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Pentax Announces The Q, Claims It's World's Smallest Interchangeable-Lens Compact Camera

Pentax Announces The Q, Claims It's World's Smallest Interchangeable-Lens Compact Camera

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New camera system includes new mount, lenses, backlit 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor

June 23, 2011

Pentax today announced the world's smallest interchangeable-lens compact digital camera.



In a move that is bound to shake up the rapidly evolving MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Compact) camera world, Pentax today unveiled the Pentax Q, an interchangeable-lens compact digital camera based on an entirely new lens mount and a high-resolution 1/2.3-inch CMOS-sized sensor. Pentax claims the camera is significantly smaller than any APS or Micro Four Thirds sensor-based MILC currently on the market.



The implications of an interchangeable-lens camera system built around a point-and-shoot-sized sensor are intriguing . Users will gain DSLR-type control, a limited initial selection of five lenses (presumably Pentax is planning to roll out additional lenses over time), access to Pentax's flash system, and somewhat better-than-average image quality, especially at lower ISO settings. And the system will be considerably smaller than a APS or Micro Four Thirds-based MILC. However, due to the limited sensor real estate, low-light photography without flash will be more limited and grain will likely be an issue at higher ISOs.



The Q uses a backlit 12MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that Pentax claims will produce very little noise at high ISO settings in low light, even though it is the sensor size typically found in an advanced compact. The smaller-sized sensor allows Pentax to design a camera that is smaller and lighter than other interchangeable-lens compacts.

Key features include:

  • 12-bit DNG RAW and JPEG images
  • Magnesium Alloy Body
  • DSLR shooting modes—PASM—plus Auto Picture, 21 scene modes
  • Creative modes include Smart Effects
  • In-camera HDR capture
  • 1080p HD video at 30fps, h.264 compression\Shake reduction
  • 5fps burst moderately
  • In-camera Bokeh control filter
  • Shutter speeds 30-1/2000 sec.
  • 1/250 sec flash sync for external flash, up to 1/2000 sec sync for built-in flash 
  • Built-in Neutral Density filter

The Pentax Q is expected to be available in the United States in early Fall, for around $800 with the standard lens. Adorama is accepting pre-orders now for the Pentax Q with 47mm f/1.9 Prime Lens in Black or White.
Credit card will not be charged until order is shipped.



In addition to the camera body and lens combination, four new lenses have been announced; Adorama is accepting pre-orders—click on the links to go to the order pages. Credit card will not be charged until order is shipped:

A standard prime 47mm (equivalent) f/1.9  lens, $249.95.


A standard mid-range zoom that covers 27.5-83mm (35mm equivalent) that has four extra-low-dispersion and low refractive aspherical optical elements to reduce chromatic aberration, and focusing down to 11.8 inches at all focal lengths. The mid-range zoom will cost $299.95.

A fish-eye lens that covers a 160-degree angle of view. Expected price: $129.95.

Two toy lenses: A wide-angle with a 35mm equivalent angle of  view, and a telephoto with a 100mm equivalent. Each lens will list for $79.95.


A shoe-mounted, eye-level optical viewfinder, the Q-FV1, will also be available, as well as a range of filters, lens hoods and other accessories including Pentax's shoe-mounted flash system.


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