Pentax Q Mirrorless Digital Camera Review$799.00
Ease of Use
Buttons & Dials
As mentioned above, the buttons and dials on the Q are shrunk down considerably from what you would find on anything but the most compact of cameras. They offer very good haptic response and most give off an audible click when activated. The three analog dials on the camera are all stiff, but have very defined positions so adjustments are only really made deliberately. The quick dial on the front is the most difficult to operate, as it doesn't sit in a position that any of the user's fingers fall on naturally. It provides a measure of customization and control without having to go into the menu, but it's placement and uncertain implementation leave it feeling anything but "quick."
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
The Pentax Q offers several ways to digitally alter your image prior to capture, with nearly every one offering some level of customization as well.
The menu on the Q will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has shot with a Pentax camera before Most of the menu functions are the same as on the K-r and K-5 DSLRs, with a few exceptions. The custom menu isn't quite as long as on those cameras, but most of the shooting, playback, and video settings remain the same. For those unfamiliar, the menu is robust but legible. The menu is organized into sections for shooting, playback, video, custom, and system settings, with each section having numbered tabs. Users can use the rear four-way control pad to navigate a tab vertically, or flick the rear control dial with their thumb to move to the next tab over.
The Q also offers a number of quicker menus. The main one for shooting settings is brought up by pressing the INFO button when in live view and offers an overview of the current settings, with immediate access to each. This allows the user to make quick changes to things like resolution, compression quality, digital filters, custom image profiles, etc. The menu may take a little adjustment for novices, but it's well-designed and shouldn't provide much of a challenge after a few days with the camera.
Pentax is one of the few companies still providing extensive printed manuals with their camera. The Q comes packaged with a quickstart manual for both the camera and lens along with a full operating manual of over 250 pages. The manual, despite its length, is actually fairly clear with a good table of contents section that makes it easy to find more information on specific features. The camera also comes with a software CD-ROM (with SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0) and an electronic version of the full manual is available online.