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Saturday, 10 December 2011


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Because it's expensive. Expensive.
If I want small and convenient, I'll use an iPhone or an LX-5/X10/XZ-1. If I want beautiful image quality in a small and lightweight package at a lower price, I'll use a Sony NEX-5n.
There's so many good alternatives these days that the Pentax offering, even though it's small and probably nicely built, does not make much sense to me price-wise.

"So...all the love for the X-10 and none for the Q? What's up with that? Just wonderin'."

It's the OVF.

I had an X10 for a few weeks and throughly enjoyed it, but I ended up returning it - it's just too small for my meathooks, I kept changing settings and pressing buttons by accident. I ended up with a V1 instead and am much happier.

Actually, I do not care that much about the Q or the X.
What I am really curious about is this:


Is that to the keyboards as what a fixie is to bikes?

Puzzled and distressed.

Will they also have all the depth of field we might like?

I have seen it, played with it at the store, and like it. I would pay x10 money for the Q.

The X10 does seem to be the 'acceptable compact du jour', eh?

I've handled one; it's a pretty nice thing to hold and use. The image quality from such a small sensor is definitely OK. More than OK, really. But they are expensive enough that if I were to be in the market for a compact camera, I'd spend that money somewhere else than on a single unit. Or put it towards an X100.

I think a lot of what is going on here is very astute marketing to serious existing photographers. The Q and the Nikon V1/J1 (like the Sony NEX before them) seem to be suffering from an unfair amount of reactionary criticism because they are not, even if they would be (more?) useful.

I have a K7 which I'm very happy with. But, was on the lookout for a carry everywhere camera. When the Q was first announced I thought "this could be it". After looking at the spec and reading the reviews I felt very disappointed. When I actually held one it confirmed my fears that it was too small for someone like me with big hands. Then the X10 came along, the reviews have been great, they feel good in the hand, with nice well placed controls, and I'm very happy that I know Santa's going to bring me one :)

I am still torn between the Fuji X10 and the Nikon V1. The big problem is deciding what is good enough. It is just too easy to get lost in a quest for the best.
Leica has become famous, not because it was the best IQ camera, but because it was good enough... Best IQ back then was in large negatives, as it is in large sensors now. But the Leica was small enough to keep at hand permanently, and it delivered enough quality to satisfy. I think small sensor camera's are already there.

I wish some manufacturer of sensors had the courage to offer a sensor with ~2MPixels, aka 1080P HD, or the size of the largest common LCDs used on desktop PCs (OK, maybe bump up to the resolution used on the 27" iMacs). Bigger pixels due to better manufacturing processes (of the sensors) would be a good way to get the 'better' small sensor camera photos. I'd posit that the vast majority of photos taken by 'snapshot' cameras are never printed, and a very good quality 2-3 MP file can produce good 8x10s. Due to fewer pixels, the cameras could process images faster, more would fit on a memory card and lower JPG compression could be used. Imagine the X10's 2/3" sensor with pixels twice the size. I'd be in my happy place!


I finally got to handle an X10 the other night in an electronics shop. Loved the size, look, and feel. Didn't love the inaccurate viewfinder.

They might well achieve those things (resolution, DR, and high-ISO performance) but they're never going to have the ability to produce shallow depth of field that is possible with larger sensors. The more I shoot, the more I discover how important that is to me.

On the other hand, software to simulate the look of a variety of lenses and their out-of-focus rendering effects is getting better all the time, so even this will probably no longer be a restriction before long.

As a big old irrational Pentax fanboy (white-black-white "storm trooper" K-x, aw yeah), looking with lust in my heart at every EVIL system out there, the thing that makes the Q unappealing is not the small sensor or the four-lens lineup, it's the $800 up-front cost. Considering that even an NEX with the right lens is pocketable for my purposes, (and while pocket and purse sizes vary, I think a lot of the buyers for small EVIL setups classify them as coming in two sizes: "pocketable" and "not pocketable"), paying a lot extra for the slightly smaller Q versus a NEX, a u4/3, or a Nikon 1 is unjustifiable.

I have assumed, though, that the $800 msrp is an early adopter tax, and the long term pricing for the base kit will approach $500 or less. If it doesn't, I don't see Pentax (or anyone else) duking it out with Sony or the cheaper u4/3 cameras.

