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Pentax K-1

Build Quality 
User Interface 
Image Quality 
Reviews Views Date of last review
24 77,100 Mon November 18, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $1,878.35 9.58
Pentax K-1

Pentax K-1
Pentax K-1
Pentax K-1
Pentax K-1
Pentax K-1
Pentax K-1


The Pentax K-1 is the first full-frame Pentax K-mount DSLR to reach production. After a year's worth of teasers from Ricoh it finally hit the market in February 2016. The K-1 continues the trend from the K-3/5/7 series of being a photographer's camera with a user friendly layout, superb handling in a relatively compact form factor, and a feature set targeting the serious photographer.

The K-1's key features:

  • Full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 36.4 megapixels w/ 15-megapixel crop mode
  • Pixel shift super resolution
  • No AA filter
  • AA filter simulator
  • Sensitivity up to ISO 204,800
  • Shutter rated for 300,000 actuations
  • Electronic shutter as an option in live view shooting mode (requires firmware update)
  • 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization
  • Redesigned viewfinder with LCD overlay
  • 6.5 FPS in crop mode, 4.4 FPS in full frame mode with up to 100 JPEG buffer
  • LCD screen tilts and pivots
  • LED illumination of lens mount, buttons, and card slot
  • Dust & weather sealed
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi
  • USB tethering support as well as tethering via Wi-Fi

The K-1 viewfinder has an LCD overlay with a customizable grid, crop area indicator, and dual-axis electronic level. The grid can be enabled or disabled via the menu, as can most of the other features of the overlay.  A dedicated light illuminates this overlay on demand. The viewfinder has 100% coverage and a 0.7x magnification which makes it a tad bigger than the viewfinders of the APS-C format cameras.

The pixel shift capability has been improved over the K-3II in that the K-1 will attempt to correct artifacts stemming from moving objects.

The shake reduction feature has also improved and is now rated good for 5 shutter steps compensation.

The K-1 has no anti-alias filter in front of the sensor. Should moiré be an issue the K-1 includes the unique Pentax feature of an AA filter simulator that works by vibrating the sensor ever so slightly during exposure thereby reducing or eliminating moiré. The simulator has three settings (off - weak filter - strong filter). An AA simulator bracketing mode is available.

The body is made from magnesium alloy surrounding an inner steel chassis.

The K-1 was launched alongside two new full frame lenses: the HD D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 budget-friendly kit lens, and the HD D FA 15-30mm F2.8 ultra-wide zoom.  These lenses supplement the recently-launched HD D FA 24-70mm F2.8, HD D FA* 70-200mm F2.8, and HD D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 full frame lenses.

All current and legacy K-mount lenses are compatible with the K-1. M42 screw mount, 645 and 6x7 lenses can be used with the appropriate adapters. With DA K-mount lenses the camera will shoot in a 15 MP crop mode with the active area outlined in the view finder. The crop mode can be overridden which is useful in connection with those DA lenses, that perform well on full frame. Among these are the DA* 200mm, DA* 300mm, and DA 560mm lenses. The K-1 even offers lens correction for these three lenses when they are used in FF mode.

Read our in-depth review of the K-1 here.

Major features subsequently added through firmware updates:

  • Version 1.51: Optimized performance with the DA* 11-18mm F2.8 lens
  • Version 1.50: Optimized performance with the D FA* 50mm F1.4 lens
  • Version 1.41: Support for the enhancements introduced with the Image Transmitter 2 version 2.3.0 software
  • Version 1.40: Night mode (red light) for the rear monitor; bulb timer function
  • Version 1.30: Electronic shutter as an option in live view shooting mode; 1:1 crop mode; 2 frame AA filter bracketing
  • Version 1.20: Support for lenses with KAF4 mount, i.e. lenses that have foregone the mechanical stop-down lever
  • Version 1.10: Support for the Image Transmitter 2 version 2.2.0 software; support for tethering via an Adobe Lightroom plug-in

Camera Manuals:

