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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
59 140,459 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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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 59
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Posts: 43
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $413.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Smaller then my older Pentax camera
Cons: Buffer too small for long sequence shots
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 8    Features: 7    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Fun camera. Decided to get it over the Q and glad I did. What an upgrade over my K-2000. The green button focus peaking is super for older lenses.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 10
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: good video and great stills
Cons: SR internal is kinda fuzzy
Ergonomics: 3    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 5    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I love using this camare for shooting film with my aquariums. 40mm is great for indie film feel.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 210
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: quality build, image quality, easy menu, not bulky,
Cons: maybe add panorama stitching in camera, would be perfect for the k-01,
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: Used   

I have had the camera for a year now (purchased from fellow forums user). It was my main camera for the previous year and was more than adequate a camera for my style of shooting. Small but not too small, I also don't like bulky cameras. Image quality is terrific on par with most high end cameras out there. Aside from the technical specs , its a fun camera to use. I don't mind not having a viewfinder, you forget quickly that it does not have one.

My only con is that they abandoned this series of camera, I was really hoping the successor to the k-01 would have a movable screen, more fun in camera features etc...
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Grand Rapids
Posts: 193
Review Date: October 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $349.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cost, image quality, ease of use
Cons: appearance, size, ergonomics
Ergonomics: 6    Build Quality: 7    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 8    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I want to say this upfront. My extremely positive review of this camera is based on the price I paid. During black friday time frame I got it with 40mm F2.8 XS lens for $349. It was barely compact enough to fit in a coat pocket with that pancake lens. Image quality was fantastic, i never had a problem with autofocus but my demands were pretty low. I dont know how it compares to a K5 II, but it surely beats my new fuji X-E1. Loved the low light performance and the camera was soooo easy to use. leave lens at F2.8 (AV mode), set auto iso up to 6400 and it just worked. Didnt have to worry about the settings, could focus on the picture/composition
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Leeds
Posts: 152
Review Date: August 30, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: mirrorless k-mount, small (compared to DSLR), cheap
Cons: auto focus could be a little faster
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 9    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

I really like this camera.

I originally bought one a while ago (planning to sell my DSLR), but was disappointed by the auto focus speed so returned it and kept my DSLR. (I do wonder if it would have made any difference to the success of the camera if they had got the auto focus right before releasing it.)

A while later I read about a firmware update increasing focus speed, and in this time the price had also dropped significantly, so I bought one again (in addition to keeping my K30), and was pretty happy with the auto focus.

Sometimes I want the viewfinder, or the weather resistance, or the faster auto focus of the K30, and so use that. (Though if I am using my prime lenses, the weather resistance of the K30 is not a benefit.)

Other times though, I do prefer to use the K-01. If its not raining, and the sun isn't glaring, I may prefer the K-01 to the K30. For indoor use in particular, with my primes, I'd probably choose the K-01. The shutter sound is quite a bit quieter than the K30 (although probably not as quiet as the K5), so that can be an advantage in some situations.

I much prefer using the K-01 if working with a tripod (if its not raining).

I find the K-01 more comfortable for portrait orientation.

I like the combination of auto focus and manual focus (setting the AF to the AF button and using lenses with quick shift).

These are all things that I could do with the K30, using live view, but in practice I find it annoying on the K30. (If there was a way to lock it to live view - even after looking at images etc - might be different but...)

Personally, I really like the look of the camera.

I feel its a bit of a luxury owning this AND a K30, but I like having it for the reasons above.

If I had to choose one camera, I guess I would stick with the K30. But, that said, the K-01 is about half the price of the K30 (going by used prices, rather than new prices).

As a second camera, it is great. If you are buying it as your only camera, whether it is a good choice or not will depend significantly on what you want a camera for.

