A lot has changed in the world of digital cameras since the release of the original Pentax Q. However the Q7 does not seem to be making the same incremental advancements as other ILC camera systems. The Q7 lacks the autofocus performance needed to truly impress this girl. Photographing still subjects can prove troublesome, but photographing moving subjects can be a real test of patience.
The Q7 is not a speedy camera. The camera takes about 1.5 seconds to start up and take the first shot. AF acquisition time is where the Pentax Q7 starts to show its shortcomings. We found that the Pentax Q7 would take anywhere from 0.35 seconds to slightly over 1 full second to acquire autofocus depending on the ambient lighting. The camera only boasts 1.5 frames per second for JPG files on continuous lo and about 5 frames per second on continuous hi.
The Q7 has a corner mounted flash that offers a nifty pop-up feature. When the flash release is triggered, the Q7 extends the flash by way of a jointed arm that is reminiscent of Jonny Number 5 from Short Circuit or, a more recent robot, Wall-E. The flash design is creative and does help to reduce the effects of red-eye.
The Pentax Q is powered by a Pentax D-LI68 lithium ion rechargeable battery. This is the same battery that charges the other Q cameras. The battery gives uses about 250 images on a single charge. The battery is charged out of camera via the D-BC68P charger.
The lens performance of the included 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 (aka 02 standard zoom) was a mixed bag of tricks. Although it had the ability to produce some relatively sharp images, in real world testing the lens was inconsistent with producing repeatedly sharp images. At least half of my handheld images were soft or blurry. Of course, user error can account for some of these images that are less than ideal, but 50 % is a little too much for me to swallow. I am interested to see if a different lens would produce a higher number of acceptable images.
Video is recorded at 1080p or 720p at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second as a QuickTime file. Video quality is good and on par with current point and shoot cameras as well as ILCs.
The Q7 was able to produce some high quality images with good color reproduction and decent high ISO results. But overall, the image quality from the Q7 varied from shot to shot. Below is a sample of consecutive images yielding very different results.
Here is an example of the 02 zoom lens at different ends of the focal length.
The image below was taken at ISO 3200. The camera does a great job at producing low image grain and maintaining good color quality, but softening of the image is present.