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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Comments

Have to give that one a pass. My opinion: all digi cams are about the same (you said that here once, didn't you?). I've taken some pictures that I consider to be really good with a Canon 780is which is a pretty modest little camera. I'm never sure what paying more for a small sensor camera would get me.

This seems like that, but only worse.

I'm totally into it, but think it's 200 dollars too expensive. If you wanna target the LX5 crowed you're not going to get any pull from a 300 dollar premium.

Totally want the black one.

Looks good, I'm in.

CWDaly

Nice. I wonder if Pentax will make adaptors for Auto 110 lenses, to encourage Auto 110 owners to give the Q camera a try. Eventually they might even buy a few Q lenses. And even if Pentax doesn't, I'm sure someone will; not just for Auto 110 lenses, but I suppose for other lenses too.

Well. Shall I be first?
Twenty years I took a Hasselblad on trips. Then DSLRs got good enough and I switched. Then I waited and got a Fuji X100 and thought I'd be thrilled.
Then I see this new Pentax and think, "Damn, I should have waited!"
I guess I'll spend some more money....

The quirky concept is admirable, and the i'm sure it's an impressive piece of engineering, and, yes, tiny little sensors have their place, but I keep coming back to the price.

They're asking $300 more (for the basic kit) than the list price of the Olympus XZ1 and the Panasonic LX5, both of those come with zooms that are faster (and zoomier) than the standard zoom, and not all that much slower than the standard prime that comes with the kit, and I keep asking myself who's going to prefer the Q under those circumstances. The only answer I can come up with is 'people who hate zooms and really, really want a 50mm-equivalent prime lens'. But that means the target market is supposed to be me: I dislike and almost never use zooms, love 50mm-ish primes, and think of myself as a Pentax fan, and even I can't imagine myself ever choosing the Q over an XZ or LX, at least at a price premium. (Unless, of course, the performance turns out to be amazingly better in some way that's not obvious from the specs.)

Last year I bought an A110 with a couple of lenses and some film on eBay and played around with it for a bit. It was fun, and I'm glad I tried it, since I appreciate tiny cameras and quirky engineering and novel photographic experiences. But I paid a lot less than $800.

If this pulls in Lomographers and keeps Pentax profitable, I'm all for it. This is roughly the same reason that I think Lomography is a great phenomenon: its main function is to take money from people who obviously have too much of it, and use it to subsidize the manufacture of film, which needs all the help it can get. But, beyond that market, I'm having a hard time seeing what this product, at this price, is for.

I think I like this concept. Based on the pictures, the dials should make this much easier to use than many other cameras of it's size. If they offer it with a fast 28 or 35 equiv., I'll take one (and probably literally take it everywhere)!

It's also a slightly different direction than suggested in your 'Next Big Thing in Camera Technology?' post. It seems that Pentax feels consumers might enjoy getting special effects via optics rather than using software in post processing.

I can't believe that the k-5 is made by the same company, that shameless purveyor of purse accessories.

Hee hee! That's a cute little camera. I'm not sure I actually want one-- but I love that it is so small, yet has more real controls than the GF3 or the NEXes. And the standard zoom is f/2.8-4.5, which is faster than anything available for m4/3.

One thing I wonder, looking at the size of the mount: could they make something like a 5mm lens with a 10mm max aperture--a 28mm-equivalent f/0.5? Or am I getting something obvious wrong?

Yes, I can see it a small fun camera, and in fact like the concept too. But $800 is a bit too steep.

What is going on in the camera world? First SD-1 and now the Q at tough to swallow prices?

I am simultaneously intrigued and perplexed by this camera. Its easy to dismiss the Pentax Q as an overpriced point and shoot digicam. But reading through the preview of this camera system on the major photo gear sites, its rather evident that Pentax put a lot of thought into it. Look at the pictures of the body construction, sensor stabilization system and the lens shutter systems. Not a toy in any sense of the word (excluding the available toy lenses that is). It looks far better made than the entry level plasticams like the Canon Rebel and Nikon equivalents. The level of control and responsiveness could rival SLRs (not image quality though). This camera could be groundbreaking on several fronts - especially if image sensor technology continues to improve at the rate it has for the past 20 years. Could there be a day where 1/2.3" sensors match APS sensors of today? With some imaging wizardry to create bokeh etc etc. Or it could be a major flop just like half frame cameras were... Love to try it out though.

