Photography Blog have some samples from the Pentax Q at the above link. These include some .dng raw samples. They are pretty terrible. Very soft indeed and one I processed taken at ISO 800 was truly horrible.
Why on earth Pentax, a company I have a lot of respect for, are bothering with this eludes me. The rumour is that Nikon are also going down this small sensor interchangeable lens camera route.
Following on from yesterdays Samsung NX200 announcement and its pretty dire high ISO jpgs., the CSC market is seemingly beginning to attract manufacturers who feel that they should part of it, but haven't really got anything useful to offer. I thought Samsung were onto something with the NX10 and its two excellent, though bulky, zooms. However the NX100, despite being a wonderfully simple and well-designed camera, was let down by the softness of the 20-50mm zoom and a pretty mediocre add-on EVF. The NX200 has, to my mind, thrown out the good design, copied a Sony NEX, and pushed the pixel count beyond the limits of their ability to produce a decent sensor.
What Pentax has done is probably even worse. They have produced a "toy" camera with appalling image quality. This from one of the legendary camera companies. Sure everybody makes mistakes and we can all cite examples of pretty awful cameras and lenses from all of the camera makers, but do Pentax really need to do this at this time?
Perhaps its a good thing that Ricoh have bought them up. Certainly with their GXR system, they will always remain in a niche market, but at least they are concerned about trying to produce a quality product that is capable of turning out images that someone might be able to look at and enjoy.
I guess if you're shooting for facebook alone, then something like the Pentax Q might possibly have a justification. But seeing as my Blackberry phone takes better pictures (and Blackberries aren't known for the quality of their cameras) and Pentax are charging some ridiculous amount of money for the Q, its difficult to see who might want it.
Add in the fact that they have these lovely little pancake lenses just waiting for an APS-C CSC to attach themselves to, and Pentax's decision is all the more bewildering. There is talk of them coming up with something like this, but I guess that depends on where Ricoh want to go.
As a long time Pentax fanboy, I must say I'm very disappointed that Pentax have gone down the "gadget" route. I've always had them down as a serious photographic company. I guess this is what you get when you let the marketing department make the decisions.
Do have a look at the samples though and see what you think.