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Pentax K-01

Ergonomics 
 7.7
Build Quality 
 9.1
User Interface 
 8.9
Autofocus 
 7.9
Features 
 8.6
Value 
 9.6
Image Quality 
 9.8
Noise 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
59 139,600 Tue August 4, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $371.40 8.78
Pentax K-01

Pentax K-01
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Pentax K-01
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Pentax K-01
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Pentax K-01
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Pentax K-01
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Pentax K-01
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Description:

The PENTAX K-01, introduced in 2012,†is an industry first. It is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) with an APS-C sized sensor (16 x 24 mm) that takes the full range of legacy K-mount Pentax SLR/DSLR lenses and accessories as well as the new XS series ultra-compact lenses. Recently introduced mirrorless cameras from other brands with APS-C (or smaller) sized sensors have lens mounts incompatible with the DSLR/SLR cameras of those brands. Pentax has once again shown its commitment to its customers by not obsolescing their lens collection.

See our In-Depth K-01 Review

See the Pentax K-01 Exclusive Overview

The Pentax K01 camera is designed by the well-known industrial designer Marc Newson, so Pentax has not just focused on the technical specifications, but also paid attention to the looks and feel of this new camera.

The K-01 uses the 16.3 MP Sony sensor similar to the one used in the PENTAX K-5, so the K-01 makes the excellent image quality and high dynamic range of the K-5 available in a more compact and less expensive package.

Being mirrorless, the K-01 uses the imaging sensor for auto-focus (contrast detect) and exposure metering, but has inherited the floating sensor shake reduction mechanism from the Pentax DSLRs. The autofocus system has 81 focus points.

The lens mount is of the KAF2 type without aperture ring coupler. This means that all current KAF/KAF2/KAF3 K-mount and legacy K-mount lenses can be used although the oldest generations, K- and M-series lenses, must be used with stop down metering. 645 and 67 format lenses can be used with adapters. The lens mount supports autofocus for drive shaft as well as SDM autofocus lenses. Lenses with the KAF4 mount variant introduced in 2016 cannot be used.

The K-01 offers a wide sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51,600, and a wide range of shutter speeds from 1/4000 sec to 30 seconds and the full range of shutter speeds are available at all F-stops, something that is not a given for a mirrorless camera.

A HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode has been added to the exposure mode dial which makes it easy to engage this mode. The mode dial also has settings for scene modes of which there are 19, and Auto-Pict, a mode which based on an analysis of the scene will pick the optimal scene mode.

The K-01 has an upgraded video capability as compared to current and past Pentax DSLRs. It offers full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24, 25 and 30 fps, and 720p HD recording up to 60 fps, and a built-in stereo microphone. There is also a connector for an external stereo microphone.

The K-01 has no view finder. The LCD monitor is used for composing the image. There is a choice of four image aspect ratios: 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1, and a 4x4 or 3x3 grid can be superimposed to aid composition.

Discuss the K01 in our Dedicated K-01 Forum

Camera Manuals:


