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The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Pentax Q: World's smallest interchangeable-lens digital camera announced, previewed
(Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 00:01 EDT)

Pentax Imaging Co. has today announced the Pentax Q, an interesting interchangeable-lens model that marks the debut of a new lens mount, and an entirely new approach to the compact system camera -- and we've just posted our hands-on preview.

The heart of the Pentax Q digital camera is a backside-illuminated 1/2.3"-type CMOS image sensor that's much smaller than the Micro Four Thirds and APS-C sized sensors in competing models from the likes of Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony, but which has also allowed Pentax to make the camera body and lenses significantly smaller than those from its competition.

The Pentax Q's new lens mount is dubbed the Pentax Q mount, with the initial standing for "Queen", alongside the company's existing K- or "King" mount as featured in its APS-C DSLRs. The Pentax Q-mount has a diameter that's around one third smaller than that of the K-mount, and without the need for a bulky mirror box and related accessories, reduces the flange-back distance by nearly 80%. Five Pentax Q-mount lenses will be available at launch: a 47mm-equivalent f/1.9 standard prime kit lens, 27.5-83mm equivalent f/2.8-4.5 zoom, a fish-eye, and two "toy" prime lenses that are so-called because they introduce aberrations into images for a Lomo feel.

Other features of the Pentax Q include in-body image stabilization, piezoelectric dust reduction, five frames-per-second burst shooting, a 3.0-inch LCD panel, and both a built-in popup flash and hot shoe for external strobes. Power comes from a proprietary lithium ion battery pack, and images are written to SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards in either DNG raw or JPEG file formats. In addition, the Pentax Q can record high-def 1080p movies at 30 frames per second, with H.264 AVC compression.

The Pentax Q is expected to begin shipping in Japan by this August. Availability of camera and lenses in the US market will follow in early Fall 2011, and US-market pricing is expected to be in the region of US$800 inclusive of the 47mm-equivalent f/1.9 kit lens. The PENTAX 02 Standard Zoom will cost around US$300, while the PENTAX 03 Fish-Eye is expected to ship for around $130. The lo-fi PENTAX 04 Toy Lens Wide and PENTAX 05 Toy Lens Telephoto lenses should cost around $80 apiece. Other accessories will include a shoe-mount optical viewfinder for around $250, as well as a 40.5mm polarizing filter and two lens hoods for the Pentax 01 and 02 lenses with price not yet disclosed.

Much more detail can be found in our hands-on Pentax Q preview.

Pentax Q
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera TypeCompact System Camera
Model NumberNorth America: Q
Dimensions3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in.
(98 x 58 x 31 mm)
Weight8.3 oz (235 g)
Planned Price$799
Planned AvailabilitySeptember 2011
Image Capture
Sensor TypeCMOS
1/2.3" (approx. 0.30 in. diagonal)
12.75 megapixels (total)
12.40 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Aspect Ratio16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions4000 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 SpeedContinuous: 5.0 frames per second for 5 frames
Image Quality3 levels
Image Preview / Review
LCD3.0 in. diagonal
460,000 dots (approx. 153,000 pixels)
Playback Zoom16.0x max
Lens Type01 Standard Prime smc Pentax 8.5mm f/1.9 AL [IF]
Fixed focal-length
41mm lens thread
Lens MountPentax Q-mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length8.5mm (actual)
4 mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Rangef/1.9 - f/8.0
Focusing SystemContrast 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 RangeNormal: 7" - 4,081" (18 cm - 9,999 cm)
ISO SensitivityAuto (125-6400), 125-6400, 1/3 steps
Shutter Speed30 - 1/2000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering ModesMulti-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent (D, N, W, L), Tungsten, Flash, CTE
Internal FlashGuide 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+/- -2.0EV
Scene ModesPortrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG only), Night Snap, Food, Quick Macro (JPG only), Pet, Kids, Forest, Surf & Snow, HDR (JPG only), Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
Time LapseYes
Movie FormatMP4 (AVC H.264) with stereo sound with audio
Recording MediumSD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format12-bit DNG RAW , JPEG (Exif 2.3)
VideoHigh definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherHDMI out (Type D, Micro)
Battery TypeLithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary D-LI68
Product Bundle
SoftwareSoftware CD ROM (includes SilkyPix)
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary D-LI68 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantNo
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes, Metal
Remote ControlYes, Optional IR
NotesWorld's smallest, lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera. sensor-shift IS, dust reduction, full HD movies, HDR mode. Available in black or white.
More Photos
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!
The Pentax Q compact system camera. Photo provided by Pentax Imaging Co. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:

Pentax Unveils The Pentax Q: The World's Smallest, Lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera

GOLDEN, CO. (June 23, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the PENTAX Q -- the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera (ILC).* The Q offers the versatility and precision of an advanced DSLR in a body that is significantly smaller than every other digital ILC body available on the market today.
* The world's smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera, as of June 15, 2011 (based on PENTAX research).

