My Old Friend, It’s Been Too Long – Pentax Q Back In Action

Sometimes exactly what you’re looking for is right in front of you.

Recent explorations into Micro Four Thirds (MFT) options, including trying again with my Lumix GF1, and finding I like it less than ever, led me to pretty much write off mirrorless cameras, and instead resolve to stick with my established twin pronged approach.

Pentax CCD DLSRs for colour, and to use my old M42 lenses, then digital compacts for more portable, carefree, and largely monochrome photography.

Then I remembered the Pentax Q is mirrorless.

I’ve always considered the little marvel to be like a baby DSLR, so similar is it in look and layout to its bigger Pentax siblings.

Coinciding thoughts – from experiments some weeks back with adjusting the on board colour presets of my later CMOS Pentax K30 – led me to wondering if I was able to tweak the “muted” colour preset on the Q too.

So I set the Q up exactly the same as the K30.

And realised that although it’s called the same, and the little picture in the camera where you tweak a multi-coloured spider web (there’s a more technical term, I’m sure) looks the same, the output was very different.

The Q’s version of muted colour was far more, well, muted, than the K30’s.

So I adjusted it further, and I think have found a colour set up I like.

In the coming weeks, I’ll get out on a few photowalks to test it more out in the field.

But in the meantime, I’m very happy to have rediscovered the little Q, and it’s put any further MFT plans well on the back burner.

The Q may have a smaller sensor, but the build, feel, flexibility, and lenses, means it’s far more impressive than other options I’ve explored that try to bridge the DSLR and digital compact divide.

And the 01 Standard Prime lens especially is absolutely marvellous, especially considering how tiny and light it is.

How about you? Which of your cameras have you not used in far too long?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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12 thoughts on “My Old Friend, It’s Been Too Long – Pentax Q Back In Action”

  1. Hey Dan,

    Even though I only shoot film, if I did shoot digital I think a Pentax Q would be the sort of camera that might suit me well. Ironically, even though I pretty much exclusively use SLR’s for film, I don’t think I’d ever be pleased with any modern DSLR; they just don’t compare to the old film bodies. I have no doubt they’d just leave me frustrated and disappointed.

    I recently brushed off my Spotmatic F (with the SMC Takumar 55/1.8 attached) and put a roll of T-MAX 100 through it, after pretty much only shooting my Minolta SRT cameras for the last couple of years. Now, I feel bad I’ve neglected my Spotmatics for so long. They just feel and operate so comfortably in the hand. I think I’m going to have to start regularly alternating back and forth between my Minoltas and Pentaxes, so that they’re all seeing more fairly regular use, and not sitting ignored for years.

    Take care, Dan. I hope you and your family are doing well.

    1. Good to hear from you P. I think the main shock with using a DSLR coming from an SLR is the viewfinder. Even the best ones don’t compare to the best film SLRs, at least not APS-C sensor DSLRs, I haven’t tried something like a new full frame Pentax DSLR, which no doubt has an excellent VF, but costs more than a car.

      Love the Spotmatic F, it’s the best for me of four or five Spotmatic versions I’ve used. Yes just the feel of it is wonderful. I miss that about shooting film far more then the actual results.

      Yes we’re all good, thanks for asking.

  2. Autumn is rolling in here, and I was just thinking about dusting off the Kodak P850 (with its CCD sensor) for some shots. That’s the only still working camera I like that I don’t regularly use. It will probably start to rain if I do, but at least that will clear the smoke from the air. Yes, the fire smoke has made it this far north.

    1. Definitely a good idea dusting off the old Kodak Marc!

      (I’m afraid my US geography is very limited, so I don’t know where the smoke is originating from or how close/far you are from it.)

  3. A timely topic for me. Recently, while looking through one of the last boxes from our move to be unpacked I found my 50/1.8 AF Nikkor lens. I thought it might be fun to put it on the Nikon N75 – a very small, very lightweight and very capable package – and take some pictures this morning of the road construction behind our church. I found two of the CR2 batteries it uses in our Box O’ Batteries and dropped in a 12-exposure roll of T-Max 100. It’s an overcast day, so not a challenge for the little N75’s auto-exposure that as I recall was always pretty good. Friday is my usual day to develop film. If I have time I’ll try stand developing this roll in Rodinal (1+99).

      1. Different indeed. And having to scare up the batteries that aren’t used in any of our other cameras, and getting the film to autoload in the N75 when I had already cut a long film leader for a bottom loading Leica, reminded me of the benefits of standardization.

        The N75 belongs to my wife. She also has an F6, two F’s and an N80. She uses the F6 a lot, the others not much at all. I try to encourage her to run a roll of film through them from time to time to keep them healthy.

  4. You’re lucky beggar Dan, that you have the ‘Q’ to play with. I always wanted to try it. I heard so different things about this little camera.

    I haven’t shoot with my Pentax Mz-6 this year and since I promised myself to have a ‘film only month’ this autumn, I will take the Mz-6 as the camera that will just do it 🙂

    1. I think those who like the Q, REALLY like the Q. Myself included. It was always aimed at the less serious photographer, with some of the colour modes for example, and of course the range of lenses with half of them called “toy” something or other being obviously aimed at fun and experimentation rather then bleeding edge super high definition photography.

      Enjoy the MZ-6, I had the 3 and 5, as I think we’ve discussed before, excellent cameras.

  5. All of my cameras could see a bit more use 🙂 I have 4 Pentax DSLRs (technically 5 but one’s broken). 2 are malfunctioning so that leaves me basically with two main cameras, which do see use.
    I’ll continue focusing (no pun intended) only in APS-C Pentax DSLR cameras, as I find the multiple systems and formats to be distracting to me. In fact, I think if I stuck with one camera and one prime lens for a very long period of time, it would make me a much better photographer. I just haven’t had the courage to do it yet…

    1. Chris, when people talk about needing courage, it’s usually because they feel there’s something fearful they need to overcome. So what are you afraid of, in using one camera and one lens for a month or two or three?

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