If they can do this, and Samsung / Sony can produce tiny APS-C cameras with interchangeable lenses, why can't they just produce a full format dSLR the size of an OM-1 or Pentax ME? Is it true that nobody wants such a camera?

I like it! It's high time we saw some testicular veracity in the development of small-sensor cameras. I'm eager to see how this little guy does. I'll be in Japan for a while this fall, so I might just have to look this up!

I don't see how the Q system can compete with Smartphone photography for those who value convenience over everything else. People who will use teeny tiny (a.k.a. cute) cameras like this will not want to carry lenses around... no matter how small they may be.

I hope Q cameras have "send to Facebook" and a "send to Twitter" buttons. With this sensor size that's about all these this system will be good for.

I do look forward to seeing how much of an impact the back-lit sensor has on IQ compared to other small sensors.

I admire Pentax for their truthful lens labeling though.

It is certainly true one can obtain professional results (whatever that means?) with just about any camera. People sell art from Holgas. If aliens land in your back yard, you can sell the photos from a 5 year old cell phone.

The question is: what is the motivation for using the a sensor that is fundamentally handicapped by it's size for professional work?

Answer: When the physical size, weight or cost means you otherwise would be camera less.

This Q & A applies to any camera system. For instane, a world class DLSR can't begin to compete with an 8X10 film camera or even a $30K large format digital camera system. But you can't get a professional result unless you have a camera with you. So one out of a thousand photographers will lug an 8X10 camera around or invest in (or rent) a $30K digital back. Most will use the best DSLR they can afford and everyone else will use a 35mm or medium format film camera.

I am a bit cautious. Big win I am seeing: looks like Pentax just like with the K-5/7 has the ergonomics well thought out. And the build is great.

Problem: why pick this over say a GF3 or the rumored upcoming Olympus Mini Pen? Those other cameras (the GF3 at least) are really small also. The big win here I can see is super small telephoto.

It's interesting but I wonder. The price seems a bit high.

What a waste of engineering resources! OK, maybe it wouldn't be too bad to have a toy system that pretends to be like one of the big boys, except for the insanely high price of $800... Are the disposable incomes of the Japanese that high to afford ridiculous propositions like this or the $7000 Sigma SD1?
I could see selling a few units for $300 for what is a point-and-shoot without the advantages of compact, fast zoom lens equipped Panasonic LX5 or Olympus XZ-1.

Mike was saying that the Leica M9-P is a total non-event. Same here, except I would buy the Leica.

$800?????? that's a FAIL here(US of A) and Japan. The End.

Small compact - but good quality - point and shoot, with a fisheye lens. Add a reasonably fast 20 or 24mm equivalent prime and a small underwater housing with ports for those two lenses and you'd have an excellent UW camera for snorkellers or divers that can't or won't bring a large, bulky setup on their dives.

Hah! I just knew the big announcement would concern a Pentax product. My money was on a 'full-frame' DSLR to fill an obvious gap in the line-up, though.

Hmzzz, its something I would have liked a few years back. But then micro 4/3 hit the road and I guess that is a nice compromise between IQ and CQ (carrying quality). And as for Ctein, sure you can make a nice print of an 11 mp frame. A standard negative 35mm film does not contain that much more info. Personally I stop at A3 anything above it needs more pixels in my opinion but Gianni (www.giannigalassi.com) used a GF1 2992 x 2992 frame and blew it up to 1 meter 80 x 1 meter 80 in an exhibition in Venice. His art is based on patterns so he can get away with it, with the right shots (almost like vector graphics). But Ctein as a restorer what do you think about the 110 Pentax......I've had an uncle who owned a camera like that (replaced his Nikkormat at the time) and I restored some of the pictures from that time. Boy do I hate 110 film!

Greetings, Ed

Maybe the next release will be a SLR version to finally satisfy all the people who say they want a small camera but absolutely must have an optical viewfinder!

I like the idea, and, yes, it does look cute, but, while the price is competitive with the micro-four-thirds market, the sensor size places it one step below the current crop of premium point-and-shoots you listed (and just barely a hair above the cellphone camera market). For the same price, I can get a current m4/3 kit and for a mere $20 more, I can get a real Holga lens with a m4/3 mount.