The camera’s tiny size, lightweight design, and superior image quality are made possible by an innovative PENTAX developed imaging system. With a high-resolution 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor, the Q carves out an entirely new camera category that extends beyond traditional digital compact, APS-C or 4/3 digital cameras. The backlit sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument that produces very little noise at high sensitivity levels particularly in low light settings. Further, the new Q lens mount is a perfect match with the new sensor and every interchangeable Q lens is designed for more advanced image quality than may be found on traditional compact digital cameras. This innovative PENTAX design is the foundation of the Q’s position as the world’s smallest, lightest ILC system with superior image quality.

Several important features of the PENTAX Q include:

  • A newly designed PENTAX Q-mount lens system for convenient interchangeability with a variety of specialty Q lenses including prime, zoom, fisheye and more.

  • Exceptional image quality in 12.4 megapixels from the Q’s 1/2.3 inch backlit CMOS image sensor. Capable of producing 12 bit DNG RAW and JPG images, the backlit CMOS sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument designed specifically to produce very low noise at high levels of sensitivity.

  • Extremely compact, durable, lightweight, scratch resistant magnesium alloy body.

  • The power and flexibility of traditional DSLR shooting modes such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, and Metered Manual exposure control as well as highly convenient PENTAX Auto Picture and 21 scene modes for casual shooting, including new Forest and Stage Lighting options

  • A variety of creative modes, Smart Effect options, or camera settings that assign to the Q’s Quick Dial located on the front of the camera. Smart Effects modes enhance digital photography by applying a series of effects to images to achieve high quality finishing. Brilliant Color, Vintage Color, Warm Fade, Bold Monochrome, and Water Color are just some of the Smart Effects available and may be assigned on the Q’s Quick Dial.

  • In-camera HDR capture mode shoots 3 images of varying exposures, blending them to bring out the details in even the darkest shadows and brightest highlights of extreme contrast shots.

  • High quality motion video with stunning full 1080p HD clarity at 30 frames per second. The Q processes the full HD video using high quality h.264 compression for superior color and detail and offers creative video effects through custom image modes, digital video filters, and interval shooting.

  • A sensor-shift Shake Reduction system with integrated DRII Dust Reduction for blur and dust free images even in low lighting.

  • 5 frames per second continuous shooting mode for any fast action setting.

  • Effortless bokeh control with the Q’s Bokeh Control filter. (Traditionally controlled through a DSLR lens’s aperture, bokeh is the out of focus part of the background that helps to emphasize the subject, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the most important part of the photo.) The Q offers a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter operation.

  • Powerful USER modes allow the creative photographer to save a series of favorite camera settings, filters, and custom image modes for instant reuse.

  • Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 30 seconds for freezing fast action or capturing long nighttime exposures. Bulb mode adds flexibility for low light photography and motion effects.

  • A built-in popup flash adds the perfect amount of extra light to an image with a high extension to naturally reduce the redeye effect common to compact cameras. The Q’s flash is effective to 23 feet at 200 ISO, and covers a wide angle 28 degree field of view.

  • Compatibility with the latest generation SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards for ultra-high capacity storage as well as outstanding image file portability.

Along with the Q, PENTAX introduced the PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens and an optional optical viewfinder. The unifocal standard lens has a focal length equivalent to 47mm in the 35mm format. The lens offers a natural perspective similar to that of the human eye and is ideal as a multipurpose, everyday standard lens for various subjects including landscape and portraiture. With a maximum aperture of F1.9, it performs superbly in dim lighting and may be easily adjusted for bokeh. Incorporating two high grade aspherical optical elements, this lens compensates various aberrations to a minimum.

Featuring the state-of-the-art optics incorporating special optical glass elements and PENTAX exclusive lens coating technology, this lens delivers beautifully defined, high quality images that are sharp and high contrast even at the edges. The AF motor installed in the lens assures smooth, quiet focusing operation. The lens shutter mechanism allows the PENTAX Q’s built-in auto flash to be synchronized to the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/2000 second (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). This lens is also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter, which comes in handy when shooting with open aperture at bright locations or when using slower shutter speeds.

