Pentax Q

June 23, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera | 17 Comments | |
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The Pentax Q is a new compact system camera that offers the world’s lightest and smallest body. Based around a back illuminated 12.4 megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor, the Pentax Q uses the brand new super-compact Q-mount lens system, which has an outer diameter six millimetres shorter than that of Pentax’s conventional K mount. The Pentax Q also features Full HD movie recording, sensor-shift Shake Reduction mechanism, built-in flash, 5fps continuous shooting, 3.0-inch colour LCD monitor, and an extensive range of Smart Effect modes. An external viewfinder and camera case will also be launched alongside the Pentax Q. The Pentax Q will be available in white or black in mid-September 2011, pricing to be announced in the UK. Anticipated shipping time to the United States is early Fall 2011 at around $800 for the standard lens kit. The shoe-mounted viewfinder will be available at the same time for $249.95.

Pentax UK Press Release

PENTAX Q - A pocket-size, go-anywhere digital interchangeable lens system camera: featuring the world’s lightest and smallest body* made possible by a brand-new PENTAX original imaging system

PENTAX Imaging Systems is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX Q digital interchangeable lens system camera. Thanks to its innovative, PENTAX developed imaging system, this new model has an astonishingly compact and lightweight body. The user can more easily and actively enjoy the high-quality images and wide range of visual effects that are only available with digital interchangeable lens cameras.

The PENTAX Q was designed and developed in response to user requests for a more compact, manoeuverable digital interchangeable-lens camera than those available in the existing PENTAX line-up — a camera that could go anywhere and be used in all kinds of occasion more easily and freely. Starting with a high-resolution back illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor, the PENTAX Q offers a full range of advanced features, including the newly developed, super-compact Q-mount lenses perfectly proportioned to the compact CMOS image sensor, and an innovative optical construction free of an optical finder and a mirror. These features are the key to the creation of the world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable-lens camera system.*

The camera also delivers solid, dependable performance, thanks to such features as: approximately 12.4 effective megapixels to deliver high-quality, high-resolution still images and Full HD movies; high speed continuous shooting at a maximum speed of five images per second; high sensitivity of ISO 6400; and a magnesium-alloy body. It even offers such functional, user-friendly features as a multi-mode exposure system including the Aperture-Priority AE mode and a custom image function to give the most appropriate finishing touch to each image. Just as for conventional digital SLR models, the PENTAX Q is equipped with a set of dependable devices — an in-body SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism and a DRII (Dust Removal II) anti-dust mechanism — so that even beginners can effortlessly capture beautiful, brilliant images free of blurring or spots. The PENTAX Q also offers the latest image-processing tools, including a bokeh control function to adjust the intensity of the out-of-focus effect around the subject to a desired level, and a creative Smart Effect function to produce highly artistic images with distinctive touches, like those produced by cross processing film.

By adding the new Q mount to existing K and 645 medium-format mounts, PENTAX now offers three different lens mounts to further enhance the creativity and versatility of its digital interchangeable-lens camera systems.

* The world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera, as of June 15, 2011 (based on PENTAX’s research).

Major features

1. The world’s smallest, lightest camera body, featuring newly developed Q mount system
The PENTAX Q features the newly developed Q lens mount, with an outer diameter approximately six millimetres shorter than 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. The PENTAX Q is available in white or black.

2. Exceptional image quality delivered by digital interchangeable lens system camera
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with back illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor, which delivers beautiful, high-resolution images with approximately 12.4 effective megapixels. This is made possible by its high efficient light gathering optical construction that assures excellent high sensitivity and low noise characteristics and high speed readout of image data signals. The PENTAX Q also features a new generation imaging engine integrating the best of PENTAX’s state-of-the-art digital imaging technologies, developed and accumulated over many years of digital SLR camera development. By coupling this imaging engine with exclusively designed high performance Q mount lenses, the PENTAX Q delivers clear, high contrast images rich in gradation and texture, even at edges. With high sensitivity noise minimized, the photographer can use the entire sensitivity range — from ISO 125 to the highest ISO 6400 — without worrying about annoying digital noise. By taking advantage of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) function that produces one composite photo from multiple images, it’s easy to create beautiful images with an extra wide dynamic range and free of white-washed and blacked-out areas.