Pentax K-1
©, sharable with attribution
Year Introduced
In Production
Current US Price
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Sensor Type
7360 x 4912 pixels
AA Filter
No (AA filter simulator)
Super Resolution
Bit Depth
Minimum ISO
Maximum ISO
ISO Range
100 - 204,800
Exposure Modes
Auto (green), HyP, Sv, Av, Tv, TAv, HyM, X, B, User(5)
Program Modes
Auto, Normal, Action, Depth of field (deep/shallow), MTF
Maximum FPS
4.4 (6.5 in crop mode)
Continuous Shooting
Full frame: H: 4.4 fps (70 JPG, 17 RAW) M: 3.0 fps (100 JPG, 20 RAW) L: 0.7 fps (100 JPG, 100 RAW)
APS-C crop: H: 6.5 fps (100 JPG, 50 RAW) M: 3.0 fps (100 JPG, 70 RAW) L: 1.0 fls (100 JPG, 100 RAW)
Shutter Speeds (Auto)
30s - 1/8000s (stepless)
Shutter Speeds (Manual)
B, 1200s - 1/8000s. Up to 300s in Astrotracer mode
Shutter Life
Exposure compensation
+/-5 EV (+/-2 EV in movie mode)
Auto bracketing
EV bracketing: 2, 3 or 5 frames, one-push bracketing
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight (auto, on, off), Shadow (auto, high, medium, low, off)
Exposure lock
Self timer
2 s with mirror lock-up, 12 s
Metering Sensor
86K Pixel
Meter range
-3 to 20 EV
Meter pattern
Multi-Segment,Center Weighted,Spot
Mirror lock-up
Interval shooting
Up to 2000 frames, 2 sec to 24 hours interval
HDR mode
Multiple exposures
Yes, average, additive and bright, 2 to 2000 shots
Pixel mapping
Scene Modes
None. Auto (green) sets exposure based on scene analysis
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
Yes (sensor-shift SR II)
Power zoom
Supported (zoom only)
Supported Lenses
All Pentax K-mount lenses. Support for lenses with the KAF4 mount variant requires a firmware update. 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,Vignetting,Diffraction
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX 12, 33 focus points, 25 cross type)
AF Points
Autofocus sensitivity
-3 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustment for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
0.70x, 100%
Viewfinder type
Diopter adjustment
-3.5 to +1.2
AF Points in viewfinder
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live View
Focus Peaking
Back LCD
3.2 in., 1,037,000 dots, 3:2 aspect ratio, flexible tilt/angle, red light night mode
Weather resistant
Control wheels
Battery grip
D-BG6 (takes D-LI90 or 6x AA)
Card slots
Dust removal
Yes, Ultrasonic DR II
Dust alert
Memory card type
SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I Compatible)
Size (W x H x D)
136.5 x 110.0 x 85.5 mm
925g (1010 with battery and SD cards)
File format
Battery life
760 images, playback time: 390 minutes
D-LI90 Rechargeable
Built-in flash
Sync speed
P-TTL flash
Flash functions
Auto discharge*, On (leading curtain sync)*, Redeye reduction*, Slow-speed sync*, Trailing curtain sync*, High-speed sync*, Manual*, Wireless**, Contrast control**
* Requires an external flash
** Requires two (or more) external flashes
TTL flash
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p,
1280x720 (16:9) at 60p, 50p
Interval Movie (4K, Full HD, HD)
Star Stream
Exposure Modes
P, Av, TAv, Tv, M
Movie mode restrictions
AF During Recording
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo (external mic), Stereo (built-in mic). Adjustable sound level
Wired (native),Via built-in Wi-Fi
USB 2, HDMI out, stereo mic, headphones, DC in, X-sync, cable release, GPS, Wi-Fi.
Latest Firmware
Link to Download Page
User reviews
In-depth review
Astrotracer functionality with the built in GPS, Buttons, top LCD, and card and connectivity doors can be illuminated Electronic level, Embed copyright information in EXIF, GPS and electronic compass, High ISO NR, can be customized for each major ISO value, Image plane indicator, In-camera RAW development, Moiré suppression via SR mechanism, Moiré suppression bracketing, Save last JPG as RAW, Save JPG from movie, Several buttons are customizable, The function selector plus third control wheel provides a short cut to a variety of settings
Special Editions

Black (standard) and Silver (limited quantity)

Megapixels: 36.40
ISO Range: 100-204,800
Weight: 925g
FPS: 6.5 (Crop) / 4.4 (FF)
LCD: 3.2" tilting/pivoting
In Production: Buy the Pentax K-1
Type: Full-frame DSLR
Weather Sealed: Yes
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax K-1 in-depth review!