I have a Pentax Q, and I haven't really taken to it. It is really small, but it doesn't slide into my pocket like my Canon S90, due to the lens. It is pretty fun to shoot with, but it drives me to distraction that the colors I see on the screen have no bearing on the final output, which is much more muted in color. The quick setting dial is a great idea in theory, but it's easy to turn the dial without warning. I do like the "art" filters, but I know a lot of people hate them. I think the bottom line is that it's pretty fun to play with, but it's a lot of money for a toy.

Small sensors do have their place. I've been using a GRD-IV recently. Great depth of field, controls that make sense and are reachable with one hand. Optical viewfinder centered over the lens and accurate. 10 MP and this time around, no or very light AA filter. Has a f/1.9, 28 mm-e lens, which I like although it's not for everyone. All in a size that fits in my shirt pocket, in its case, in any jacket pocket.

Ricoh seems to have a special place in their hearts for this camera. Daido Moriyama loved the film equivalent of it long ago (also 28mm fixed lens, I believe) and that seems to have been good enough. They've iterated on this design four times, with real, small, improvements each time.


I was interested in the keyboard too. Apparently camera people are not the only crazy denizens of the 'net: http://steampunkworkshop.com/keyboard.shtml

I've seen/played/fondled a Q with a few of the toy lenses. In my opinion, it's a bridge too far in terms of miniaturization. Truly unescapable compactness, for those in search of it. Pocketable in a way no other mirror less camera is.

I had an X10 for about a week and just returned it. It's a remarkable little camera and I was very tempted to keep it. But in the end it was just too much money for what I'd use it for - at least right now. If my priorities change, I can easily see ordering another one to keep.

But there were a couple of small issues that made using the camera awkward. You can't turn the camera on without removing the lens cap. So if you want to view or download images, the lens cap has to come off for the camera to come on.

The front lens glass sits way up front with nothing to protect it. The filter thread is 40mm. Not 40.5mm and not 39mm, but 40mm. So you can't simply slip a UV filter on the front; you have to use Fuji's proprietary (and expensive) filter adapter/hood. Of course, once that's threaded in place you can't use the lens cap unless you can find one that will fit over the hood - or else remove the filter adapter/hood. Fiddling with fine-pitch threads in the field while I'm trying to shoot is not my idea of fun.

It may be possible to have a custom low-profile filter adapter machined that could live on the camera. But that was more than I was willing to undertake at this point. It would be nice if Fuji could simply make the filter thread 40.5mm and be done with it.

If you have hands like bear paws then the X10 or Q are both going to disappoint. They are small. Here they are about the same price. I bought the X10 as a compact and light camera for everyday family use and for taking on travels, and am delighted with it. I wanted an optical viewfinder and a useful (but not super) zoom range, and good IQ. It is certainly "good enough". I use it EXR mode mostly and am happy with the out-of-camera JPG files so haven't even started using RAW. In fact I sold off my GF-1 with EVF to get the X10. By comparison the GF-1 was quite bulky with the kit zoom and EVF attached and the EVF was woeful. The X10 gives me an IQ that is equal to the m43 files up to an enlargement size of about 12x8. After that m43 wins out but as I never print 11x14 or 16x20 .................
And while the X10 viewfinder only covers 85% of the FOV it also is "good enough" - and there's always the LCD to check.

I'm now looking at my M6 and wondering if it will survive the arrival of Fuji's interchangeable lens version of the X100 in February!

No love? That's because it's the silliest camera idea in years. A system camera with the IQ of a much cheaper and more handy P&S camera such as for example the Canon S90. Toy lenses?!

When somebody chooses a system camera, it is for the IQ or some demanded accessories. Not P&S qiality and toy lenses. Rest my case.

"almost there"? The V1 skittered past "good enough" and came to a stop right in my camera bag. You'll pry my hands off my V1, etc. etc.
It really is all the camera most (including digital, web aimed) photographers would need. And it's got that sexy, 1950's Russian Industrial design aesthetic. Fuji? Nyet.

I have an Olympus XZ-1 coming for Christmas. Benefits of both if you ask me. Without the suposed white blooming of the fuji sensor. I hope to get the great electronic viewfinder for the XZ when I want to look professional as I take images. ;)

There's a lot of jostling going on in the market right now, but I'm still of the opinion that the small "quality" camera solution -- the current equivalent of the original Leica -- is going to look a lot like the m4/3 cameras.

A "quality" camera has to be a "full-service" camera. The very small-sensor cameras, like the Nikons, but especially the Pentax, struggle with shallow depth of field, which is critical in a full-service camera. With the m4/3, you have lenses like the Olympus 45mm f1.8, and the Voightlander f0.95, which will give you that shallow depth.

