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Pentax Q7 review

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

5/10

Pros

  • Very portable
  • Impressive build quality
  • Good handling

Cons

  • Image quality issues
  • Limited lens systen
  • Poor value overall

Review Price £400.00

Key Features: 1/1.7-inch, 12MP CMOS sensor; 3-inch, 460k-dot LCD screen; Pentax Q lens mount; ISO 100 - 12800; 1080p Full HD video capture

Manufacturer: Pentax

What is the Pentax Q7?

Pentax’s Q series was first launched just over two years ago, and it represented a new approach to the Compact System Camera (CSC) market. Pentax took the route of making the Q range as small as possible, and although it achieved this goal in doing so it had to utilise smaller sensors than competing CSCs.

Both the Pentax Q, and latterly the Pentax Q10, both featured 1/2.3-inch sensors more commonly seen in compact cameras. As a result the images were of a poorer quality then other CSCs. Pentax has clearly aimed to address this issue in the new Q7, as it has a larger 1/1.7-inch sensor. We take a closer look to see if it has succeeded.

SEE ALSO: Best cameras round-up

Pentax Q7 6

Pentax Q7: Features

As mentioned, the real headline upgrade on the Pentax Q7 concerns the camera’s sensor. Where the Q and Q10 had 1/2.3-inch sensors, the Q7 now boasts a larger much larger module. The sensor measures in at 1/1.7-inches and as such is much more in keeping with the advanced compact cameras found in Canon’s PowerShot and Panasonic’s Lumix ranges.

The sensor is also backside illuminated and as such should handle noise better at higher ISO settings. Despite the increase in physical size, the sensor maintains a similar resolution of 12.4MP, and as a result the photocells themselves are larger which should also aid noise control.

The Pentax Q7 also benefits from newly improved ‘Q Engine’ image processor that the manufacturer claims will result in around a 10% improvement in performance.

Pentax Q7 5

One feature carried forward from other Pentax cameras, including the Q7’s predecessor, is the sensor-shift image stabilisation system. This should allow for around a three-stop advantage on equivalent cameras without the stabilisation system.

Another notable feature retained is the camera’s Q-system predecessors is the front-mount Quick Dial. This offers quick access to a host of functionality including the camera’s ND filter and a range of Smart Effects. Unfortunately, the number of accessible options is a touch limited, although further functionality could be added in the future through a firmware update.

Owing to the fact that the 1/1.7-inch sensor is still smaller than a lot of competing CSCs, the Q7 isn’t capable of creating as shallow a depth of field as some of its competitors. As a result, Pentax has included a ‘Bokeh Control’ shooting mode that will artificially create the ‘Bokeh’ effect of the combination of a larger sensor and wider maximum aperture that the Q7 is missing.

The Q7 does have a very impressive maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 second, however, which goes some way to making up for the slightly artificial nature of the Q7’s Bokeh shots.

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Matthijs

September 17, 2013, 1:55 am

I don't get it, I read: virtually noisefree right up to 1600, usable up to 3200 ASA, it actually does well in resolving detail, it has impressive colour performance, auto white balance is reliable. The metering system is impressive, providing accurate exposures, dynamic range has improved and copes much better with highlights and shadows, and in extreme conditions......... What's not to like??

I do not read what is actually wrong with Image Quality. It has still a small sensor, so 1600 noisefree is quite good? Why 5/10 voor IQ?

winther

September 17, 2013, 11:38 am

Very strange review - I think you need to have another look at what you wrote. 5/10 and image quality issues? What exactly are those issues?

Jim

September 17, 2013, 3:01 pm

I agree with above, 5/10 seems super harsh. I suspect this is a simple case of brand prejudice.

Raist3d

September 19, 2013, 8:37 am

I am sorry but I just got this camera yesterday and I can't even begin to remotely agree with the tragedy 5/10 represents. The camera does actually rather very well and packs quite a rich set of options that are not seen in other cameras in its and slightly above its class.

There are many, many tweaks Pentax did over the Q- it's better in 99% of it. Faster bootup. Better LCD (much more visible in daylight). Full electronic shutter option for complete silent shooting. I actually bought a Sony RX100 II and returned it within the hour (no, I am NOT making this up- if you read me around you know I have a long history so I am legit). The Sony was great in a few areas but it was very slow/annoying to use compared to the Q.

The Q and the Q7 represent a set of very flexible and creative options for the street photographer and the photographer who wants to push their creativity within the constraints imposed.

This is ISO 800 in reasonably low light at night. For a lot of web work, prints to 8x10 higher ISO's can work. Lower ISO's can easily print with reasonable quality to 11x14 if not more.

http://raist3d.typepad.com/fil...

Cynog

November 1, 2013, 8:51 am

This review does seem rather biased. How many dedicated lenses does the Nikon 1 system or the Canon M have, for example? All small sensor cameras have compromises, and one learns to work to their limitations - and advantages. I have an original Q, and am just about to buy a Q7: it's a great take anywhere camera. It accepts all my Pentax lenses with its adaptor, so lack of lenses is not a problem, either.

S.W. Anderson

November 4, 2013, 8:45 pm

I've seen reviews like this one from time to time over the years and they never cease to amaze me. The reviewer goes over a camera citing admirable strengths and great features one after another -- everything from great build quality and ergonomics to superior color rendition and battery life (this one even includes terrific image samples). But in the end, the reviewer gives the camera a lousy rating.

Notably absent from this review is any mention of one of the Q's greatest attributes: sheer fun. If the only thing that made a camera worth having was the highest achievable definition, photographers would be few, independently wealthy and armed only with highest-quality large-format cameras.

As for the lens range, what part of offering a fast excellent "normal" prime, two excellent zooms, a good fisheye, a macro and a couple of quirky "toy" lenses for those who like that sort of thing "restricted"? That statement is especially hard to fathom given the fact that with an inexpensive adapter one can make use of any of a huge range of K-mount, screw-mount or other lenses.

Even given the reviewer's lack of enthusiasm for the Q7's image quality, based on his own findings it seems to me he should've awarded this camera no less than 8.5 out of 10. For giving it a miserly and seemingly self-contradictory 5, I will award this review a rating of just 5. I think he should have ended the review with: "All in all a very good, very compact interchangeable lens camera with some fine capabilities and attributes. No doubt many will be pleased with the Q7's images and find it delightful to carry and shoot with. I'm just not one of them"

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