Pentax K-01
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Year Introduced
2012
In Production
No (Discontinued 2013)
Current US Price
N/A
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor
Sensor Format
APS-C
Sensor Type
CMOS
Megapixels
16.28
Resolution
3264 x 4928 pixels
AA Filter
Yes
Super Resolution
No
Bit Depth
12
Minimum ISO
100
Maximum ISO
25600
ISO Range
100 - 12,800 (100 - 25,600)
Imaging
Exposure Modes
Auto Picture, Scene, HDR, P, Hyper Av, Hyper Tv, Av, Tv, TAv, M, B
Program Modes
Standard
Maximum FPS
6
Continuous Shooting
Hi: 6 fps up to six frames (JPG, RAW not possible), Lo: 3 fps until card is full (JPG)
Shutter Speeds (Auto)
30s - 1/4000s (stepless)
Shutter Speeds (Manual)
B, 30s - 1/4000s
Shutter Life
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Auto bracketing
Exposure (3 frames), one-push EV bracketing
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight (auto, on, off), Shadow (auto, high, medium, low, off)
Exposure lock
Yes
Self timer
2 s and 12 s
Metering Sensor
Meter range
-1 to 21 EV
Meter pattern
Multi-Segment,Center Weighted,Spot
Mirror lock-up
N/A
Interval shooting
Up to 999 frames, from 1 sec to 24 hours between frames
HDR mode
Yes
Multiple exposures
Yes, average and additive, 2 to 9 shots
Pixel mapping
Yes
Scene Modes
19: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Forest, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG only), Night Snap, Food, Pet, Kids, Surf & Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
Restrictions
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
Yes
Stabilization
Yes (sensor-shift SR)
Power zoom
Not supported
Supported Lenses
All Pentax K-mount lenses except for lenses with the KAF4 mount variant. Manual focus only with K-, M-, and A-series lenses. Stop down metering only with K- and M-series lenses. M42, Pentax 645 and Pentax 6x7 lenses with the appropriate adapters (stop down metering and manual focus only).
Lens correction
Distortion,Lateral Chromatic Aberration
Focusing
Autofocus (viewfinder)
AF Points
Autofocus sensitivity
1 EV
Front/back focus correction
Not necessary
Autofocus with SDM
Yes
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
Viewfinder/LCD
Viewfinder
None
Viewfinder type
None
Diopter adjustment
AF Points in viewfinder
No
Exchangeable screen
N/A
Depth of field preview
Yes
Digital preview
Use live view with histogram overlay
Live View
Yes
Top LCD
No
Focus Peaking
Yes
Back LCD
3 in. 921,000 dots
Body
Weather resistant
No
Control wheels
1
Battery grip
No
Card slots
1
Dust removal
Yes, Sensor Shake DR
Dust alert
No
Memory card type
SD, SDHC (max. 32GB), SDXC, UHS-I speed class support
Size (W x H x D)
121 x 79 x 59 mm (4.8 x 3.1 x 2.3 in.)
Weight
480 g (16.9 oz), 560 g (19.8 oz) with battery and SD card
File format
DNG (RAW),JPG,MOV
Battery life
500 images (50% flash usage), Playback time 320 minutes
Battery
D-LI90 lithium-ion rechargeable
Flash
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 12 (ISO 100/m)
Sync speed
1/180s
P-TTL flash
Yes
Flash functions
Auto discharge, On (leading curtain sync), Redeye reduction, Slow-speed sync, Trailing curtain sync, High-speed sync*, Manual*
* Available when combined with external flash
TTL flash
No
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Video
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 30, 25, and 24 fps 1280x720 (16:9) at 60, 30, 25, and 24 fps 640x480 (4:3) at 30, 25, and 24 fps MPEG4 AVC/H.264 Recording time up to 25 minutes HDMI out
Exposure Modes
Movie mode restrictions
AF During Recording
No
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo (external mic) Stereo (built-in mic) Adjustable sound level
Interfacing
GPS
Via Accessory
Tethering
None
Connectivity
USB 2.0, AV out, HDMI out (Type C, Mini), 3.5mm stereo mic
Latest Firmware
Version 1.05
Notes
User reviews
In-depth review
Focus peaking, Embed copyright information in EXIF, High ISO NR can be customized for each major ISO value, In-camera RAW development, The green and red buttons are customizable and can perform a variety of functions, hereunder start movie recording
Megapixels: 16.28 MP
ISO Range: 100 - 12,800 (100 - 25600 extended range)
Weight: 560 g with battery and SD card
FPS: 6 fps
LCD: 3 in., 921,000 dots
In Production: Buy the Pentax K-01
Manual: http://c758710.r10.cf2.rackcdn.com/files/support/manual/1330621102_Manual_K-01_EN_official.pdf
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax K-01 in-depth review!



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Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Ascending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 59
New Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 1
Review Date: April 9, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Design, IQ, usability
Cons: No viewfinder
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 9    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I'll keep it short... The K-01 is a wonderful camera. The only negative aspect I can think of is the lack of a viewfinder, but... for that we have the K-5. This is a different type of camera. A relatively small and compact camera with amazing IQ. The camera is somewhat of a 'fashion statement', but that's what I like about it. Somehow, consumers these days want small (as in: tiny) bodies with amazing IQ, a viewfinder, tilting screen, etc. There are already enough companies for these types of cameras. Pentax has done something different (in the good sense) with the K-01... a unique (Marc Newson) design with amazing quality, plus... it's the first hybrid camera one can use with existing (Pentax) lenses, which is really great. I highly recommend the K-01. I've had no problems with the rubber flap on the side (as many people are mentioning), the grip is just right for my hand, it's stable and in the four days that I've had the camera now and went out with it, people are asking me about it and are responding in a positive way. The K-01 is now my travel, walk around camera. No need to carry a larger DSLR or a micro 4/3 (with tiny sensor) anymore.
   
Moderator
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 9,813

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 10, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Funky design, size, focus peaking, image quality
Cons: Funky design, size, no viewfinder, rubber flap
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 8    Value: 8    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

This camera polarises opinions, but after three weeks use including international travel, I am firmly in the likers' camp.

