The Buyer's Guide

Find it, buy it and tell us how you really feel.

product image
60 Global Score
A forgettable product. It isn't bad, exactly, but also doesn't do anything particularly well.
60

A forgettable product. It isn't bad, exactly, but also doesn't do anything particularly well.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Pentax may have managed to create the world's smallest mirrorless camera with this $800 ILC, but if image quality is more important than body size, the Q is not for you.

Read Full Review
60 Global Score
A forgettable product. It isn't bad, exactly, but also doesn't do anything particularly well.
60

A forgettable product. It isn't bad, exactly, but also doesn't do anything particularly well.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

Not yet scored
 

User Reviews

90
rapha
This camera was launched with a price that, in my opinion, was to high to test...read more
80
birru
Note: The Q has been discontinued and is being replaced by the subtly tweaked...read more
Write a Review

Score Breakdown

 
85
Average user Score
 
90
rapha
07.24.13
This camera was launched with a price that, in my opinion, was to high to test if it could deliver good results with a tiny sensor. As prices came down, I was able to try it and have been amazed with the results I got so far. For enthusiasts, this will probably not be their only camera. However, its size and capabilities are making me leave my E-M5 more and more at home lately!
 
80
birru
10.07.12
Note: The Q has been discontinued and is being replaced by the subtly tweaked Q10 model. Luckily the Q10 will debut at a much lower price than the original Q. The Pentax Q is the tiniest interchangeable-lens camera (ILC) on the market. To reduce the size as much as they did, Pentax had to squeeze in a very small 1/2.3" sensor, which is definitely on the small size for a camera aimed at photography enthusiasts. The Q also offers a wealth of creative controls thanks to surprisingly solid ergonomics and UI. Image quality is excellent for a camera and sensor so tiny, comparable to a Canon G12 or Panasonic LX5. Noise is controlled well at ISO 125-800. Good photos can still be taken at ISO 1600, and even ISO 3200 can be used in a pinch, though plan to shoot RAW and post process. The Q does an admirable job when metering scenes. Tones and colors are pleasing and accurate. Like Pentax DSLRs the Q uses sensor-based shake reduction, so getting sharp handheld photos is possible even with longer exposures. Camera speed and responsiveness is pretty solid when shooting JPEG, with fast writes and short lag between shots. JPEGs can be shot at up to 5FPS. The contrast detect AF is speedy but not as fast as phase detect AF found in DSLRs. When shooting RAW, the Q is still responsive in operation, but write performance plummets, so expect no more than 1.5FPS. The Q really excels with control. I cannot believe how easy it is to manipulate settings on a camera this tiny. I can change most settings with the tap of a button or two and the flick of a dial, whether it's changing shutter speed and aperture, metering modes, AF area size and placement, white balance, toggling the neutral density filter, and more. The options available deeper in the menus are also impressive. Want to customize what effects are assigned to the user dial on the front? Want to decouple AF from the shutter release to maintain focus and improve shot-to-shot responsiveness? Want to go over settings line by line to determine which changes are memorized after power off? It's all customizable. The Q is also fun. This is a camera that encourages experimentation, with a significant number of useful effects and filters that can be applied while shooting. There's a staggering number of in-camera RAW development features that can be adjusted during playback too. And of course you can change lenses. My camera came with the excellent 8.5mm (47mm equivalent) f1.9 01 Standard Prime lens, but Pentax also sells a kit zoom and a few "toy lenses". A telephoto zoom and a wide prime are in the pipeline. I'm having fun experimenting with cheap, used manual C-mount lenses and adapters, and they seem almost tailor-made for the Q. Sony NEX and Micro Four Thirds enthusiasts are having fun with the C-mount lenses too, but with their bigger (and admittedly better) sensors they have to contend with vignetting and edge sharpness issues. When the Pentax Q debuted, it cost $800. That put it in stiff competition with bigger, more capable cameras. At current prices though (currently below $400), the Q is really appealing. If you're looking for a premium compact camera but don't want to give up fully manual operation and creative control, the Q is worth considering.