The small sensor size means that the Q has a crop factor of 5.6× and a short flange focal distance (FFD). With the 5.6× crop factor, a 100 mm macro lens (for example) becomes a (35 mm equivalent) 560 mm extreme telephoto or an extreme close-up lens capable of 1:1 macro reproduction. An additional implication of the 5.6x crop factor and associated optics is that depth of field (DOF) is increased proportionally for a given aperture setting (in comparison to the 35mm equivalent depth of field at the corresponding aperture). In some applications this gives the Pentax Q an advantage over more conventional mirrorless sensor formats, which offsets other limitations arising from the smaller sensor size. Moreover the Pentax Q includes bokeh functions to provide additional control over DOF effects so that shallow focus can be achieved if required. Later models of the Q (Q7 and Q-S1) have a larger sensor size (1/1.7") which has a crop factor of 4.6×.
The short FFD of the Pentax Q allows the use of third-party adapters to mount lenses from many manufacturers on the Pentax Q body, including Olympus OM, Canon FD, Minolta, M42 screw mount, C-Mount, D-Mount, Pentax K, Pentax Auto 110, and Pentax 6×7. A Pentax adapter for Pentax K-mount lenses was announced for delivery in the spring of 2012, but was delayed until October, 2012.
The camera is equipped with sensor-shift image stabilization technology to improve image quality in low light or when using telephoto lenses.