Pentax Q7 review

Pentax is making the cutest compact system cameras out there; but if you’re not swayed by eccentric colours the small body and controls are hard to love

Whilst the Q7 may not sport a large APS-C sensor, and in present company a 12 megapixel 1/1.7-inch chip reads as a little underpowered, this would-be pocket rocket nevertheless holds appeal as currently the smallest mirrorless interchangeable lens camera on the market. A battery life of up to 260 shots whilst not class leading isn’t bad, and neither is the asking price of an official £399.99 with standard 3x equivalent optical zoom – making it the relative bargain of our test line up here. There’s a sneaking suspicion however that whilst the near matchbox-sized body and lens, teeny backplate buttons and cutes-y body colour options – we had canary yellow – might well be like catnip to Japanese teenagers, many of us fat-fingered westerners will simply find the Q7 a bit too diminutive to be totally comfortable with. It’s definitely a camera you need to have a play with yourself in a store before ordering one. Read more Camera reviews

That said it is fun, and we felt more compelled to take it out and about with us due to the fact that with lens unscrewed from body the Q7 will slot comfortably into an average jacket pocket. For the others here you’ll need a poacher’s coat to feel comfortable carting them around on anything but a shoulder strap. So whilst the Q7 wins out on portability, and in that respect comes across in our mind’s eye as how CSC’s were always meant to be, how does it actually handle?

Impressively the outwardly toy-like Pentax has found room to squeeze in a proper spring-loaded pop-up flash, a vacant hotshoe for accessories, and a command dial in tandem with a separate eight option shooting mode wheel, the latter of which is reassuringly stiff to the touch. The camera is also quick to power up in just over a second, and though auto focus could be swifter still perhaps, the Q7 is no slouch. Equipped with merely the standard zoom kit and its respectable f/2.8 maximum aperture we were able to get some attractive shallow depth of field shots for that DSLR-like effect, though interiors did appear a little noisy to us – a by-product of the smaller sensor (and indeed lens) here. The colours the Pentax delivered were also a little overly warm compared with the competition, but in that respect they did deliver plenty of contrast and punch to unprocessed shots taken straight from the camera.

OUR VERDICT

We can’t however shake the feeling that Pentax’s Q series, for all its cuteness and eccentricity, is a bit of a curio designed to stand out from the crowd rather than a wholly serious attempt to gain market share.

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