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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
59 140,452 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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Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 179
Review Date: February 8, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: No | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IQ, compactness, solid build
Cons: Ergonomics, slow shot-to-shot
Ergonomics: 6    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 7    Autofocus: 9    Features: 8    Value: 9    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: Used   

Like jimmm18, I recently supplemented my K-01 with a used K30. I had bought my K-01 body a little more than a year ago on eBay as a compact second body to my K3. Since I already had a DA40Ltd, I had what amounted to a higher quality version of the original kit. As a kit that is easy to carry around, yet is capable of producing large, detailed images, this combination has been very useful. As a companion to my K3, it has saved me when the (prime) lens on the K3 was not ideal for the scene at hand.
So why did I buy the K30? The ergonomics of the K-01 donít work very well for me except in point-and-shoot mode. I wear progressive bifocal glasses, so itís difficult to hold the K-01 at exactly the right distance from my eyes. The LCD is not very visible in bright light to begin with, so I use a Kaiser shade, which adds bulk as well as shadow. For serious shooting, I much prefer using two hands, an OVF with diopter, and two control wheels. So the K30 will accompany the K3 when I want to carry two bodies.
For casual shooting, the K-01 with DA40 (but no shade) can fit in a coat pocketóIíll leave it in P-mode.
-----
The used K30 was defective so I swapped it for a used K50, which works fine. Although I got lots of keepers with the K-01, unlike jimmm18, I just couldn't get used to the LCD and having to use a lens shade at almost all times, and I still prefer the K50's controls and general feel. So I sold the K-01.
My next mirrorless cam will have a good EVF.
   
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, 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 490

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 4, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, Image quality, Uniqueness
Cons: None for what it is
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 7    Value: 9    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

A unique camera body for K mount lenses, not a replacement for a DSLR, it is complement.

Excellent with older M and A lenses, especially good with the DA 15mm F4 and the pancake lenses, not so good with longer zooms.


Good battery life with NO overheating issues. Programmable red button is handy.

Use your thumb to press the shutter. SD card flap is still going strong after 8 years!

One flaw is the adhesive used to attach the mode button dial, it may release and need to be re-glued.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2018
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 13, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size
Cons: Rubber cover for the SD card compartment
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: Used   

This camera grows on you. It works great with the DA 40mm f2.8 lens and it also works great with manual lenses like the Helios 44-2 58mm f2. Too bad Pentax discontinued this camera. Autofocus hunts in low light, and the camera lacks weather sealing but other than that it is a pleasure to use.
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Storrs-Mansfield, Connecticut
Posts: 220

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 12, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $330.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compels me toward manual shots with my old glass
Cons: 25 min. video limitation
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Couldn't resist "The Brick". Lack of a viewfinder didn't bother me; I made one for when/if I need it. The K-01 is very similar to my K-50, so I can switch between them almost mindlessly.

Mostly, the K-01 (white) is my "art" camera for my old glass; using focus peaking--since I'm a Lady Geezer and need all the help I can get. The enhanced audio is great for music videos; I use it mostly for art shots, portfolio work, experimental, etc. The K-01 recreates that great feeling I once had of slow afternoons with my Spotmatic-F, my first love.

The K-50 (red) is primarily my "craft" camera--zooms, auto focus, digital features, travel, eBay, family fun, work records, etc. It fills a need for speed and dexterity and actually gets a lot of use.

Both cameras are a delight, and so feature rich that I'm sure I'll never manage to explore them all; any complaint I have is minor by comparison. I've managed, on a budget, to accrue quite a decent collection of gear which I'm sure I couldn't do with another brand. For example, the "kit" lens I got with my K-01 was the 40mm f2.8 XS! What a sweet little lens that is, and what a deal the package was! I hope Pentax keeps developing such cameras for loyalists like me.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2011
Location: New Joisey
Posts: 1,367

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 2, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Image quality
Cons: Low light focus, ergonomics
New or Used: New   

It is a really nice, stylish camera with excellent image quality. It's fun to use but I found that the focusing ability in low light was really poor - with good light it's not bad - but even then, it really only works well for stationary subjects, and if the light is really bright, the LCD easily washes out (I put a flip hood on mine which helped). And, the ergonomics weren't great as it didn't have much in the way of a grip.