Some hate the design, and some can't forgive the lack of a viewfinder, but I was surprised by the number of positive comments the camera received, including from a (lapsed) Pentaxian mate of mine who was unaware of its existence. The blocky shape is actually quite useful; any flat surface can be used as an improvised tripod, and it slips into and out of a camera bag much easier than my K-5. As for the lack of a viewfinder: yes, it's a negative, but the LCD is at worst usable in most conditions. A swivel function (or of course, an EVF) would have been a bonus.

Autofocus is quick enough by live view standards, and nicely precise. The focus peaking works well and will be particularly appreciated by owners of old manual lenses.

As would be expected from its superb sensor (same as the K-5) and improved processor, image quality is stellar. Coupled with the compatibility with all your precious K-mount lenses, I doubt you get better output from any mirrorless camera anywhere. It is an especially sweet match with the Pentax limited primes; it looks the bomb with my silver FA77
Although some say it is too big, in my opinion a significantly smaller body would have lost functionality.

As a bridge between the compact point & shoots and a fully-featured DSLR, this is a versatile, cute, user friendly consumer camera capable of professional quality results. (It also doubles as a pretty handy video camera, by the way)
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Lithuania
Posts: 1,203
Review Date: April 24, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Alternative design, solid build, not what i was expecting, superb IQ
Cons: battery life, firmware 1.0 usual glitches, slow focusing with 35mm Limited Macro, no PEF,1 fps raw
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Actually itís my girlfriends (she changed from Nikon to K-01) not my K-01 but I had fair use of it. Itís feels solid in a hand, dials and buttons click enjoyably. Kit 40mm DA XS lens is incredible. Image stabilization system seems better than in K-5. AF is slow but if you remember how slow AF was working on *ist-DL and K20D itís feels more than fine, the only strange issue is slow focus back and forward searching with 35mm Limited Macro. Other con is no PEF raw file format witch creates no noise redaction control in DNG files when working with them in Aperture 3. I hope no PEF, battery life and 1 fps raw problems will be change with next firmware. Overall itís all around semi-beginners camera not in small package but in middle one with superb image quality. I would recommend it for advance users as second camera accompanying yours K-5 or 645D.
P.S. combining it with Eye-fi SD card, smartphone of your choice and switching acceptance rate settings to 1:1 (for better framing) is perfect way to troll instagram.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 3,781

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 17, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, Design, Video, Strap
Cons: Memory card rubber flap
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 9    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

The K-01 arrived two days ago and I write my review based upon my own initial perceptions. I have a K-7 with 6 lenses and I chose the K-01 (black) with DA40mm f2.8 xs for its compatibility with the K-mount to share the lenses. EDIT: After 7 months of usage, I add a few more comments.

Bulky - Yes the camera is bulky but ... the lens is tiny. With the lens, the body+lens combo is not that big, in fact smaller than a few ultra-zoom P&S.

Weight - Yes and No. Yes the camera is heavy with its battery. But the lens is so light that the camera+lens combo is not heavy overall. It is well-balanced on the strap and feel like a large P&S camera.

Strap - A great strap with excellent attachment points, well-balanced. The strap is an improvement from the K-7/K-5 strap, and it makes the K-01 experience a great feel.

Video - The red button is a great option. The selection of Full HD and HD movie settings is impressive. I will definitely try the 60 fps. EDIT: the video is definitely great.

Handling - The camera is easy to handly IMHO. The strap is great, well-balanced and this adds to the ease of handling.

Design - The design looks neat. That is GREAT. My wife was impressed by the sleek design and simplicity of forms. I am myself impressed by the ability to rest the camera on three sides (bottom, left and right side) in a very stable position. This is a great idea. The button layout is simple and will help my wife's experience, coming from a P&S.

IQ: EDIT: the IQ is very impressive.

Lens - The design of the DA40mm f2.8 xs is amazing. I am not talking about IQ, but about weight and size. This is astonishing.

Dust removal - I set up the dust removal at start up. The dust removal is a little noisy, much more than on the K-7/K-5.

At the end, what can be improved? First the access to the memory card is flimsy. EDIT: After experience, I feel that it is not that bas.
The rubber flap is hard to put back into position. It is not too bad as initially thought, but this must be improved. EDIT: A lot was written about the rubber flap but it is sturdy and it works well.
Second the lack of compatibility with PDCU is surprising. The images cannot be processed with PDCU (at least with version 4.35). Since I have a K-7, I would prefer to use one and only one software to post-process my shots, and PDCU has more PP functions than the Silkpyx studio software. EDIT: The more I use the K-01, the more I would like to use PDCU to PP the shots.

Overall I would rate the camera + lens at 9 to 9.5/10. EDIT: 9.5/10.

