Pentax Q Compact Interchangeable-Lens Camera Announced with System Lenses

Sections: Digital SLR

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Product Reviews

Interchangeable-Lens Cameras

Golden, CO—Pentax Imaging announced the Pentax Q, touted as “the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable- lens camera (as of June 15, 2011, based on Pentax research), and four Q-system lenses, including a prime, zoom and fisheye.

The Q offers the versatility of a digital SLR in a body that Pentax says is significantly smaller than every other digital interchangeable-lens camera body on the market today. The camera’s compact size, lightweight design and DSLR image quality are made possible by a Pentax-developed imaging system. With a high-resolution 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch backlit CMOS image sensor, the Q is engineered to carve out a new camera category that extends beyond traditional digital compact, APS-C or Four Thirds system digital cameras.

Its backlit sensor is designed as a highly efficient light-gathering instrument that produces very little noise at high sensitivity levels, particularly in low-light settings. And the newly developed Q lens mount is a perfect match with the new sensor.

   The Pentax Q’s scratch-resistant magnesium alloy body houses a variety of creative modes, smart effect options, and camera settings that assign to the Q’s quick dial located on the front of the camera. Its in-camera HDR (high dynamic range) capture mode shoots three images of varying exposures, blending them to bring out the details in the darkest shadows and brightest highlights of extreme contrast shots. Additionally, the camera shoots Full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second as well as provides a 5-fps continuous shooting mode for capturing still photos of fast-moving subjects.

   Other features include a sensor-shift shake-reduction system with integrated DRII dust reduction for blur- and dust-free images even in low lighting, bokeh control with the Q’s bokeh control filter to achieve a pleasing blur effect beyond the main subject, and a built-in pop-up flash adds that helps reduce the red-eye effect common to compact cameras.

Along with the Q, the Pentax 01 standard prime kit lens and an optional optical viewfinder were also announced. Anticipated shipping time is early fall 2011 at around $800 for the standard lens kit. An optional shoe-mounted viewfinder will be available at the same time for $249.95. The Pentax 01 standard prime kit lens will not be sold separately.

Four Q-System Lenses Unveiled

In addition to the standard lens announced with the Pentax Q, the company announced accessory Q-mount lenses designed for exclusive use with the Pentax Q. Each lens is highly compact and lightweight with an optimized image circle to match the size of the Q’s CMOS sensor.

Pentax 02 Standard Zoom. With a focal length equivalent to 27.5-83mm in the 35mm format, this standard zoom lens provides a wide-angle to medium telephoto range. With four extra-low dispersion and low-refractive aspherical optical elements and exclusive Pentax lens coatings, the lens reduces chromatic aberration to a minimum over the entire zoom range. It features a minimum focusing distance of 11.8 inches at all focal lengths for close-up photography, and the lens shutter mechanism allows the Q’s built-in auto flash to be synchronized to the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/2,000 sec (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). This lens is also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter for open aperture shooting at bright locations or when using slower shutter speeds. $299.95.

Three additional lenses were announced, each with manual focus operation, fixed aperture and lightweight lens mount minus a lens shutter unit to reduce size and weight.

Pentax 03 Fisheye. This ultra-wide-angle lens has an extra wide 160 degree angle of view to allow photographers to create a fisheye visual effect with an exaggerated, distorted perspective and a pan-focus effect that captures every element in the image field in sharp focus. $129.95.

Pentax 04 Toy Lens Wide and Pentax 05 Toy Lens Telephoto. With optics designed specifically to retain various lens aberrations, they produce subdued, nostalgic images like photos taken with a traditional toy camera. The 04 wide lens has a unifocal wide-angle field of view with a focal length equivalent to 35mm; the 05 telephoto is a unifocal medium telephoto lens with a focal length equivalent to 100mm. They each retail for $79.95.

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