Pentax Q Review

October 27, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Brian G

Just a small point, when you say “Pentax’s Custom Images,(are) similar to Nikon’s Picture Styles and Canon’s Picture Controls”, should be the other way round, Nikon have “Picture Controls” and Canon have “Picture Styles.”

8:35 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#2 Russ

“Just like Pentax’s DSLRs, the shutter release action on the Pentax Q is quite loud and mechanical”

What rock are you under? The Pentax K-7 and K-5 have the quietest DSLR shutters out there! They don’t need a “quiet” mode a la Nikon. (Coming from a jealous Nikon owner)

9:17 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#3 Dan

I saw one of these in a shop the other day. It is crazily small. The lenses look very losable!

11:01 pm - Thursday, October 27, 2011

#4 Dave

This and the Nikon 1 series should be $450

12:58 am - Friday, October 28, 2011

#5 Dj

A Unique little camera. I like it, but dont like the price right now but im sure it will come down sometime. Pentax could have copied the popular M4/3 cameras but they did something unique and different and i like that: its good for these companies to be creative.

1:29 am - Friday, October 28, 2011

#6 danaceb


Amen, what is wrong with Pentax and Nikon? They are so deluded its kinda sad.

4:29 am - Friday, October 28, 2011

#7 LA

The image quality is very good for such a small sensor!

9:25 am - Friday, October 28, 2011

#8 Mad Hungarian

Terrible image quality, too many details lost, too many curved lines, focus/DOF does not make any sense. One would have to spend hour on each image in Photoshop to make it right. Everything is wrong about this Pentax, except the body and style. USD $800.00? Maybe in Turkish Lira I would pay 800 for this mistake.

4:42 pm - Friday, October 28, 2011

#9 Warren Lyons

I do have to agree with LA that the image quality is good for a P/S sized sensor.  In fact, this camera brings to mind the Bose Wave Radio, a tabletop FM/AM radio selling in the USA for around $500.00 dollars.  After listening to it, I concluded that it was a great sounding table radio, but a terrible sounding $500.00 radio.  Likewise, the Pentax Q takes great pictures considering its small sensor and overall size, but awfull pictures considering its $800.00 price

5:53 pm - Friday, October 28, 2011

#10 Goo


YOU are so deluded, it’s kinda sad.

CHOICES, my friend. It’s ALWAYS GOOD to have choices. I’m sure all these companies have done an algorithmic study where they calculated the possible number of equipment they could sell based on INCREASING WORLD POPULATION, especially in developed, wealthy nations, who can afford to buy more toys, and these buyers, especially the NEW ones, are interested in having CHOICES and OPTIONS and VARIETY.
In Japan, for example, there is a HUGE BOOM in young, female photo-hobbiests that is increasing every day. And it’s boomed so much to the point of women having their own MAGAZINES dedicated to photography, its fashion, which also includes cute accessories and such to go with their cute fashions. And this camera fits right in there.

4:08 am - Saturday, October 29, 2011

#11 Dave

I’ve been a Pentax user since I started photography in my teens (I’m now nearly 60) and I was looking forward to the arrival of the Q as I’m getting increasingly fed up with hauling my K20D and associated bits around.  Thanks to your frank and honest review I will not now be wasting my money and it looks like Pentax and I will be parting company.

2:21 pm - Friday, November 4, 2011

#12 decks

Interesting conclusion and wonder if i need to take the reviewer too task here?
1. Its not a DSLR, never was, but has interchangeable lenses, so like so many people who make the mistake, its in a category of its own.
2. You seem to make a reference to the Nikon system having the smallest sensor…..the Q has a smaller sensor than the Nikon system. Not sure what the reference was meant to mean, but its misleading. I read it like your stating the opposite.
3. Consider the Q in relation IQ, DR etc to point and shoot and I think you will find its somewhere near the top of its class.
4. Some pro photographers are speaking about it as a small back up camera option.
Yes, agreed initial price is expensive, has now dropped and no doubt will continue to do so. But already has a band of loyal followers who believe the results are seriously good for an advanced p&S.

I felt as with many people in forums, this review sounds like someone trying to be professional, but has a negative pre conceived opinion??

Other than that I generally enjoy your throrugh reviews.

10:49 am - Thursday, November 10, 2011

#13 diehelix

I owned it (for one night…)

I’m in Japan and went to Yodobashi Akiba (amazing store…).

Bought the Pentax Q, got back to the hotel and had an overwhelming, immediate bout of buyer’s remorse after looking at some pictures on a MacBook Pro. Don’t know what I was thinking when I got it…?