I am hoping that Pentax will not give up on mirrorless K mount camera. But if they do, I have my K-01 at least.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 136
Review Date: August 23, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $338.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Easy to use, Great with manual lenses
Cons: Screen hard to see in direct sunlight
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

A great camera and a lot of fun with manual lenses.
Colour is great ...... don't use " Vibrant Mode" for skin tones unless you want "Disney Land" like effects

I have no issue with the location of the "Green Button", but I have large hands. Because there is no finder to look through, you hold this camera differently. My 12 year old's response to the Green Button was "my phone doesn't need a green button". Enough said!

I like the focus peaking feature, but I find it obscures my ability to achieve the correct depth of field so leave it off. The box around the auto focus is easy to use as it tell you where the camera is focused when in "auto" mode.

The Body looks very stream lined compared with the K-5/K-7. Very low profiled....almost "sexy" mated with short SMC K/M prime lenses. Mated to the 18-135mm DA ed, it looks decidedly awkward and front heavy. The pop-up flash is much closer to the lenses, then the K-5, K-7, so can cast shadows with long lenses.

The menu can be confusing......with " where was that feature again"....coming back on a regular basis.
The RAW and JEPG saves are brilliant. The JPEG for seeing the image and the RAW for post processing. Overall I found that less post pressing was required compared to the K 5

Conclusion..... Pentax have created a wonderful hybrid of a mirrorless camera, still able to access the wonderful lenses of yesteryear. Could become quite collectable in the years ahead .... but don't listen to me as technology usually loses value rapidly. Great second camera body, fun for family and friends familiar with the world of compact camera's and phones. Best applications are indoor and social.

Happy shooting!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 384
Review Date: July 10, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Unique looks, handling, IQ, focus peaking, well made
Cons: Contrast AF not the fastest, Green button position, certain M mode setting with manual lenses.
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I purchased the camera in April 2013. Why? Well for the price (240) why not?
I really wanted something to give me the ability of my K-5 and use with my primes. Also it gives the K-5 some rest. Also, the focus peaking would give me the ability to use primes nicely (I wear glasses)

So what do I think?
I got the silver one, and I love the looks of it in this colour. It is a bit brick like, but then again actually using and handling it, it is great.

Positives in detail
This camera is perfect with the small mighty Pentax primes of any era. Especially those wonderful M42 screw mount lenses. Tak 55mm F1.8? Oh yes. K-M50mm F1.7? Stunning little combo. 21mm Limited? WOW! etc etc. You get the idea.
Image quality - Read K-5. RAW at only 12bit? does not matter really. The RAW files are still as pliable as those from the K-5 in the real world.
Focus Peaking? - A boon! The only thing is, that is not that accurate with lenses set faster than F2.8. Having said that, most current FP systems today are the same. The same really with PDAF with fast lenses wide open. Just slow down when taking shots wide open, this is not designed as a Sports camera.
AF - Slow. Slower than my LX-5 compact, but having said that, it is no slower than a lot of current generation CDAF cameras out there, it is just slower than PDAF, and some of the fast CDAF cameras around (Olympus Pen for example) To be honest though, you won't really notice most of the time.
The looks! - It divided opinion when it came out, but actually having one and fellow togs looking and playing with it, the results are a LOT more positive. From Cute, to WOW! I have not heard a negative comment from anyone who has actually seen it.

Negatives
The Green button could be placed in a better position, but then again you do get used to it after time.
There is a strange setting when using a manual lens (without an A on the aperture ring) and M mode. You set the camera to M, you set the ISO to AUTO (a sort of TAv mode for manual lenses). The shutter is fixed at 1/125sec. This is a pain and so far I have not found the ability to change the shutter speed. If you could then you would have a TAv mode for old lenses when combined with the green button to stop down. Pentax, can you do another firmware to allow this, as it would be perfect!
Rubber cover for the card chamber. A bit fiddly, but just be careful. Would not want it changed though as the rubber makes the handling so much better.
No Weather sealing.
In bright sunlight the LCD is a pain, too many reflections. A hood helps though.

Finally - This is a camera for primes, not zooms. Not only does it look silly with a zoom on the front, the handling is not as good. Keep to the wonderful primes and you have a delightful fairly compact CSC.