The shoe-mounted viewfinder attachment is an optional accessory. This External Viewfinder O-VF1 offers outstanding compositional framing, even in the brightest sunlight where viewing an LCD screen is traditionally a challenge. (Note: The Viewfinder offers framing marks for the Standard lens.)

Available in white or black body models, the PENTAX Q and Standard Prime lens (available in silver) kit will be around $800 USD. Initially, the PENTAX Q system will ship in Japan. Anticipated shipping time to the United States is early Fall 2011.

The optional shoe-mounted viewfinder will be available at the same time for $249.95 USD. Each may be pre-ordered now on www.pentaxwebstore.com The PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens will not be sold separately. More information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc.

# # #

[email protected]

Pentax Q Fact Sheet

The world’s smallest, lightest ILC camera body, featuring newly developed Q-mount system
The PENTAX Q features a new Q-lens mount with an outer diameter that is almost one-third narrower than the conventional K mount. The design is made possible by reducing the flange back (distance from the lens mount surface to the image sensor surface) by nearly 80 percent, as well as by optimizing the size of the lens image circle to be proportioned to the size of the compact image sensor. The Q-mount system eliminates an optical viewfinder, mirror box, focusing plate and AF sensor, making the PENTAX Q’s body the smallest and lightest ILC. Available in black or white, the durable, magnesium-alloy body features an elegant, high-quality leatherette texture.

Exceptional image quality delivered by digital interchangeable lens system camera
The PENTAX Q features a backlit, 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor for beautiful, high-resolution images, with highly efficient light gathering optical construction that assures excellent high sensitivity and low noise characteristics and a high speed readout of image data signals. The PENTAX Q also features a new generation imaging engine integrating the best of PENTAX’s state-of-the-art digital imaging technologies, developed and accumulated over many years of digital SLR camera development. By coupling this imaging engine with exclusively designed, high performance Q-mount lenses, the PENTAX Q delivers clear, high contrast images rich in gradation and texture, even at edges. With high sensitivity noise minimized, the photographer can use the entire sensitivity range — from ISO 125 to the highest ISO 6400 — without worrying about annoying digital noise. Also, by taking advantage of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) function that produces one composite photo from multiple images, it’s easy to create beautiful images with an extra wide dynamic range and free of white-washed and blacked-out areas.

Innovative creative tool to add personal touches to the images with great ease
The PENTAX Q offers a totally new style of photo shooting with several new functions and shooting features including:

  • A Smart Effect function with nine distinctive visual expressions easily accessed on the Quick-Dial positioned on the camera’s front panel. This feature allows photographers to add a desired finishing touch with ease to an image while previewing the effect on the LCD monitor.

  • Quick-Dial with four positions allows shooters to assign four favorite Smart Effect modes assigned in advance. The popular Custom Image and Digital Filter functions have been enhanced to provide an even greater range of image processing tools. In order to customize the PENTAX Q to accommodate specific shooting styles and user preferences, the user may assign other options such as a custom image setting, a digital filter or an aspect ratio setting to the Quick-Dial.

Smart Effect modes

  • Brilliant Color: Creates a lively atmosphere by raising the saturation level almost to the point of color saturation.

  • Unicolor Bold: Creates an extremely high contrast image that retains one particular color in the image.

  • Vintage Color: Produces a toy-camera-like effect, with a choice of several different finishing touches.

  • Cross Processing: Produces a unique image with unusual colors, as if treated with the cross processing* used in film photography.

  • Warm Fade: Creates a low contrast image with the white balance slightly shifted to pink shades.

  • Tone Expansion: Produces a dramatic image with an artistic finishing touch, close to an intensified HDR (High Dynamic Range) effect.

  • Bold Monochrome: Produces a low-key, high contrast image with enhanced sharpness.

  • Water Color: Creates a watercolor-like finishing touch.

  • Vibrant Color Enhance: Creates a flowery atmosphere with slightly enhanced contrast.

  • USER: Used to enter a user-selected combination of custom image mode and a digital filter.

* A film development technique that uses an unconventional film developer to create a distinctive finishing touch with dramatic colors.

