Pentax is belatedly entering the digital interchangeable-lens camera market - in a noticeable, yet 'small' way.
Although the company is behind its competitors, such as Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, and Samsung - which are all producing second- or third-generation of products - coming late to the party isn't necessarily a disadvantage. Pentax has introduced a model, the Pentax Q, which is the size of a standard point-and-shoot model, but also allows you to swap lens, and access advanced functions.
The compromise is that the Pentax Q is equipped with a much smaller sensor - a backside-illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS to be exact, which is 67 per cent smaller than Pentax's regular DSLRs.
While the Q will still give you 12.4 megapixels, as well as HDvideo, the smaller sensor does limit the optics for the lens, which now carries a magnification factor of 5.5x - so that the included 8.5mm lens equals 47mm in actual 35mm-equivalent terms.
In comparison, Micro 4/3, which appears in the Panasonic GF-series, has a magnification factor of 2x.
One negative side-effect is that it will be difficult to produce high-quality, wide-angle lenses. However, the good news is that Pentax knows this, and is releasing a series of affordable (HK$690-HK$1,090) 'toy' lenses, including 35mm wide-angle, 100mm telephoto, and ultra-wide fisheye models.
These should offer lots of fun, but with apertures in the f7 range, you'll need a lot of light.
The Pentax Q sells for HK$6,990 with a single lens.
Pros: smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market, a fun 'toy lens'
Cons: small sensor limits lens magnification factor, limited lens choice