3. Innovative creative tool to add personal touches to images with ease
The PENTAX Q offers a totally new style of photo shooting. By coupling the new Smart Effect function offering nine distinctive visual effects via the easy access Quick-Dial positioned on the camera’s front panel, the photographer can effortlessly add a desired finishing touch to an image, while previewing the effect on the LCD monitor. The Quick-Dial has four positions, to which four favourite Smart Effect modes can be assigned in advance. The ever-popular Custom Image and Digital Filter functions have been further enhanced to provide an even greater range of image processing tools. In order to customize the PENTAX Q to accommodate specific shooting styles and user preferences, the user can also assign other options such as a custom image setting, a digital filter or an aspect ratio setting to the Quick-Dial.

• Brilliant Colour: Creates a lively effect by raising the saturation level almost to the point of colour saturation.
• Funicular Bold: Creates an extremely high contrast image that retains one particular colour in the image.
• Vintage Colour: Produces a toy-camera-like effect, with a choice of several different finishing touches.
• Cross Processing: Produces a unique image with unusual colors, as if treated with the cross processing** used in film photography.
• Warm Fade: Creates a low contrast image with the white balance slightly shifted to pink shades.
• Tone Expansion: Produces a dramatic image with an artistic finishing touch, close to an intensified HDR (High Dynamic Range) effect.
• Bold Monochrome: Produces a low-key, high contrast image with enhanced sharpness.
• Water Colour: Creates a watercolour-like finishing touch.
• Vibrant Colour Enhance: Creates a flowery atmosphere with slightly enhanced contrast.
• USER: Used to enter a user-selected combination of custom image mode and a digital filter.

** A film development technique that uses an unconventional film developer to create a distinctive finishing touch with dramatic colours.

4. High quality, Full HD movie recording
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with a Full HD movie recording function employing the H.264 recording format, allowing the user to capture high quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The user can also take advantage of interchangeable Q-mount lenses to produce distinctive perspectives, or make effective use of the Smart Effect modes*** and other in-body movie editing tools to produce creative, dramatic visual effects with great ease, even during movie recording. The PENTAX Q also provides a micro-HDMI terminal (type D), which allows the user to simultaneously output both Full HD movie clips and sound to external devices via a single terminal.

*** The frame rate may vary when a selected Smart Effect mode requires non-standard image processing.

5. Effortless Bokeh control
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with newly developed bokeh control function, which allows user to capture the image with obtrusive objects in the field of view optimally defocused. With this function, the camera will automatically judge the focused subject as well as the relative distance of each object from the camera in the field of view to apply optimal defocus effect to each object to ensure stand-out of the main subject(s). This function will allow even a first-time digital photographer to easily capture the images with such effects as background defocus or foreground defocus that would otherwise require a certain degree of photographic experience.

6. SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images
The PENTAX Q incorporates the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which automatically shifts the CMOS image sensor to offset camera shake detected by the camera’s motion sensor. As a result, the PENTAX Q produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions that are prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark without flash illumination, or capturing landscapes in the twilight.

7. Dependable features available only with digital interchangeable lens cameras
The PENTAX Q offers a host of user-friendly, functional features available only with digital interchangeable-lens cameras. Its top shutter speed of 1/2000 second freezes the decisive moment of the subject’s action. To accommodate user preferences and varying photographic applications, it also offers a choice of four different exposure modes: the user-friendly Programmed AE (P) mode that automatically selects an optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed; the Aperture-Priority AE (AV) and Shutter-Priority AE (TV) modes that allow the photographer to faithfully reproduce specific creative intentions on resulting images; and the Metered Manual (M) mode.
It even allows the photographer to instantly switch from the P mode to the AV or TV mode with a simple turn of an electronic dial.

8. Large, wide view LCD monitor
The PENTAX Q features a large, easy-to-view, high resolution 3.0-inch colour LCD monitor with approximately 460,000 dots. Its wide view design assures a clear view of the monitor from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, making it particularly useful in low and high angle shooting.

9. Dependable DRII mechanism for effective dust removal
The PENTAX Q’s DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism effectively prevents annoying dust spots from spoiling captured images, even after the user changes lenses out in the open. Like PENTAX’s K-5 and 645D digital SLR cameras, it incorporates highly effective supersonic vibration mechanism, which vibrates the image sensor at high speed to shake the dust off its surface.

