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Review: Hand on with the Pentax Q10

8 Jul

Review: Hand on with the Pentax Q10

While we know the Pentax Q10 has been out for several months and a new one (Q7) is on the horizon, we had to test drive it after seeing they boasted 100 colorways .. 100! They even have a fun site Q10 Studio that let’s you play around all the available options you can order (20 body colors/ 5 grip colors) and they’ll put it all together for you and have to your door in a few weeks. We liked playing around with the color pickers (below) and just wish they could have thrown a third red color accent in there and we’d have our own little Cameraluv branded Q10.

Photo gear site Adorama went through the trouble of listing all 100 variations to make ordering even easier.

Ironically, the test model we received was a standard silver/black combo much like what you’d expect from Fuji’s X cameras. We were ok with that, because more than the myriad of personalized color choices, Pentax boasted that the Q10 was the world’s smallest mirror-less interchangeable lensed camera out there and we had to see for ourselves.

After opening the box, the Q10 was even smaller than we thought, even smaller than the Nikon 1 J2. We chuckled as it was dwarfed by our studio Nikon DSLR and at first felt like a toy, but after a day or so of playing with it, we got used to the weight and adjustable 5-15mm zoom and didn’t feel like we were going to break it as some reviews had claimed.

The camera was fun to use and the menus were easy to navigate. One nice thing about the Q10 is the mode dial similar to most DSLRs  you’re used to (P, Av, Tv, M). The mode dial also boasted Auto settings , HD Video recording and a Scene mode selector that gives you 21 options for shooting. One stand out feature is the customizable Quick Dial on the front of the camera that allows for digital filter effects like Monochrome, Cross-Processing, Vintage Color and more. We liked the easy to use manual controls and liked all the features that fit into such a small camera.

Here are a few samples of Q10 images from photographer Steve Wildermuth that are in the Pentax Q10 Gallery.

You can also see additional images from each of the available Q10 lenses like telephoto zoomstandard prime lensfish-eye and toy lens telephoto. Just make your selection and press Go>.

All in all it was a fun camera to use, although not pocket-portable as many of the compacts out there are due to the interchangeable lens, but I’m sure it’d fit in a purse very nicely. If you’re looking for SLR controls in a small package the Q10 or the Q7 (available for pre-order) may be for you.

Some Q10 Tech Facts:

Dimensions: (W x H x D): Approx. 4″(W) x 2.3″(H) x 1.3″ (D)
Sensor type: 12.4 megapixel backlit CMOS image sensor
ISO: 100-6400
Lens: Standard Q-mount lens system with adjustable focal length of 5-15 mm
Aperture: f/2.8-4.5
Shooting modes: P, Av, Tv, M with powerful automatic modes (Auto Picture, Scene)
Continuous shooting: 5fps
Video capability: Full 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second
Flash: Built-in Pop-up covers up to 23 feet (at ISO 200) also has hot shoe.
Monitor: 3″ LCD monitor features HVGA resolution as well as wide viewing angles.
Digital filter effects: 19 (11 selectable at point of capture
Quick Dial: customizable quick dial allows you to save up to 4 creative modes or Smart Effects
File Formats (Still): RAW (DNG), JPEG (Exif 2.3), DCF2.0 compliant
File Formats (Movie): MOV AVC/H.264 (.mov)
Best Price: $396.95 at Adorama

Get yours at Pentax, QStudio and Adorama.

Review: Hands on with the Lomo El Capitan

27 Sep

Review: Hands on with the Lomo El Capitan

Over the last month I’ve had some hands on time with the fun little red 35mm El Capitán camera, my favorite from the newly released La Sardina Series by Lomography. This camera has been a lot of fun and has turned a lot of heads wondering if it was actually made from a sardine can from which it was inspired.

The El Capitán and its sister cam the blue Fischer’s Fritze were the first to boast Lomo’s new adjustable Fritz the Blitz flash which I had to get my hands on. I loved the ability finally adjust the power of the flash. The power control is based on the distance of the subject you are shooting. It worked pretty well and the new colored flash caps (red, yellow, blue, white) are much easier to use than the previous little gel slips. I liked the results of the yellow and the white diffuser caps much more than the blue caps. It was cool to have some really nice and warm colored snaps of my son that look a lot like the old summer pics of me as a child.

Lomography is known for their fun cameras, but also their packaging. The La Sardina series is no exception with the marine influenced packaging consisting of nets and ship’s wheels and other nautical symbols. This package also comes with cool fold-out poster manual and creative little La Sardina book that has exposed threaded edges. The book features their 10 Golden Rules of Lomography along with tons of shots from the La Sardina cameras of boats, old men, ropes and all-things-sea. Some people I’ve talked to wish they could get the cameras without all the excessive packaging, but as a designer I appreciate the little fun details of the experience they provide.

When I had the camera with me I didn’t take myself to seriously and just had fun snapping away with family and friends. One drawback of the adjustable focusing lens onboard was that I sometimes forgot to switch it in the moment. I’d be upclose shooting to infinity or vice-versa. I like the feature, but I need to pay more attention to what I have it set on. I was happy with the images I shot both on 100 and 800 speed films. The 800 was a bit grainy, but there’s no denying it’s actually film and not some instagram filter. All-in-all I had a lot of fun with the camera and I smiled every time I took it out with me to shoot and pretty much everyone who saw me with it smiled as well.

Some La Sardina Tech Facts:

Film type: 35mm
Lens Focal length: 21mm
Aperture: Fixed f/8
Shutter speed: Bulb(B), 1/100 (N)
Focusing steps: Two Step 0.6m, 1m-infinity
Film Counting: Auto Film Counting
Multiple exposures: Yes
Flash contact: For Fritz the Blitz flash only
Price: El Capitán $99, Frischer Fritze $99, Marathon $59, Sea Pride $59

Get yours at or your local lomography dealer.

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