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Pentax Q10 Review

Pentax Q10 Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Pentax Q10, a small and light mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Pentax Q10
Price : £139
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Pentax Q10 Red (4)

The Pentax Q10 has been developed based on the Pentax Q which was released last year. It has a 12.4 megapixel sensor and is available in black, silver or red for £379.00 with a 5-15mm lens, or £539.00 with the 15-45mm lens supplied as well.
Pentax Q10 Red (5)

Pentax Q10 Features

The Pentax Q10 has a 12.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor designed to take images at high sensitivities with low noise, ideal for shooting in low light. You can shoot up to ISO 6400. The HDR mode produces images from multiple exposures to create shots which have detail in both the highlights and the shadows. To help take sharp, blur free images there is the Pentax developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism which automatically shifts the image sensor to counteract camera shake. The lens reviewed with the Q10 is a 5-15mm, which is a 35mm equivalent of 27.5-83mm. You can also purchase the camera with a 15-45mm, a 35mm equivalent of 83-249mm.

To make picture taking as easy as possible there is Auto Picture and a range of scene modes such as portrait, landscape and macro. The appropriate settings are then automatically adjusted for the scene. If you want more control there are full manual controls available as well. The Q10 can record a maximum of 5 shots at a frame rate of 5 fps to capture fast moving objects in a series of pictures. Pentax have upgraded AF performance, with an AF assist light to ensure focusing is both quick and easy in dimly lit conditions, with Face Recognition AF able to detect up to 12 faces. Pentax have included a bokeh control function which automatically assesses the distance between the in-focus subject and obtrusive objects in view to create a defocused foreground and/or background.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 30 fps, with a micro-HDMI terminal for connection to a HDTV.
Pentax Q10 Red (6)

Key Features

  • 12 megapixel CMOS back illuminated sensor
  • Pentax Q lens mount
  • Shake Reduction System
  • 3.0 inch LCD monitor with approx. 460,000 dots
  • Full manual controls and RAW shooting
  • Full 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • HDR mode
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • Available in black, silver or red
Pentax Q10 Red (8)

Pentax Q10 Handling

When you first get your hands on the Q10, the most notable thing is its size - it is absolutely tiny. We had a red one to test which looks great with the buttons and grip all in black. The body is made from metal and the buttons are also very small, if you have large fingers you may find them tricky, particularly pressing the OK button that's found in the middle of the d-pad. The d-pad gives you access to flash, timer, white-balance and ISO, with other buttons on the back for exposure compensation, info and menu. There is also a green button which can be customised to change a setting of your choice. The dial on the front of the camera can also be changed to control smart effect, custom image, digital filter and aspect ratio.

On top of the camera is a playback button, on/off switch, shutter release, chunky mode dial and another dial to set aperture and shutter speed when in the respective mode. The flash can be used when not released, but if you want it further away from the camera body, flick the switch on the top to pop it up. There is also a hotshoe on the top for an external flash.

Despite the small size, there is a large 3 inch screen with a decent resolution which is bright and clear in varying lighting conditions. There are doors on either end of the camera, with the battery in one and the SD card slot in the other. On the bottom is a rubber cover where you'll find the PC/AV and HDMI outputs alongside the metal tripod socket. The 5-15mm lens actually extends further at 5mm than it does at 15mm.

Battery life is rated at 250 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take 228 shots before the battery went flat, this involved editing pictures via playback. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 sec
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   3.9 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.8 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.2 secs
Continuous Shooting - Hi (JPEG)   5 fps
Continuous Shooting - Lo (JPEG)   1.25 fps
Continuous Shooting - Hi with flash (JPEG)   0.5 fps
Continuous Shooting - Lo with flash (JPEG)   0.4 fps
Continuous Shooting - Lo (RAW)   1.2 fps
Continuous Shooting - Lo with flash (RAW)   0.2 fps

When using continuous shooting in RAW, speed slows significantly after just three shots. All the continuous shooting modes record in full 12 megapixel resolution.

Pentax Q10 Red (9)

Pentax Q10 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Pentax Q10 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction and also performs well in low light. Portraits have pleasant skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash. To extend the dynamic range there is a HDR mode and the Q10 is capable of shooting with fast shutter speeds. A speed of 1/1250 has been used to freeze the movement of the water in the example above.

Pentax Q10 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Detail is good throughout the images when shooting at both ends of the lens, with a good control over purple fringing. The 5-15mm lens has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm which means it's not an ideal lens for close-up macro photography.

