With their 645D offering a revolutionary balance of cost, features and usability for the medium format world, and the K-5 16Mp DSLR offering a flexible blend of enthusiast and professional features, Pentax is already blurring the distinctions between the genres traditional camera manufacturers exploit. The new Q system announced today further moves the boundaries, by offering that rare package of a compact sensor with interchangeable lenses. The new Q mount is served by a range of five lenses at launch, and this initial camera sports a 1/2.33″ Backlit CMOS sensor delivering 12.4Mp resolution and specced for a maximum ISO 6400. At 200g it’s undoubtedly a light body, yet that small sensor could well be offputting in a camera that’s likely to exceed a £500 list price.
With little to tie it to previous models, and a small lens mount that really restricts the mobility of the platform, Pentax is once again playing a bold game filling in niche positions. The Q’s appeal will inevitably lie within the stylish body and lenses – a system which rather than going up against the rather technical Sony NEX, will be trying to appeal to the Lomo and Instax photographers. Functionally you can achieve a given result with pretty much any camera – given patience – yet there’s no denying the pull that marketing has on people’s choices. The Q may well become a cult classic.
Technically the Q offers some fairly strong compact camera spec. If you’ve stared at your Canon G10 or Nikon P-series and wished you could only get more variety in your glass, this is the answer. If you don’t understand why the Ricoh GXR involves the cost of a whole new module when you simply wanted a new lens, this is your camera. If you’re hoping to save money by getting something smaller, well, you may be better off with any of the budget DSLR options around.
Edit: Amusingly, this was put together when the camera was launched on 23rd June; since then, Ricoh has bought Pentax.
Pentax’s PR follows:
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).
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.
<Smart Effect modes>
• 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.
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.
And on the next page – some lenses!
Five Q mount interchangeable lenses
designed for exclusive use with the PENTAX Q digital camera;
a choice of High-performance or Unique series
to satisfy diversified photographic requirements
PENTAX Imaging Systems is pleased to announce the launch of five interchangeable lenses designed for exclusive use with the new PENTAX Q digital interchangeable lens system camera. Featuring the newly designed Q lens mount, these new lenses come in two distinctive series: The two models of the High-performance series offer exceptional image rendition, while the three models of the Unique series assure the effortless capturing of creative images.
The five new lenses have been developed for exclusive use with the newly launched PENTAX Q digital interchangeable lens system camera — currently the world’s smallest, lightest model in its class.* They are all designed to be super compact and ultra-lightweight, by optimizing their image circle to the size of the CMOS image sensor installed in the new Q mount camera body. This makes them the perfect partners for the pocket sized, go anywhere PENTAX Q. By providing two distinctive lens series — the High-performance series emphasizing image rendition, and Unique series with outstanding cost performance and ease of lens changeability — this new Q mount series gives PENTAX Q users a unique lens line-up that assures all the benefits of a digital interchangeable lens system camera, including the fun of creating different perspectives and visual effects through quick, effortless lens changes.
The first of the new Q mount lineup from PENTAX are the “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME” unifocal standard lens and the “PENTAX-02 STANDARD ZOOM” standard zoom lens in the High-performance series; and the “PENTAX-03 FISH EYE” unifocal ultra-wide-angle lens, the “PENTAX-04 TOY LENS WIDE” unifocal wide-angle lens and the “PENTAX-05 TOY LENS TELEPHOTO” unifocal telephoto lens in the Unique series. The two TOY LENS models are designed to produce a distinctive toy-camera-like visual effect.
* The world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera, as of June 15, 2011 (based on PENTAX research).
Common features of the two High-performance series models
The High-performance series has been developed to bring out the optimum imaging power in the PENTAX Q digital camera by combining exceptional image rendition with effortless handling, while also offering a high grade finish. Featuring the state-of-the-art optics incorporating special optical glass elements and PENTAX exclusive lens coating technology, this series delivers beautifully defined, high quality images that are sharp and high contrast, even at their edges. The AF motor installed in the lens barrel assures smooth, quiet focusing operation. Thanks to the lens shutter mechanism, the PENTAX Q’s built-in auto flash can even be synchronized to the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/2000 second (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). The lenses are also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter, which comes in handy when shooting with open aperture in bright locations or when using slower shutter speeds.
Major features of the “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME”
This unifocal standard lens has a focal length equivalent to 47mm in the 35mm format. Since it offers a natural perspective similar to that of the human eye, it can be used as a multi-purpose, daily-use standard lens for many different subjects, including landscape and portraiture. With a maximum aperture of F1.9, it not only performs superbly in dim locations, but also makes it easy to throw the background out of focus. Incorporating two high grade aspherical optical elements, this lens compensates various aberrations to a minimum and produces beautiful, high resolution images that are bright and crisp even at the edge of the image field.
Major features of the “PENTAX-02 STANDARD ZOOM”
With a focal length coverage equivalent to that of a 27.5~83.0mm zoom lens in the 35mm format, this standard zoom lens is ideal for various applications in the wide angle to medium telephoto range. Incorporating a total of four extra-low-dispersion and low-refractive aspherical optical elements in its optics, it assures exceptional image rendition while effectively reducing chromatic aberration to a minimum over the entire zoom range. It also offers a minimum focusing distance of 30 centimetres at all focal lengths to simplify close-up photography.
Common features of the three Unique series models
This series offers outstanding value against its price, and allows every photographer to produce a variety of distinctive, dramatic images simply by altering the angle of view and perspective through quick, effortless lens changes. They all feature manual focus operation, fixed aperture and plastic lens mount, and have no lens shutter unit — the main factors contributing to the massive reduction in size and weight and making them far more affordable than conventional interchangeable lenses.
Major features of the “PENTAX-03 FISH EYE”
This ultra-wide angle lens offers an extra wide angle of view of 160 degrees along the diagonal line of the image sensor, allowing the photographer to create a fish eye visual effect with great ease. Thanks to its distinctive ultra-wide angle characteristics, it produces unique, eye-catching images unlike those captured by the human eye, with an exaggerated perspective, distorted subjects, and a pan-focus effect that captures every element in the image field in sharp focus.
Major features of the “PENTAX-04 TOY LENS WIDE” and “PENTAX-05 TOY LENS TELEPHOTO”
With their optics designed specifically to retain various lens aberrations, these lenses produce subdued, heartwarming images like photos taken by a toy camera. The “PENTAX-04 TOY LENS WIDE” is a unifocal wide angle lens with a focal length equivalent to 35mm in the 35mm format; the “PENTAX-05 TOY LENS TELEPHOTO” is a unifocal medium telephoto lens with a focal length equivalent to 100mm in the 35 format.
Exclusive optional accessories
PENTAX-100 PL Filter
When attached to the “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME” or “PENTAX-02 STANDARD ZOOM”, this 40.5mm polarizing filter minimizes reflections on the water or glass surface, which are difficult to remove during digital processing, to assure crisp, high contrast images.
A metallic, dome-shaped lens hood for exclusive use with the “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME” lens
PH-SBA 40.5mm Lens
A plastic, square-shaped lens hood for exclusive use with the “PENTAX-02 STANDARD ZOOM” lens
♦PENTAX is a trademark of HOYA CORPORATION.
♦Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.