For half the price and the next size larger sensor (1/1.6" that's so common to the premium point-and-shoots), this thing could have dominated the premium point-and-shoot market and taken a hefty chunk out of the lower end of the m4/3 market.

Yes, it will sell in Japan (and knowing Pentax, they will probably soon offer it in their usual rainbow of colors). But, like the SD1, it could have been so much more ...

Another compact camera without a proper viewfinder (not counting the accessory one).

If someone else does produce a similar camera in paisley, Pentax can just fight back with plaid or pot-pourri-scented or with a yellow plush canary that fits over the cray-zee popup flash.

The great part is, these fripperies are just that - they are not incompatible with a camera being well engineered.

First the Zune, then the Lytro thing, and now this! The
world has gone bananas. It's April Fools day. I'm
dumping all my photo stuff and getting an easel,
a stool, some canvas and oils, and a beret of course
and take up painting.
:) :) :)

Isn't it possible that the stated $800 is the MSRP, which means the kit could have a much lower street price.

I find this system very interesting, I can't want to see samples (preferably RAW ones) from this thing.

Looks like a last opportunity to survive, for a company that can't compete at marketing level (K5 is on par with D7000, but the numbers...).
Let this one become a "mass-fashion" object, otherwise I fear we are going to lose another piece of photographic history.

The camera market has a few obvious gaps but is this really one of them? More of a niche within a niche, surely. How many permutations of the digicam can we use and how does this deliver anything not already obtainable with a XZ-1 for a lot less cash?

I would like a more compact street camera than m4/3 can offer, and I would like one with a full set of external controls which m4/3 seem to be avoiding, but I would still like something with a larger-than-digicam sensor.

Why is there still a yawning gap between digicam and 4/3? Why not a half APSC sensor (same ratio as 4/3 but smaller)?

Guess we will have to wait for Nikon.

I think I want one.

Of late I've adhered to the idea that the best camera for the job is the one you have on you. Yes, I love the results from my (Mesozoic in digital terms) DSLR with its lovely primes but the reality is I simply don't use it that much. I'm not going to carry it to work every day nor am I going to slip it into the pocket of my cycling jersey when I don the lycra.

Sheer bulk has meant that my most frequently used camera at the moment is an unremarkable Canon P&S. It does a pretty good job but at times the limited manual controls are frustrating.

Trust Pentax...

There will be a heap of people having a great time taking photos......... good stuff Pentax. Ahh the peeping pixies well I guess you will have to get back to bed now no fairy dust for you

Wow. I saw the leaked photos, but I didn't expect it to be THAT small. I'm hoping they release a shutter enabled adapter that allows us to mount all sorts of other lenses (or even invent our own) to this thing at some stage...

On the topic of where does it sit in the market: I've got a GF1+20/1.7 and a Ricoh GR Digital, and you know what? I carry the GRD (yes, the original with the 8 second RAW dump time). I hardly use the GF1. The small sensor may be noisy, but at low ISO they work great. I've taken many a photo with the GRD where I've never felt like I was missing out on anything at all. You work around these problems not into them.

My only problem now is I've already got a camera that does a good job of what the Q may do. So when the GRD dies ... I suppose it's time for me to line up in the queue for one of these...

Pak

Side by side with a Nex C3. Um, yeah.

One imagines that Pentax sat on this egg a bit too long, and were too in love with the idea of reviving the Auto 110.

I wonder how a Metz Mecablits 60 would look with this camera!

Greetings, Ed

My wife will love it!!

It looks like a fun enough idea but the price point seems crazy. $500 is a lot for fun. $800 puts it in direct competition with large-sensor mirrorless systems and fairly good DSLRs. Sure, there are some wealthy people who will snap it up for the cool/unique value, but it is hard to imaging large numbers of people pulling the trigger for that over any same-price alternative.

But hey, they said similar things about m4/3. Who knows.

Too bad it has lens shutters. I would love to put some old D-mount 8mm lenses on it.

What I'm marveling at is the flash shoe. Even the smallest Pentax accessory flash unit would dwarf this camera. Is there any word on whether there's an appropriately sized external flash in this new system?

