A top fashion shooter—and a big fan of little cameras—brings the new Pentax Q to Fashion Week to test the camera under extreme circumstances and keep a visual diary.
Hello from New York Fashion Week! I've decided to give the new Pentax Q the ultimate stress test and use it in one of the most high-pressure photographic experiences anywhere! If it can make it here...well, you know how the rest of that song goes!
When I first heard of the Pentax Q, I was immediately intrigued. I have a love for small cameras, and this certainly fit the bill. With a 1/2.3" sensor that's smaller than that of a Canon G12 or Nikon P7000 (both of which have 1/1.7" sensors), what was Pentax thinking, bringing thiss mirrorless solution into a competitive market that contained Micro Four Thirds and APS-C options by Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, and Samsung? As seen in the family portrait above, the Pentax Q is not much larger than it's ancestor, the Pentax Auto 110, still the smallest SLR ever produced.
Here I will give daily reports as I field-test this little unit under one of the hardest conditions one would expect to use this little camera - New York Fashion Week. Follow along each day for my observations as I put the Pentax Q through its paces in what may be the ultimate stress test.
The camera is tiny, but actually feels comfortable to hold. The build quality actually feels great. Though small and light, the Q feels very solid in the hand. It may look like a toy, but, perhaps thanks to its magnesium alloy build (the same material used in my Canon 7D) it certainly doesn't feel like one. The control layout and menus are logically placed. So much so that with but 30 minutes with the manual I feel confident that I I could easily change any parameter with ease. I don't have to dig very often into the menu. The controls make sense and allow for quick operation.
The camera is quickly wowing me with it's ease of use, and for me something I didn't expect: fast focus in very low light. Only when I was in a very dark room did the focus assist beam even bother turning on. It may not be as fast as an Olympus EP-3 but it is very close, with a performance that's comparable to the Canon Rebel T3i.
The images shown here are all straight from the camera JPEGs, no adjustments, ranging from ISO 320-6400. The focus tracking easily kept up with models walking a runway during the walk-through. Best yet, it automatically goes into focus tracking when is face detection mode following the briskly walking models with a good rate of keepers (8-9 shots out of ten in excellent focus). I'll try the burst mode today. The camera has so impressed me I'm today that I'm leaving my 24-70/2.8 behind to lighten my load and replacing it with this. let's see how it all handles.
On to day 2...