Luckily, they took back the kit in exchange for an international version Sony NEX-5N. Feeling a lot better: with the pancake lense on the Sony is not even much bigger than the Pentax Q but the APS-C sensor makes all the difference over the tiny Compact DSC inside the Q

8:24 am - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#14 NocturNalis

If it had a 2/3” or at least a 1/1.7” sensor I would consider it but c’mon, that sensor won’t even be a consideration for 99.99 percent of us, that’s a cellphone sensor. If it was between $300 and $400 then maybe, but that’s a big maybe. I really like Pentax but they should have gone for a larger ILC with an APS-C sensor like Samsung and people would have gotten really excited for sure. With Pentax’s amazing high-iso files on their DSLRs, who wouldn’t go for something like that? Why would I buy this over a Fuji X10 or Canon S100? The whole point of a compact (as in pocket-able)camera is to have a fixed lens and the convenience that goes with it. Nice try Pentax but I’ll pass and will be getting either a Samsung NX or Sony Nex instead, even the Nikon’s sensor is too small for me to consider but still leaps and bounds better than this.

4:48 pm - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#15 No Slack Jack

I just returned from a Boy Scout overnighter on a retired USN submarine, which = extremely difficult shooting conditions.  Another dad took pix of the trip with his Q and posted them for our use.  As a highly trained old-school art photo student (hand-developed large format film), I’ve gotta say I am blown away by the image quality that the Q offers.  His images actually improved what I saw with my own eyes.  His pix ran the range of extreme, wide-angle, low light interior shots, to long distance naturally lit sunrise landscapes, to morning light documentary comps—all simply superb.

Many, many people dive into the weeds of image quality as driven by spec sheets and lab data, which is fine for techies, but as an artist, I have to say that I create images intended to been seen as an entire composition in one view, not something to be pored over with a magnifying lens.  Given that, I am totally satisfied with this camera’s image quality.

Then comes the form factor.  Whoa!  This is where this camera really shines and when that’s coupled with interchangeable lenses, the Q’s attributes really begin to shine.  I spend a lot of time in active outdoor activities—action sports like mountain biking, fishing, climbing, skiing, backpacking, etc….—so form-factor, image capture speed, view finders, battery life, image stabilization, lens flexibility are what really count.  It’s all pretty simple:  The extremely small kit size means I will take more pix since it isn’t a PIA, which means I’ll get more images, which means I’m more likely to get a good quality image (more is better), and then the photo aspect of my journey is more likely to be highly successful.  On the other hand:  Big and clunky means it stay home or in the vehicle, simple; smokin’image quality is pointless when I have some long or difficult access facing me.

I would love to see a Leica component to this system.  Maybe it’s a Leica lens adapter or a Leica system (way too $$$$$), but that would really complete this entree.  Please give us a more reasonable price.

6:04 am - Sunday, December 18, 2011

#16 Jay Tee

I bought a Pentax Q yesterday - so amazingly small!

7:17 pm - Monday, February 13, 2012

#17 uw

Price has dropped down! You can get it for about 395,- Euro with Standard Prime 01.

It’s so small and cute and it makes really good pictures for that sensor size.

And Pentax announces new lenses for it, a wide angle, maybe something like 28mm, a 5mm/1.8 would be nice :-)

9:25 pm - Thursday, March 8, 2012

#18 c1asia

if they dropped the price 50%, i’d buy one. but only with the toy lenses. i like the look of toy lenses.

7:45 pm - Sunday, March 25, 2012

#19 bm

I’ve got to question the competence of the reviewer, looking at the sample images under the heading of Sharpening on the IQ page, well, maybe the sharpening is a little conservative on the jpeg out of the camera, but the reviewer’s attempt with photoshop is a massacre, if you feel those jaggies are acceptable then i suggest you consider getting your eyes checked, it’s hard to say whether the horrible artifacts are due to the original camera jpeg’s heavyhanded compression being highlighted by oversharpening or simply down to the ineptitude of the reviewer in picking export settings.

2:35 pm - Thursday, April 5, 2012

#20 Richard Bond

Every reviewer entitled to make generalisations however in the case of the Pentax Q the negatives may have been overdone. The price is very high but then most Japanese cameras are no longer a bargain. On one website the comparsion shots against the Nikon 1 twins revealed that the Pentax Q was no slouch. Perhaps over ASA 400 the noise factor is a real drag but its still a worthy contender in the mini-market novelty stakes. Reviewers recommend buyers wait for the next generation of CSC mini-cameras…the Q-T? Or Nikon V2?

7:05 am - Monday, May 28, 2012

#21 Q User

This page is very good. I am Pentax Q user, but i haven’t been recognized really goodness of my camera. Sample picture is good, so I want to take a picture like a you take. I bought this camera by 50000yen(double lens kit).At this kit, you can buy two lenses by bargain price. If you want to buy this camera, I think you should buy this kit.

5:37 am - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#22 Richard

In the UK the Pentax Q retail price has suddenly been slashed…and also the NIKON Series 1 duo reduced as well. Apparently the new SONY RX-100 has changed the landscape with its fixed CARL ZEISS lens. Also the new CANON EOS-650 takes the DSLR market to a new level. For any prospective buyer the choices have suddenly narrowed because prices seem near to 1000 Pounds for all cameras if you add the odd lens and flash like NIKON V2.

