Pentax Q vs Fujifilm X10/X100 - which to buy and why?
Some advice needed please.
I am a completely amateur photographer in the sense that I have a very old Sony Cybershot that I literally use just for 'point and click' picture taking. So no tinkering with settings or the like. And it was something I'd throw in my pocket for day trips, holidays and nights out, so it received a fair bit of abuse!
I picked up on the Pentax Q about 12 months ago, through a small preview in a newspaper. As soon as I saw it I loved the old fashioned style of it.
To cut a long story short I recently had my 30th and asked for money with a view to putting towards buying the Pentax Q as a 'daytrip and hobby' only camera - so I would look after it and not, for example, take it out on a boozy night out!
However...when I popped into my local Jessops last week to take a look at one I was taken aback by how small it was. It put me off to start off with. When in the shop another old fashioned style camera caught my eye - The Fujifilm X10. In the end I did not go ahead with any purchase and went away to think about it and also started doing some serious research.
Since this 'research' I have shortlisted 3 cameras - The Pentax Q, The Fujifilm X10 and the Fujifilm X100.
These are my main points/notes on each one.
The original camera I had my heart set on. Looks great...in the pictures, however the size may be a little too small? However I think it's great that it has interchangeable lenses, as these could be something that I could be given as gifts at future birthdays, and I like the idea of having a camera bag with a camera with a selection of lenses in. Although the size is not what I expected, I am still fairly keen and positive about purchasing this camera, and to be fair the demonstration I was given showed the camera to be fairly impressive and to do what I wanted it to do for my 'hobbyist' exploits.
One other point as it springs to mind, this camera also has different settings for the picture type i.e. sepia mode. Which is nice!
As I said this caught my eye in the shop in much the same way that the Pentax Q (PQ) caught my eye in the paper - the styling is superb and exactly what I was looking for. Slightly cheaper than the PQ and also at the size I was envisioning the PQ to be. Also has a view finder which is appealing. Con is that the lens is not interchangeable like the PQ, but having removable lenses is only a 'nice' option to have, not a necessity. Also on the Fuji X10 I love the fact that there is a smart leather case available for it, which I would definitely get if I bought this camera.
If money was no object then I would 100% go for this camera above the other 2. Similar comments really as the X10, except that this looks even better! Hybrid view finder also looks interesting in the review (I've not seen this camera in the flesh).
If comments from others are towards this camera then I would consider it, as I'm already spending £500 what's an extra 200-300 to get exactly what you want?... So the con on this one really is the price.
One other comment/question is what is the difference between the X10 and the X100? Why would Fuji release the X10 when they already have the X100? Why should I get one over the other?
If possible, and taking into account the reasoning's behind me getting a camera (styling, something to cherish) - what do people on here think would be the best option for me and why?
I'd like to think responses will be made by persons who know a LOT more than me about the subject of cameras, however I'm not really interested in recommendations of any other cameras i.e. "try the Nikon 1", as I want a camera that looks great (old style) that I will own and look after - and be proud to own - for years to come!
Thanks in advance for any guidance and comments. I'm hoping to make a purchase within the next 7-10 days.
I can understand your quandary. There are many reviews of the cameras you are considering which will give you all the technicalities and appraisals of image quality. For what it is worth I want to give you my personal and perhaps slightly controversial opinion of the options you have chosen. I should point out that I consider myself a keen enthusiast. I don't carry a camera with me all the time, just for those special occasions. 99% of my pictures are never seen by anyone else and the few that are, are not going to be scrutinised for their photographic professionalism.
I was looking for an "all round" camera myself a couple of months ago. (I have a Fuji X100 as well, which I will come back to later). I made a short list consisting of the Fuji X10 (which was just about to be released at that time), the Panasonic GF3. the Ricoh GRD4 and the Pentax Q. I liked the idea of the GDR4 but was put off by the fixed lens - was I to gain much over the X100? The Panasonic was a 'known quantity' - good but not brilliant image quality, a compact body and a good selection of lenses. The X10 was being raved about - even before it was released. I was intrigued by the Q, but then I thought of the small sensor and inferior image quality - it seemed the least likely candidate for me. I was vearing towards the X10. As more details about the X10 came to light I became concered. I had originally bought the X100 thinking it would be my 'only' camera (it wouldn't be).