Oh...I'm so very excited!
Finally! A tiny-sensor, digicam, gadget - without a good viewfinder!
And it's in the same price range as an APS-C DSLR.
These were hard to find, at that price - until now.
It's about time. Thanks Pentax!
Insert satire alert here.
What will we call this new camera segment - how about "Nano Two Thirds?

Cheers! Jay

Sigh.
Ctein has anticipated my disappointment. Pentax appear to have an excellent understanding of the Japanese market, and this system will undoubtedly be very successful there. This will encourage other manufacturers to devote their limited development funds to "me-too" cute mini-sensor systems like this. With all of them we'll get tiny buttons, poor ergonomics, limited or absent manual exposure capability, mediocre high-ISO performance, and huge depth of focus regardless of aperture.

I would kill for a small APS-C sensor camera system with great manual controls, great high ISO performance, a selection of compact super-sharp prime lenses, excellent auto and manual focus, and a great optical viewfinder. The market success Pentax's Q-system is sure to enjoy makes my dream system even less likely to ever see the light of day.

Seems like a useful system, actually.

I like the choice of 8.5mm over 6mm, because it's a field of view I'd use in more situations. At such a small format, it's still going to give you "f/2 and be there".

If they could make a lens that was even smaller, maybe it would pass the shirt-pocketability test and send a lot of people over the edge. A 6mm pancake, perhaps?

G12/P7000/XZ-1 is a valid comparison, in this case you're paying a premium for the included prime lens which is portable to future versions of the body. Your filters and adapters are a more solid investment, and you don't have to sit there guessing what lens will be bolted on next, 35-140 f/2.0-3.0 ... 35–210mm f/2.8–4.8 ... 28–140mm
f/2.8–4.5 ... And I guess if s90's image quality was decent, then 2-3 years later this slightly smaller sensor might deliver decent quality too.

Wasn't too long ago that this blog was slagging Olympus for including ART filters in to their camera - but I guess it's okay if it's built into the hardware and not the software?

Find it interesting that after building in autofocus, you end up with lenses roughly the same size as 35mm lenses for rangefinders, if the filter size is anything to go by. Now the Pentax 110, that was a truly tiny camera with truly tiny lenses.

I like it. I could see it as a fun carry everywhere camera, especially with the fisheye. Enthusiastic and quirky.

To the naysayers and debbie-downers, I ask: Why so serious?

This will create demand for all those tiny little 8mm cine, little CCTV and wacky x-ray lenses...like the m4/3 standard did for c-mount lenses...I would wager the 'Bay will be awash in "Q Mount to D-Mount" adapters soon.

When I saw the name I could just hear Desmond Llewelyn's voice in my head "..please bring it back in one piece Bond"


The submini camera coummunity should be happy about this one. Looks like their territory.

If K = King, and Q = Queen, I'm now worried that the "real" Pentax mirrorless camera (with an APS-C sensor) will feature a J mount...and be a joke. [bah-dum CHING!]

Definitely not a camera for us lot, especially at $800, but I agree with you that the Japanese high school girls will eat these up once they start selling them in orange-purple combinations. At least I hope they do because I want Pentax to make MONEY and stop being about to go out of business next year.

I like it! And I really like the idea of the 'toy' lenses - especially at that price point! It looks like the perfect antidote to all those over-sharpened HDR pictures everyone posts all over the internet.

Geez, I always thought K mount stood for "Kopied from niKon". Rim shot. (Just kidding, I shoot a K20d.)

Seriously, this looks like an interesting product, although probably not for me. The combination of size, magnesium body, lens selection, and features like the extendable flash and the shutters that offer up to 1/2000 flash sync in the two standard lenses suggest that the target market is relatively high end: graphic designers, and a second system for pros and well-heeled amateurs. People who don't need the full capability of a DSLR but who still care about things like fill flash in bright sun; who care about a look, but don't need to worry about "image quality" in the usual sense. If I'm right, that's probably a smart move on Pentax's part. It's a functional niche that nobody else is serving very well.

"Toy" lenses can be useful in contexts where the feel of the image trumps standard IQ. I know a pro who makes money with her lensbaby and D700. If most of the frame is blurred anyway, why lug around the D700?

One worry I have is dust, given the combination of interchangeable lenses, short registration distance, and high degrees of enlargement from that tiny sensor.

This looks interesting to me. Not sure about the price, but it looks like a camera that would be a lot of fun to use.

