Pentax Q7 review
- Small proportions
- Large sensor
- Respectable image quality
- Looks like a toy
- Tiny controls
- Fixed LCD screen
Aside from the fact that they (typically) incorporate a larger sensor than those found in a humble pocket snapshot, plus there's the DSLR-like advantage of swapping the lens if wished, most compact system cameras need a greater USP.
In the case of the Pentax Q7, which follows the Pentax Q10 and the original enigmatic Pentax Q of 2011, it's that this is the smallest mirror-less camera on an increasingly crowded block.
The size of a pack of playing cards, and resembling a retro-feel SLR that's been shrunk, its official dimensions of 58 x 102 x 33.5mm and weight of 200g with lithium ion rechargeable battery and SD card mean it's very portable and so you're more likely to carry it with you than any DSLR or CSC rival.
However, when coupled with the wackier body colour options - such as the canary yellow of our review sample - the smaller than usual proportions can mean it resembles a toy.
On a more serious note, the surface area of the sensor at 1/1.7-inches is larger than the bog standard 1/2.3-inches of the initial Q - the bigger the sensor, the better its light gathering properties.
Coupled with this, as the actual resolution has sensibly remained at 12 megapixels - in other words the chip isn't overly crowded - in theory we should be getting a better low light performance with less grain/dots at higher ISO settings.
However, this spec still doesn't come close to matching the APS-C sized sensors that slightly more expensive rivals from Samsung in its NX series, Canon in its standalone EOS M and Fuji and Sony with their X and NEX models respectively offer. On the other hand, all are physically bigger overall than the cute Q.
There's also the price tag here to consider, and at a manufacturer's suggested £399.99 with 3x standard zoom (5-15mm), the Q7 isn't breaking the bank.
We'd predict street prices will witness this camera offered for a bit less, however, given the strength and number of rival brands, and especially as it misses out on latest connectivity must-haves such as built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (though there is Eye-Fi card compatibility).
On the plus side, with the aid of a separate adapter, Pentax K mount lenses, as attached to its DSLR range, can also be used on the teeny Q.
Small may be beautiful, but of course diminutive dimensions should prove practical too. So does the Q7, like small-ish rivals in the Canon EOS M and Nikon 1 J3, manage that delicate balancing act?