today, Pentax is announcing the latest addition to their Q line with the Q7–and also stated in a press conference with us that they’re still very fully committed to the Q system. Though I’ve never personally reviewed a Pentax Q, I have to admit that they’re fun and perhaps the digital equivalent to a toy camera.

The Q system cameras are also quite well built and in many ways look like the company’s old Auto110 cameras for 110 film.

But we really have to emphasize that the cameras aren’t for everyone after playing with the pre-production unit that we handed today.

 

Tech Specs

SENSOR

Type: 1/1.7” Backlit CMOS w/ primary color filter

Effective pixels: 12.4MP

Total pixels: 12.76MP

Recorded Resolutions (Pixels)

Still: JPEG

[4:3]L:12M(4000×3000),M:7M(3072×2304),S:3M(1920×1440) [3:2]L:10M(4000×2664),M:6M(3072×2048),S:2M(1920×1280) [16:9]L:9M(4000×2248),M:5M(3072×1728),S:2M(1920×1080) [1:1]L:9M(2992×2992),M:5M(2304×2304),2M(1440×1440)

RAW: [4:3]12M(4000×3000)

Quality Levels: RAW (12bit): DNG, JPEG: ★★★ (Best), ★★ (Better), ★ (Good)

RAW and JPEG simultaneously recordable

LCD MONITOR:

Type: 3.0-inch TFT color LCD monitor, wide angle viewing, AR coating

LCD resolution: 460,000 dots

Adjustable: Brightness and Color

Field of View:  approx. 100%,

Display info: Grid display (4×4 Grid, Golden Section, Scale display),

Bright/dark area warning, Histogram

FOCUS SYSTEM

Type: Contrast detection AF

Autofocus Method: Face Detection, Tracking, AF Select (25 Points), Select, Spot

Focus Method: AF / MF Switching

Brightness Range: EV0 to 18(ISO100)

AF Assist Light: Dedicated LED Lamp

Manual Focus Assist: OFF/x2/x4

Focus Peaking: Yes

LENS MOUNT

Type: PENTAX bayonet Q-mount

Usable lenses: Q-mount lenses, K-mount lenses (w/ Adapter Q for K Lens).

FLASH

Type: Built-in retractable P-TTL flash

Guide number: approx. 4.9 (ISO100/m) / approx. 7 (ISO200/m)

Angle of view: coverage: wide angle-lens, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm format

Flash modes: P-TTL, Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Trailing Curtain Sync

Sync Speed: Lens shutter: 1/2000 seconds, Electronic shutter: 1/13 seconds

Flash Exposure Compensation: –2.0 to +1.0 EV

STORAGE MEDIA

Removable memory: SD, SDHC, SDXC and Eye-Fi Card

INTERFACES

Ports: USB 2.0 (high-speed compatible) / AV output terminal, HDMI output terminal (Type D)

Video out: NTSC, PAL

USB Connection: MSC / PTP

POWER SUPPLY

Power source: Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68

Number of recordable images: approx. 250 images (with 50% flash usage), approx. 260 images (without flash usage)

Playback time: approx.160 minutes

* Using a new lithium-ion battery at 23 °C, (tested in compliance with CIPA standard).

PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions (W x H x D): Approx. 4”(W) x 2.3”(H) x1.32” (D) (exc. Operating parts and protrusions)

Weight:

Without battery or removable memory: approx. 6.35oz (180g)

With battery and memory card: approx. 7oz (200g)

Construction material(s): Reinforced polycarbonate plastic

Operating temperature: 32-104°F

KIT COMPONENTS

USB Cable I-USB7, Strap O-ST131, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68,

Battery Charger D-BC68P, Software (CDROM) S-SW133

(Hot shoe cover FK, Body mount cover (both mounted on camera))

Software: SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 LE for PENTAX)

FILE STORAGE MATRIX (BASED ON 4GB MEMORY, 4:3 ASPECT RATIO)

STILL

RAW

«««

««

«

12M

182

807

1122

1889

9M (16:9)

1071

1485

2485

7M

1351

1869

3108

VIDEO (30 FPS)

1920×1080

1280×720

640×480

 

00:39’54

01:23’43

03:21’55

*The maximum length for a movie is 25 minutes, in addition, recording may stop if internal camera temperature becomes too high.

IMAGE STABILIZATION

Still: Sensor shift Shake Reduction

METERING SYSTEM

Type: TTL image sensor metering, segment metering, center-weighted metering, spot metering

Exposure compensation:  EV1 – 17 (ISO 100, F1.9 lens), +2EV using the Electronic Shutter setting or using the built-in ND filter

ISO SENSITIVITY

AUTO: ISO 100 to 12800 (1/3 EV steps)

Bulb mode: up to ISO 1600

SHUTTER

Type: Lens shutter: 1/2000 – 30 seconds

(1/3EV step, 1/8000 – 30 seconds when Electronic Shutter setting is enabled), Bulb

*Shooting at 1/8000 – 2 seconds with Electronic Shutter and Bulb shooting are not available when using a lens that has no lens shutter.

HDR Capture: Auto, HDR 1, HDR 2

Multi-Exposure: Number of shots: 2-9, Exposure adjusted automatically.

