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Pentax Q7 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Pentax Q7, the flagship model in the Q series with a larger image sensor.

| Pentax Q7 in Mirrorless Cameras

Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q7 17

Announced in June 2013, the Pentax Q7 is the flagship model in the Q series. It has a larger image sensor and there are a choice of 20 body colours and six grip colours giving 120 possible colour combinations. The Q7 is due to be launched in September 2013 with an RRP of £369.99 body only and £399.99 with the 5-15mm kit lens.

Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q7 4

Pentax Q7 Features

The Pentax Q7 has the largest sensor of any of the cameras in the Q range, a 1/1.7-inch, 12.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. To illustrate the sensor size difference, we've shown the Q10 sensor to scale overlaid below:

Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q10 Sensor Size Comparison

With a larger sensor, it has a magnification factor of 4.6x compared to the Q and Q10 magnification factor of 5.5x, this gives a wider view when using the Pentax Q lenses on the Q7, for example the 5-15mm standard zoom lens, which is the equivalent of 27.5-83mm on the Q and Q10 becomes 23-69mm equivalent on the Q7. An example can be seen below, at 5mm, showing the difference between the cameras:

Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q7 Q10 Q Wide Angle View

To keep images as sharp as possible there is a sensor shift shake reduction, which features a gyro sensor. You can use any of the Pentax Q mount lens as well as K mount lenses if you purchase the Adapter Q for K-mount lens adapter.

The Q7 has an auto mode, full manual controls and a number of scene modes which include HDR. You can get creative with your picture taking using the Custom Image modes and Smart Effects. You can even apply a digital filter to your pictures after shooting via the edit option in playback. The Q7 also introduces a dual axis electronic level, Eye-Fi compatibility, and HDR interval movie timelapse function.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 30 fps and you can also use the Smart Effects during recording.

Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q7 7

Key Features

  • 1/1.7-inch, 12.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS image sensor
  • Pentax Q lens mount
  • Sensor shift shake reduction
  • 3.0 inch 460k dot LCD monitor
  • Full manual controls
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100 - 12800
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • HDR mode
  • Choice of 20 body colours and six grip colours
Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q7 15

Pentax Q7 Handling

The Pentax Q7 has an extremely small body and is rubberised on the front either side of the lens to help give good grip. There are also three dots on the rear for your right thumb. Despite its small body, there are an ample amount of buttons. On the top is a mode dial and another for changing settings such as shutter speed and aperture. Other buttons on the top are the shutter release, on / off, playback and a switch which releases the pop-up flash.

On the rear are buttons to set the ISO and white balance as well as flash mode and self-timer. In the middle of these buttons is an OK button, all of which act as a d-pad for cycling through the menus. There are also exposure compensation, info, menu and green buttons - the green button can be used for different settings. The Q7 also has a dial on the front which has 4 options and can also be changed to the users preference such as aspect ratio, focus method etc.

Pentax have managed to pack a 3.0 inch screen on the Q7 which has a decent 460k dot resolution and has been treated with an anti-reflection coating. The menu system is split into 5 sections with sub-sections in each - it can take a little time to go through all the available options.

Battery life is rated at 250 shots according to CIPA test results, which should be enough for a day of shooting. 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   0.25 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.85 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.8 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.95 secs
Continuous Shooting - Lo (RAW + JPEG) slows after 3 shots   1.3 fps
Continuous Shooting - Lo (RAW + JPEG) with flash   0.5 fps
Continuous Shooting - Hi (JPEG only) slows after 5 shots   5.2 fps
Continuous Shooting - Hi (JPEG only) with flash   0.7 fps

All off the continuous shooting modes record in full resolution.

Pentax Q7 Review: Pentax Q7 8

Pentax Q7 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 Q7 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones and are free of red-eye when shooting with the flash. To extend the dynamic range you can use the HDR mode, or adjust D-Range settings where there are options for highlight or shadow correction.

Pentax Q7 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Image detail is good throughout the images at both ends of the lens, except in the shadows where detail is non-existent. Purple fringing is well controlled in contrasting areas. The 5-15mm isn't ideal for macro shots as you can't focus close enough, even when zooming in.

Pentax Q7 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100 and remains low, with sharp images produced right up to ISO 800. Images are soft in places at ISO 1600 with detail lost in places at ISO 3200. Lots of detail is lost at ISO 6400, with poor image quality at ISO 12800. Images at ISO 1600 and above, when compared to the Pentax Q10 (with smaller sensor) show slightly lower noise, with ISO 6400 images showing much lower noise. ISO12800 is not available on the Q10.

Pentax Q7 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) takes an image with an orange cast, with the incandescent preset taking a much better picture. The AWB fares a little better under the fluorescent lights. There are four different fluorescent presets, all of which produced images with colour casts.