I'll be interested to see how those lenses work, especially the 'toy' lenses.

Thanks Bernard, that flash is the funniest thing I've seen all week.

Seems not able to use the GPS to do star thing. Sad.

As for size, a lot of us like S95. If S95 has changeable lens ... call it say "Ace" mount, what you (or better what your wife) think?

Also, you may note that it actually has some features like lens shutter and sync to > 1/500 (1/2000 in fact). Seems useful for "fill flash".

Got even interval shooting.

Wait for the shutter lag report especially focusing speed ...

If it is a bit cheaper, it would be sure buy. $600 for kit would be a killer if you are into small camera. I like my Sony just for its size.

Anyway we are still waiting for Nikon and Canon. Where are they?

I guess this means we all have to wait longer for a Nikon digital rangefinder with four or five lenses. Now THAT would be an announcement!

Remember guys, this camera is not meant for us. It's for people who live in Japan and have fun with their cameras, as Mike has already said. Also, since so few of us print and even fewer seem to have a long range preservation plan why do we think that our cameras should be huge and black and be capable of ginormous prints. Is it our ego, like having a Porshe or Ferrari, which has it's capabilities wasted at 70 mph? Most images go to the web, if anywhere. Why not have something small and fun?

I think the comment that the Q camera is essentially a fashion accessory is correct. As such it may sell in huge numbers like designer eyeglasses or fashion watches before the novelty wears off. It kind of reminds me of those evening/club shiny tiny cell phones a few years back. Way cool gear for urban commandos.

I'm not sure what to think about this... I sort of like the concept, the features, the build quality. I can see the "toy for well-heeled hipster" appeal. I see the "fun factor" with the toy lenses. I can even see some "street photography" appeal. But the price has me scratching me head.

It's going to be hard selling a tiny sensor camera with a fixed length lens for $800, it should come with two or maybe even three lenses consisting of the standard prime, zoom and perhaps one of the "toy" lenses.

Also, I'm curious about how dust will affect such a tiny sensor. A speck of dust on an APS-C is noticeable enough, I can't imagine what that same speck would look like on a sensor 1/13th the size!

Some of you people have never tried to sneak in a decent camera into a concerts, have you?

You could fit this with that fast 47mm down your pants. That's a very, very good thing.

(Please note that while, yes, one could slip it down one's pants, I do not condone shoplifting this camera. Well, maybe Pentax really does decide to flog it at $800US.)

For the ultimate fashion statement, they could have designed it to look like a really tiny rangefinder, complete with red dot. All the leica fans would want it to complete their collections. They could put black tape over the dot, or use it for a tie pin or something.

My thoughts: a little too much in several departments: too small but also not small enough (jeans-pocketable), too retro, too compromised on (presumptive) performance, too niche. That said, I could see it selling somewhat well, and some people will do great work with it: a quirky system can lead to great results, as evidenced by all the Holga-Diana work out there. People who want those toy lenses will know why. Alas, I will not be one of them.

My qualm: why do the “scene modes” on this and other cameras get a pass, the “toy lenses” get a veritable pat on the back, but the “Art Filters” in Mike’s original note about the E-620 are a craven grovel to Mammon? Would a “distorted lens characteristic” or “Holga setting” get a similar pass?

The weakness of the Auto 110 was the size of its film. It listed for $249 with lens in 1979, or $748 in 2010 dollars.

[My time studying Pocket Instamatic yesterday seems to have been well-spent and timely!]

The Q seems to have the digital form of the same weakness, and a similar price.

Both do seem to be compelling in the same way, though, as Mike points out. And full marks to Pentax for innovation.

I see no point in criticizing the Q (or the Auto 110) at all. Let's just enjoy them for what they are. Nobody has to buy one.

Technical details aside, the only thing I *really* can not understand is why circa 1950's design? Retro compacts are OK (Fuji X100, Leica X1) but I think in this case they went a bit too far.