If I could change this camera to make it a 10, i would do the following:-
Consider WR for the body.
A faster CDAF
Move the Green button a bit, so that it is easier for your thumb to hit it.
That issue in M mode.
Possibly an articulated LCD, but then again, having one would make it thicker still. Remember this camera is based on the sensor to back of lens of the K-mount, so there is not much space from the back of the sensor and the LCD.
An attachable EVF on the hotshoe. This would negate the reflection issue. On the other hand, a coating for the LCD to reduce reflections.

At the end of the day though, this is a great camera, and if you appreciate it's foibles and know what to do, it is a little cracker!
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2009
Posts: 121
Review Date: June 25, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $299.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality, compatibility (battery, k-mount)
Cons: focusing with longer lenses, not very precise focus peaking, slow autofocus, green button, no trap focus, no focus confirmation
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

As a K-5 user, I was not looking for any upgrades, as that SLR fully satisfies all my photographic needs. However, I was on a lookout for a compact camera with good image quality for everyday carrying. So, when the price of K-01 dropped to 249 USD, I was sold. Unfortunately, I missed this opportunity and had to get it for 299 USD. Nevertheless, you cannot buy a compact camera, let alone ILC for this price with the same image quality.

On the pro side - the image quality is every bit as good as with K-5. The camera is responsive and takes the same batteries as my K-5. The shape, though rather ugly, allows it to be put on the side comfortably and it is really quite small, so it goes everywhere with me, unlike the K-5, which I still like very much.

On the down side - I use many manual lenses and so was looking forward to focus peaking. Turns out, it is nowhere near as precise as I had hoped. Perhaps with time... but focusing with zooming in is really time consuming. For this, I miss the OVF with split prism screen. Also, focus confirmation you know from your SLR is missing (would have been great for some speedy manual focus). Also, couldn't find the trap focus anywhere, which is a shame.

Taking pictures with longer manual lenses (i.e. K105/2.8) is a pain if you have ANY handshake. Focusing becomes really difficult. The green button placement is just plain wrong.

So, where is K-01 best? Just stick a small prime (the DA limited are awesome with k-01) on it, and take it anywhere. For manual lenses, 85 mm seems to be the upper limit of reasonable usability. When travelling, I can see myself having K-01 with a small wide angle (DA 21) and K-5 with something longer (135/2.5) as an ideal combo.

It is no DSLR replacement. But as far as compacts go, for this price, it has no match.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Posts: 2,592

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 14, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $289.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice addition/BU camera to a DSLR- ability to turn off Slow Shutter Noise Reduction
Cons: Lack of optical VF (DUH!), Camera connections covers, no external shutter connection

I have had this camera for a few weeks now and am getting to know it. I have a K7 and love it, so the transition to the K-01 was quite easy. If someone gets this and thinks it is just a heavy Point and Shoot camera, they will be quite surprised as it has some very sophisticated features for both still and movie photography, so an enthusiast or semi pro will also find it a formidable camera!

I decided to get the K-01 as I was going on a vacation (holiday for you folks outside the US) and wanted a smaller lighter kit to carry. I was considering the Q cameras but as the weight of a Q is not that much different from the K-01, and the fact that I can use ALL the lenses I have (over 20 now) from my K7 assortment and the K-01 uses the same memory cards, battery packs and charger as the K7 sealed the deal. Oh, and it was on closeout for a price of $279 new (the Q would have been more).

The K-01 is lighter than the K7 and a bit smaller. It has my favorite shooting modes (M, Av, Tv, and Bulb) so I can use it like any other camera. It also has the dedicated Movie mode and a new HDR mode (which I have yet to use) which should prove quite interesting. This HDR mode was different from my K7 which has HDR, but does not allow the use of it when the camera is set to capture RAW or RAW+JPEG. In the K-01 the HDR mode overrides the file format of the camera so it can do the HDR capture. As stated, I can use all my other lenses on this camera, from screw mount (with adapter) to KM and KA lenses all the way to non-aperture ring lenses. This allows me to pull the glasss I need for a given shooting situation without any other investments.