Pentax Q7 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Above we've included examples of the custom image modes and digital filters available. The last three are examples using the three different HDR options. The colour options can be adjusted, letting you alter saturation, hue, high/low key adjust, contrast, and sharpness.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good, there is a video using the zoom during recording over on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The Pentax Q7 has an RRP of £399.99 when purchased with the 5-15mm kit lens. Other mirrorless cameras to consider with a similar price are the Sony Alpha NEX-3N at £325, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 at £399, Nikon 1 S1 at £300, Olympus E-PM2 at £399, Canon EOS M at £375 and Samsung NX1000 at £240.

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 Q7 Verdict

If you're a fan of small gadgets, the Pentax Q7 is going to appeal to you, particularly with the range of colours it is available in. It's extremely small, yet packs all the features you'd expect to see on a DSLR, including the ability to change lenses. You've full manual controls, RAW shooting and 5 fps continuous shooting. The screen size and resolution hasn't been compromised and the body and 5-15mm lens have plenty of rubberised grip.

Image quality is good, with excellent colour reproduction, but detail in darker areas of the images is poor, although could be improved using HDR or D-Range settings. The Q7 also comes with custom image modes and a range of digital filters so you can take creative pictures.

Pentax Q7 Review:
  The Pentax Q7 is extremely small and comes in a range of colours. Ideal for gadget fans!

Pentax Q7 Pros

Extremely small body
Good sized screen with decent resolution
Full manual controls and RAW shooting
Dual axis electronic level
HDR mode
Rubberised grip
Lots of filters
Available in lots of colours

Pentax Q7 Cons

AWB struggles under our studio lighting
Not good for macro shots
Image detail is poor in the shadows


Pentax Q7 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/1.7 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 modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI68
Battery Life (CIPA rating)250shots
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

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Photographs taken using the Pentax Q7

SummerStudy in lightAutumn coloursNo one sees himGlasgow 1Glasgow 2Glasgow 3Glasgow 4Glasgow 5Glasgow 6Glasgow 7Glasgow 8Glasgow 9Glasgow 10

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29 Jul 2013 7:51PM
Sorry, Pentax, but I have Sony RX100 Smile
swa 11 United States
31 Jul 2013 8:59PM
In the spirit of constructive criticism, I'm going to comment on this Q7 review. First, the reviewer should consider who comes here to learn more about the Q7 and what they hope to learn. Those people would include the person looking to move up from a point 'n' shoot and DSLR owner looking for something less bulky. Then there's the enthusiast who already owns a Q or Q10 and wonders if the outlay for a new Q7 would be worthwhile. What the reviewer has done for the most part is give us a catalog of features. Readers who want a list of all the buttons and examples of all the special effects can get those at Pentax's Web site.

How about some shooting and handling impressions? How well did the LCD do in various lighting conditions, especially bright sun? Given the camera's ultra-small size, how comfortable was the reviewer using the buttons and other controls? How well did the flash do on group shots, when used for fill, macro close-ups, etc?

Some comparison shots with Q results to show how much difference the wider field of view with the larger sensor makes when using the 01 prime lens, as well as the 02 zoom at various focal lengths, would've been most welcome. Then, how about some 1:1 magnification comparisons of the same shots made with the Q and Q7? What improvements, if any, does the Q7 offer over the Q where sharpness and noise are concerned?

Finally, in his conclusions, the reviewer dings the Q7 for poor shadow detail. However, can't the camera's RAW capability and HDR modes mitigate that problem, and shouldn't that be mentioned?
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
5 Aug 2013 1:56PM
Hi swa,

We have updated the review to include the differences between the crop factor, showing the sensor size as well as an example when shooting with a lens. As well as discuss noise performance differences between this camera and the Q10.

At the moment we do not test flash performance for group shots, or flash use for macro shots, but it is something we could consider for future reviews.

Regarding showing examples using other lenses, we are often provided Interchangeable Lens Cameras (including DSLRs) with just the kit lens in the box.

The conclusion has been updated as well,

Thanks for the constructive feedback,

Best Regards,

swa 11 United States
5 Aug 2013 9:11PM
Josh, thanks for updating and adding depth to the review. The field-of-view comparison alone makes it much more helpful. Also, a respectful salute for accepting my remarks in the spirit in which they were given. If you'll pardon my use of a dated expression from your side of the pond, good show. Smile
9 Aug 2013 12:18AM
Contrary to the claim that the Q7 is not good for macro shots, the Q cameras are great for macro photography.

See the discussion of the original Pentax Q as a camera for macro shots - with the k mount adapter - at this website (near the end):
6bq5 9
29 Aug 2013 7:33PM
Thanks for posting so many samples of RAW and JPG images. This is great! There are very few raw samples available online.

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