This is the perfect camera as a second body for myself, or in this case for my wife to join Pentax. The lens is incredibly small and light: a great asset IMHO. The camera is simple to use and well designed to attract non dSLR people to Pentax. EDIT: after 7 months of usage, I love the K-01. It si a very nice complement of my K-7.
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2008
Location: Sydney AUSTRALIA
Posts: 116

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 19, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image Quality, features, intervalometer, HDR, Multiexposure and Movie mode.
Cons: Lack of EVF, flimsy SD card flap, slow focus
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 6    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I have had the K20D since 2008 and wanted to update to the legendary K5 IQ, although being aware that a replacement had to be coming soon. I paid AU$670.00 body only in Sydney.

I wanted a platform which would allow experimenting with a large lens database in legacy glass. The new movie mode was a bonus as I use video professionally. After 3 weeks use, It's a love hate affair. I love the features and IQ but hate the form factor and no VF, so it's up for sale, brand new, especially as the K30 has been announced.
Add a reticulated LCD, faster focus, 14bit AD, and it would be a killer, different camera effectively. I think it will find a niche market, in social and event photography, and I could get used to it in a controlled studio environment for product and still life applications. Anyone into timelapse photography will find it a boom. Great value and output quality overall.

Check out some of my test images here
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-01/178409-add-your-best-k-01-photos-here-18.html
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 63

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 21, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $729.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, ease of use, looks
Cons:
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

I tried to not like the K-01. Bought it with a 30-day return policy. Shot for 3 weeks and tried to justify returning it, mostly because itís not small enough or light enough to replace my daily carry (Canon Powershot G10). And if I need a good camera for work or a family outing, Iíll take my K-5. I donít like not having a viewfinder in sunlight. The doors are flimsy. You've heard this all before. But after shooting for a few weeks, I just have to keep it. Reasons:

Wife loves it. It's easy to shoot. We handed it to our 6 year old niece and she shot with it, no problem. Wife loves being able to hold the camera out in front of her, aimed at the two of us for self portraits, and you just canít do that for very long with the K-5, unless you have wrists like Popeye. Of course you can do it with a smaller camera like the G10, but . . .

The difference in image quality compared to the G10 is incredible! Iím a fast learning amateur and have pulled some images from K-01 (and K-5 obviously) that are incredible, professional. Many of them taken by my wife who doesnít know Av from Tv. Itís now a little disapointing pulling images from my G10, and Iím more inclined to figure out ways to take the slightly bulkier, slightly heavier K-01 wherever I go.

Itís non-intimidating. It seems like everyone is a little more relaxed getting their picture taken around a non-DSLR. Especially with the pancake lens, this camera looks like a point-and-shoot from the 80s, nobody has any idea the kind of shots youíre getting. When you send them some prints, theyíre amazed.

Reviewing photos is fast, finally! Canon DSLRs, for years, have had the best playback features for reviewing photos on camera. The dial on the back of a Canon lets you spin through photos super fast, with animation, and the same feature is available on their mirrorless cameras, which is huge. The K-5 playback seems archaic in comparison. The K-01 got a mutch needed boost in speed, it still doesnít have Canonís dial, but itís super fast now with controls that are about as good. The "OK" button on the K-01 greatly speeds up viewing for those who like to zoom in while browsing photos in-camera.

It ilicits comments and praise from clients and casual observers. Doesnít affect results, but makes it hard to give up. It's classy not flashy. Exudes quality with style, and a little bit of sophistication. I'm not a professional photographer but need to take hi-quality photos for my profession (pics of finished producs, images and video of clients, and shots that will eventually be used in printed media) this is a great camera for that! I can take it more places than I normally would take my K-5, and the look and build quality of the camera reflects the quality of the type of work I do.

The fact that my wife and kids can take great photos with this camera is testament to ease of use. It's a fun camera to take out and play with anytime. I wouldn't toss it around like my G-10 (mostly because of the lenses that are on it) but I have no reservations for recommending it to someone who is hard on their gear.

Note: I know it's not really fair to compare the K-01 to a Canon G10, but it's what I have, and it's kinda representative of other mirrorless cameras: lighter, smaller, has a viewfinder, great build quality...

Of course you could get this kind of image quality with one of the new breed of high-end mirrorless cameras like the sony NEX-7 but there's something very satisfying about the look and feel of the Pentax K-01 that grows on you and is hard to put down.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 509
Review Date: August 8, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Creative, standing out
Cons: Pathetic and dumb AF, buttons are not convenient
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 5    Features: 6    Value: 7    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

What can I say about K-01? I could not imagine such a camera a year ago. I almost dismissed the rumor about such a camera. So first I have to give kudos to Pentax for such a creative camera.