The larger cameras, the APS-C and full-frame, struggle with size. Sure, the NEX-7 body is small, and so are some of the primes, but the zoom lenses aren't, and you need a good selection of zooms in a full-service system. The Panasonic f4-5.6 100-300, which is the equivalent of a 200-600, is an excellent lens, and is only 5 1/2 inches long.

If you want exceptional quality in a system that is merely portable (like the old "portable" laptops that weighted ten pounds) then you go with FF or APS-C -- the current equivalents of the old 4x5 Speed Graphics. If you want something truly handy and lightweight, like the original Leica, I think the sweet spot right now is the m4/2.

As for the Pentax specifically...I don' t think competes very well, at the moment, with regular compacts, like the Canon S-100. YMMV.

I keep hearing about these small sensors with great IQ but I'm still waiting to see them. In outdoor lighting, yes, a Fuji X10 or Nikon 1 can get great pictures. In low light, I can't even get the picture quality I want with a Canon 5D Mark II, let alone the small sensor mirrorless cameras that seem to be cropping up once a minute. I'm not talking night vision here, just lousy school auditorium lighting. Sensors are improving over time, but they're improving a lot more slowly than cheerleading review sites would indicate.

Had a chance to handle a Q in a camera store on a recent trip to San Francisco. Specs and sensor size aside (after all, I still have a lot of Ricoh GX-100 images in my portfolio) the feel of the camera just didn't turn me on - no 'gotta have it' factor at all.



I've really taken an interest in the idea of small cameras these last several years after falling in love with the Rollei 35, and I really like the idea of the Pentax Q. My hesitation (aside from price... I don't really have a budget to experiment) is primarily in lens selection-- I'd like to see a little bit more filled-out selection of prime lenses, as well as a few more zoom options, or a macro lens, to really take advantage of the fact that the camera has interchangeable lenses. I suppose it's a bit of a Catch-22, though, at least for people like me: Pentax might want to sell more cameras before they make more lenses, and prospective buyers might wait for the option of more lenses before they buy the camera, perhaps leading to a developmental stalemate.

Of course, there's also the question of how it handles. Even if there were 50 lenses available for the camera, I'd probably be reluctant to use it if it proved to be too fiddly. Next time I'm in a store that has one available I should give it a test drive.

Just to tie this into the recent posts about printing, I bet a Q would be a lot more fun than fiddling with inkjet printers. Might be cheaper than all that wasted paper and ink too.

I'm not concerned with weight and size as much as I am concerned with holdability. I find small cameras difficult to use. I started my professional career in the 1980's with a pair of Nikon F3's, and it's that size camera I feel most comfortable with.

So, even if a smaller format would offer the same, exact image quality (pixels, dr, format), I'd still stick with the standard 35mm-sized camera.

Well, it may be that 35mm size senors will be considered "Large Format" in the future, I have owned the Fuji X10 for about a month now, and for what it is, I think it's a great little camera, it has good a feel to it and the image quality is very good considering the size of the sensor. Its sometimes amazing what these small senor cameras can do.

does anyone have pictures that show the macro focusing at 50mm-e and 100mm-e?

@Will - you can turn the Fuji X10 on without turning the lens for playback: just hold down the play button for 1 second...

I work part -time in a large camera shop down under. We have had the Q in stock now for a couple of months. We have sold one. The boss has put a $50 spiv on the camera. I thought I'd try it out so I could honestly tell my clients the truth. It's not bad at all!! Excellent A4 pix, and OK for A3- a fun, but slightly expensive camera like no other. Very sharp lenses.Talking point camera.

A friend showed me the EXCELLENT images from his 'iPhone' which are as good (on his large Mac monitor) as any digicam. the phone was not cheap,..about the same price as nikon V1.......

......However, this poses the question;... Why buy a very expensive 'posercam' such as the nikon or pentax when, for the same price, you can have similar image quality in a pocket computer/phone which is truly pocketable? If you usually carry a phone (and not many of us don't) you get a quality compact camera free which you don't have to carry...??

The Pentax Q is the Qtest thing in mirrorless land !
And from sample images that i've seen around the web it is damn good for its sensor size.

OK for me the S100 encapsulates the advantages of a digicam. Very compact, decent performance, acceptable price.

Pentax Q - no functional or performance advantage over S100, less compact, much more expensive. Silly toy lenses.

Fuji X10. Retro styled digicam with built in lens and sky high price tag. Good DR for a digicam but can it really outperform an S100 by enough to make the price gap valid?

