Pentax Q7 Review
Pentax Q7 Review - Design
The Pentax Q7 manages to be particularly small by opting to use an existing compact-camera sensor format. As a result, this also means that the lenses are very small too. This is the main - indeed, the one of the only - advantages of the Q system; you can carry a complete camera system in your coat pocket.
The Q7's overall build quality is very good. The body is made from tough polycarbonate plastic and feels very sturdy with no flexing or creaking when squeezed. The controls are solidly mounted and have a good "feel", especially the top panel dials, which are just stiff enough to avoid accidental movement.
There are large hinged hatch covers on either end, one for the card and the other for the battery, and these have strong metal hinges. The only fly in the ointment is the cover for the USB and HDMI sockets on the underside of the camera body, which is a rather nasty rubber flap held in place by a flimsy rubber tether.
The Pentax Q7's body is of course very compact, but surprisingly it's not the smallest CSC on the market; the Nikon 1 J3 is actually a couple of millimetres smaller. However the Q7 scores over the Nikon by retaining that "proper camera" feel in its handling.
Where the Nikon J3 has the handling characteristics of a wet bar of soap, the Q7 has a small but comfortable handgrip on the front, a thumb grip area on the back, and the body is covered in a retro-styled leatherette finish that provides a solid and reliable grip even with sweaty hands.
Most of the Q7's controls are laid out so that they can be easily operated with one hand, and even the tiny D-pad is raised up slightly so that it can be operated with your thumb if necessary. The controls are all clearly labelled, and despite the compact size it feels well thought-out and easy to use.
One particularly nice feature is the flash. It's a decently powerful little unit, with a guide number of 4.7 at 100ISO, and it can be used either in its normal position, or popped up. It is mounted on a sprung linkage that raises the flash head and moves it sideways, placing it about 4cm further from the lens, thus helping to reduce red-eye.
Pentax, and its new parent company Ricoh, have never been afraid to try out new ideas, and the Q7 does have one rather unusual selling point. If you go to the Pentax website you'll find a colour chooser that lets you select from 120 different colour combinations, with 20 body colours and six grip colours.
If you want the Q7 with the 8.5mm f/1.9 prime lens you can choose a colour for that too. Your selected colour combination has a unique code number, so you can go to your dealer and order that exact colour. Naturally some of the combinations are revolting, but at least they're distinctive!