Unveiled: The Style and Substance of the Pentax Q-S1 Mirrorless Camera


Updating their compact, convenient and style-minded Q-mount camera system, Ricoh Imaging has just announced the Pentax Q-S1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.  It becomes the flagship camera of the Q-mount system that is recognized as one of the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens mirrorless camera systems available. Like earlier incarnations of the Q-mount camera, the Q-S1 puts an emphasis on style with a refined, retro design and customized color combinations. Four colors - black, white, gunmetal and gold - are available as standard purchase, however through the Ricoh “Color Order Service”, 36 additional body and grip colors can be ordered.  The cameras are available as a body only or in two distinct kits, one containing a 5-15mm zoom lens and the other offering the 5-15mm lens and a 15-45mm zoom lens.

The Q-S1 features a 12.4MP 1/1.7” back-illuminated CMOS sensor and the Q-Engine image processor for finely textured, high-resolution still images and Full HD 1080p video capture. The sensor-processor combination produces sharp, low-noise images even in dim light with ISO sensitivity reaching 12800. It also offers effective autofocus accuracy in low light with an EV range from EV 0 to 18. The Q Engine supports fast performance speeds in all aspects of operation from shutter lag and start-up time to its continuous shooting rate of 5 fps. The conveniently accessible Quick Dial also enables fast customized adjustment control, putting your most-used functions on one dial for instant mode switching during image capture.

A state-of-the-art in-camera Shake Reduction system utilizes gyro-sensors to reduce the blur caused by camera shake. This image stabilization mechanism allows sharper results when shooting in low light or when using long telephoto lenses. The Q-S1 is also loaded with creative image processing tools that easily enable you to add visual effects to your images. Up to four such Smart Effect tools can be set to the Quick Dial for immediately adding a faded color or nostalgia look to your shots.

The Q-S1 also enables Full HD 1080p movie capture at 30 and 24 frames per second with H.264 compression. It also provides an interval HD movie recording function and can take advantage of the above mentioned advanced image-processing tools like Smart Effect modes and an array of in-body movie editing tools. New to the Q-S1 in comparison to its predecessors is Continuous AF (AF-C) in video mode which enables autofocus tracking of a moving subject during movie recording. An HDMI port connects your camera directly to an HDTV for easy screening of your movies.

A 3.0” LCD monitor with a 460k-dot resolution provides clear, color-accurate image composition and playback.  Anti-reflective coating and its 170° wide-view design make the LCD easy to view from odd angles and in bright sunlight. An optional viewfinder is also available for stable eye-level composition. The viewfinder fits into the camera’s hot shoe mount which is, of course, available for the use of camera mounted flash units. A built-in flash with a guide number of 16.1’ at ISO 100 is also supported.

As a mirrorless camera designed for any photographer, the Q-S1 provides in-camera 12-bit RAW development and complete manual exposure control including Programmed AE, Aperture and Shutter Priority and Manual modes. Also, simplified Automatic Picture and Scene modes allow you to concentrate on your composition and timing while the camera adjusts its settings based on the scene in front of it. Portrait, Landscape and Macro modes are provided as are 21 Scene modes, including Night Scene Portrait, Pet and Backlight Silhouette making it easy to catch the truly difficult shots. Bokeh Control function offered by the Q-S1 simplifies more complicated depth-of-field control techniques creating images with sharply focused primary subjects and gorgeous out-of-focus areas within the frame.

Several additional features-- multi-exposure mode, Eye-Fi card compatibility, dust removal and a digital level, for example-- demonstrate why the Q-S1 confidently straddles the border between a user-friendly camera and a more-advanced mirrorless system, making it a uniquely stylish camera that works for any type of shooter.

Compatible with the full range of Q-mount lenses the Q-S1 is also offered as the Q-S1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Kit with 5-15mm Lens which pairs the camera with the Pentax 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 Zoom Lens providing the 35mm focal length equivalence of 27.5-83mm for wide-angle to telephoto perspectives. The lens’ variable aperture enables effective low light imaging and a compact form factor to match that of the Q-S1. Four extra-low dispersion (ED) lens elements reduce aberrations and Pentax lens coatings minimize flare for overall sharp, high contrast imaging. A built-in neutral density filter enables better depth of field control in bright light. The Q-S1 Kit with 5-15mm lens is available in black, white, gold and gunmetal, as well as in another 30 distinct color combinations.

 Available only in black, white, gold and gunmetal is the Q-S1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Kit with 5-15mm and 15-45mm Lenses. This two lens combination will supply a comprehensive set of focal lengths covering almost all shooting situations.  The very compact 15-45mm f/2.8 Telephoto Zoom lens offers an equivalent 83-249mm focal length range and its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture enables sharp shooting in low light and shallow depth of field control for portraiture with pleasing out-of-focus backgrounds. ED and Super-Low Dispersion optical elements reduce aberration and improve image clarity and a Super Protect lens coating enhances protection of the front element. The 15-45mm features the Quick-Shift focus system for instant changeover from auto to manual focus.

