The Pentax Q is a new interchangeable lens camera system. What sets the Pentax Q apart from other interchangeable lens models, however, is that the Q sports a 12.4MP compact 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor – meaning that this camera is basically a glorified point and shoot camera.
That said, the Pentax Q still offers advantages over most other point and shoot cameras – like the ability to capture 12-bit raw images in Adobe’s DNG format, as well as JPEG files. Additionally, the Pentax Q allows you to maximize your focal length range with interchangeable wide angle and telephoto zoom lenses – as well as prime lenses with wide apertures for low light situations.
In order to combat the extended depth of field resulting from the ultra-small image sensor, Pentax has placed in-camera filters (dubbed “bokeh control filters”) in the Q camera, which allow you to manipulate the perceived depth of field.
The Pentax Q will also capture 1080p HD video, 3-frame HDR images and offers sensor-based image stabilization. Other key specs include a 3-inch, 460k-dot resolution LCD monitor, a 5fps frame rate and a sensitivity range of ISO 125-6400.
The Pentax Q kit retails for $799.95 and should be available in the US in Fall 2011. Check availability on Amazon.com.
While the Q kit includes the camera a 8.5mm f/1.9 lens (roughly 50mm equivalent taking into account the crop factor), the price seems a little on the steep side considering you can currently buy a Nikon D5100 with lens for $50 more than the Q. (And in the mirrorless department, you suffer a bit of a size penalty over the Q, but basically all of the other cameras will almost certainly offer better image quality for around the same price of a Q kit.)
Additional lenses will be available in for the Q system, including 27.5-83mm zoom equivalent ($300 retail) and a 160-degree fisheye ($130 retail), as well as a pair of 35mm and 100mm equivalent “toy camera” lenses ($80 retail each).
While Pentax has clearly created the “smallest ILC in the world,” the question remains as to whether anyone will want one. Size is certainly a consideration when marketing ILC (or “mirrorless”) cameras to the consumer audience; however, up until now we’ve only seen ILC cameras that rival DSLRs in overall image quality and performance. Will a glorified point and shoot “system” be able to compete in this market?