The K-01 has separate dedicated buttons for Flash exposure adjustment, ISO, White Balance and Self/Remote timer. This is quite nice and adds to the user friendliness of the camera. It also has a Scene mode (SCN) for the point and shoot crowd, that allows a user to choose scene formats such as Close Up, Landscape, etc., Even a Museum mode is included that keeps the camera from accessing the flash. There are 19 of them!

The K-01 does not have a separate thumb / finger wheel for aperture and shutter speed, useful when shooting in Manual Exposure mode. However, in the M mode, when the Av (+/-) button is pushed (but does not have to be held-in like other cameras), the function of the adjustment wheel switches from Shutter adjustment to Aperture adjustment. It becomes a toggle, which is quite unique and very convenient. The second wheel is almost unnecessary!

The K-01 has an added RED button which I find quite nice. This quickly switches the camera into Movie mode. Although when using the Red button it uses a default settings set for the movies, for a quick capture of an event going on, this is a nice feature. I have not used my K7 for doing many videos, and as the K-01 is for less serious situations and a carry-all-the-time camera, I will be doing more movies with it. Also, the K-01 seems to have been designed with this idea in mind. It will also allow for interval shooting (night sky movement photography?) so this makes it a nice addition to my current K7.

The Green button is still included in the K-01. I have come to use it more and more to get my base exposure and then do my final settings from there. Its just quicker! Although the K-01 does not have an optical viewfinder, I have found the live screen finder to work quite well and I have not experienced any lag between shutter release and exposure as some mirrorless cameras might have. The display screen gives all the useful information (SS, Fstop, WB, ISO, etc.) so I know exactly what the cameras is set to at a glance. I was concerned about the live view finder being overwhelmed by ambient light, but it seems to do quite well, even in bright sunlight. Just in case I picked up a HoodMan loop to use with it.

This brings me to a negative on any mirrorless camera, manual focus! With an optical viewfinder, it is designed to get the eye right up to the camera and allow for a critical focus. A diopter is included most times (and is in the K7 and K5 units) to allow for differences in a persons lens corrections. All extransous light is blocked out and most seem to be designed for someone using glasses (so you can see the entire frame even with them on). A live view finder needs to be used at arms length for the most part, and especially so if you use corrective lenses! I have progressive lenses (no line bi focals) so this becomes more of an issue. When using your camera at arms length like this, you are less likely to hold the camera steady and the longer the lens, the more so. For this reason a user may want to keep lenses short and light, unless using a tripod.

One photo technique that I have wanted to use with my K7 has been Painting with Light (PWL). This technique requires you to open the shutter and keep it open while you move around in a dark environment to add light using a flash or continuous light. If you photograph a large subject or building, this can be a very effective technique. To show you how effective, go to the RIT Big Shot page and see what THEY have lit this way http://bigshot.cias.rit.edu/ ! The K7 goes through a "long exposure noise reduction" routine that will last as long as the exposure itself. The camera actually hums during this process. This function cannot be turned off in the K7, but can in the K-01. As the subject is being lit with additional light, this function is not as necessary when doing PWL. Where Pentax fell down on this application and with the use of long lenses or for close up photography in general, is they did not allow for the use of a cabled remote! Luckily I have the IR remote which can work well, and the Remote function can be set so that one push of the button opens the shutter and another button push closes it (a true Time exposure).

Flash exposure with the K-01 is quite simple, just pop-up the integral flash. This little flash might be more delicate than you are used to with a typical DSLR, but the design works nicely. An external flash can also be used and happily my Promaster flash I use with my K7 is perfectly compatible with it!

The biggest flaw I see with the K-01 is the terminal cover. I like flaps and doors to seat themselves well so I have confidence they will not open up unexpectedly. My K7 offers this and other cameras I have used do this, but the K-01 terminal cover needs to seat and close much more securely.