Furthermore, all of Pentax K-mount DSLR lenses are compatible with the Q-S1 via the optional Pentax Adapter Q for K-mount Lenses. Whether with Q-mount or K-mount lenses and in any of the 40 available color combinations, the Q-S1 is a compact, user-friendly mirrorless camera that will be quite at home in the gear bag a seasoned shooter or around the neck of an urban flaneur looking to put some pizzazz into their photographic wanderings.

Pentax Q-S1 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Lens Mount Pentax bayonet Q-mount
K-mount lenses compatible with optional adapter
Image Sensor 1/1.7” Backlit CMOS with primary color filter
DRII Ultrasonic dust removal system
Effective Pixels 12.4 MP
Total Pixels 12.76 MP
Maximum Resolution 12 MP: 4000 x 3000
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 
Still Image File Format JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW (including DNG), RAW + JPEG 
Image Stabilization Sensor-shift 
Storage Media SD, SDHC, SDXC, Eye-Fi memory cards
Viewfinder Type Optional Pentax O-VF1 mounts onto hot shoe
Shutter Type Mechanical and electronic
Shutter Speed Lens: 1/2000 - 30 sec, 1/3 EV steps
Electronic: 1/8000 - 30 sec
Flash Sync Speed Lens Shutter: 1/2000 sec
Electronic Shutter: 1/13 sec
Top Continuous Shooting Rate Approx. 5 fps at full resolution, up to 100 frames
Self-Timer 12 sec, 2 sec
Interval Recording Photo: 3.0 sec - 24 hr interval, up to 999 images
Video: 3 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 5 min, 10 min, 30
min, or 1 hr interval; 12 sec - 99 hr recording time 
Exposure Metering  TTL image sensor, segment, center-weighted, spot
EV 1 - 17 (ISO 100, f/1.9 lens), +2 EV using electronic shutter
setting or ND filter
Exposure Modes Programmed Auto, AE Lock, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual Exposure, Bulb, Blur Control*
Auto: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Quick Macro*, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR*, HDR*, Night Snap, Blue Sky, Forest, Sunset, Moving Object, Food, Pet,
Kids, Surf & Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
Exposure bracketing: 3 frames
Exposure Compensation From - 3 to +3 EV in 1/3 EV steps
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100 to 12800 in 1/3 EV steps
Bulb mode: up to 1600
Autofocus System Contrast-detection AF
Brightness range: EV 0 to 18(ISO 100)
LED AF assist lamp
Number of Focus Points Not specified by manufacturer
Focus Modes Face detection, tracking, multi-point, select, and spot AF
AF / MF switching
Manual focus assist: Off, x2, x4, x6
Focus peaking
Continuous AF during movie recording
Built-In Flash Yes, retractable P-TTL flash
Guide number: approx. 16' / 4.9 m at ISO 100, approx. 23' / 7.0 m at ISO 200
Angle of coverage of 28mm lens (35mm equivalent)
Flash Modes P-TTL, red-eye reduction, slow-speed sync, rear curtain sync
Flash Compensation From –2.0 to +1.0 EV
External Flash Interface Hot shoe
White Balance Modes Auto TTL, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light (Daylight Color (D), Daylight White (N), Cool White (W), Warm White (L)), Tungsten, Flash, CTE, Manual
Manual: Save up to 3 settings, copy setting of a captured image
Fine Adjustment: Adjustable ±7 steps on A-B axis or G-M axis
Movie Recording Yes, NTSC / PAL
Full HD 1920x1080 at 30/25/24 fps
HD 1280x720 at 30/25/24 fps
VGA 640x480 at 30/25/24 fps)
File Format MPEG–4 AVC/H.264 (MOV)
Audio Recording Yes, via built-in mono microphone
Audio File Format Not specified by manufacturer
External Microphone Input No
Headphone Jack No
Maximum Recording Time 25 min
Monitor 3.0" TFT color LCD with AR coating (460,000 dots)
Adjustable brightness and color
100% frame coverage
Display Info: Grid (4x4, Golden Section, scale display), bright/dark area warning, histogram
Interface USB 2.0 (MSC / PTP), AV out, Micro HDMI out (type D)
Wi-Fi No
Remote Control O-RC1 or Remote F (optional)
Instant, 3-sec delay, continuous capture modes
Power Source D-LI68 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
Battery Charger D-BC68P (included)
AC Adapter: K-AC115U (optional)
Operating Environment 32-104°F / 0 to 40°C
Dimensions Approx. 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3” / 10.4 x 5.8 x 3.3 cm
Weight Camera Only: Approx. 6.5 oz / 183 g
With Battery and Memory Card: approx 7.2 oz / 203 g