Mike, re the naming of the K mount: I owned a Spotmatic F and was an eagle-eyed fan of Pentax when the K2, KX and KM cameras, together with the K mount, were introduced in 1975. I never saw a king card used in the promotional material, despite being intrigued at the re-use of the letter K, the name of an earlier thread-mount camera. It seemed to me highly likely that the naming of the top-tier camera, the K2, was prompted by the sudden opening-up, in 1974, of the Karakoram Range in Pakistan, and in particular the world's second-highest mountain, K2, to mountaineers, which attracted a flood of mountaineering expeditions (and attendant publicity), beloved by the Japanese. One was the US attempt led by Jim Whittaker and famously chronicled by photographer-mountaineer Galen Rowell in In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods. It seemed to me that Pentax was claiming second tier order, behind Nikon's F2.

So, here's my question. What camera designer came up with the "hold it using two hands like it's a slippery bar of soap" sans viewfinder ergonomics we must now tolerate on essentially all current digicams, and why don't any other camera designers question just how uncomfortable that picture-taking stance really is?

So, FIVE years to 'design' this nonsense,...TEN years making DSLR's that are basically the Canon T90 of 30 years ago but with a sensor bunged inside....This is NOT the stuff I have been waiting on....

.....STILL no 24mm f2.

They could sell quite a few of these based on novelty. I understand from a couple other forums that Pentax is primarily aiming this at the Japanese domestic market, which has a high number of collectors, and this is the kind of jewel-like product that collectors go for.

For everybody else, it's going to come down to the sensor. The sensor better be the best thing out there, at this size, and given its design and supplier, it just might be. Still, that might not be enough: the sensor is one-eighth the size of an m4/3, according to DPR, and one thirteenth the size of an APS-C.

It *is* cute.

I replaced my LX3 with an E-PL2 plus the Panasonic 20/1.7 lens. Cost of the two together: pretty much $1000. So $800 seems entirely reasonable to me, even a savings over the alternative.

Of course, I made the replacement primarily for the better low-light performance (larger sensor), so the Q wouldn't really have been on my radar. (It should have better low-light performance than the LX3, being a couple of generations newer technology, but I think I need the larger size so far to meet my acceptable minimum.)

The LX3 took GREAT photos when there was light; I've got a 20x30 print of one of them in the collection on the walls at work, and it fits right in with D700, D200, and S2 photos. This should be at least as good (newer tech, again).

So it makes sense enough to me; it's just not aimed at me.

Go Pentax! I like seeing things tried out in the marketplace.

Hoo Boy, is that ever an UGLY camera. Yikes.

Brilliant! And the price is just fine as it doesn't "compete" with the other itsy-bitsy sensor cameras. This isn't a camera one chooses because of price, but because of what it is. It doesn't matter if it is priced at $400 or $800, because if a person is interested and they have disposable income, the $400 price difference means nothing. It's like a Toyota Prius--we buy them because we want them and become experts at finding justifications to support our purchase decisions.

But I do enjoy my 51 MPG while hauling my film gear around.

How long will it be before someone moans that they need an adapter so they can fit their Summicron on the Q. I'll wager not long.

Wow! And I thought yesterday's Lytro announcement was what Mike had been referring to. Quite a week. It will be interesting to see what impact these two announcements have a year from now.

I'd have given this a second though or even been a little intrigued if it had 1/1.63 sensor like the P&S cameras mentioned. As it stands I don't see it challenging those P&Ss with this sensor. The XZ-1 coupled with it's optional EVF, which MR at LL just called a honey is still cheaper. So why bother with the Q?
But then again, I'll be the first to admit that I just don't get this one.

Dust spots on that sensor sure are going to be large...

I was among those dismissing thus as a crazy idea back when the first leaks came out a few months ago, and it seems to be a perfectly logical reaction: At first blush, the Q system really doesn't seem to make much if any sense from technical, marketing or pricing perspectives.

But I think a lot of people are going to be surprised both by consumer response and real-world capabilities. So despite many enthusiasts' negative response today, I predict this will find a viable niche, and not only in Japan, especially once street prices come down a bit.

Why? Precisely because it's fun, but also flexible enough to be serious. Because it's tiny and the in-lens shutter system will make it very quiet. Because 1/2.33" sensors really are much better today than a few years ago, and will surely keep improving.

So I've changed my mind since that original backlash: I like it and think it will do reasonably well, even though I have no idea if I'll actually want one by the time I can buy one.

Peter,

The iPhone 4's sensor is back-light illuminated as well. That's why it does so well (relatively speaking) in low-light.

"I understand from a couple other forums that Pentax is primarily aiming this at the Japanese domestic market"

John,
What, did you miss this bit in my post? It's in there.