All-in-all I find the K-01 to be a great addition to my K7. It has some features that my K7 does not have, is lighter and easier to handle in less formal shooting situations. It is flexible, able to be used like a point and shoot camera or as a serious photographic tool. The fact that it can use all of the Pentax compatible lenses, from like, forever, is a great feature and allows you to expand your system at a lower cost. Although at this writing the K-01 has been discontinued, I would not be surprised to see a new version of it. Add the better closure for the Terminal Cover and a connection for a wired remote release and you have a serious camera in your hands! I would recommend the K-01 as an added camera to a current system or as a serious point and shoot camera for someone who wants to start out with the basics and grow.

And finally, give us back the red and black Pentax camera strap! The gray on black is nice, but that Red is a signature marketing tool!

Regards,

DA
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: San Rafael, CA
Posts: 785
Review Date: May 17, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $299.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality, K-5 sensor & battery, AF, Focus Peaking
Cons: funky flap/door where the SD card goes

There is a lot of technical things I could say but they have already been said in many other reviews, so I won't go there. So here is what i will say -

Though my daily driver is a K-5, I couldn't resist getting the K-01 when Pentax dropped the price and practically started giving them away.

First things first, though this camera is "the brick" it's really outside the box when it comes to innovative thinking. I have to give Pentax, Marc Newson and the Pentax engineers kudos for this camera, it is way ahead of it's time. It's a bit quirky as some will tell you but it is an excellent camera and I'm glad I have it.

I've been hauling the K-01 around a lot lately and everywhere I go, heads turn. Everyone wants to know what it is.

This camera is just great in every aspect I've run it through, it's a real work horse. Additionally, I shoot a lot of macro and I've found that focus peaking is an excellent feature for macro work.

Bottom line, if you don't have one - get one. You won't be sorry.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
Posts: 350

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 22, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Silent Shutter, GREAT IQ and GREAT High ISO Performance, Tough Built, Great AWB, Responsive
Cons: Read below...
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   



This camera is grossly underrated and hated by many... In fact, I think many people who complained about this camera didn't even had an experience to shoot with it, or didn't explore its capabilities and really felt the built...

This K-01 is so great in many way like:
1) Silent Shutter - I feel like I'm using a range finder camera, but of course the range finders are more quiet.
2) K-Mount - Just think about it, you don't need any additional expensive adapters to use your collections of K-mount lenses.
3) Built and Design - Personally, I love the minimalist design of it (I love minimalism), and the built is tough great and it feels good right in your hand.
4) Focus Peaking - It's always great to have your focus checked properly.
5) Image Quality - Just WOW even at high ISO! Because of this, I can now shoot at higher ISOs without compromising the IQ.
6) Better Video Controls and Quality - Finally I can manually custom set my videos (I was using K-7 for my videos), and finally I can have a 60fps for slow motion and 24fps for cinematic look. The image quality is great even at low light and at a very high ISO.

The "Cons"??? Not really a con for me...
1) Green Button? - the placement of the Green Button does not really affects my photography and I always using it. Take note, my fingers are short, and still it's not a problem. You know, when you're really into photography, that kind of "problem" will not really bother you.
2) The Rubber SD Card Door? - Yeah, it's flimsy, but I still don't find it as a problem. Live with it...
3) 1fps When Shooting RAW? - For me, it's okay. I lived with that since when I was using my hand-cranked analog cameras.
4) Viewfinder? - That's not a problem for me. It's not a big issue. Can we not create photographs without any optical of electronic viewfinder?
5) Tilt/Swivel Monitor? - It's good to have it for easier composition for lower or higher composition, but I can live without it. I mean when live view for DSLRs were not available, many photographers can shoot as low or high angles. It is us photographers have to adapt not the camera.
6) Video Audio Levels? - It's better to have it, but it doesn't, but I can live with that, just make sure the microphone is working properly, or better yet use a dedicated pro audio recorder.

