It may not fire lasers or whistle up a dose of stun gas, but the new Pentax Q interchangeable-lens camera has a very James Bond-esque retro style -- and a crazy pop-up flash. Pay attention, 007.
The Pentax Q camera is the first to use the new Q lens mount, announced today. It's the first step for Pentax into the ever-growing market for cameras that swap lenses like a digital SLR, but in a much smaller frame.
The 12-megapixel Q packs a rear-illuminated, 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. It includes shake-reduction and dust-removal features, with a host of automatic modes and special effects for adding different twists to each picture.
It shoots 1080p high-definition video at a rate of 30 frames per second. The pop-up flash, pictured above, may look barmy but it's actually sensibly designed -- the further away the flash is from the lens, the less likely there'll be red eyes or other unwanted effects.
Like other recent lens-swapping systems, Q cameras do away with the mirror mechanism inside traditional dSLRs. That means they can offer dSLR power and features but in a much smaller package.
The first lenses in the Q range are a standard prime lens, standard zoom lens, fish-eye wide-angle lens, and not one but two toy-effect lenses.
Pentax is emphasising its history as a camera brand with the retro appearance of the Q camera. It's a similar tack to the Olympus Pen range, which wears its photographic heritage on its sleeve. The Q camera looks a shade less kitsch than the Olympus Pen E-P1, but it's otherwise very similar. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if the legal team at Olympus decide to 'ave a word.
Olympus isn't the only competitor in the world of compact lens-swapping snappers. Panasonic's feature-packed range, including the Lumix G3, G10 and forthcoming , are bang-up-to-the-minute in terms of styling. Both Olympus and Panasonic make cameras that use lenses, the most established of the new lens formats.
Click through our photo gallery above for a first look at the new camera, and keep it CNET UK as we await the Q's mid-September launch.