There’s always been a silent struggle between digital camera manufacturers and true camera enthusiasts. Sure, the digital camera provides instant gratification and other technologically advanced features, but it lacks weight, style, and (most important) great lenses. There’s just something about the feel of an old-fashioned camera that can’t be beat. Or can it?
Pentax has recently developed the Pentax Q – a different sort of digital camera. Pentax is hoping to bridge the gap between lightweight digitals and pro-weight automatics. Has it accomplished this task? On one level, the answer is a resounding “yes.” On another level, Pentax still hasn’t quite grasped what it means to own a solidly built camera that is worthy of professional photography skills.
I have to hand it to Pentax – the Q has style. Unlike its cheaply made digital counterparts, the Q actually has form as well as function. Reminiscent of a 1950s camera, the Q is a lot of fun to tote around. It comes with a great shell that’s pretty in both black and white (these are the two color options available).
The Q also has interchangeable lenses, which is the main reason why this camera is drawing so much attention. Based upon style alone, the Q beats its competitors hands down. Unfortunately, you can’t (well, shouldn’t) buy a camera based solely upon style.
The Lens Look
Pentax wanted to provide consumers with lens options. So, the company created a set of five “toy lenses.” These lenses include a fisheye, 35mm wide lens, a 100mm telephoto, 24-80mm standard lens, and a 47mm lens (this last lens is included with the camera body). Aside from the one lens that’s included, consumers will be able to purchase the other four lenses for various prices (ranging from $70 to $200+).
The problem with these lenses is that they are cheaply made. Perhaps this is why Pentax labels the various lenses “toy.” Tests reveal that the Q’s many lenses don’t add any really appealing quality to photos. In fact, it’s hard to notice much difference (unless, of course, you decide to purchase the fisheye). The other problem is that none of these lenses can fit onto the Q’s body directly. You’ll need an adaptor to change lenses, and this adaptor will be sold separately.
The Pentax Q: Worth the Price?
Pentax is hoping that the Q will appeal to serious photographers. That’s why they’ve priced this camera around $599. Add a few lenses to the deal, and you’re looking at a camera that’s more than $600. This isn’t much to pay for a digital camera these days, but there are much better cameras on the market if lens quality is what you’re after.
If you’re just looking for a fun camera, the Q may be for you. The option to change lenses can be enjoyable, the and look of the Q is quite different from anything else on the market. Has Pentax successfully targeted the serious camera crowd? Doubtful. Yet, Pentax has created a digital camera that’s nothing like any other camera available at the moment.