Add Review of Pentax K-1 Buy the Pentax K-1
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Junior Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 36
Review Date: November 18, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: image quality, weather sealing, robustness
Years Owned: 3    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

I have had the K-1 for about two and half years and the shutter count is currently at around 60.000. I have previous use experience from mostly Pentax DSLRs (K-x, K-50, KP, K-3ii) and Canon EOS M (mark 1), Sigma Foveon DSLRs and DP1 models (including Merrill), as well as some Olympus P&S and MFT, Fujifilm P&S and Nikon D40, film DSLR and even Samsung Gear 360 cameras as well as several video cameras.

My use of Pentax gear is mostly outdoors in any weather. I carry it in a front loader camera bag with a harness when I am biking, paddling or hiking. Many reviewers have already covered the standard use of the camera, so I will be focusing more on using it in the extreme conditions.

In wet conditions, my experience is two-fold. One of the most extreme conditions humidity-wise has been a rain and hail storm for several hours, on top of a mountain with high winds. The DFA 15-30 actually stopped working after a few hours of this. Camera still worked with other lenses (when back indoors and it was safe to swap the lens) and even the 15-30 came back to life after a night of drying out and does not seem to have suffered from this exposure to the elements. Other times, I have had the camera e.g. boating or canoeing in heavy rain for hours with DFA 24-70, which became my go-to lens for wet conditions after the hail storm incident. DFA 24-70 has never showed any issues related to humidity. I am routinely taking my K-1 out in conditions where no regular DSLR can go. It has probably been out in heavy rain 100 times or more. The one experience with malfunctioning lens has made me a bit more cautious, but I still do not hesitate to take K-1 out in any weather.

Temperature-wise, I have successfully used the camera for astro and other photography at freezing conditions. At -30C and below, with long exposure astrophotography shots, the number of shots per one battery can go to just 60 images, but if you do have the spare batteries at hand, the camera never stops working even if kept for hours under bare sky so that it starts turning into a block of ice. (I am currently experimenting with lens heaters to keep shooting in these conditions). A number of times, there has been some arctic wind which means wind chill has been way lower than the -30 or -40C, and you can only take off gloves for a few seconds at a time, and the camera does not miss a beat. This is quite remarkable, as this means that even a well clothed photographer gives up long before the camera. One important thing is that K-1 can be handled with thick gloves on (except the power switch and AF/MF switch which are too tiny). On hikes in cold weather, when you keep the camera in a bag most of the time, there is not even much degradation in battery life.
Using the camera in these harsh conditions month after month, some of the buttons have become quite sticky. This is probably due to some salt water or sand penetrating inside the button wells (but not through the sealing I would guess). This does not affect the actual camera function.

There have only been two actual malfunctions with the camera so far. The first one was the hail storm incident described above, and the second one was not related to extreme humidity or temperature as far as I know. Actually, when it occurred, I had the camera with me for a few days’ hike in zero Celsius temperatures, but it never got very cold or even very humid. After about four days of this, the camera suddenly reset itself to factory settings. This has not occurred ever since, and the root cause for this one incident remains unknown to me. I have shot another few thousand images after this occurred, and I am hoping that this was a one-time occurrence.

I see K-1 as a perfect landscape and nature photography camera, and especially as an outdoors camera for Nordic conditions. (I don’t shoot birds or wildlife, do not have the time it would take to find the wildlife). The weight with one DFA lens is still tolerable and a handful of batteries takes you through a few days’ hike. Image quality is superb even in low light. I routinely use bracketing (+/- 1.5 EV stops) but rarely need to go for the + or – images. My only criticism is about the lens weight and size for the weather resistant selection: a weather-sealed pancake size lens in the wide to normal range (prime) is missing from Pentax selection. Ideally, something maybe in the 20 or max 35 mm focal range. f/4 would be perfectly okay for landscape photography.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 1,857
Review Date: October 19, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: A please to use, excellent IQ, great selection of features
Cons: Shutter shock
Years Owned: 2    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Now that I have owned my K-1 for a couple of years now, I thought its about time to review it.

