The Pentax Q: A Pint Size Camera That Is Packed With Features

Pint size but packed with features the Pentax Q - by Pentax

User reviews of the Pentax Q are starting to filter in after being officially launched back in June. Pentax advertises the Q as the smallest interchangeable lens digital camera on the market.

They definitely got the small part right, the camera easily fits in the palm of your hand. Despite its size, it’s packed with features usually found in much larger cameras.

The 3 inch LCD screen takes up almost the entire back of the camera and the Q has a hot shoe attachment that will accept one of the Pentax external flash units, which are, somewhat ironically, bigger than the camera itself, and can also be used to fit an add-on optical viewer.

Inside the Q packs a 12-megapixel BSI-CMOS 1/2.3 inch sensor behind the Pentax Q-mount interchangeable lens mount. The camera comes with a 47mm f/1.9 prime lens, but several other lenses are available.

Surrounding the electronics is a magnesium alloy shell that gives the little camera better protection than you’d normally expect in small frame cameras.

The software provides the usual mirrorless camera tricks like 5 frame per second continuous shooting and an in-camera HDR option that automatically blends bracketed exposures.

On video it sports full 1080 HD video at 30 fps in H.264 format.

My only niggles are the senor size and price point. For less money you can get a Sony NEX-5 with a full APS-C chip. For perspective, the 1/2.3 chip in a Pentax Q is less than a 10th of the size. When it comes to sensors, size does matter and bigger is better.

All in all, when size is important, the Pentax Q definitely fits the bill.

Take a look at how the Pentax Q stands up against its competitors.

Pentax Fields Long Zoom In Optio RZ18

The Pentax RZ18 will come in three colors and feature an 18x zoom

Pentax rolled out the new Optio RZ18 as manufacturers try to get their point-and-shoot lines on store shelves in advance of the holidays.

The RZ18 is built around an 18x zoom offering the equivalent of 25-450mm, a fairly impressive range for a pocket cam. Behind that is a high resolution 1/2.33 in, 16-megapixel CCD sensor with sensor-shift image stabilization and an ISO rating out to 6,400. The maximum image resolution bumps in at a respectable 4608 x 3456.

The downsides are typical for a camera in this price range. You give up RAW images and are limited to 720 video at 30 fps. There’s no viewfinder, which means you’re limited to framing through the 3 in LCD screen on the back, something that I’m sure is an interesting exercise at the maximum zoom setting.

While the video specs aren’t great, it does include mono audio and continuous shooting at 1 frame per second.

You don’t get much in the way of manual control, but most people are not buying a camera like this if they’re concerned with manual overrides. Anyone who cares that much about manual mode would also want RAW images to work with anyway.

It does feature an adequate array of automatic shooting modes and in-camera effects.   All in all, not bad for a pocket cam Pentax is expected to field for $299.95. Availability  in October.