Pentax has announced the Pentax Q - a device it is describing as "the world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable-lens camera system".
Packing a new Q mount system that has a diameter 6mm shorter than the K mount, the new system eradicates the optical finder, mirror box, focusing plate and AF sensor - meaning that it can all fit into a magnesium-alloy chassis described as "pocket-sized". The body measures 98 x 57.5 x 31mm and it weighs 200g to start, but will obviously depend on what lens you attach.
If there's been a compromise in getting the first prize for smallness then perhaps it is that the sensor is on the small side too - although you'll no doubt still be able to get some cracking images with the back illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor with 12.4 effective megapixels, with the option to shoot JPEG and RAW.
The sensor boasts high efficient light gathering optical construction, and is backed up by a new generation imaging engine with an ISO range of 125 to 6400.
There are four positions on the front dial for you to assign your favourites of the nine smart effects on offer, which are listed as Brilliant Colour, Funicular Bold, Vintage Colour, Cross Processing, Warm Fade, Tone Expansion (like HDR), Bold Monochrome, Water Colour, Vibrant Colour Enhance, and finally User defined. You'll also be able to shoot 1080p HD movies at 30fps.
Other killer features including a Bokeh function (which looks to create the "background defocus" effect we've seen elsewhere), a shake reduction mechanism, a top shutter speed of 1/2000 second, and the choice to shoot in 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 or 1:1 aspects. Of course you get manual shooting controls as well as the normal aperture and shutter priority shooting modes as well.
The LCD monitor is a 3-inches with 460k dots and has a viewing angle of 170 degrees which will be handy in low light, or bright light situations, but doesn't reach the resolution of some displays on rival cameras.
You'll need to team it up with one of the five Q mount lenses that have been announced as well: the Pentax-01 Standard Prime (F/1.9, 47mm in 35mm terms), the 02 Standard Zoom (27.5-83mm), the 03 Fish Eye (160 degree angle), the 04 Toy Lens (35mm) or the 05 Toy Lens Telephoto (100mm).
With retro styling and the selection of smart effects and lenses, it looks like Pentax is gunning for those who like to create easy creative photos, perhaps with a penchant for Hipstamatic or Lomo effect, given the Toy Lens and Cross Processing options.
The price of the Pentax Q is still to be confirmed, but we know that it should hit the shops in September in white or black.
Check out our hands-on photos with the Pentax Q.