Pentax Q: Video and Image Quality

by Howard Creech Reads (1,092)
Editor's Rating
6.60

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Expandability
    • 5
    • Total Score:
    • 6.60
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality

The “Q” records 1920 x 1080p HD (AVC h.264) video at 30 fps. The sample video that accompanies this review was shot on a heavily overcast day at Louisville’s Extreme Park. The video clip is fluid, color correct, and the resolution is excellent, especially given the dull lighting.

Download Sample Video

Image Quality
Image files produced by the “Q” have a more natural look than those produced by some of its competitors and that is a good thing because the “hot” oversaturated colors produced by most P&S digicams (and some of their CSC siblings) can actually detract from the overall impact of an image. Starting with a neutral default color palette (the colors the camera records are very close to the colors seen by the naked eye) and then allowing users to boost saturation (color intensity) if they so choose – provides more options for shooters.

Default images from the “Q” show very good color, balanced contrast, and impressive sharpness. Overall image quality is dependably excellent outdoors in good light and (according to Pentax) slightly better than average indoors – although indoor images seem a bit darker to me than they ought to be. Shadow detail capture is better than expected and highlight detail capture is noticeably better than average. Although there is a very slight tendency toward underexposure – outdoors in good light the “Q” produces dependably well-exposed, natural color, low-noise images. Chromatic aberration is well controlled, but some minor color fringing is present, especially in the color transition areas between dark foreground objects and bright backgrounds.

Finally, the question everyone is waiting to have answered. I haven’t used all of the currently available CSCs, but I have tested the Panasonic GF3. In my opinion (up to 8×10 inches) the “Q”s low ISO (up to ISO 200) image files are equal to those generated by the GF3, which is pretty impressive when you consider that the GF3’s sensor is 8 times the size of the “Q”s sensor. Until I tested the “Q” the GF3 was my favorite CSC and although I still believe the GF3 is an exceptional camera that is no longer the case.

White Balance options include: auto mode, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Fluorescent (D,N,W,L), Tungsten, Flash, and CTE. The “Q”s auto white balance setting does a reliably good job outdoors. Indoors, the “Q” does a good job of getting the colors right. Default colors are hue accurate and close enough to neutral to nicely mimic real world colors.

Pentax Q Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

The “Q” provides an impressive range of sensitivity options including Auto and user set options from ISO 125 to ISO 6400. Image noise levels are lower than average at the ISO 125 and ISO 200 settings.

Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 125
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 125, 100% crop
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 200
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 400
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 800
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 800
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 1600
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 1600
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 3200
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 6400
Pentax Q Sample Image
ISO 6400, 100% crop

Images shot at lower ISOs show very low noise levels, vibrant color, sharp resolution, slightly hard native contrast, acceptable highlight detail, and decent shadow detail. Visible noise/graininess and loss of fine detail begins to show at the ISO 400 setting and gets progressively worse from that point upward.

Additional Sample Images

Pentax Q Sample Image Pentax Q Sample Image
Pentax Q Sample Image Pentax Q Sample Image
Pentax Q Sample Image Pentax Q Sample Image


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