Ricoh's tagline for the Pentax Q7 is, "Real Camera. Real small. Real fun." So, we at DigitalCameraReview.com wanted to find out if these three statements were really true. Straight out of the box we could see why the first two sentences in the tagline are "Real camera. Real small." The Q7 is a compact ILC that has some very pronounced toy-like characteristics--especially when used by someone with large hands. But the real question remains: Is the Pentax Q7 real fun? Stick around as we answer that question during our review.
Build and Design
The best ways to describe the Pentax Q7 is cute, compact and customizable. The Pentax Q7 offers users 120 color combinations from which to choose--plenty to satisfy even the most style conscious photographers. The Q7 is a compact interchangeable lens digital hybrid camera. Upgraded from its predecessor, the Q7 has a 12.4-megapixel 1/1.7" backlit CMOS sensor that boasts a primary color filter. The camera records still images as both RAW and JPG files. The overall build and design of the camera has changed marginally from the original Pentax Q. It boasts a small footprint of only 4"(w) x 2.3"(h) x 1.32"(d) and weighs 7 oz with the battery and removable card installed. The camera accepts SD, SDHC, SDXC and Eye-Fi memory cards. The Pentax Q7 sells for $497 when paired with the 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 kit lens.
Ergonomics and Controls
The Pentax Q7 has a basic body style that can easily be compared to a plethora of point and shoot cameras. Its boxlike structure has a small, but useful hand grip. The back of the camera has three circular bumps that are supposed to be used as a thumb grip. Regrettably, my thumb chose instead to land on top of the Av button. And despite all of the attempts at ergonomics, the Q7 is just not comfortable to hold. My fingers crunched together and bouts of cramping were inevitable with extended usage.
The front of the camera features a handy quick dial for accessing customized setting with ease. The top of the camera sports a chunky mode dial fully equipped with P, Tv, Av and M modes. The dial also features an auto mode, video mode, scene mode and an interesting blur control mode. The top of the camera also houses a click dial for adjusting settings like aperture and shutter speed, an on/off switch, a shutter release, a playback button and a flash release.
The back of the camera looks similar to most other cameras with the addition of a green button used for auto exposure also found on the Q10. A nice sized 3-inch TFT LCD screen featuring 460k dots of resolution is located as far left as it can get.
Either side of the camera is flanked with the memory card slot or the battery slot leaving the bottom of the camera open for a dedicated tripod mount, blocking only the HDMI and AV ports.
Menus and Modes
The menu can be accessed via the dedicated menu button on the back of the Q7. Pressing this button gives you right of entry to a multifaceted page layout. There are 5 main categories. Several of those categories include additional pages within them.
The camera's shooting modes are pretty standard with the addition of the "BC" blur control mode (available on JPGs only) which attempts to recreate a defocused background. Although it takes almost 10 seconds and quite a bit of data computation to complete the entire process, the camera will render a finished image that gives you a more defocused image than you would receive otherwise. If in-camera creativity is what you crave, the scene mode gives you 21 options from which to choose.
Like so many compact ILCs the Q7 does not have a viewfinder. We have come to accept this as a reality as the LCD screens are getting better and better while using them to compose and view images. Although the 3-inch TFT LCD screen is large enough to easily compose images, the resolution of the screen and glare in bright sunlight makes this process unnecessarily challenging. The brightness of the screen can be changed, but we did not find the adjustment to make a dramatic difference.
The screen is not touch sensitive; therefore all setting must be adjusted via the dedicated buttons on the camera body or in the menu. The lack of a touchscreen did not bother us in the least.
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