Nikon 1 - far superior AF and burst performance and video to most MFT, low end SLR and any digicam in a compact package with IQ well above digicams, close to MFT and behind APSC. Lenses more compact than MFT and dont require in-camera correction.

MFT/mirrorless APSC - similar IQ to APSC and more compact but lacking the focus and tracking performance of the V1 or SLR so less versatile. Telephoto lenses are not so compact so loses its advantage there.

I can see the positives and tradeoffs in the latter 2 that would make them useful even as a second camera to me or someone else. I cannot see the advantage of the Q or the X10. They are "boutique" cameras which sell on style or cuteness and charge a considerable premium.

I haven't tried a Q but it's on my list for a zone-focus street camera. Its free-in-your-cereal-packet cuteness should diffuse any hostile situation and daylight shots should have enough depth of field to reduce focus worries. Does anyone use a Q as a daylight street camera?

I'm a Pentax nut, with two K-5s, and I passed on the Q. I went with the Panasonic DMC-LX5 for the one to stick in my pocket for parties and walking about. The big reason: price. The Q was just too much, IMHO, for what you got. It's unfortunate too, I handled the camera and enjoyed it, so if it had been in the price range of the Pany, I'd have likely taken it.

The other problem with the Q, as a side note, is simply finding it. In the Toronto area, you pretty much have to go to the main Henry's or Vistek store to get it, the satellite stores are practically bare of Pentax product. I hope Ricoh corrects this soon...

Who is Pentax kidding? Eight Hundred Dollars!
And what about the plastic viewfinder for the standard lens? Another $250!!

So, lets see, for a mere $1050 you can own this $250 camera.(Heavy sarcasm)

If I had that $1050 burning a hole in my pocket I'd have an Oly E-PL1 w/kit lens, VF2, and Pen F, OM, and Leica M lens adapters and still have money left over for extra batteries and cards. Yeah, I know the E-PL1 is 2 generations old. I never buy the latest in digital.

I didn't even consider the Pentax Q. Too small and the price is a bit on the high side.
I seriously considered the Fuji X10, but the deal breaker for me was the wide end of the zoom. A 24mm-e at the wide end would have made it a no-brainer. So, I'm staying with the LX3 as a pocket camera.

Paid 80 bucks for a lens recently — a fast 35/1.8 wide-angle prime. A real bargain, especially when you consider that it came with a non-interchangeable Yashica camera attached to it! Am very pleased.

I saw a Q in the flesh today and the word that came to mind was "toy" rather than "jewel". Maybe it'll be hit in Japan??

I love my Q. I just don't like my early adopter $ I paid. Its small and very capable. Just wish they had a wider standard prime.

The lack of comments by users of the Pentax Q in the english speaking world -might- have to do with it having a very Japanese Home Islands release program. IIRC Anyways.
I would suspect that whether it heads to a wider release might hinge upon how well received it is there and how much of an outcry for it they perceive in Pentax's markets around the world.

After reading Kirk's experience and comments on the V1 I bought it with all three lenses. It's more than good enough for what I do. And there's that lens road map with a macro and portrait prime in the future.

But I now wish I had thought it through and bought the white 30-110 zoom instead of the black one. Then my kit would look like a tiny Canon with one of those attention grabbing 'L' lenses tacked on the front.

Everybody keeps talking about how much better small sensors are getting, but I'm not seeing it. The Panasonic LX3 is almost 3 1/2 years old, and I've yet to see anything newer that bests it with a similar-sized sensor.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but for a Pentax Q or X10 to be interesting, they have to offer something more (IQ-wise) than a 3.5 year old compact.

You can count me among those who feel that a number of small-sensored cameras have now arrived at the "good enough" level. But I'm not sure the Pentax Q, as it currently exists and is presented, is one of them.

I've picked up the Q and played with it in the store. It's definitely well-made and is certainly more attractive in person than in photos. And there's no question about it being fun.

But two things are deal-killers for me. First, even with recent advances in technology, the 1/2.3 sensor - even with BSI - is still too small for me. It's not that you can't capture any good images with it - you can - but you can do better with any number of micro four-thirds cameras and/or the Fuji X10, which aren't as expensive.

And that brings us to the second deal-killer: price. I can have more-better for less. The Q is simply too expensive. Even the Nikon 1 system is about the same price (assuming you get the body with the built-in EVF and don't go crazy with lenses) but is in a class above the Q.

If the Q was under $500, I'm pretty sure it would be a whole new ballgame. But unless and until the camera is re-priced, I eagerly look foward to a serious mirrorless system from Pentax.