Pentax Q10 ISO100 Pentax Q10 ISO200 Pentax Q10 ISO400 Pentax Q10 ISO800
ISO100 | 1/10 sec | f/4.0 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
ISO200 | 1/20 sec | f/4.0 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
ISO400 | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
ISO800 | 1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
Pentax Q10 ISO1600 Pentax Q10 ISO3200 Pentax Q10 ISO6400  
ISO1600 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
ISO3200 | 1/250 sec | f/4.5 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
ISO6400 | 1/500 sec | f/4.5 | 13.3 mm
High-Res
 

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100 and 200, but there is enough to cause the images to become a little soft at ISO 400. Images are a little softer at ISO 800, but significant detail is lost at ISO 1600 and the appearance of chroma noise giving a slight purple tint.  Images are very noisy at ISO 3200 and at ISO 6400 there is a green and purple tint to the images at these higher two settings thanks to the chroma noise.

Pentax Q10 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - The AWB has struggled under our studio lighting, particularly when using the incandscent lighting, with the incandescent preset taking a much better picture. Under the fluorescent lights to AWB setting gives a slight cast in the image. There are four different fluorescent presets - 1 and 2 gave colours casts with 3 and 4 performing well.

Pentax Q10 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are plenty of options for adding creativity both before and after shooting, with lots of examples of the various modes available.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD, quality is good. There is a video on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page that has been recorded while using the zoom.



Value For Money

The Pentax Q10 is available with the 5-15mm for £379.00 and is also available with the 15-45mm and 5-15mm lens for £539.00. The cameras below are around the same price with a lens included.

Nikon 1 V1 and 10-30mm lens Panasonic Lumix DMC- GF5 with 14-42mm lens Sony NEX-F3 and 18-55mm lens Pentax K-01 and 18-55mm lens Olympus E-PM2 and 14-42mm lens
£299.00 £374.00 £399.00 £419.00 £499.00

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Pentax Q10 Verdict

The Pentax Q10 has a good set of features and has extremely solid, well-built body. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into its design and it's one of the best looking Pentax cameras you're likely to find, particularly in red! Unfortunately image quality isn't fantastic, about as good as you'll find on an average compact camera, but colour reproduction is good. If you are interested in a mirrorless camera with improved image quality you'd be better looking at those with larger sensors.

If you're keen on keeping size down but want the luxury of being able to change to different lenses, the Q10 is a good option, particularly as it's less than £400 and there are a decent number of lenses available including the 15-45mm lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 83-249mm. If you already have a number of K mount lenses for your Pentax SLR, you can purchase the Q for K mount adapter and use those lenses (Pentax say this will give a range of 215 extra lenses) on the Q10, which extends their focal length by roughly 5.5x.

 
  The Pentax Q10 is well-built and ideal if you want an extremely compact mirrorless camera.

Pentax Q10 Pros

Full 1080p HD video recording
Extremely small interchangeable lens camera
Well-built body
Good size screen
Full manual controls and RAW shooting

Pentax Q10 Cons

Battery life CIPA rating is quite low
Chroma noise kicks in at ISO 1600
AWB struggles under the studio lights

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Pentax Q10 Specifications

ManufacturerPentax
Image Sensor
CCD pixels12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68
CIPA Rating250
Box Contents
Box ContentsUSB Cable I-USB7, Strap O-ST131, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68, Battery Charger D-BC68P, Hot shoe cover FK, Body mount cover
Dimensions
Weight180g
Width102mm
Height58mm
Depth33.5mm

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Photographs taken using the Pentax Q10

Porto, Portugal, with some clouds...Porto, PortugalPorto, PortugalStrelitzia ReginaeInner yardInner yardStrelitzia ReginaeLand Rover Extreme Sailing Series, Porto, Portugal.
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Comments


AlexandraSD 2 435 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2012 1:54AM
Yep, that is a pwiddy lil thang Smile Looks wise, its the most "pick me up" camera i have seen in ages, you just want to hold it, turn those knobs and fiddle with it, the flash is particularly trick!

Shame the images are not upto scratch, which is what a good camera is all about, does that backlit sensor really help?

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AxeandraSD - "...Shame the images are not upto scratch..."

I find the original Q's FW1.10 RAW (DNG) captures to be quite easy to fine tune using LR4.2 and would expect the same from the Q10. Keep in mind, its sensor's 5.5 crop factor really puts a lens to the test. Experience confirms that good glass is everything. Fortunately, Pentax cleverly offers an lens adapter that allows the use of it's un-matched legacy of 50+ years. In addition, 3rd party lens adapters are available for Nikon, Canon, Leica, etc., too. Lastly, in-body stabilization can be applied to help produce successful results with ALL adapted lenses, as well.

So... before you poo-poo it, give it a spin. You might be pleasantly surprised...

Just sayin'...M

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