Now... Here are some things I wanted for the K-01 which I think can be corrected via firmware update:
1) Simultaneous Selective Focus Area - meaning, if I set my AF Settings to a selective control, and when shooting, I don't have to press the 'OK' button first before changing the AF position.
2) Presence of Exposure Value when activating DOF Preview at Manual Mode when using aperture ring - I have many old full manual Pentax lenses just like others, it would be nice if the EV is present when pressing the DOF preview to check the exposure.
3) White Balance in Kelvin - It would be great if they added the WB adjustment in Kelvin for precise WB.
4) Focus Peaking During Video Mode - It would be great to to have it while recording video for optimum focus check.
5) Custom Color of Focus Peaking - It's nice to customize the color of the Focus Peaking, instead of just plain white highlights, it would be good to choose other colors like yellow, green, or red.

This Pentax K-01 is a great camera, it's like I'm using a modern Pentax K1000 and at the same time a rangefinder camera. It's simple and is silent. This camera is a straight forward camera. I'm having fun with it, I use it for my work (I'm a photojournalist for a national newspaper), it's discreet even if my K-01 is yellow, it's not an obtrusive camera where my subjects won't be intimidated...
This Pentax K-01 is great for general use like street photography, travel, photojournalism, documentary, videos, etc... Of course don't expect this camera to be good for sports photography and the like, I mean, this K-01 is like a Leica M9 (without the 35mm format sensor) where you're not going to use it for sports photography where you will shoot at high speed shutter with a high speed continuous super accurate AF systems. You can use it for sports but it's limited...

Every cameras made since its invention, we will never escape the reality of pros and cons... It's up to us to adapt with it and live with it. With that, we can be great photographers using any kinds of cameras...

Now, with the K-01's abilities and limitations listed here at K-01 Product Review, the question is How Far Can We Go Using This Camera???

Cheers..!

Richard B.
   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Sydney
Posts: 49
Review Date: April 2, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $313.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IQ, fairly compact, easy to use, same sensor as K-5, focus peaking
Cons: no viewfinder, ergonomics, fugly design, USB port under the rubber flap, slow and sometimes incorrect autofocus
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 6    Features: 8    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

A great camera for the price!

Only downer is that Pentax does not sell a separate attachable viewfinder for it.

Also for a mirrorless camera its quite bulky but still its more compact then normal DSLRs.

The worst thing about the camera is the autofocus! Its soo annoying that I use it in Manual mode more than Auto! Some times the camera takes a few seconds to focus and a lot of times it does not focus correctly on the target.

Overall I think the camera is great for the price as I don't think you can find such a cheap DSLR with this good specs anywhere else!
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: London
Posts: 157
Review Date: March 20, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $361.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IQ, price
Cons: ergonomics, no evf, button placement
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

The K-01 is a K5ii in a small body. The autofocus is not great and the ergonomics are bad, but it is a great backup to have for people who like shooting mf lenses with focus peaking.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 594
Review Date: February 5, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality, fun, K mount, focus peaking, looks
Cons: No evf. Green button placement. Not suitable for zooms
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 8    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

At the current price point, circa US$300 this is exceptional value for money. Given the decision to use native K mount register distance I cannot complain about the size.

The look polarizes opinion but I like it and purposely chose the bumble yellow colour. A plus for me, a negative for others.

Ergonomically, I again accept the design decision to go with K mount. Given this, the clear down point is the green button placement. It is totally illogical. At least its a customisable button and therefore reduces menu button pressing.

On the ergonomics front I would not use this with zoom lenses other than the kit or the 10-17mm fisheye. I personally believe its best suited for primes. This is my opinion and how I use it. I basically use the DA15, SMC-F 28mm F2.8, XS40 F2.8, DA70mm F2.4, FA35 F2 and SMC-F 50 F1.7. I tested the DA17-70 and while it works it works only ok.

It goes without saying that the image quality is superb for APS-C. I am not a video shooter but all reviews confirm its the best in the Pentax stable so if its important for you you can buy with confidence.

I like using it for shooting inside at cafes, dinner, etc and maybe as a backup landscape camera (when its not sunny). I even used it at the Australian Open tennis in jpg at 5fps. It worked but I would really want to use it for action. Its basically great when shooting in casual mode.

As long as you use it within its limitations its a great camera. Buy it understanding what it is good for and you will be a happy customer.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Washington Cascades
Posts: 12,986

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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