Overall I love it and it doesn't leave me wanting for much. It feels so great in my hands and comfortable enough to hold for hours. Personally I don't think its too heavy as the weight helps me with steady holding and seems to balance with the lenses I use very nicely. Size is small for a mirrored FF and really its not much bigger than a K-5 or K-3 - coming from a K-5, I did not really notice it being bigger until I put them side by side and certainly the extra depth to grip makes it much more comfortable to hold than the K-5 (which was already quite good).

I don't like a lot of noise in my images and with K-5 would avoid going over ISO 1600 when I could. On the K-1 I have many times been shooting indoor at ISO3200 (and sometimes 6400) and been very happy with image quality. To be honest I was not particularly needing more resolution than the K-5, however I have found the 36 MP sensor does give me a lot more flexibility to crop and can obviously help with noise performance too by the time you scale the image down. I'm more impressed with the sensor than I thought I would be.

I have to mention the tilt screen. This is a feature that I was not particularly looking forward to as I have always been concerned about the durability of tilt screens. But on the K-1 its a solid beast and I have no concerns about it at all. In fact its a feature I have really come to love and I'm often popping the screen out to help with those really awkward angle shots! GPS is nice to have too and have shot the occasional astrotracer too.

Features I have not used that much (a bit to my surprise but maybe its just me):
* Wifi. Mobile apps has often been quite problematic for me to get going and I don't often have a need for it anyway.
* Pixel shift. Have played with it but most of the scenes I shoot are rarely static enough for effective PixelShift. Often quite breezy in NZ.
* Extra selector knob. I alternate between selecting it to ISO and exposure but most of the time I forget what its on and I'm so used to the exposure and ISO buttons that I use those without even having to think. Its a nice idea though.

AF is actually quite good and certainly a big step up from my K-5. Its fast and accurate enough for my use but then I don't shoot a lot of action and rarely use continuous mode.

My only little annoyance (that is greatly outweighed by all the positives), is the occasional shutter shock. I use smaller lenses and occasionally the DFA28-105, and its with these lenses that it tends to show up. I shows up as a slight blurring when you pixel peep (and in cases where I know its not movement causing it). Also its usually not that critical to me as there is plenty of resolution there to work with when it happens - that said for more critical scenes and where shutter speed fall between 1/60 and 1/250, I sometimes change to LV (with ES turned on) to avoid it. To be fair I should point out that this is a common problem with FF DSLRs in general and its good Pentax has added ES in LV to help mitigate it.

Highly recommended if you into landscape photography.

Some sample shots:

1. ISO3200 (shadows boosted a bit as it was a dark seen and I believe no NR applied as I'm not fan of it)
2. ISO400
3. ISO100
New Member

Registered: May, 2019
Location: Roma
Posts: 10
Review Date: October 2, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: No | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Years Owned: 0.6    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2016
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 13

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 22, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ergonomics, FF, IBIS, Weather Sealed, High ISO, Direct Control
Cons: Centralization of AF points, AF speed, Articulating screen
Years Owned: 1 month    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Coming from a K20d the K1 is a huge leap for me in everything except the learning curve, most buttons and controls are very similar so I've found myself completely at ease with this camera. On first unboxing I was concerned because there was a definite shifting of something within the camera, I later found out that this is normal. That was a scare as I bought the camera from an ebay retailer (but authorized Pentax dealer), but it still worried me. I bought the K1 new instead of the Mk II due to some issues raised by DPReview, if this camera interests you on the used market you might read that review. Anyhow here are my thoughts on some aspects of this camera.