What put me off the X10 was the size - here its a personal thing. This was a camera with dimensions larger than a GF3 and a smaller sensor. This got me thinking about my priorities. My Nikon DSLR is rarely used, because I don't like lugging the thing about or the attention it brings. The Panasonic GF3 would be much better, but I was concerned about the plastic body. I could imagine it being obsolete in 6 months time. I didn't just want a box to take pictures, I wanted something I could cherish. Going back to the X100 it is a thing of great beauty. I love just looking at it, caressing the controls ... sorry if this is starting to sound a bit purvey! I've had a lot of cameras and if they don't 'do it for me' then they just end up being shut away in a draw. However along with loving my X100, I also hate it! I will probably cause a riot here, but in my hands, half my shots are out of focus, the hybrid viewfinder is pretty and clever, but for me personally sadly flawed in actual usage. I would never part with my X100, but as photographic tool it is not my first choice. I feared that there may be focusing issues with the X10 - I understand its not the best in that respect.
So I came back to wanting a quality camera but something I was actually likely to use. I realised that size and build quality were the most important factors for me. I bought a Pentax Q.
Oh joy, what a good decision. A little jewel of a camera that could do everything a DSL (acually many more features than my Nikon) could. I am not going to be entering photographic competions and the purpose for which I want a camera (keeping a record of things for my personal benefit), combined with my limited photographic skills, meant that image quality doesn't have to be 100% and I am more than happy with my results. The Q, you will find, is widely ridiculed in the press, because of its small sensor. They also complain about it's price, although recent reductions now make it seem something of a bargain. Pentax also did themselves no favours here as the firmware update made a huge improvement to the speed and focusing, both of which were regarded as being mearly average in the earlier reviews.
I don't know exactly what you expectations are. Many of those who say that the Pentax is too small (the controls are very well thought out and beatifully precise in feel) are quite happy to fiddle with the buttons and scroll through multiple menus on their even smaller compact cameras, so I wouldn't put too much weight behind this criticism. I have absolutely no problems.
Another thing you mention is the view finder. Showing my age here, but I don't remember people critisising the waste level finder in the old medium format film cameras I used to use. I much prefer to see what is going on around rather then having to peer through one screwed up eyed into a tiny box. Even with my X100 I inevitably use the rear LCD screen.
I would never part with my X100, but its the Q I am going to reach for nearly every time if I acually want to take photos. The original Q will no doubt be discontinued in a year or two's time, but it just puts the fun back into my photography. I know I will still be happy with it many years from now when other cameras will have long been consigned to the bin.
I hope that perhaps my ramblings may have given you some issues to concider. Whatever you end up with I hope you find that you have made the right choice and will enjoy your new camera for many years to come.
PS. Just a passing thought, but if the Panasonic GX1 had been available then, I would have thrown that into the ring in preference to the GF3. It would then probably have been the one I chose, based on internet reviews. However it wasn't and now that I have my Q I still don't regret my decision and would still not choose the GX1 over the Q. It would now be my second choice however and possibly one you may like to consider.
In some ways a strange 3 cameras to compare - ie interchangeable lens CSC (with tiny sensor and inherent limitations), fixed zoom lens enthusiast compact (with larger compact sensor), and fixed focal length lens hi-end compact (with APS-C sensor).
You appear to be looking at style over features/functionality, as an all-round offering the X10 would be the obvious option, but suggest you look at the reviews on this site.
Firstly thank you to the 2 replies already, and ponyman thank you for the immense detail, your comments are really helpful.
First to nemesis, yes I’m afraid you are right – and I’m sure many users of this site will be horrified to hear this – but I am looking at style over substance…saying that, with my 3 style choices I am making a decision very carefully based on the substance of each of the choices. Like I said in my original post I want to invest in something that I can cherish for years to come and also that might provoke interest from others when they see it. Not just, as ponyman implies, a camera that ends up in a drawer or being replaced after 2-3 years.
I have further comments to add, particularly in relation to ponymans comments. I ventured back into town today to a private camera shop and they happened to stock the Pentax along with official Pentax literature. As they seemed to be a ‘supplier’ for Pentax products I soon discovered that Pentax do a very smart little leather case for the Q, similar to the case you can get for the X10 and X100 (this case was really drawing me towards the Fuji’s). So now that has added a ‘pro’ to the Pentax’s cause and at the same time removed a con from it.