Mike

"How long will it be before someone moans that they need an adapter so they can fit their Summicron on the Q."

Eric,
The M-module for the Ricoh GXR is in the hands of beta testers. Shouldn't be too long on that.

Mike

This is not new for Pentax - Those of you old enough to have cut your teeth on real film might remember the tiny Pentax 110 SLR with interchangeable lenses. http://www.cameraquest.com/pentx110.htm

One question, what does a typical interchangeable lens system dust spec look like on this sensor size? Godzilla?

I can't help but think that this design seems a bit misguided. People who want small cameras don't, in general, want more than one lens.

People who want more than one lens, do, in general, want a "bigger" sensor if for no other reason than it will be easier to clean.

Overall though I feel like the camera companies have missed the boat with pocket cameras. The mass market for pocket cameras will likely all be in phones soon, and we'll have m4/3, Sony and now Pentax fighting over table scraps.

First the K, then the Q. Can we anticipate a Jack of all trades camera next?

@Ray

Whoa, that's crazy. Look at the sensors!

@Geoff Wittig

I'm hoping the NEX7 will hit almost all the buttons you're looking at, sans the optical finder. If Sony takes design and control cues from the old K-M A2 (as rumors suggest), retain that excellent sensor, and enable peaking for manual focus, you've pretty much got it all. Just add M-mount glass, instead of the soda cans they're shipping with them now. Plus you know that since it's a NEX it's going to be tiny.

@Benjamin Thompson

Yup.

It's interesting, but still not what I'm looking for in a small camera. I have an Lx3 (my wife's) that we don't use all that much. Too wide for a family camera. When I look back at all the digital photos I've taken since 2003, many that I like are from my old super ccd Fuji superzoom, 3mp, f2.8-3.1 lens, quite small and light (though square with a grip). Started at about 37mm equivalent, and ending at 370. That 37mm and up made all the difference for someone who didn't know enough to get closer. I'd like an update to that camera.

I am really very surprised by the strongly negative pre-release reaction to this product. It sure looks like a remarkably innovative new camera system that can have a solid spot in many photo arsenals. $800 price too high? Naw, not for a genuinely new line like this if it's built nicely.

I'm eager to see how these things perform.

From the credit card picture, it's almost exactly the same size as my S95, but it's got some extra thing on the front to make it impossible to put it in a pocket. What is that? Is that why it's $400 dollars more than the S95, or is it because of its smaller sensor?

Speaking of the fun component, does the flash do a 10 second ballet to get to that awesome height? Perhaps it should strobe on lower power as it comes out to make sure we know how cute it is. Awesome possibilities!

By the way, satire alert. I suppose an S95 type camera with back-lit 1/1.7" sensor IQ might hit the US market before Q does. Might be nice.

"This is not new for Pentax - Those of you old enough to have cut your teeth on real film might remember the tiny Pentax 110 SLR with interchangeable lenses."

You didn't get my hint?

Mike

Is it me or the the two control dials remind you of Micky Mouse ears?

I'm only half-joking when I say that I would spring for the "Hello, Kitty" version of this cute little Pentax Q.

I think quite a few camera designers are under the misapprehension that small means pocketable. Pocketable to me means having the size and shape of a packet of cigarettes. The moment these cameras don't have retractable lenses then they are really not pocketable but need to be carried in a small bag. And then they don't need to be quite so small. In fact something a little larger would probably be a whole lot easier to hold and operate and might even have room for an optical eyelevel viewfinder...

What do these lenses use for light control? Rotating variable ND disc? I mean, at 8.5mm you sure couldn't afford to stop down very much before resolution suffers, a lot. I dunno, mayhaps there has been much progress in optical design for ultra short FL lenses lately. Clever idea though. I wonder if anyone else will jump on this concept.

As for the 'toy' lenses. Well, a few years back Nikon sold (only in Japan I think) 3 or 4 lenses named "Amuseing Lenses". If I recall correctly they were a fisheye, a 120mm macro or soft focus, depending on how you configured the lens cells and a 400mm f8. These were in the F mount of course and a full set today would probably go for 1 to 2 grand to a collector.

Dear Ed,

Never worked with the 110 Pentax, either as a photographer or a restorer.