10. High speed continuous shooting at approximately five images per second
The PENTAX Q’s high speed burst shooting mode allows the photographer to record up to five images (in JPEG recording format) in a single sequence, at a maximum speed of approximately five images per second. This mode comes in handy when trying to preserve the action of fast-moving subjects in a series of images.

11. Built-in auto flash with pop-up mechanism
The PENTAX Q comes with a built-in auto flash (guide number 7 at ISO 200/m). The photographer can either use it at the default position, or raise it to the pop-up position with simple operation to widen its discharge angle to cover a 28mm angle of view (in the 35mm format).

12. Other features
1) TTL image-sensor metering, with a choice of multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot modes
2) Contrast-detection autofocus system, with a face recognition function and 25 selectable focus points
3) CTE white-balance control mode to emphasize the predominant colour of a particular scene, such as the sunset
4) Auto Picture mode for effortless shooting
5) 21 scene modes, including new Forest and Stage Lighting options
6) A choice of image size (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 or 1:1) to accommodate different subjects and applications
7) Multi-exposure mode (up to nine exposures on a single image), with an auto exposure compensation function
8) Interval shooting mode, convenient for recording transition of landscapes and flowers/plants from the exact same location and angle
9) HDR mode to produce photo with an extra wide dynamic range composite photo from three images of varying exposures
10) A choice of data storage medium: SD, SDHC and the new-standard SDXC**** memory cards
11) SILKY Developer Studio 3 for PENTAX RAW-data development software (developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included; in-camera RAW-data development also available

**** Not compatible with UHS Speed Class transfer rate.

Optional accessories

External Viewfinder O-VF1
Launched together with the PENTAX Q, this optical viewfinder is designed for exclusive use with the new “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME” unifocal standard lens. It offers a clear view of the subject even in bright sunshine. It also assures image viewing of the subject with no time lag — an important feature in snapshot and portrait photography where the timing of the shutter release is crucial.

Camera Case O-CC115
Exclusively designed for the PENTAX Q, this camera case has two strap lugs on the sides to keep the camera suspended in a level position, so that the photographer can quickly respond to unexpected shutter opportunities. With the camera inside, this high-grade case looks even more elegant, in a choice of colours: white, black and red.

? PENTAX is a trademark of HOYA CORPORATION.
? HDMI, the HDMI Logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.
? All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
? Designs and specifications are subjects to change without notice.

Availability of the Q digital interchangeable lens camera system – Mid September 2011
Price – TBA

About PENTAX Imaging Systems
PENTAX Imaging Systems is a leading supplier of recreational cameras and photographic equipment world-wide, with a long standing UK brand heritage.  Its product range is extensive and includes state of the art digital SLR, medium format and zoom compact cameras and an extensive range of high performance lenses and accessories.  In addition, it has a superb range of binoculars, suitable for a variety of leisure activities.

PENTAX successfully distributes its products through a number of channels, including independent camera shops, mass merchandisers and national multiple retailers - both on and offline.

PENTAX Imaging Systems Limited is a branch of PENTAX Europe Imaging Systems (SAS), a subsidiary of HOYA CORPORATION of Japan.

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17 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Dainas

What a stupid piece of garbage. I thought Micro 4/3rds was overpriced compared to APS-C, this takes that stupidity to a whole new level of shameless name cash in.

8:59 am - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#2 Tom

Pentax is a quality in itself .. cool and to the point described ...

9:58 am - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#3 Manuel

Not clever. I doubt such a small sensor will live up to the claimed high ISO performance. And ergonomically it has a flaw - where do you put your right thumb?
This still isn't the Leica for the people. It's more like a Lomo on steroids...

10:01 am - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#4 Low Budget Dave

I don't understand why Pentax is putting so much work into a small sensor camera. I already have a camera that takes sharp pictures in direct sunlight. It's in my phone.

If Pentax can put a slightly bigger sensor in there, then the pictures won't be as flat, and you might stand a chance of putting a dent in Canon and Nikon.

But electronic bokeh? Seriously?

10:58 am - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#5 Questions

I wonder if Pentax did any market research, or if they just put together something that was fun for them?

Are there people out there who passed up on their WG-1 because they couldn't put a big fat lens on it?

Are there people who passed up on the Oly XZ because the sensor was too big?