Dynamic Range Adjustment:  Highlight and/or Shadow correction

Interval Shooting: Shooting interval: 3 sec. to 24 hr., Start Interval setting: immediately from the

set time. Number of shots: up to 999 images

Green simplified mode available: no

Face detection available: Yes

DRIVE MODES

Single frame, Continuous (Hi, Lo), Self-timer (12s, 2s), Remote Control (0 sec., 3 sec., continuous), Exposure Bracketing (3 frames, remote control), Multi-exposure (0 sec., Self-time, remote control), Interval Shooting

Continuous Shooting: Approx. 5 fps, JPEG (12M / ★★★ / Continuous Hi): up to 5 frames,

Approx. 1.5 fps, JPEG (12M / ★★★ / Continuous Lo): up to 100 frames

Self-timer: Yes (12 sec, 2 sec)

Remote control: Yes (Instant, 3 sec. Delay, Continuous)

EV Compensation: ± 3EV (1/3EV step)

AE Lock: Can be assigned to the green/delete button from the menu.

Continuous as long as the shutter release button is pressed halfway.

PLAYBACK MODES

Playback View: Single frame, multi-image display (4, 9, 30, 56 segments), display magnification (up to 16x, scrolling and quick magnification available), rotating, histogram (Y histogram, RGB histogram), bright/dark area warning, detailed information, folder display, date display, slideshow.

Digital Filters: Base Parameter Adjustment, Toy Camera, High Contrast, Shading, Tone Expansion, Invert Color, Extract Color, Unicolor Bold, Water Color, Posterization, Slim, Fish-eye, Retro, Soft, Sketch Filter, Miniature, Soft, Starburst

RAW Development: File Format (JPEG), Aspect Ratio, Color Space, Custom Image, White Balance, Sensitivity, High-ISO NR, Shadow Correction, Distortion Correction.

Edit: Resize, Cropping (aspect ratio adjustment available), Index, Movie Editing (divide or delete selected frames), Capturing a JPEG still picture from a movie, Red-eye Edit, Saving buffer as a RAW file

MOVIE

File Format: MOV MPEG–4 AVC/H.264 (.mov)

Recorded Pixels: FullHD(1920×1080,16:9,30fps/25fps/24fps), HD(1280×720,16:9,30fps/25fps/24fps), VGA(640×480,4:3,30fps/25fps/24fps)

Sound: Built-in monaural microphone

Interval Movie: Recording interval: 3 sec., 5 sec., 10 sec., 30 sec., 1 min., 5 min., 10 min., 30 min., 1 hr.,

Recording time: 12 sec. to 99 hr.

Start Interval setting: immediately, from the set time 

FILE FORMATS

Still: RAW (DNG), JPEG (Exif 2.3), DCF2.0 compliant

Movie: MOV MPEG–4 AVC/H.264 (.mov)

CUSTOMIZATION

Custom Functions: 16

Mode Memory: 10 items

Button/Dial Customization: Green/Delete button: Green Button, Preview, One Push File Format, AE Lock, Enable AF

Quick Dial: Smart Effect, Custom Image, Digital Filter, Aspect Ratio

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 product images (2 of 5)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8
The Pentax Q7 is surely the smallest interchangeable lens camera that we’ve ever held and when you put it in your hand, you start to realize more than ever that the camera was built for small prime lenses and not zooms at all. However, the Q7 has a couple of controls on the front such as a dial with four different positions.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 product images (5 of 5)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The side of the camera has an obvious SD card port, although its a bit tough to get your card both in and out of there.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 product images (4 of 5)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The back of the Q7 is characterized by a large LCD screen and many buttons that will be familiar to Pentax users–including the green auto-exposure button. One of the more odd choices though is the placement of the AV button–which can make manual shooting quite difficult to do.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 product images (3 of 5)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.8

That manual shooting can be difficult due to the fact that the exposure dial is right on top of it on the top of the camera. In front of that is the mode dial while next to that is the shutter release. Then there are all the normal things such as the pop-up flash, hot shoe port, playback button and the light to signal that the camera is on/off.

Build Quality

In many ways, we want to liken the Pentax Q7 to a point and shoot camera. And for what it is worth, it’s got some solid build quality to it.

Ease of Use

We feel that the Pentax Q should be kept on auto and never touched or at least set to Aperture mode and locked in there. Despite this, the menus are simple to navigate but the ergonomic layout just wasn’t tickling our fancy.

Autofocus

The autofocus of the Pentax Q7 should be likened to that of most point and shoots–and not the premium ones like the Fujifilm X100s. Because there is such a small sensor in the camera, most things will be in focus anyway.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 image samples (2 of 5)ISO 64001-1250 sec at f - 5.0

Sorry Pentax fans, but we really need to be honest here. We weren’t thrilled by the image quality from the Q7. Sure, it has a small sensor but the back LCD screen made us believe that the images we were getting were much sharper and more vibrant. But upon importing them into Lightroom 5, we were a bit disappointed.

However, someone that is looking for a point and shoot with more versatility would probably be alright with the output.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 image samples (1 of 5)ISO 64001-400 sec at f - 6.3

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 image samples (5 of 5)ISO 8001-160 sec at f - 5.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 image samples (4 of 5)ISO 8001-200 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax Q7 image samples (3 of 5)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 4.5

First Impressions

Although more of my time today was spent working with the Pentax K-50 and K-500, I still was able to get enough of an experience with the Pentax Q to figure out that this is a camera that really isn’t for everyone. Many press members at the event hooked it up to a Pocket Wizard and shot models with it, but I’m not sure that I would do that. When doing that, you lose most of the advantages of a point and shoot–such as a leaf shutter.

We’ll be happy to give the Q7 a second chance later on, but we just couldn’t warm up to it.

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