In fact last week (during the infamous Jessops visit) I was actually ready to seal the deal for the Pentax but Jessops didn’t actually have any boxed examples in the shop and it “wasn’t company policy to let a display sample go if there’s a boxed sample available in another shop that can be sent to the shop you are in”. So even after my initial post I had actually previously made a decision to go with the Q, but I was scuppered. However this was positive as it has given me a chance to look deeper into the other options. In fact since my earlier post I have some other comments to add (I’m just thinking out loud with my decision making process here so you can all, hopefully, see where I’m coming from).
Not really too much to add, apart from the discovery of the smart leather case for it. Again selection of various lenses is very appealing. Ponymans (yep that guy again!) comments also very encouraging.
It’s becoming apparent in the reviews that this is a very easy camera to use? Therefore my thinking now is that this may be a good bet as I am somewhat of a novice. But saying that, whichever camera I end up getting I am more then happy to spend time discovering its features, so complexity of camera doesn’t faze me too much. I’m happy to learn!
Unfortunately I do think this may be a little out of my league in terms of price, so I think it may have to be chalked off the options list. Maybe it’s something I could pick up in a few years time on the cheap
Shame though, such a great looking camera.
Sooo…at the moment I think I am swinging 60-40 in the Pentax Qs favour…further comments, if any, appreciated – this case is far from closed!
p.s. one more thing…ponyman, you don’t sound purvey…I would also like to caress the X100’s buttons lol
Hi first what do you want to take pictures of, the x10 is quite expensive and so is the x100 and that price you could get a SDLR and change or an extra lens. So we are back to what do you want to shoot
Hi DavidP1982 and welcome to the Forum.
This is an interesting dilemma to have! If money was no object, we'd go for the X100 in a heartbeat - it's an absolutely lovely camera to shoot with, while the images from the large APS-C sensor (the same size used by a DSLR) are excellent. It's definitely a camera you'll cherish for years to come if you can stretch the budget.
If that's out of the equation, then it's between the X10 and Q and if it was our money, we'd have to say the X10.
We just didn't find the Q to be that great, especially for the price - focusing speed, performance, buffer size and screen quality are some of the areas that let the camera down. The Pentax Q also has the smallest sensor here, and while it delivers pleasing results, the results from the X10 are better.
True, the Q offers interchangeable lenses, but the range of lenses is very limited. The 8.5mm lens is sharp at the centre, but suffers from distortion and chromatic abberration, while the standard zoom isn't a match for built-in lens in the X10 - it's a decent optic that has a good focal range for most shooting opportunities. Overall, the X10 is the more enjoyable camera to use and the more refined proposition.
If you like the idea of building up a system and want something with a retro look, take a look at the Olympus E-P3, though this is probably stretching the budget into X100 territory.
Some more great responses, thank you.
I am under a little bit of pressure now as I understand that the sale at Jessops ends tomorrow, so I may be ordering online tonight.
First to wave, I can understand that with my budget any normal camera user would probably go for the best technology that their budget allows, however as I stated previously I (probably somewhat stupidly in most peoples eyes) am going for the look of the camera and taking performance into account as a secondary. The pictures I will be taking will be day trips out or playing about at home with shots - most of which I'm sure I will be the only person viewing the images. In much the same way ponyman describes actually.
Secondly, Phil, thanks for your comments also. I have viewed the WDC video reviews for all 3 options (PQ, X10 & X100). It is looking like the X100 is out of my budget if I'm being honest 9unfortunately!), which leaves me looking at the PQ and the X10. The PQ was the original choice, but it is obviously hard to ignore the fantastic review and comments yourself and others have been giving the X10. Especially as I appreciate you really do know what you're talking about (unlike me!).
At the same time it's also hard for me not to take into account what ponyman says because, as a user, he sounds in a similar position to me.
Regards the Olympus E-P3, like the X100 its a little over budget, but thanks for the recommendation.
As before I still welcome more comments and feedback, and if any previous posters have anything further to add please do so.
Many thanks, David.
Found this review of the Pentax Q, quite interesting:
I'll dig for some more X10 reviews.
my advice get the one that fells right
A very quick one:
Pentax Q: On the default settings the camera takes 3 consecutive shots at different ISO settings. Why is this? What would this 'setting' be called? And can you change it to take a single shot?
Fuji X10: Although it has a zoom lens, are you able to get decent depth of field shots?
I know this has been dragging on for a looong time now and I will explain all in a later post, and give my final thoughts and comments =)
But if someone could help by answering my 2 questions above it would be great, thanks.