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Pentax Q7: Image Quality and Verdict

By Paul Nuttall



Our Score:


Pentax Q7: Image Quality

While image noise had been a serious issue for the two previous Pentax Q models, the Q7 seeks to improve in this area with the aforementioned new, and physically larger, sensor.

Pentax Q7

On the whole the sensor does perform better in this area. Images display virtually noise-free images right up to ISO 1,600, with even images captured at ISO 3,200 prove usable. At ISO 6,400 noise does become more of an issue, or more precisely the loss of fine detail caused by noise reduction image processing.

The maximum ISO of 12,800 is poorer still, although at least you have it there as an option should it be needed in emergencies.

Pentax Q7

Click for full-res

Considering the smaller sensor you might question whether the Q7 could resolve a decent level of detail. No doubt in some part owing to the lack of an anti-alias filter, it actually does well in this area and certainly better than its predecessors.

If you choose to purchase the 8.5mm f/1.9 prime lens with the Q7 then the camera is sure to perform even better in this regard.

Pentax’s heritage in the digital camera market goes a long way towards ensuring some impressive colour performance. The camera produces pleasingly natural tones in its default image processing settings, while the auto white balance is also reliable.

Pentax Q7

Click for full-res

The Q7’s metering system is similarly impressive, providing accurate exposures in a variety of lighting conditions, including dimly lit scenes.

The camera’s larger sensor ensures an improved dynamic range in comparison with its predecessors as well. The model copes much better with highlights and shadows, and in extreme conditions an in-built HDR mode is on hand to help out.

Pentax Q7 2

Should I buy the Pentax Q7?

The Pentax Q7 is certainly a unique proposition. At its price point of around £400 it’s competing with some impressive small-form CSCs, including the Canon EOS M and Nikon 1 J2.

It does have the advantage when it comes to size, although its hamstring by its uniqueness when it comes to system lenses. The Q7 currently only has 6 lenses available, 2 of which are ‘Toy’ lenses aimed at the Instagram fanatics rather than serious photographers.

So while it does compare favourably to some advanced compacts around a similar price, the more feature-laden – and better catered for – CSCs around the same price seem like the preferred options.


If size were the only concern the Pentax Q7 would rank very highly. But the restricted lens range, so-so image quality and superior alternatives make it an unconvincing option.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Image Quality 5
  • Performance 5
  • Value 5


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?


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?


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.


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.



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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