The camera seems to be positioned higher than Kx, but lower than K30. Using K5's sensor allows K-01 to have great image quality. Using K5 battery makes it a perfect backup camera for K7 or K5 users. The design is largely functional. The grip is appropriately large and easy to hold for small lenses.

The camera frame is very sturdy, much better than Kx. The big spin wheels on top of the camera are easy to use.

Here are some of my gripes, most of which are about AF.

1. the AF is pathetic, especially with long lenses. It takes a while for my DA60-250 to find the right objects. The AF is also dumb. It does not know which way to turn. It often goes to the opposite direction and spend a long time to come back, even though the the subject was very close to be in focus in the beginning. It does not work for moving objects.

2. the point focus is bad. It does not focus on the point selected.

3. AF while videoing is bad. It could not find the subject you want to focus.

4. Without a viewfinder or an articulate screen it is hard to manually focus with precision. My Kx is pretty bad with AF, but I can always use the split screen and manually focus.

5. Starting time is long. It is noisy to clean the sensor.

6. I wish there are more functions attached to the on off switch.

7. The rubber door on the side is hard to be put back.

Here are my recommendations:
1. Fix the AF.
2. Make it weather resistant.
3. Change the position of the green and red buttons.
4. Give me an electronic viewfinder or an articulated screen.
5. Keep the price low.

Good first try, I am looking forward to K-02.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 2,030
Review Date: September 2, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality, build quality, most compact K-mount camera, battery life, design (for me)
Cons: AF is not good with slower lenses, kit lenses lack quick shift
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 8    Value: 9    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I've been using a K20D since 2008 and I decided to get a K-01 as a more discreet camera to use for social occasions. The fact that I didn't have to invest in a new lens system made it an easy choice. I paid 44,800 yen (around $550) for the body only. It's even better value at the time of writing. I've been using it for about four months now.

The camera itself is very well made. I especially like the solid feel of the buttons and dials, and i like the way that they are spaced out from each other. Battery life is great for a live view camera, but you are carrying a big, heavy battery, so it's to be expected.

Perhaps my expectations of the AF were a bit lower than some people. It's certainly slower the K20D, but not by a huge margin. The times when it takes a long time to lock focus are when using the long end of variable aperture zooms. I prefer to use it with prime lenses, so it isn't a problem often.

Focus peaking is great for using manual lenses, but also in combination with quick shift lenses in autofocus mode. In fact, it really is a pity that all of the kit lenses lack quick shift. The DA Limited series really are the best companions to the K-01 - they have quick shift, work well with the autofocus, and are compact enough to keep the total size down.

I haven't mentioned anything about image quality yet. It is simply stunning with a good lens attached. I'm not a pixel-peeper, so the main thing that struck me was the increase in dynamic range compared to K20D. Some posters have said that the sensor is the same as the K-5, but my understanding is that there are some differences. The colour depth is 12-bit against the K-5's 14-bit, but on the other hand, the K-01 has a lighter low pass filter, so it is a bit sharper at pixel level. We're talking very small differences.

The K-01 is the first of it's kind and it has a few weaknesses, but it doesn't feel like a half-finished or rushed-out product. No doubt a more refined version will come out to replace it fairly soon. However, for people who don't need an EVF, don't mind the weight, and have reasonable expectations about the AF, it is an excellent camera. It will probably also be a unique one, because I suspect they will tone down the design of its successor.

For anyone wondering "Why wouldn't you just get a proper DSLR?", my answer is simple. I have a perfectly good DSLR and I've hardly touched it since I got the K-01.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 15
Review Date: October 26, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image Quality, Build, Focus Peaking
Cons: Low FPS
Ergonomics: 6    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

The Yellow Brick

What a solid, but quirky camera. Excellent photo quality. Compatible with K-mount lenses.

I picked this up as my primary camera with the Limited pancake lenses and haven't looked back. Image quality is stellar, and is truly a pocketable camera in many senses. Don't believe the negative reviews you've read online - most people don't "get" the K-01 because they haven't been out in the field using it.

- Only major con is that the camera is a little tough to hold with larger lenses (e.g. 17-70 f/4), but still quite manageable.

- Focus peeking is the future - every camera will come with it as a built-in feature before long.

- Beware reviews that mention focusing issues, these issues were there in the initial release, but the newest firmware has fixed these issues very well.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 9
Review Date: October 28, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    New or Used: New   

This camera's looks just kept growing on me which I guess reflects the daring new design. Added to that the price has become a bargain for the image quality it can produce and actual user reviews seemed to differ greatly from the early media reviews.

After testing this camera out, especially with the new firmware, it has totally exceeded my expectations. Build is incredible and weather sealing is the only thing missing for me but think I'm being greedy!