This isn't to say that I didn't like the camera. I did. As I mentioned it was fun, offered excellent image quality and it was also quite portable, with a relatively (compared to a DSLR) small profile when you slap on a prime lens, which I think it pairs best with. But, once you put on a substantial zoom or the light starts to dim, the camera struggles. I had one for a few years, often even brought it with me instead of my K3, but was bothered by the poor low light focusing, so I decided to part with it, although part of me still wanted to keep it....and every now and then I still kind of miss it.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 2

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 3, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, Image quality, battery life
Cons: no viewfinder
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Mi go to camera. I have the K3II but sometimes its to much heavy or big. The image quality is very good, the noise is low even at 3200ISO. I have use it with a kenko 2x teleconverter and the DA 50mm 1.8 and the images are amazing!! You get a 100mm (150mm eq.) f3.5 very small and with a great quality. Also i have use with the 40mm XS and it looks like a compact camera that no one knows that is a beast. Focus peaking helps to focus with the old lenses and the batery life is very good and i can use it with the K3II. Sometime ago i see or read an article that says that fps in RAW mode were too slow, (only 1fps) but if you put bracket at minimun diference and the exposure is perfect you get 3 shots instantly.

Recently I have buy a Sigma 30mm ART 1.4 and WOW, focuses very fast and very acurate.

Maybe one day I sold the K3II and go to the K1II or a new K3III? but this one will NEVER sold, she will be with me until the end of times
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Springhill Nova Scotia
Posts: 341
Review Date: August 1, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Focus peaking, zoom focus,
Cons: auto focus, button placement, no EVF, flimsy SD flap
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 7    Features: 7    Value: 7    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Fun camera that takes excellent quality photos.
LCD screen can be hard to see in sunlight but I now use a "clear viewer" and most of the problems have gone away.
Square form factor can be used to take shots by placing on a flat surface.
Feels pretty good in the hand and is easy to hold and shoot.
Great for manual lenses as focus peaking and zoom focus helps to get spot on focus.
The camera should have had an EVF, deal breaker for most folks.
I found focusing harder with my K5 hard compared to my K-01.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Wild-Nord-East Hungary
Posts: 147
Review Date: December 7, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Focus accuracy, image quality, battery life, price.
Cons: Ugly design, poor display.
Ergonomics: 5    Build Quality: 7    User Interface: 7    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

My daughter's camera, I tried click some of her. With DA 50mm / f1.8 lens, the picture quality is very good, sharpness is set faster and more accurate than my DSLR camera. Using with the A 70-210 lens is uncomfortable.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 491
Review Date: October 27, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Design, focus accuracy, image quality, battery life, able to stand vertically
Cons: Design, focus speed, mode dial cap
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

When K-01 first came out, I bought a bumblebee at the price of $399. Used it for many years. Yes the design is unique. But, over time I find that it is actually both functional and attractive, certainly with a taste. Sold the bumblebee after the mode dial was lost.

It is a perfect second camera for K-1, K-3, K-5 as it uses the same battery. When using alone, it also stands very well due to its compact size and great image quality. Focus can be slow compared to DSLR but very accurate.

I recently bought a used one from Japan with blue and white colors. I will definitely keep it!
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2015
Posts: 49

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 14, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Compact size, availability of Pentax (small) glass
Cons: No viewfinder, primitive display
Ergonomics: 6    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 7    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

DISCLOSURE: I don't own this lens and in fact have never even held it in my hands. I'm writing this "review" based entirely on reading.

I'm someone with 4 film and 6 digital Pentax bodies and 20 or so K mount lenses. For travelling light, I'm using a Panasonic 2.3 sensor ZS-50 camera (spectacular for what it is); I've been thinking of upgrading to a Lumix GX-8 MF43 system for improved image quality and carry-ability.

