Lo-Fi In Your Eye – Up Close With The Pentax Q 07 Lens

My Pentax Q has taken a back seat lately, with the Ricoh GX100 and an old Sony camera phone delivering all I need in both the experience and the final image.

The Q is too wonderful a camera to stay out of the limelight for too long though.

As a regular reader you might recall I have the standard 01 Prime 47mm f/1.9 lens which is impressive in every aspect, and made my two Pentax DSLRs pretty much redundant overnight.

Then there’s the tiny, primitive 07 Mount Shield lens, with fixed focus, fixed aperture and distinctly (and deliberately) lo-fi performance.

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With the 07 on the Q, it’s an incredibly compact and lightweight combo – as discrete as I would ever need, whilst still offering “proper” camera handling (unlike virtually all smartphones).

I use a wrist strap and leave it switched on so the next photograph is only a moment away – especially without the need to focus or adjust aperture. The shutter is virtually silent.

Add its brilliant customisation and options, not least of all modes like “bold monochrome” which gives me the kind of inky, dreamy pictures I like straight out of camera, and it’s irresistible.

That lens does have its limitations though, and the look can get a bit samey, especially if I stick to my standard set up of bold monochrome and ISO800.

So I wondered about what else I could do with it, especially to change the standard quoted (fixed) focus range of 0.6m – 2m. 

Which reminded me I had a set of close up lenses for my Holga (probably the film camera closest in spirit to the images from 07 lens, ironically), so I expertly precision engineered the 120mm close up lens on to the Q.

Ok, I stuck it on the front with some hastily crafted blu tac.

Size wise, the extra plastic lens adds mere millimetres and grams to the Q, so you barely notice it’s there.

In terms of function though, for me with my penchant for close up detail, it opens up a whole other world.

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Because the focus is closer, it’s easier to see what is in focus and what isn’t too, so it feels like there is more control. Instead of adjusting the focus with a ring around the lens, I simply move the camera physically closer or further away until what I want in the frame is sharpest.

It also amplifies the blurred edges when subjects are a little further away, again with a little trial and error and manipulation.

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And when I want to really emphasise the lo-fi dreamy look of the 07 lens – in particular combined with the bold monochrome mode – I’m able to explore more distant images that are significantly out of sharp focus.

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It’s as close as I’ve found to a digital Holga, whilst still being surprisingly sharp and detailed in the right circumstances.

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I already loved the Q with the 07 lens in standard form, but this very simple add on shows not only how versatile it can be, but also reminds me how a little bit of extra thought and creativity can be far more satisfying approach than using a highly sophisticated camera with every option under the sun.

And a further reminder that we already have all we need to make pleasing photographs.

When did you last try a different approach – lo-fi or otherwise – with one of your favourite cameras?

Please let us know in the comments below (and remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.

8 thoughts on “Lo-Fi In Your Eye – Up Close With The Pentax Q 07 Lens”

    1. Thanks Robert, I appreciate your comments. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with this set up, including stacking the close up filters (I have three) to get even closer.

    1. Thanks for your comments barondla, much appreciated.

      Just to clarify, I have the original Q, not the later Q7. The 7 comes from the lens – it’s the 07 Shield Mount Lens, with the Holga close up filter stuck on top.

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