The comments about hitting the green button and the rubber flap don't wash with me - you have to move your finger a couple of cms for the former and you get the knack of sliding the flap back in very quickly. Big deal.

UI is great - really fast to access shooting options, manual focus and peaking are amazing with the screen and have totally changed my approach to non evf shooting.

Build is absolutely fantastic, with solid aluminium everywhere and reassuring clicks from dials and buttons, but noticeably lighter than K5.

And finally, the image quality is right up there for APSC. Pentax Ricoh, please don't ditch this line. Make a smaller, lighter version with less heft and depth in the body and an update of the K01 which takes an optional EVF.

Oh and on next firmware, add compatibility with gps astro tracer unit.
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2010
Posts: 47
Review Date: November 28, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Noise control, Size, Can expand creativity if used to shooting with viewfinder
Cons: Cannot bracket 5 exposures, No remote use when bracketing, SD card under flap of grip
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 6    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 4    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

My initial statement is to just get this camera while you can at the low price point. I purchased it as a second body to my k7, but now I am pretty sure I will be using it as primary for any non-tripod shots. Not having owned the k5, I am blown away by the image quality and the noise handling at high ISOs. This sensor does better at ISO 6400 then my k7 at ISO 800.

I noticed that my 40mm limited auto-focuses quicker and more accurately on the k-01 then it does on the k-7. It is not a matter of adjusting the lens for front or back focusing either (on the k-7), because sometimes it is right on, sometimes it isnít. This is great since the pancake lens is the best companion to the k-01. I would recommend getting it with the 40mm xs lens if you donít already have the limited. Great walkaround lens.

As others have stated, the focus peaking is awesome. It is cool that the feature is not offered on the k5 (to my knowledge)Ö so it is not all take-aways to make it cheaper, which is refreshing. It is nice to have a different view of things (using the lcd vs viewfinder). I think it helps to keep things creative.

However the one take-away that will prevent this camera from being my landscape shooter is the bracketing of only 3 exposures. On top of that, you cannot use the remote or timer when bracketing, which will defeat the purpose for those who use it for HDR on a tripod (as pressing the shutter down will cause camera movement) It will most likely be my walkaround camera and portrait/low light shooter. I am sure I will get the k5 iis or equivalent at some point to replace my k7 for landscapes.

It was bigger than I thought it was going to be, but I realized if it was any smaller it would be hard to hold and manual focus. So I actually like the size and donít wish it to be any smaller. Not a huge fan of the rubber flap covering the SD card, like many othersÖ but what can you do? Maybe on the next model just include it right next to the battery, in the same compartment. That is what my ricoh gx100 has (which by the way probably wont be seeing the light of day again). They can leave the rubber flap to cover the other inputs which I never use.

It gets a 10 for quality and value. I almost want to buy a second one just in case they discontinue the line, and if they donít the next one will most likely be more expensive. Even at its original price point, I would still recommend it.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: ON, RH
Posts: 2,179
Review Date: January 11, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $316.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Easy to use, can use K mount lenses, focus peaking, great IQ, funky and cute
Cons: for me, none ... i don't expect it to be anything else
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Looks and ergonomics aside (each person will have their own standard and preferences), I think this camera is a great addition as a backup camera or studio camera. Everything you need is pretty much included in this camera.

I love how Pentax is standing its own grounds and brake the "monotony" of a camera by bringing new designs and fun cameras that are different but in the same time they are serious contenders that will give you great results.

Now, nothing is perfect and for some this camera will fall a little short on looks and some buttons placement, but if you are willing to accept it for what it is, you will not be disappointed with the results.

The brick does good ...
   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Posts: 12,283

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 11, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $316.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great sensor, takes K mount lenses, outstanding IQ
Cons: Ergonomics are very poor, no VF, has trouble with some lenses, artificially slow FPS
Ergonomics: 4    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 7    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I took my own advice and bought a K-01. I got it for $316 with the 40XS lens. After selling the 40XS the K-01 body, with all accessories, cost me net $152 I'd say that is a steal of a deal

For those who have been reading my posts for some time they know that I was an early and vocal critic of Pentax and the K-01. I did handle them and found the ergonomics severely lacking and the rubber SD card door a joke. I have never negatively commented on IQ. I also found the initial price to be absurd for a camera with no view finder and other issues.

Now that I own a K-01, in Yellow by the way, I have other thoughts and wanted to share them. I was struck by the praises in several recent threads that are a bit Pollyanna IMHO. Hopefully I can offer a balanced perspective on the K-01. As background I have owned a K-x, K-r, K-5, and Q (in addition I have several film SLRs by Pentax). I still have the K-5 and Q. My lenses run the gamut from Limited Primes to Consumer Super-Zooms in both AF and Manual flavors.