1. Build Quality is superb - What I've come to expect from Pentax/Ricoh.
2. Ergonomics - great, maybe not as good as my K20d, but I don't have the battery grip yet. If you don't think this is important, I have a Nikon D5000 gathering dust you should talk to.
3. IBIS - Easily 4-5 stops of stabilization, superb! Coupled with the high ISO, most flash situations are non-existent with this camera. Hence, no pop-up flash needed!
4. Size is large but not really much bigger than my k20d!
5. 3 command dials and 2 function dials and button inputs!!! Awesome, no menu diving for basic functions. Camera is a joy to use, especially if you grew up with film cameras.
6. Quieter and quicker by far than K20d.
7. Great to have an articulating monitor, I've missed that. It is something I used to use often.
8. The viewfinder is super, I can focus manually again. Wish they came with split/microprism focusing screen though.
1. Why not have a flip and twist monitor?? My Coolpix 8700, Oly E-3, and Nikon D5000 (kinda) had it, but the K1 has a strut system. Better than nothing, but still, what's the deal?
2. All the AF points are in the APS field of view. This to me is just stupid, I'm constantly having to recompose to get the composition I want.
3. Slow AF. My first "good" DSLR, the Oly E-3, stomps the K1 ... ELEVEN YEARS LATER!!! If only Oly hadn't used the 4/3 sensor.
4. Slow FPS continuous shooting... not a deal breaker, but again the 11 y.o. Oly beats it.
5. Slow write-to-card speed and buffer clearance. Also, if you switch cards around it can cause issues with the camera.

The only issue to me that is truly a big problem (for my picture taking style) would be the centralization of focus points. Then again, I've used cameras with only 3 FP's! No negative is so great as to detract from the whole in this camera.

As always, even from it's earliest film days, Pentax is a camera for photographers who appreciate value, quality, and core photographic needs. This is not a video camera, it is not a do everything but nothing well camera. It is a superb photographic machine. Bravo RICOH!!

P.S. - I have not tried the astrotracer or pixel-shift yet so no comment on those abilities but really am looking forward to trying them out soon.
New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Location: Houghton, Michigan
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 27, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,190.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: FF Pentax! 36MP, Weather Sealing, Astrotracer, Composition Adjust, IBIS
Cons: AF, Video Mode, limited selection of modern lenses
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 7    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

The Pentax K-1 is my body of choice for still photography where you can take your time. The featureset and resolution is simply unmatched at this pricepoint, and is a long-awaited gift for those of us who love the character and "personality" of Pentax's vintage glass without the hassle of shooting film.

I won't say much about ergonomics because it's so subjective. I love the addition of the variable dial, tilt screen, and comfortable grip. I would have liked to see a dedicated AF point joystick and alternative placement/design of the remote trigger socket - it gets in the way of adjusting the camera on a tripod, and my trigger tends to fall out quite often.

The build quality of this camera is second to none. Comparing this camera with other major brands - Nikon and Sony come close but Canon is definitely coming in at dead last. The overall body construction, materials, and weather sealing on this camera is incredible, especially at this price point. The minute you hold one in your hand, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

The UI of this camera is not for everyone, but allows the user an incredible amount of control over the camera overall. Some people may prefer a more simple interface, but I don't mind a bit of digging when there are this many features available in a "budget" FF body.

The AF on this camera is nothing incredible and one of the reasons I really hesitate to recommend this body to the uninitiated. Pentax knows their market - it works fine, but is far behind the competition with the incredible features of Nikon's Continuous AF, Canon Dual-Pixel AF, and Sony's Eye AF. The AF on this camera will serve you well, but is a definite drawback from the Pentax system - if you are looking for a sport or action camera, I'd recommend you look elsewhere. Stills - it will work well.

The featureset of this camera is the #1 reason I decided to invest in the Pentax system. As a still photographer shooting landscapes, waterfalls, and abandoned buildings, this camera has more to offer than the other "Big 3" combined. My favorite features on the camera the others can't offer in a single package:

- Built-in GPS tagging (I like to drive around and take pictures of whatever I like - this feature lets me return to a location effortlessly. Why don't the others include??)

