Silently alongside the Pentax K-01 announcement, Pentax USA has revealed the Pentax 2012-2013 lens roadmap, meaning we know what to expect this year as far as new DSLR lenses go!
The roadmap, which you can download here, lists 7 new lenses planned for the next two years or so.
- DA 50mm replacement for the FA 50mm
- DA ~20-200mm walkaround zoom
- DA 550mm non-star telephoto prime
- DA limited short zoom (~20-40mm)
- DA wide zoom (~10-25mm)
- DA* zoom (~20-80mm F2.8)
- DA telephoto zoom (~100-300mm)
- DA 1.4x SDM teleconverter
We are happy to be among the first to report the official specifications and photos of the new, affordable ($749 MSRP) Pentax K-mount mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the K-01! Despite rumors that said otherwise, "K-01" turned out the official name of this camera!
An Industry First
The K-01 is a revolutionary industry first. It is the first mirrorless camera to natively support a SLR lens lineup. Since it employs the Pentax K-mount, it not only supports all current DSLR Pentax lenses, but also all legacy and manual lenses - over 200 of them, if you only count Pentax glass. Open up the floor to third parties and we're looking at a camera that works with thousands of lenses, including M42 mount lenses via the M42 adapter, and medium format lenses via a 645 or 6x7 adapter. The K-01 also has a new image processor which brings it on par with the most modern mirrorless cameras.
With respect to core technical specifications, the K-01 is vastly similar to the Pentax K-5, except that it supports higher video framerates (30/25/24 in full HD, 60/50/30/25/24 in 720p) and its maximum ISO has been reduced to 25,600. It uses the same 16.28 megapixel sensor as the K-5. It also has no optical (obviously) or electronic viewfinder- you must use the screen on the back of the camera. Most exciting of all, however, the K-01 has a new image processing engine called PRIME M.
Pentax K-01 with old 18-55mm lens and new dedicated 40mm kit lens
The K-01 comes standard with a new, ultra-thin DA XS 40mm F2.8 kit lens, and can also be purchased together with the standard DA L 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses or as a body-only for current K-mount lens owners. We expect a larger series of XS lenses to become available in the near future; these lenses will be extra-compact and are said to only function with the K-01.
Price & Availability - (Pre-Orders already to be accepted today)
The K-01 will become available on March 15th. In the US, the body-only MSRP will be $749, and the 40mm kit $899. In Europe, the kit price is 699 Euros. Compared to the launch price of the Pentax Q ($799), and the recent Fuji X-Pro1 ($1699), this new Pentax is not only a great deal, but also solid competition within the mirrorless market. Remember- the image quality of the K-01's sensor ranks among the highest of any APS-C camera on the market.
- K-01 body only black | white | yellow - $749
- K-01 with 40mm kit lens- $899
- K-01 with 18-55 and 50-200mm lenses- $999
Main Highlights and Complete Specifications
- 16.28 Megapixel CMOS sensor form the K-5
- New Prime M imaging engine
- New quieter mechanical shutter
- Optional H.264 video format
- New advanced HDR mode
- Full-HD video recording and 720p video recording at up to 60fps (a first for Pentax)
- Native KAF2/KAF3 mount works with thousands of lenses, manual and modern alike
- 81-point selectable contrast detect autofocus
- 6FPS shutter delivering a 1/4000s maximum shutter speed
- ISO 100-25,600
- Sensor-shift shake reduction (SR)
- Ultrasonic dust removal (DR)
- 3 inch VGA LCD monitor with 170-degree angle of view ("921,000 dots")
- Design by Marc Newson (but not weather-sealed)
- 3 colors: silver & black, black, black & yellow
- Weighs just 480 grams without the battery - lighter & smaller than the K-r
- 12.1cm wide x 7.9cm tall x 5.9cm deep
- Exclusive, stylish design by Marc Newson
- Download full specification sheet
What Makes This Camera Special
We are very enthusiastic about the launch of this camera. The K-01 isn't only an industry first with its SLR-compatible lens mount- it's the first of a generation of cameras which we believe will start dominating the market over the coming decades. Furthermore, it is compatible with all Pentax SLR accessories (such as flashes, GPS units, etc.), and its new image engine should also improve the performance of the camera compared to current models, and hopefully its JPEG output as well.
For just $749, you can get the proven image quality of a $1495 DSLR in a smaller, prettier, and better-performing package, thanks to the new Prime M engine. Sure, some might miss the viewfinder, and the weather sealing, but this doesn't mean that the K-01 isn't a step in the right direction for Pentax. Plus, the price is bound to fall over the course of the year.
And with the new 40mm lens, this camera's size can be reduced to close to that of a point and shoot. It's big enough that it won't fall out of your hands when shooting, however (unlike the Q).
It's not a DSLR replacement for those of us who have DSLRs; it is something completely new which we hope will thrive alongside them.
We are looking forward to receiving a copy of this camera for evaluation purposes as soon as possible, in particular to see the menu system, test the button layout, and measure its AF and video performance. The 81-point contrast-detect autofocus system is by far the item of most interest, as such a system has yet to be deployed as the primary AF mechanism on a K-mount camera. Also, will the K-01 feature manual video controls and full-time autofocus? One thing we have no doubts about, fortunately, is the stellar image quality- it can't help but be as good as that of the K-5! Want to see our review earlier? Tell us so!
Back to the 70's
While the K-01 doesn't feature a fully-retro design, it does incorporate retro elements (such as a flat top plate) and has been exclusively designed for Pentax by Marc Newson. Pentax enthusiasts will also notice that the "K" in the name of the camera uses the same font as it did on the original K-series cameras:
Until then, you may dwell on the K-01 rumors on the forum.
Amidst all the rumors about the mirrorless Pentax K-01, we have some current news to report: Sigma has recently announced a $75 instant rebate on their 17-50mm F2.8 lens, bringing its final price down to $594.
We reviewed this lens prior to the rebate and already then found it to be the overall best fast walkaround zoom currently available for Pentax. Read our comparative review of the DA* 16-50mm, Tamron 17-50mm, and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 for more details!
A few days ago, a photo of the upcoming Pentax "K-01" mirrorless K-mount camera was leaked. It is also believed that the camera will be unveild in just 3 days, on February 2nd, in the UK. We are looking forward to bringing you more details as they become available!
We'd like to remind everyone that next Saturday, February 4th, 2012 is World Pentax Day.
During this event, we'd like to invite you to go out and shoot, as a large part of the community will do the same. Then, you'll be able to share photos from your part of the world in a collective gallery, and create a snapshot of the world through the "eyes" of Pentax cameras.
So, mark your calendars and go out and shoot next Saturday! Note: all World Pentax Day photos must be taken on the 4th in your time zone. Photos from any other day can't go in the gallery!