Image Quality - Excellent - period. The IQ on the K-01 is slightly better IMHO than that coming straight out of my K-5. I realize this is weird given the nature of the sensor and other issues but itís what I am seeing under real use, non-controlled, circumstances.

Autofocus - Good. Once I installed the new firmware things got a bit faster. It's still not as fast as my K-5 but itís better than the Q. Accuracy, its apples and oranges for accurate with the two focus systems. I can say that it and the Q are on more equal ground but again I find that the K-01 nails the focus more often than the Q but that may have to do with DoF and crop factor.

Image Write Speed - Poor. It just doesn't take pictures with any real speed at all. On the menu for continuous shooting they have disabled (but itís still present in greyed out form) the Hi option, so at least they are being honest. Side-by-side my K-5, in the same AF mode, can run rings around the K-01 in the number of images taken and written.

Ergonomics - Poor. Don't care what others have to say, it's a PITA to use the skittle buttons, and the shutter button and the on-off switch design have made me miss the press more than any other camera ever. It's a brick and it is nice to be able to sit it on a flat surface in Portrait orientation but its clunky to handle and the smokestack knob for the mode is huge and disproportionate. The Flash button gets hit by accident, again more than any other camera I have owned, because of its placement. Bottom line is that form took primacy over function in this design, and that is never a good decision outside MoMA.

Intangibles - Good. It uses K mount lenses natively which is a real plus for Pentaxians but relatively irrelevant to non-Pentaxians. Bottom line is that Pentax is an obscure brand with a limited lens lineup now so the K-mount feature on a MILC is not a big selling point outside our community. Common battery with my K-5 is another plus but only for someone with a K-5 or K-7, for others AAs would have been a MUCH better selling point. Negatives are the SD card door and its double layer and the rubber outer cover - it IS going to break, perhaps not right away but it will and I can find no listing for a replacement anywhere on any Pentax website. I hope they have a good supply of them. Rear LCD appears to be superior to the one on my K-5, not sure if itís just me or there is a real difference I haven't found that spec to compare online.

Bottom Line - I own the K-01 and am impressed with the IQ and image output, which is the real measure of a camera IMHO. The ergonomics are pretty bad IMHO but at $319 with the 40XS lens are something I am, obviously, willing to deal with for now. Would I own this as my only camera, even at this price, no way. Because I already own a range of K-mount lenses and have D-LI90 batteries it makes a descent 2nd camera for me. Why Yellow? A couple of reasons really. It's different. It's less intimidating than Black because it doesn't look as professional. I am finding that the reaction to my K-5 is FAR different from the reaction to my Q, even though both are interchangeable lens cameras in black. The yellow on the K-01 is also defusing the "Pro Camera" reaction from others already and getting me more true candid photos immediately. Overall, if you own a K-mount camera and have the lenses already getting the K-01 at $300ish makes a good bit of sense to me. If you don't already own K-mount lenses - why? So, for now it has a place among my cameras and I hope to enjoy using it as much going forward as I have my Q.

   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Fishtown, Philly PA
Posts: 55

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 1, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $316.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sensor,design/looks,low light performance,"Stealth,"k-mount,focus peaking,hd video,fun
Cons: ergonomics,lack of viewfinder,handling with large lenses
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I bought this because the low price made it worth it. Basically it's a K-5 internals camera for a point and shoot price. I didn't think I was ever going to have the cash for a K-5, it was Christmas, and I figured at 416 for body AND 40mm XS lens I couldn't lose. They were "giving it away."

I wasn't expecting it to be so much fun and so good for parties, candid shots, etc. People aren't intimidated by this camera like they often get when you bust out a full-on DSLR with grip and all.

Compared to my k-20d, the performance is a pretty big upgrade. High ISO shots are totally useable up to 25600. "grainy" sure, but no worse than the Tri-X pushed to 1600 we used back in the day. Auto focus seems faster/better too...

I have used this in dark night clubs, at a college football game, and an NBA game. You can get away with taking this camera into venues that normally forbid "pro" cameras because of its looks.

I have big hands, so I like the "brick" feel of the camera, even if the buttons are a little off. But I don't feel the ergonomics are as bad as some people. Only issue I really have is using the exposure compensation button, tough to do. Also, holding it with a long lens is not nearly as stable or comfortable as with a DSLR. You really notice this when shooting with the FA 100-300 f4.7 zoom-- even though that lens is pretty light for its size. Put the A 35-105 f3.5 on there, and you realize you need to hit the gym and do some curls.

