Pentax Q10: Ultra-compact camera system gets upgraded sensor, look, price and lens options


posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 6:00 PM EDT


Last year when Pentax released its super-compact interchangeable lens camera, the Q, our tests showed it sacrificed image quality for the sake of size. While the new Pentax Q10 still employs a 12.4-megapixel, backlit, 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor to stay small, Pentax says they upgraded the sensor with increased sensitivity to produce low noise at ISOs up to 6,400. Add to that an improved imaging engine under the hood and an advanced autofocus algorithm for faster AF operation, and Pentax hopes the Q10 will close the photo quality gap with its compact system competitors and widen its lead over many enthusiast digicams.

At the same time, Pentax has announced a Q-mount Pentax 06 15-45mm zoom lens and a K-mount lens adapter -- which provides access to more than 25 million lenses, according to Pentax -- to greatly expand available optics options, another previous limitation of the Q system.

Perhaps the biggest news of all is that the Pentax Q10 comes in at a lower cost (compared to the US$750 for the Pentax Q when it shipped last year). Suggested retail price -- in either silver or glossy red -- is US$600 kitted with a Pentax 02 Standard Zoom (5-15mm f/2.8-4.5). The Q10 will be available in retail and online stores in October 2012.


Another new wrinkle to the Pentax Q10 is a redesigned grip designed so the tiny camera won't slip in giant (human) hands. It also adds a distinctive look against the silver or red body.

The concurrently announced Q-Mount Pentax 06 Telephoto Zoom Lens boasts a 15-45mm range equivalent to 83-249mm -- all at f/2.8. It's also available in October 2012 at a cost of US$300.

Meanwhile, the Pentax Adapter Q allows photographers to attach any K-mount lens to a Q-system camera, with the focal length extended approximately 5.5 times. That means a 200mm lens could reach up to 1,100mm super-telephoto lengths, bringing the mountains and even stars within proverbial arms length. To prevent rolling shutter distortion, the adapter uses its own mechanical shutter to limit camera shake. An optional tripod bracket is also available to help manage longer lenses. The Adapter Q will be available in October 2012 for US$250.


The new Pentax 06 Telephoto Zoom Lens and Adapter Q for K-mount lenses provide much-needed optics options for Pentax's Q-system cameras.

Read more about the Pentax Q10 in our preview.

Pentax Q10
Camera Type Compact System Camera
Manufacturer North America: Q10
Dimensions 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.3 in.
(102 x 58 x 33 mm)
Weight 7.1 oz (200 g)
Planned Price $600
Planned Availability October 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type CMOS
1/2.3" (approx. 0.30 in. diagonal)
12.76 megapixels (total)
12.40 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 5.50
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image Dimensions 4000 x 3000 (12.0 megapixels)
4000 x 2664 (10.7 megapixels)
4000 x 2248 (9.0 megapixels)
2992 x 2992 (9.0 megapixels)
3456 x 2592 (9.0 megapixels)
3456 x 2304 (8.0 megapixels)
3456 x 1944 (6.7 megapixels)
2592 x 2592 (6.7 megapixels)
2688 x 2016 (5.4 megapixels)
2688 x 1792 (4.8 megapixels)
2688 x 1512 (4.1 megapixels)
2016 x 2016 (4.1 megapixels)
1920 x 1440 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1280 (2.5 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1440 x 1440 (2.1 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 5.0 frames per second for 5 frames
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal, 460,000 dots
Playback Zoom 16.0
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 5.0 - 15.0mm (actual)
28 - 83mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.8 (W) / f/4.5 (T) - f/8
Focusing System Contrast Detection: AF Single (w focus lock, focus/release priority selectable), AF Continuous, AF Face Detection, Manual; Auto 25 Point, User-Selectable, Center
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 12" - 4,081" (30 cm - 9,999 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto (100-6400), 100-6400, 1/3 steps
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/8000 second
Exposure Modes Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent (D, N, W, L), Tungsten, Flash, CTE
Internal Flash Guide Number: 5
Modes: Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Auto + Redeye, On + Redeye, Soft
Range: Lens dependent. GN of ~7m at ISO 200.
Flash Exposure Compensation -2 to +1 EV
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR, Night Snap, Forest, Surf & Snow, HDR, Backlight Silhouette, Kids, Pet, Quick Macro, Food, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum; Digital filters (capture) - Image Tone:(Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome, Cross Processing)
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Time Lapse Yes
Movie Format MOV (AVC H.264) with monaural sound with audio
Movie Resolution / Frame Rate 1920x1080 @ 30p, 1280x720 @ 30p, 640x480 @ 30p
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format 12-bit DNG RAW , JPEG (Exif 2.3)
Other Micro (Type D) HDMI
Battery Type Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary D-LI68
Product Bundle
Software Software CD-ROM S-SW131 (includes SilkyPix)
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary D-LI68 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant No
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes, Metal
Remote Control Yes, Optional IR
Waterproof No
Notes Newly adopted CMOS image sensor and upgraded AF performance. Available in red or silver.
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