Or because they wanted to save $100 by getting a prime lens in the kit instead of a zoom? It is a waste of time. Six months from now, someone will make a better camera for $1 less, and this camera's whole reason for being will be destroyed.

Usually when a camera company misjudges the market this badly, you hear about them getting out of the business a few months later. I would hate to see Pentax go the way of Concord, but this camera is a serious waste of technology.

Everyone else is putting bigger sensors in smaller cameras, while Pentax is doing the opposite.

When Pentax found out that the Fuji X100 was sold out for six months, they could have stripped the viewfinder off the K-r, and put a serious hurting on Leica. Instead, they decided to put a bunch of huge lenses on their Optio E90, which they can't give away.

Why does every camera company try to protect the same old bad ideas? If the Optio didn't sell at $99, you aren't protecting your market by refusing to compete. You aren't creating a new market, you are living of the scraps and discards of the old one.

Pentax? Do you people read these blogs at all?

We want a smaller Kr, not a bigger Optio. I don't care if it has a tiny battery, a tiny flash and an external viewfinder, I just want to take good pictures from a smaller camera without having to buy Sony E-mount lenses.

2:57 pm - Thursday, June 23, 2011


I agree with most people here. Pentax is a little silly to price this small compact-sized-sensored camera at $800! It doesn't matter how good the optics are, if there is no good sensor to go with it, then it's junk!

It's not the good old film days, like the Ricoh GR1 series, a good lens is good enough because the you have a choice of films.

It has a distinctive look and to me, quite attractive.. but I will give it a pass unless the new back-lid sensor proves me wrong. I don't want to lug my Canon DSLR around with my huge primes or zoom... and I am still waiting for the ultimate pocket rocket.

Fuji is the closest and I was hoping it would be a system camera... shame.. Fuji, you are getting there!

3:56 pm - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#7 wyoming

800$ !! hahaha for a small sensor compact?
you can spend 250S and don't even need to buy and change the lenses!

at least they could make a 1/1,6 with the interchangable lenses and put it out at 400$ like the olympus xz1, samsung ex1 or canon s95.
that would make sense because all of them have only 100-120mm lenses.

6:23 pm - Thursday, June 23, 2011

#8 Crage

If the body were around $200 they'd have a winner on their hands......... but at this price?

8:12 am - Friday, June 24, 2011

#9 Finger Family..

9:09 am - Friday, June 24, 2011


What are they smoking??? My cell phone has a bigger sensor....Who needs that??? Oh Lord, what are you punishing us for???

12:23 pm - Friday, June 24, 2011

#11 Veselin Vukcevic

For PHOTO peoples,

why so small, why so big, we need something normal to hold in our hands and make photo, like Yashica FX-3 size , not for pocket , but for good picture, to fix time.

12:31 pm - Friday, June 24, 2011

#12 Siu Hay

Pentax said they have spent 5 years on developing this camera, which I can't understand. 5 years on what exactly? I mean the sensor is supplied by SONY.

Pentax do have high hopes for this camera, but how can it produce better pictures than a micro 4/3 camera or even Canon's S95 with a tiny sensor? Can anyone here explain to me?

5:36 pm - Friday, June 24, 2011

#13 Dainas

It won't have the image quality to rival anything over $300. Pentax is just rightfully assuming that anyone dumb enough to buy this little turd won't care.

6:46 am - Saturday, June 25, 2011

#14 Warren Lyons

Can't wait to buy this camera; after I pick up my new S class Mercedes with a FOUR CYLINDER engine

3:04 pm - Saturday, June 25, 2011

#15 1SnapMusic!

An $800 toy! I really don't get this at all!

11:50 pm - Monday, June 27, 2011

#16 zorstklamp

Could have been a real winner, but it seems it will be too expensive for what it provides.

I'd love to see a real 'pocketable' camera that had interchangeable lenses, decent size sensor with the quality to go with it, full manual features that are not buried deep in menus but easily accessible via buttons & mechanical controls, tilt & swivel flip-out screen and an optical viewfinder, popup flash & a hotshoe mount and NO video !

Is this too much to ask for ?

11:36 am - Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#17 rob

This is an example of why Pentax is struggling to survive in the digital camera market, even though their quality of optics and manufacturing is high.

They just don't have a clue in the strategic marketing department. And therefore, their research and development team wastes money, time and energy on clueless "innovation".

10:48 pm - Tuesday, June 28, 2011