High quality, Full HD movie recording
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with a Full HD movie recording function employing h.264 compression, allowing users to capture high quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. Videographers may produce videos with distinctive perspectives and effects using various Q-mount lenses, the Smart Effect modes* and other in-body movie editing tools. The PENTAX Q also provides a micro-HDMI terminal (type D), which allows the user to simultaneously output both Full HD movie clips and sound to external devices via a single terminal.
* The frame rate may vary when a selected Smart Effect mode requires nonstandard image processing.

SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images
The PENTAX Q incorporates the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which automatically shifts the CMOS image sensor to offset camera shake detected by the camera’s motion sensor. As a result, the PENTAX Q produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions that are prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark without flash illumination, or capturing landscapes in the twilight.

Dependable DRII mechanism for effective dust removal
The PENTAX Q’s DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism helps reduce annoying dust spots from spoiling captured images. As with the PENTAX’s K-5 and 645D digital SLR cameras, the system incorporates highly effective supersonic vibration mechanism to vibrate the image sensor at high speeds to shake the dust off the surface.

Large, wide view LCD monitor
The PENTAX Q features a large, easy-to-view, high resolution 3.0 inch color LCD monitor with approximately 460,000 dots. A wide view design assures a clear view of the monitor from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, making it particularly useful in low and high angle shooting.

High speed continuous shooting at approximately five images per second
The PENTAX Q’s high speed burst shooting mode allows the photographer to record up to five images (in JPEG recording format) in a single sequence at a maximum speed of approximately five images per second capturing the fast action and fast-moving subjects in a series of images.

Effortless Bokeh control
The PENTAX Q comes equipped with newly developed bokeh control function. Effortless bokeh control with the Q’s bokeh control filter. (Traditionally controlled through a DSLR lens’s aperture, bokeh is the out of focus part of the background that helps to emphasize the subject, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the most important part of the photo.) The Q offers a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter that allows even a first-time digital photographer to easily capture the perfect depth of field.

Traditional SLR Shooting Modes
The PENTAX Q offers a host of user-friendly, functional features available only with digital interchangeable-lens cameras. To accommodate user preferences and varying photographic applications, the camera offers a four exposure modes:

  • User-friendly Programmed AE (P) mode to automatically select an optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed.

  • Aperture-Priority AE (AV) and Shutter-Priority AE (TV) modes that allow the photographer to faithfully reproduce specific creative intentions on resulting images

  • Metered Manual (M) mode allows the photographer to instantly switch from the P mode to the AV or TV mode with a simple turn of an electronic dial

Shutter Speed
The PENTAX Q offers a top shutter speed of 1/2000 second to effectively freeze fast subject action. The Q is also capable of extended exposure photography up to 30 seconds in auto, as well as a Bulb mode, to maximize artistic expression through the use of motion effects.

Built-in auto flash with pop-up mechanism
The PENTAX Q comes with a built-in auto flash (guide number 7 at ISO 200/m). The photographer can either use it at the default position, or raise it to the pop-up position with simple operation to widen its discharge angle to cover a 28mm angle of view (in the 35mm format).

Additional features:

  • TTL image-sensor metering, with a choice of multi-segment, center-weighted and spot modes

  • Contrast-detection autofocus system, with a face recognition function and 25 selectable focus points

  • CTE white-balance control mode to emphasize the predominant color of a particular scene, such as the sunset

  • Auto Picture mode for effortless shooting

  • A choice of image size (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 or 1:1) to accommodate different subjects and applications

  • Multi-exposure mode (up to nine exposures on a single image), with an auto exposure compensation function

  • Interval shooting mode, convenient for recording transition of landscapes and flowers/plants from exact same location and angle

  • HDR mode to produce photo with an extra wide dynamic range composite photo from three images of varying exposures

  • A choice of data storage medium: SD, SDHC and the new-standard SDXC* memory cards

  • SILKY Developer Studio 3 for PENTAX RAW-data development software (developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included; in-camera RAW-data development also available

  • *Not compatible with UHS Speed Class transfer rate.

Optional accessories:

External Viewfinder O-VF1
Launched on the market together with the PENTAX Q, this optical viewfinder is designed for exclusive use with the new “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME” unifocal standard lens. It offers a clear view of the subject even under harsh sunshine. It also assures image viewing of the subject with no time lag — an important feature in snapshot and portrait photography where the timing of shutter release is crucial.

PENTAX is a trademark of HOYA CORPORATION.
HDMI, the HDMI Logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.
All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
Designs and specifications are subjects to change without notice.

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