Pentax’ tiny mirrorless camera, the Q (full review coming next week), is an odd beast. Like Nikon’s 1 series cameras, it has interchangeable lenses which are inexplicably paired with a point-and-shoot-sized sensor (0.43 -inches on the diagonal). And now, with some new lens adapters, you can make it a little bit odder.
The adapters come from Japanese company Rayqual, and will marry Nikon and Leica lenses to the little Pentax Q, and join a lineup that lets you mount old Olympus and even M42 screw-mount (ask your dad) lenses on the Q.
The Leica adapter is a straight-up mount converter, which is great as all those old Leica lenses have manual aperture and focus rings anyway. The new Nikon G adapter is designed for use with, you guessed it, Nikon’s G-Series lenses. These come without a manual aperture ring (aperture is controlled electronically by the camera), so the adapter adds one back in for you.
So why is this odd? The crop factor, that’s why. Whenever you put a 35mm lens onto a camera body with a smaller sensor, the camera only sees a section cut from the middle of the whole image coming through the lens. This effectively “zooms” the lens, making the image bigger. The crop factor tells you how much zooming occurs. When putting a full-frame (35mm) lens on a smaller APS-C SLR body, this is typically 1.5x. The Pentax Q’s crop factor is an absurd 5.5x.
To put that in perspective, imagine you have a nice, wideangle 28mm lens. If you put this in the Q, it turns into a 154mm lens, which isn’t very wideangle. And what about modest portrait lens? Say the excellent 85mm ƒ1.8 from Nikon? It stretches into an almost useless 468mm.
This is good news for exactly one kind of photographer: the wildlife shooter. Now you can take pictures of dangerous and shy animals from far away. Just don’t expect them to be much good, what with the tiny sensor and the almost-impossible manual focus.
If you’re still reading, the Nikon adapter can be had for ¥24,090 ($300), and the Leica M adapter for ¥22,050 ($280).