"P.S. I also wonder if the day isn't coming, in the not-so-close but also not-so-distant future, when small sensors will have all the pixels, all the DR, and all the high-ISO performance any but the most diehard amongst us needs"

For me the problem is not image quality but depth of field control, especially with moderate wide angles. A selection of high quality f2 or f1.4 28-35mm EQ lenses would really help.

I've seen quite some love for the Pentax Q from Sandy Ramirez.

However I feel his 5-part review won't be enough to assuage in others the normal prejudices towards the Q's sensor size.

A recommended read, nevertheless.

  1. The Pentax Q Stress Test: Day 1

  2. The Pentax Q Stress Test: Day 2

  3. The Pentax Q Stress Test: Day 3

  4. Pentax Q Stress Test: Days 4 and 5

  5. Pentax Q Stress Test: Days 6-9 and Final Thoughts

I think like a lot of people here it's the price of these micro systems is off putting.

We have been told the following
DSLR's are expensive because:
The sensors are larger and sensor real estate is expensive
The mirror flip mechanism is expensive
The pentaprism/mirror is expensive.
But looking at the Nikon V1 - I have a Nikon D40 and up looking at an upgrade:
V1 and kit lens approx street price is GBP 730
D5100 and kit lens street price is GBP 659

If all we are told is true - why the premium?


I agree that it is the price that kills it. It would be better to carry around unlike my Nex5 (with its big lens). But it is same price range.

But the photos especially the time lapse mode is quite good, surprisingly. The guys present it quite well as well.

Pentax Forums has even reviewed the Fuji, headlining it as "the camera Pentax should have made" (Instead of the Q)


"People seem to be loving the X10 so far"

Try typing 'Fuji X10 white orbs" into Google.

"After reading Kirk's experience and comments on the V1 I bought it with all three lenses. It's more than good enough for what I do. And there's that lens road map with a macro and portrait prime in the future.

But I now wish I had thought it through and bought the white 30-110 zoom instead of the black one. Then my kit would look like a tiny Canon with one of those attention grabbing 'L' lenses tacked on the front."

Bob, I did just that - a three lens kit with the 30-10 in white just to annoy my Canonista friends. ;)

"Try typing 'Fuji X10 white orbs" into Google."

Boy, did I screw that up. I accidently typed 'google' into my X10 and put my orb up to the viewfinder and now I can't stop! And worst of all I am actually enjoying it. What should I do?


My dear departed friend Bill Brown called me into the depths of his photo guild one day in the late 70’s and ask me about a few prints that were drying on a string line in the back room. He ask me how I had taken them, what I had used. I was a poverty stricken college student and I was using my fathers 1940’ish Argus 35 mm to take pictures of my wife. Bill called all the students there to look at the pictures and told them that it is not the camera, it is the artist.
A few zillion pictures later I am a poverty stricken old man with a Minolta 5d and a long list of pawn shop lenses.
So while I am preparing the office (her bedroom) for my daughters Christmas visit, I browsed through a bunch of old prints from back in the film days.

This is a old argus scanned print. [There was no link provided, and the commenter's email address did not work —Ed.] Now I have such majic things as the minolta beercan and so on and so forth.

I think what I am trying to say is that the art of photography does not depend on the size of the camera. Or the mega Pexils. We all know this and I am walking out the door with my Retina ll from the 40’s, a fine mechanical camera with no batteries.
I almost purchased a brownie 4X5 for her today, but it was a little over my budget.
I think you can do what you will with a camera, any camera, and go merrily down the trail.

I have been following news of the Pentax Q since I first learned of it, and am still very much interested.

Here is why: In my (decent sized) collection of old paraphernalia, I have a fair assortment of D-mount lenses. Those have an FFD of 12.29 mm. The Q has an FFD of 9.2 mm, and there are already D>Q adapters on the market. With the announcement of the Q, a slew of lenses I'd only been able to appreciate on a mechanical/optical level suddenly became viable kit.

What's kept me from purchasing one? Price. The majority of my analog gear was old enough to be acquired inexpensively, and my DSLR (a Nikon D70s) was a well-appreciated hand-me-down.

So... if anyone who has been dissatisfied with their own Pentax Q would like to make a science fiction writer very, very happy this Christmas, you know what to do!

Mike, I have been posting quite a bit about the Q. You can see my trial with it for a month here:


with several pictures.

I need to write a review though, but the Q seems to have a split personality problem- to me it appeals more to the photographer that knows what he is doing rather than the consumer who wants to upgrade their P&S. I see the two markets though. The current pricing hurts.

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