Coming from SLRs, I had severe doubts about the use of mirror-less system cameras. Yep, past tense, since the purchase of my first digital system camera, the Canon EOS-M my appreciation for mirror-less digital cameras changed. What triggered my initial interest was that the EOS-M employs an APS-C size sensor and no mirror to flip up and shake the camera. ("Haha", I here you thinking, "mirror, no mirror, what is this guy all about"). The initial plan was to mount the EOS-M behind a decent telescope, for astro-photography (makes sense now?). Whatever the EOS-M's reputation is, this is a very good camera, not only for video, but also for stills, despite the slow auto-focus.
From there, I moved down in sensor size (MFT aka m4/3), by getting an Olympus PM-2, which I love a lot.
Now my interest for mirror-less cameras was ignited.
Following the scene, it did not take long and I was intrigued by Pentax's Q system. Sooooo small! Well, also the sensor. Hence, I had my doubts, and stayed away from the Q.
And now, it struck me, the Q has got no mechanical shutter in the body, the sensor is back-lit, the firmware has got a built-in intervalometer and there are plenty of adapters available (including T2).
For astro-photography, the Q system might just be the thing!
Also, the Q-system sports in-body "shake reduction" by sensor shifting, allowing for manual/old lenses to be used with image stabilization.
So, I got one.
Now, out and about, I learned to love the Quirky little camera. Small enough to fit in any of my coats, including a wide arsenal of lenses.
Concerning which, I presently own the following genuine lenses:
- 01 - standard prime (8.5mm f/1.9)
- 02 - standard zoom (5-15mm f/2.8-4.5)
- 04 - wide toy lens (6.3mm f/7.1)
- 05 - toy tele-lens (18mm f/8)
- 06 - tele zoom (15-45mm f/2.8)
- Holga lens for Pentax Q (10mm f/8)
When using lenses not equipped with a shutter, e.g. legacy glass of the toy lenses, shooting is entirely quiet, due to the electronic shutter. On the downside, the electronic shutter can be used up to 2s only,
By now, I also own a Q7 body. Despite the Q and the Q7 bodies have the most recent firmware, there are remarkable differences.
While the Q seems to handle a lot more easily, the Q7 got some feature I really miss on the Q.
Advantages of the Q
- metal body, creating a very balance experience
- intuitive dial customization
- stereo audio in video recording
Advantages of the Q7
- bigger sensor
- records RAW when using smart filters or effects
- slightly elevated buttons
To me, it is impossible to pick a winner between the Q and the Q7. Although, the Q gets out a lot more often, probably because of the balanced feel of the metal body camera.
Another thought about the Q-system: C-mount lenses, which will fit the sensor just fine and can be really inexpensive.
Should you get a Q or a Q7? Well, I don't know! Just don't get a Q10, which is just a Q in a plastic body.