The Pentax Q is Certainly Small, but “There’s No Magic At Play”

Engadget has published a lengthy review on the Pentax Q that confirms what many people have assumed since the camera was announced: that using a tiny sensor just to make an interchangeable camera system small isn’t a good idea:

Pentax really has managed to design the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera — and yes, it does work. But there’s no magic at play here. The Q is small because all of its components were downsized — Pentax took everything from the lens to the image sensor to the mode dial and shutter release and gave them the shrink ray treatment. […] The result is an attractive, pocketable ILC that doesn’t quite follow its powerful pedigree.

[…] If money is no object and you’re not keen on capturing incredible images and video footage, then perhaps you’ll still consider picking up a Q. As for the rest of us — we’re perfectly happy with our larger, much more capable ILCs, and wouldn’t dare consider making such a sacrifice just to carry a bit less weight on our shoulder.

There’s a ton of competition in the mirrorless camera market now, and one of the big selling points is having a DSLR-caliber sensor in a compact camera body. Lose the sensor quality, and there isn’t too much of an advantage over all the other options out there.

Pentax Q interchangeable lens camera review [Engadget]

  • Pedro Gomes

    I like this concept, I mean, who cares if the sensor is small? Nobody will buy it to produce billboard sized images anyway… this is the perfect camera for the “Facebook Photographer”
    Do you need full frame sensors and millions of pixels to upload 72p pics on the Net?? Of course not!
    I wouldn’t buy one anyway, my Ricoh GR Digital III is small enough to fit my pocket :)

  • Dan

    It´s kinda cute, though. I mean, I could get one for my daughter to play spies with her friends.

  • Aus_Guy

    Totally agree with Pedro. The target market isn’t a pro photog. So this is cool as!

  • Matt

    I like the size, but interchangable lens is a deal breaker.  Fixed lens and larger sensor, they might have something.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree with Pedro.  Bigger sensor == better IQ.  More megapixels == billboard size photos.

    I want good IQ when I print my 6×9 or 11×14 or whatever.  A smaller sensor just won’t cut it.

    I’ll keep my Nex5 and my D300s thank you.

  • cheesedoodlesforbreakfast333

    Ya, I think Engadget is missing the point a bit on this one.  The Q is a great little camera.  It isn’t designed to compete with the big boys in an image quality pissing contest.  It is fun…FUN!  It is the first camera in the digital realm to show a little whimsy. It is fun to use, responds quickly, will produce at least as good of an image as any point and shoot with a similarly sized sensor, and is– as you will find if you take the time to see one in person–impeccably well built. Most importantly It is UNIQUE. It has taken the camera industry more than a decade to stop trying to figure out what button, and setting, and pixel count, and shade of pink will make a camera sell.  Instead, Pentax has simply made a camera that they thought would be…kind of neat.  The SX-70 was kind of neat.  The Rolei 35T was pretty nifty.  Anyone who’s owned one will tell you that a Yashicamat is pretty fun.  None of these cameras does every photographic task 100% well, or 25% well for that matter, but they are all unique and iconic, and present different photographic possibilities as a function of the way they were designed.

    The Pentax Q is more than just a compact camera that doesn’t have a big enough sensor to be of interest to the savy consumer.  It is a symbol.  It is Pentax reaching out the consumers and saying “God, I am so fucking bored of making little silver boxes with just slightly better features than the ones we made last year.  This is a camera, and you’ll damn well buy it because it’s NEAT!”

  • Anthony Burokas

    I can see the perfect market for this- the point-n-shoot user who takes great pictures with their little pocketable camera, but envies those ILC users and desperately wants an interchangeable lens camera just because they can change lenses. This doesn’t give any better pictures. This doesn’t save money, it certainly isn’t any more convenient than a poin-n-shoot with an internal zoom lens, but ILC cameras have caché that a simple point-n-shoot with an internal zoom lens does not.

    As much as I “get” what they’re doing here, I’d love for one manufacturer to spend a little time making a compact travel zoom where the first priority is stunning image quality, not 16 MP, not an 18x lens, not 10fps, not GPS, not 3D, not in-camera filters, or any of that crap. Just a decent compact travel zoom that fits in a small hip pouch, but has a nice 12x or so, very bright lens, takes 2-3 fps, allows manual control, internal flash, etc.

    I’d love a Micro4/3 camera with one of those new more compact zooms redesigned so that it was built into- and recesed inside the body when you turn the camera off. Those whole interchangeable lens business ruins any notion of “compact” when you have to tote a bunch of external accessories to make the thing useful.

  • Anonymous

    I’m getting a GoPro2 instead.

  • Sebastián Soto

    Keep them. I don’t think they made this camera for people like you ;)