6:53 am - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#23 michelle

Groupon has them for 350$ right now!!!

4:48 pm - Thursday, August 30, 2012

#24 Maxwell

Groupon has them for $299 NOW!!!

9:34 pm - Saturday, November 17, 2012

#25 Mark J.

Small sensor gripes are all the rage about this camera. The Q isn’t about being a dSLR. The results from the Q are very good, depending how you use photo’s. The Q is about portability, lack of weight, being fun to use. Many owners have been using their Q more than their dSLR, a store owner reported he sells more Q’s to Canon/Nikon dSLR owners than anyone else, for reasons mentioned above. It’s fun and your less demanding shooting it, freeing your mind for what photography used to be about. Does the Sony Nex give a better image? Sure, it better it has the typical dSLR sensor in it. But put a 80-300mm(eqv) on it, it’s at least 3x larger than the Q with it’s 06 lens which about the eqv focal length.

Compare the Q to a IN Class camera if you can find one, comparing to an much larger sensor camera because it costs the same makes you look bad. But yes the Q was priced to high for along time, but then so are Rolex watches.

Final word, the Q produces results with not a lot of work. Pixel peepers need look elsewhere to be happy, maybe a K5IIs :-)

2:13 am - Thursday, November 22, 2012


I just purchased the Pentex Q with the Interchangable zoom lense. This will be my first Pentex. I was looking for a small camera. I tried an Olymus but it was soo bulky. It probably would have stayed home. I am an amature at photography and wanted a point and shoot. I also liked the option to have different present modes ready for use, so I dont have to reset everything.
I paid only $256.00 lens and software included on QVC tonight. Looking forward to taking some pictures so I can judge this camera for myself.

7:36 am - Sunday, November 25, 2012

#27 ebull

Picked one of these up near new for $200 and havent been this excited about a camera since I bought a Nikon d700 a few years ago.
Amazing brick like build quality, great ergonomics, classic styling.
Perfectly usable as a photographic tool despite the tiny size.  I dont know what reviewers are thinking when they say this is slow or unresponsive they should try and use Sigma DP1 and 2 (which BTW I love as well for different reasons)
Most of the reviews I’ve read about this camera miss the point and are a load of rubbish. They also keep talking about an $800 price and comparing this to cameras with APSC sensors. The going price is nowhere near $800
Its great fun and so cute you will want to carry it everywhere
Picture quality?  Looks fine to me, but Im not expecting DSLR or mirrorless quality - remember its more about what you are photographing and the way you frame and interact with your environment - the camera is about 10% of the equation in a good photo.

11:43 am - Friday, February 15, 2013

#28 Kenny

I just have one question that can’t seam to be answered for me. Other than the in camera hdr. Does this have aeb son I can blend my own images in photoshop or photomatix?

3:48 pm - Monday, May 27, 2013

#29 Wolfeye

I just bought one with the zoom lens kit for $300. It’s a fun camera, it’s small, and the images are good. The older I get, the more I appreciate small, flexible cameras. This one fits the bill.

3:10 pm - Monday, August 26, 2013

#30 bülent varol

I bought this camera in 2012 paid 850 Turkish Liras which was something like 1 dollar to 1.50 Tl.with a single zoom lens 02…I had had some awful pictures since even I tried 06 zoom lens and 01 standart recently bought 08 lens as well…I was advise by Pentax help center as my ISO too high (sent them some samples of photoes I took)..Now will see how it will be..Any advise welcome for my the future improved pictures..

3:34 pm - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#31 Terry B

I’ve recently acquired a mint black Q with 02 zoom lens for the princely sum of just £120. My interest is not that I regard it as a proper photographic tool as I use Sony A7, Nex 5N and Fuji X-Pro 1 for serious imaging, but a fun camera and something not likely to be repeated for size. Manufacturers have moved on to high end compacts that attract high end prices, but deliver on IQ.

No, this is a fun camera to play with, and produces images that aren’t that bad providing one sticks to low ISO and shoots in good lighting conditions and, in all honesty, is not expecting too much. I can accept all its foibles, of which there are some, and the most annoying being defaulting to a stupid 1/13 sec flash sync speed with any manual lens.

But it still manages to get attention from photographers who see me with it as they want to know what it is, especially if they’ve not heard of the Q.

Probably, the best competition isn’t another ILC, but something like my Panasonic LX7, or the earlier LX3, which have faster zooms, far superior IQ, and at around the same size. I rate the LX3 a particularly good bargain today and if you can’t see a need for interchangeable lenses, which with the Q are few indeed if one discounts the toy lenses, then the LX3 is definitely a better bet.

But there is no doubting the fun factor of the Q.

4:22 pm - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#32 varol

Thanks Terry B ..

10:22 pm - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Entry Tags

hd video, review, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, compact system camera, csc, 12 megapixel, RAW, pentax, CMOS, 5fps, evil, interchangeable lens, pentax q, Q, Pentax Q Review

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