In the midst of these ruminations, it occurred to me that the K-01 might serve even better. It's a little bulky, but not objectionably so, and it accommodates an entire DSLR lens system to which I'm already committed. Furthermore, Pentax/Ricoh has long been known for its compact lens designs, and Pentax' APS-C format lenses are size-competitive with MF43 offerings, and are no more difficult to carry.

At the end of the day, though, I declined the K-01, but for reasons which could be addressed without too much difficulty in a future release. What the K-01 lacks for me is an electronic viewfinder first, and a tilt-out screen with touch-focus capability a close second. Not being interested in video myself, I do recognize that 4k is becoming common so that should be implemented as well. I think a product like this would be very attractive.

My "review" ends. I'm someone who would have liked to buy this camera for really compelling reasons. In a sense I still do. But I feel it was released before its time, and by now lacks several critical features, which if implemented would make its successor a welcome product.

FWIW.
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 28

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 2, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: cheap, great sensor, easy use of old lenses, solid and stylish
Cons:
Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: Used   

Very well made, classic pentax. Put a nice old zeiss or schneider lens on it and the picture quality is super. Focusing with live view is so much easier, using zoom and peaking, and metering is much easier than with the Kx - the viewfinder gets very dark with a closed aperture manual lens. Great quality video too. Composing on screen, instead of at the eye can get some interesting perspective - I get some lovely pictures from my lumix lx2 this way.

Cant really find a fault with it.

Not terribly impressed with the 40mm xs - a bit dull, but usable. Kit zoom 18-55 does incredibly well for such a cheap lens.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2011
Posts: 4,187

9 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 24, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent IQ, solid body, compact size
Cons: Slower than a DSLR for action shots
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Mirrorless done right!

The K-01 came in for a lot of criticism when it appeared on the
market around three years ago, but after owning a couple for
more than two years now (acquired cheaply, and carrying the
updated firmware), I have developed an increasing appreciation
of the value of the concept, and its usefulness for a number of
specific photographic tasks.

As a mirrorless camera, the K-01 has often been compared with
the Sony mirrorless cameras, which also have bigger sensors
than the four-thirds format. In this comparison, the K-01 has
been seen as too heavy and too bulky. However, the smaller size
of the Sony bodies becomes much less of an advantage when
bigger lenses are attached, and the Sony bodies have had
various problems, such as light leaks, because of their flimsy
construction. On the other hand, the K-01 is superbly made. The
weight of the body balances heavier lenses nicely, and offers a
lot of thermal inertia to avoid the inevitable heating that
follows continued use of live view. The big D-L190 battery is
interchangeable with other top-line Pentax cameras, and keeps
on powering the K-01 throughout a long session or trip.

Many photographers, familiar with (D)SLRs, are critical of the
LCD screen finder. It is what it is: a sensible compromise
between resolution and battery drain. Sure, it is not always
clearly visible in certain lighting conditions, even if the
screen brightness is cranked up to full. But every viewfinder
system has its disadvantages. Those of us familiar with
rangefinder film cameras are conscious of how a (D)SLR will
black out at the critical moment when the photograph is made.
On the other hand, rangefinder cameras are not very good for
closeups, or for lenses outside a limited range of focal
lengths. I have actually found the K-01 screen to be very
versatile in its applications. In panning shots, it is easier
to keep tracking a subject when the camera is held away from
the eyes, as compared to a (D)SLR in that situation. And for
portraits, you can keep eye contact with your subjects as you
make the photograph. For use in bright light, I've never
bothered with an LCD hood, just shading the screen with a hand.

OK, so for the photographer who has one or more DSLRs
available, maybe even a K-50 which is virtually a K-01 with a
prism, why use the K-01? Above all, the IQ. The very weak AA
filter, and the sensor that is still unrivalled at high ISO
settings, make for absolutely wicked image quality, especially
in a camera that costs less than 300 dollars.

Beyond that, there are three specific classes of lenses that
really work well with the K-01:

1. "Problem" zooms where you cannot adjust for front or back
focus accurately at all focal lengths or focus distances.
(Tamron 17-50, I'm looking at you here!) The CDAF of the K-01,
in the native live view for which the camera is designed, may
be a little slow, but it really nails the focus with these
problem lenses. Suddenly, their real life IQ begins to match
what the lab tests promise.

