Define Pentax junkie. Is it someone who bought a Pentax camera because it was on sale? No. Is it someone who did research and then bought one? Maybe. Is it someone that started their love for photography in 1979 with the Pentax K1000 and continued with it till the advent of digital cameras, then, purchasing the *ist DL as well as constantly upgrading to the newest from Pentax? Oh Yea! Well that person is this writer. As a side bar, I still have both of those cameras in my possession.
I recently got a hold of the Pentax Q7 with its included the 02 Standard Zoom Lens and the 06 Telephoto Zoom Lens.
The Q7 the third-generation member of Pentax Q family of ultra-compact interchangeable lens cameras, in fact, it is smallest, lightest interchangeable lens system in the world that is also featuring an upgraded 1/1.7 inch, back-illuminated CMOS image sensor. In fact, it's probably as small as any interchangeable camera will ever be. It is small enough to literally fit in the palm of most adult hands.
Do not let its size fool you though. Pentax has managed to pack a full set of features in to it. It certainly packs a punch. Notwithstanding the interchangeable lens system (Q mount), it stands to be loaded with even more features than most if not all cameras in its class.
Testing incorporated a wide array of photographic tasks and genres including;
· Foliage with and without digital filters
· General tasks
This also includes a quick comparison to the Nikon D600. Due to the writer inadvertently being exposed to its inadequacies.
First, let’s talk setup. Unbox it, charge the battery (although it came to me fully charged), put the lens on and hit the power button. Without having to charge the battery, that all took less than one minute. Having full familiarity with Pentax’s digital cameras, the manual for me as simply a reference point, but none the less is written with the language for a novice, yet the advancement needed by a photo buff or pro.
There is one caveat, with a great work around though. The Q7 does not have geo-tagging ability which is in some other models by Pentax. Again, I am calling this a caveat, not a con. If you go to www.eye.fi you will see the SD card that will allow for geotagging as well as seamless automatic uploading to a variety of sites and services. They have not listed the Q7 as being compatible, however, I assure you it does and they have been contacted. This is the only reason it is not graded as a full 5 star item.
Now that we have solved that issue, we will start with the photo testing. The first task was to use it to photograph children (either alone or in groups). This was perfect, as this past weekend, my daughter was cheering at a local pop warner game. It also happened to be photo day for the teams and cheerleaders. Well, the “professional” photographers had the overpriced Nikon D600. We got into a conversation where I introduced myself as a nobody and that I just bought the Q7. A few digs later, and the pro had a heaping slice of humble pie. She was snapping away, and then found that her > S3,000 priced camera with its $1,500 lens was being affected by the flares from the solar glare. She asked if I would use a piece of cardboard to shield the lens. I did (laughing inside). She was done. I then took my pictures of selected cheerleaders (the examples only include my daughter) and the team. Each time, she came up to me and tried to cover my lens from the sun. I told her I was all set. I took several pics with no issue. I showed her how the digital filters could easily clean up any glare issues and make each picture as clear as being there. Clarity was perfect even without using digital filters. The filters just made it all that more useful (and fun). Filters included; (fully explained in the manual)
· Toy Camera (almost nostalgic)
· High Contrast
· Tone Expansion
· Color Inversion (negative effect)
· Color Extraction
· Unicolor Bold
· Water Color (like a painting)
· Slim and Fisheye
The Q7 also has a dial called the “Customized Quick Dial” that allows you to save your four favorite filters for easy access. For me, it is; Brilliant Color, Unicolor Bold, Vintage Color and Bold Monochrome. It also has the mode dial which will allow you to effortlessly switch capture modes.
Not bad for a camera that retails under $500 with standard lens included (under $800 as tested with the telephoto lens). Needless to say, Pentax did win that one, even if the football team lost.
Being in New England, scenery is constant, but foliage is only in the early to mid fall. The colors can range from reds, to pinks, to yellows and even a few purples. They can be vivid. I used two main filters for the foliage pictures. In a word, Beautiful. I have never seen colors pop as they did with this camera.
With Nature, you are lucky if you can get close enough to get a shot of that bird or butterfly. You are also lucky if you can stand far away from that bear, fox or bobcat. Well with the optional 06 lens, luck is not an issue. You can stay far away from those geese so you don’t disturb or frighten them, as well as staying far from that bear so it doesn’t frighten you. It has a 35mm equivalent of 83mm-249mm. The included 02 lens has a 27.5-83.0mm in 35mm.
Scenery is a whole different photo opportunity. It rarely moves, so your choice here is whether to bring it closer or leave the distance. You will also love to play with the filters.
It has a high speed setting which allows you to take several action shots in a row. As long as you hold down the shutter button, it can shoot close to 5 frames a second which is perfect for sporting events, auto races, and even nature.
As a general camera, this may be above someone’s price, but reasonable, none the less. It is easy to hold, use and master. If you have any digital experience at all, you will find it extremely easy. Those novices out there will be amazed at its ease of learning curve. This is a must buy.