The compact system camera market is becoming very overcrowded at the moment, with Sony, Olympus, Ricoh, Samsung and Panasonic already established in the area. In order to squeeze into any remaining space, Pentax has just announced the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera (ILC) in the shape of the Pentax Q.
Taking the title of world’s smallest from Sony’s NEX-3, the Q also boasts the smallest sensor among ILCs, boasting (or maybe quietly whispering) a 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch backlit CMOS image sensor, which is quite a bit smaller than the APS-C and 4/3 sensors used in the NEX-range and Micro Four Thirds cameras. And, even though we haven’t seen any images from the camera yet, image quality will undoubtedly suffer in comparison to these competitors due to the smaller sensor. In effect what Pentax appears to have created is a traditional compact digital camera with interchangeable lenses – which will cost $800. The Q will be available in either black or white and comes encased in a durable, scratch-resistant, magnesium alloy body. The Q will shoot full HD 1080p video at 30 fps, has a HVGA-resolution 3in LCD screen, allow for continuous shooting at 5fps, has a maximum sensitivity of ISO 6400 and gives you easy access to bokeh control letting you adjust the out-of-focus areas around your subject via the Q’s Bokeh Control filter.
On the front of the camera is a Quick Dial, which gives you quick access to Smart Effects options or camera settings. Smart Effects modes enhance digital photography by applying a series of effects to images to achieve high quality finishing including Brilliant Colour, Vintage Colour, Warm Fade, Bold Monochrome, and Water Colour. For better low-light images, the Q includes the sensor-shift Shake Reduction system with integrated DRII Dust Reduction, previously seen on Pentax’s DSLR range. The Q also offers traditional DLSR modes such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, and Metered Manual exposure control as well as Pentax Auto Picture and 21 scene modes. The Q will initially ship with a 47mm f/1.9 kit lens but Pentax has also announced a range of other compatible lenses including a 27.5-83mm zoom, 160-degree fisheye and 35mm and 100mm "toy camera" lenses.
The Pentax Q will initially ship in Japan with a UK release date slated for mid-September. Pricing for the UK has not been released yet but in the US the Pentax Q will ship with the kit lens for $800 – which could be seen as expensive if the image quality doesn’t cut the mustard.