The focus peaking feature is great for using manual focus lenses. I find manual focus totally useable--even in very dark conditions. I get much better results than I can garner from the split prism installed in my old k-100d. A-series lenses are a joy to use with this camera.

The HD video works well, even in a VERY loud concert venue you get decent sound.

Some say it is too big, but with the 40mm XS lens it is very portable. I got the Pentax PTX-L80 soft leather case for it and I throw that in my bag and now carry it almost everywhere I go...

I believe that the best thing you can do with this camera is read the thread about recommended settings in the K-01 section of the forum and follow it accordingly. Once I did that, a lot of things about the camera handling really improved.

The sensor and low light performance is great. Probably the best thing about the K-01 (besides the total compatibility with all k-mount lenses.)

This thing just screams "pentax" for me. It's different, fun, uses the legacy lenses. Has a funky look that people like and are interested in... Just different, reminds me of the ME-Super I got when I first started photography in 1981.

I even bought a vintage Pentax AF280T flash for it so I have a smaller, very capable unit (just like the camera itself) for when I need flash. I like to use that with the A-series 28mm 2.8 lens I got, really fun, old school feel with the manual focus and working the flash. I feel much better carrying a kit like that around than the k-20d with Metz af-58. Smaller, lighter, not so pro, less money on the line if something bad happens when out or on vacation.

In short, I love this thing. I don't know what they were thinking when they were selling them for $900, but at 416$ with the 40mm XS f2.8 lens (or LESS these days), you cannot go wrong if you have any other k-mount lenses.
--and that 40mm XS lens is a cool little piece of glass as well!

I think it is a great camera to recommend to friends and family. Got a few other people to buy it, relative newbies to photography, and they also love them.

Of course, the performance of this "money saver" further whetted my appetite for a K-5.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Washington Cascades
Posts: 12,962

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 3, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $315.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small size, easily carried in a coat pocket, uses k-mount, focus peaking, same batteries as k-5
Cons: No optical viewfinder, shutter delay, poor grip, slower FPS
Ergonomics: 6    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I have to admit I laughed at this camera when it first came out. No optical viewfinder? And I had mostly forgotten about it and certainly never thought about buying it. But when the price dropped to $315 or so I re-thought. I had a minor glitch with my k-5 that thankfully went away but it made me think, what happens if I am on an important shoot and something happens? I need a backup camera. So the k-01 was purchased solely as a backup to the k-5. I really felt I would just toss it my bag and not worry about it.

When I opened the box my first impression was the looks are OK but it feels really awfully in my hand. I almost sent it back but I decided I needed to give it a try. So out and about with the DA 40mm Limited attached. After a couple of hours I have to say I am sold, this camera is fun to use. There is a bit of a learning curve, and I still keep putting it up to my eye to look through the missing viewfinder but I am getting used to it.

I do not think this will be just a backup, I really enjoy shooting with it.

The good:
Great image quality which I expected. Focus peaking is a game changer for manual lenses. The camera is certainly pocket-able with a coat or vest pocket. I carried it in mine the last two days and really did not notice it. Uses all my k-mount lenses. I have mostly used the DA 40mm Limited and the F 35-70 and both worked well. I also tried it with the D FA 100mm WR and was surprised how well it fit. Having the long lens on to hold actually made a more stable platform.

The bad:
I really wish the right side grip was a little thicker, I just do not feel secure holding it one handed. I have ordered a hand strap which I think will help. The rubber SD card cover is a real down check, not sure how a high end designer came up with this. It really is the low point of the camera. No optical viewfinder, I will get used to it but that would have improved this camera 100%. The other downer is the FPS speed, I'm not a sport shooter but even so it seems slow to me. Not awful, just noticeably slower than the k-5. Which is not a fair comparison I know. The autofocus is slower than I am used to but that is just the design of mirror-less cameras. It is no different and I think a little faster than Liveview on an DSLR.

Some ideas for improvement:
I wish that focus peaking was tune-able, I think it is a little too optimistic on fast glass. I wish that exposure bracketing had 5 exposures, not three and that it could be used with the remote. I wish the e-dial was bigger and the mode dial smaller. The e-dial is just a smidge too thin for me and sometimes does not turn like I want. And the mode dial is just much bigger than it needs to be. Which dial do you use more?

Bottom Line:
I love it! It is fun to use it situations that the k-5 is just too noticeable, too awkward. The k-5 is for work, the k-01 is for fun. But because the image quality is so good, those fun shots are just as good as the k-5.

There are a lot of features missing from the k-5 which is understandable since they are targeted at different markets but over all except for a few minor things I think Pentax did a good job on this. At the current pricing this is an incredible deal.

I do hope they move forward with this line, a little bit of tuning in the design ( SD card cover) will really help.
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