2. Fast lenses, especially in low light. Once I'd become
familiar with the K-01, I had no hesitation in acquiring an
A50/1.2. Focusing a lens like that with focus peaking is very
accurate, and then you can stop down to f/1.4 or f/1.8! With
shake reduction, the lack of mirror flip, and the big solid
body, shutter speeds of 1/15th second are completely usable.
Coupled with the maintained quality at high ISO, the K-01 with
a good fast lens is a low light demon.

3. M42 screwmount lenses. Once you have them focused fully
open, or using their generally excellent distance scales, you
can stop down to taking aperture and still get a good image in
the LCD screen. This is a distinct advantage of the K-01 over a
DSLR. Metering is automatic with the "Av" setting. Also, the
lack of mirror lets you use lenses, like the ISCO Westron
35/2.8, that may foul an SLR mirror when focused at infinity.

The boxy body of the K-01 ends up being very practical.
Certainly I have no trouble holding it, generally two-handed,
with one hand cradling the lens. You can rest the body easily
on a level surface, in landscape mode or even in portrait mode.
Standing it on end like that, I've found the access to the USB
connection to be the most user-friendly of all my Pentax
digital cameras. My one ergonomic gripe concerns the on/off
switch, which all too easily gets moved back on by the strap
when I put the camera back in its case.

Despite the lack of mirror flip, the shutter action on the K-01
is not quite as discreet as on the K-5. But it is certainly
quieter than its K-50 stablemate. I'd love to see an updated
K-01 appear, especially with a full frame sensor, but until
that (unlikely) event occurs, I'll keep on running up the
shutter count on the original model.
   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Belgium
Posts: 71

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 27, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Original design, K-mount, K5 sensor, manual focus options
Cons: bulky, AF in low light
Ergonomics: 7    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 7    Features: 7    Value: 7    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

Not usual to use a DSLR without VF but Pentax made a nice camera with the same K5 sensor.
Some kind of people (and reviews) critize this choice but it has the merit to try a new approach in digital photography.
I loved to use the K5 and i feel again here the same image quality with great color rendition.
AF is not bad at all and for every day use, it's very acceptable.
Focus peaking is a great option for those who use old manual K mount lenses.
Unfortunately Pentax discontinued the K-01 concept.
So no update will not be available anymore in the future excepted the last firmware option.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2011
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 73

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 3, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-01: Yes | Price: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, High IQ, low noise, pretty in white,
Cons: LCD in bright light, focusing with large lens
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Well I have had my k-01 for nearly two years. Bought it prior to a trip to Italy in the spring of 2013. I bought mainly for the lens and ended up really loving the camera

My initial impressions can be found here.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/138-pentax-k-01/218546-omg-i-think-i-am-love.html

After nearly two years I have not grown tired of it. I recently upgraded to a used k-30 so I could gain the quality sensor in a DSLR. The funny thing is the DSLR feels odd after using the k01 as my main digital camera. My two biggest issue, seeing the lcd in bright light and the slow focusing speed on big lense, are the only reasons I chose the k-30. Don't me wrong the k30 is a great camera and I am loving it as well but I don't see my self not using the K01 because of it.

I have gotten use to all it other "quirks" that were criticized and it feels normal to me now.

My K-01 has traveled with me on two trips to italy and countless day trips. It has never missed a beat. All the button, dials and levers continue to perform flawlessly and it still feels as solid as the day I got it. I love using it with my manual focus lens because of the focus peaking. The 40mm XS lens that it came with is one of my favorites and I have used it on my other cameras as well.

Finally what this camera reminds me of are my 70s film camera. I have been shooting a bunch of film lately due to the acquisition of a Minolta XD11. I like the rectangular box feel that era cameras and the K01 sits right in line with them.

Highly recommended. I have notice the used prices have seem to be holding steady not much below the blow out prices. I am sorry this didn't work out for Pentax. It is a very solid, well made, high performing camera and it must have cost them some to build it.
Add Review of Pentax K-01 Buy the Pentax K-01



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