Every professional's mileage will differ, but I'm doing fine with 17" x 22" prints from 12 megapixel files. Sure, they have to be really good photos to begin with… But the same was true for 35mm taken up to 16 x 20, and that didn't prevent most pros from using 35mm as their preferred format.

Of which I was not one, I would note. Even at the end of my film career, I still wasn't happy with the quality I saw in 35mm film prints. On the other hand, I am sufficiently happy with the quality I'm seeing in my 12 megapixel digital prints. Everything on this page dated 2007-2010:

http://ctein.com/newer_work.htm

is from smaller-than-full-frame 12 megapixel files.

Would more (pixels/sensor size) be better? Oh yeah, sure! The same way that 8 x 10 film was unquestionably better than my medium format. Different pros have different requirements. I'm not arguing in particular for small sensors and 12 megapixel files? I'm not even arguing that I will stay there. All I'm doing is preempting the otherwise-inevitable “Well, of course a sensor this small has to make lousy pictures” comments. My pudding is proof to the contrary.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
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Ya know, all this talk about the Japanese domestic market has got me thinking... Kodak, whose scientists and engineers are plenty smart and plenty innovative, seems intent on turning itself into a patent troll. Meanwhile, Fuji has produced the X100. Maybe American companies would be better off if they'd start producing for the Japanese domestic market. Just a thought.

I still think the Q represents a clever combination of size and features that will sell outside Japan. Pentax started the 645D as a Japan-only product, and it seems to have caught on elsewhere. They don't necessarily make the product Japan-only because they think it can't sell elsewhere. They may do so just for cost reasons in the initial stages of a product.

I think it is a marvelous idea and well executed but I fear that the price point may scare off most buyers.

I want one, I think it would make the perfect system for our new-age, web-based photography (so few people print these days). Although I want one it is highly unlikely I would ever buy one, that price point could buy me a very good Limited lens for my Pentax DSLR!

I really wish I could get one though, looks like fun.

For a long time
they've had a King
Now they have a Queen
Do they have an Ace
up their sleeve?

Being 5fps, I hope it does not have shutter lag which compact cameras are "famous" for. That alone will make it worth it for some people.

This is an odd beast. All the specs look latest-greatest but when you look at that thing sitting on the credit card doesn't that give you pause? Thats small as in really small. As in . . . just about impossible to hold. I've tried an S95 which is in the same size group and although the pictures are fine it was impossible to use freely. I dropped it (and caught it, thank god), my friend dropped it twice (and caught it) but unless you have a large flask of magical finger-shrinker powder using the controls on cameras this size easily is not easy.

Dave

I'd call this being too clever by half. First E-400, then NEX, then GF3 and now Q. Why can't they make a camera that's small enough and not smaller?

Yes, yes, the goal is to create a camera smaller than a big black behemoth, I get it already. But surely this race to create a lilliputian camera is just another symptom of the numbers game? That is, my camera has X times more megapixels/ has X times higher ISO clean picture/ is X times smaller/ delete unnecessary...

Thanks for the info Ctein. Now I remember that in my 20's (I'm now 62) an old time photographer, oh, musta been near 40 years old, told me if I wanted the best results with my Olympus Pen D to shoot at f4 or 5.6. The Pen D has a 32mm f1.9 lens and at 5.6 it's just amazing. Great camera, got to take it down off the shelf and load some of that ISO 50 B&W film sitting in the fridge.

DOF control by means of in-camera filter. $800.

'Nuff said. :)

I'm anxiously awaiting the 'real' Pentax mirrorless, and still dreaming the impossible dream: a Full Frame Pentax body to shoot my 77ltd on...

It's good to see some novelty in cameras, but, at the risk of appearing somewhat negative, there are two (related) things that whisper in my ear this design didn't go far enough :
- It's a new system, but it still mimicks the form factor of film cameras( even if it's more 110 than 135 in this case), whereas digital could allow some major innovations,
- It's still centered around a screen as viewing device, and not a viewfinder, giving an uncomfortable at arm's length to shoot, and poor readability in sunlight (or so-so at best with top-end screen like the so-called retina of the iPhone).
Why not center cameras around a viewfinder, allowing for much more practical form factors like a tube (think to a monocular) or a little videocam, that one holds with one hand in front of the eye with dials that fall right under every finger?

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