Features & Controls
The Q is pentax's first EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) camera, and features their new bayonet Q-mount lens system. This system uses an all metal mount to attach compatible lenses, and features a lens lock to keep the lens securely in place; the lens lock release in shown at the bottom left of the mount.
Unlike other EVIL cameras that use Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sized image sensors, Pentax has opted to use a smaller 1/2.3" 12.4-megapixel CMOS sensor in the Q. This is the same size sensor found on the majority of consumer point-h-shoots, which is approx. 689% smaller in area than the Micro Four Thirds sensors used on Olympus and Panasonic EVIL camera, and approx. 1198% smaller compared to a typical APS-C sensor. However, while the Pentax Q does use a smaller sensor, this camera is also the smallest mirrorless interchangeable lens camera we've seen to date (12/2011).
Pentax has also interoperated their sensor-shift Shake Reduction tecnology in the Q, meaning that you have a proven image stabilization system in place no matter what lens is attached. The Q also boasts their DRII sensor cleaning system, which uses ultrasonis vibrations to dislodge any dust or particles attached to the sensor; which is a Very important feature for a mirroless camera.
The Q comes in kit form with their "01 Standard Prime" lens, which gives you a 35mm equivalent field of view of 47mm. This lens is quite small and compact, like its mate, and offers a maximum aperture of f/1.9; making it a good option for low-light situations. The lens is comprised of 8 elements in 5 groups with 2 aspherical elements, and offers filter threads for attaching 40.5mm filters. The lens also boasts 5 aperture blades, Pentax lens coating to minimize flare, and a neutral density filter for your wide open aperture photography.
Pentax has four other lens offerings for the Q-mount system (as of 12/2011), the 02 Standard Zoom, 03 Fish-Eye, 04 Toy Lens Wide, and the 05 Toy Lens Telephoto.
The 02 Standard Zoom gives you a standard 3x magnification, with an equivalent zoom range of 27.5 - 83mm. This covers a wide range of photographic situations, such as wide landscapes, group shots, and close-up portraits and macro photographs. The minimum focus distance is 11.8 inches at all focal lengths, and the maximum aperture range is f/2.8 - 4.5 (Wide - Telephoto). The lens is made of 8 elements in 7 groups, including four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) aspherical elements. Like the 01 Prime lens, the 02 Standard Zoom boasts the PENTAX lens coating, 5 aperture blades, and a neutral density filter. The filter threads for optional lens filters is 40.5mm.
For those who love wide angle photography, Pentax offers the 03 Fish-Eye lens. This ultra-wide prime lens boasts an equivalent field of view of 17.5mm, with an angle of view of 160°. The aperture is fixed at f/5.6, and the minimum focus distance is 3.5 inches. This lens is comprised of 6 elements in 5 groups.
The Toy camera effect seems to be extremely popular, so much so that Pentax has created two lenses for this type of photography. The 04 Toy Lens Wide model gives you a wide angle nostalgic look and feel to your images. This model gives you a 35mm equivalent field of view, with a fixed aperture of f/7.1. The minimum focus distance if just 2.8 inches, and the lens is made from 4 elements in 3 groups. There are no filter threads.
Lastly, we have the 05 Toy Lens Telephoto model. This lens gives you the same nostalgic look of the Toy Lens Wide model, however with an equivalent focal length of approx. 100mm. The aperture is fixed at f/8, and the lens is made up of 3 elements in 3 groups. Like the 04 models, there are no filter threads.
When you look at the top of the Q, you will find a wealth of controls for a camera of this size. On the left you can see the flash pop-up switch and the play button. In the middle is the Q's standard hotshot for using optional external flash units like Pentax's AF200FG, AF360GZ or AF540GZ. To the right you can see the built-in speaker, Power On/Off button, the shutter release, the mode dial, and finally the control wheel. The control wheel/dial controls various settings depending on the exposure mode in use, along with the index and magnify options in playback.
Built-in Flash Unit
Q's flash is quite unique. While the flash does not need to be popped up to work, you do have the option of extending the flash upward. I can see this as a benefit when shooting portrait or people photos, as the upward angle may help reduce Red-eye. The flash offers a guide number of 7 (1SO200/m) or 5.6 (ISO125/m), and covers an equivalent angle of 28mm. You can adjust flash exposure compenstion by -2.0 to +1.0 EV, and the external flash sync speed is 1/250 second. Available modes include; Auto, Auto + Redeye, On, On + Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, and Off.
Hot Shoe for External Units
Like we mentioned above, the Pentax Q also offers a hot shoe for attaching external flash units. Pentax offers several models (Pentax's AF200FG, AF360GZ or AF540GZ), all of which will great extend your abilities indoors.
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