- Tilt Screen!! Until the D850 (released shortly after purchase for 2-3x the cost) neither Nikon or Canon have offered a serious FF body with a tilt screen.
Ridiculous - it's incredibly useful for all types of shooting at difficult angles. While quirky, I love Pentax's implementation

- Best in class Weather Sealing - exploring dusty, abandoned mines, snowy mountains, dirt trails and waterfalls - this has never failed me

- IBIS makes all of your vintage lenses stabilized - perfect for those who love the character and rendition of old glass

- Astrotracer feature works wonderfully (most of the time ) for astro and landscape shots! Unique to Pentax, at least for FF.

- Pixel Shift for even higher resolution. Notably doesn't work well on moving subjects, and doesn't always play nice with Lightroom/PS.

- Composition Adjust!! This feature is commonly overlooked for some reason... in a matter of 2 minutes and 4 shots, flawlessly stitched in post - you can simulate a
46MP, medium-format-ish sensor. Simply shifting the sensor to the 4 corners allows you to cover ~26% more area with a wider FOV and higher resolution from a
single perspective with 0 parallax errors or other issues, besides possible vignetting.

The value of this camera speaks for itself. It is easily the best choice for still life photographers, and comes at such a cheap price. Perfectly functional used bodies can be found for $1200- on feeBay.

IQ is also top tier, with a sensor matching that found in the D810, the IQ and Dynamic Range is easily on par with the best Canon, Nikon, and Sony have to offer. Noise is incredibly low and with Pixel Shift on a static subject, I would say it is easily the lowest-noise FF camera on the market.

So why would anyone buy anything besides a Pentax, you might ask? Well, a lot of reasons. Firstly, as stated, the AF on this camera is nothing special - functional, but not impressive compared to the competition. Secondly, the video capabilities are nothing short of embarrassing. If you want a video camera, this is not the one for you - look at Sony a7s series.

Third, and I would say most important, is the relatively tiny selection of modern, FF, AF glass for a 36MP system. Pentax has covered its bases with the DFA 15-30mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm*, 150-450mm, and 50mm*. Not to mention the lovely limited lenses and those high-quality DA lenses that work perfectly on the FF sensor, including many DA* primes and the DA560mm. Additionally, the cost gap grows wider when considering the used market, as the Big 3 have many lenses of years past available for relatively cheap, including Sigma and Tamron support. But wait! Pentax has supported the K-Mount for 40 years, you say. There's countless lenses in the K, M, A, F, and FA series supporting a FF image circle! I can already hear my fellow Pentaxians screaming bloody murder as I criticize the FF lens lineup. As someone who absolutely adores vintage glass, the cold, hard, truth is that 98% of those old film lenses are simply "not enough" on a 36MP sensor. While there are MANY notable exceptions, most of that stuff was designed for film resolving the equivalent of around 8MP, not a modern 36MP sensor. Not to say that they should be immediately forgotten, but the point stands that lens selection is a huge drawback for the Pentax system - something I think Ricoh understands and is working incredibly hard to remedy.

Overall, this camera is second to none for people willing to take their time to get the shot. I love using sharp old glass such as the K 135/2.5, A 50/1.7 or M 28/3.5 without the hassles of shooting film. There is a certain indescribable quality about vintage glass that makes me love it, but as someone who also loves large prints - you need to choose wisely. few of the beloved Takumar/Pentax lenses stand up to digital quality standards.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 194

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 24, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, Full Frame, Ergonomics, Dynamic Range, Build Quality
Cons: 4 frames per second burst and buffer speeds
Years Owned: 3 months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I moved up from a K5 IIs to the K-1. I had owned the K-1 back in 2016 but the copy I received had some quirky issues that caused me to return it during the trial period. This copy of the K-1 I am reviewing is perfect. I was able to pick up with the grip, sling bag, 32GB SD card, software, cleaner, pentax strap, and other goodies for the amazing price of $1497 delivered! From a value standpoint, i would rate it a 15. The camera has a great weight to it and is combined with great weather sealing.

The K-1 has been rock solid since the unboxing. I updated the firmware and started shooting. I was amazed at the image quality produced from all of my lenses but especially my 77mm limited, 31mm limited and now the most impressive 50mm * 1.4. The combo of the the 50mm and this camera body is out of this world. Every lens I place on the K-1 renders amazing photos. I have 3 sigma lenses that rally benefit from the 36MP: 100-300mm F4 (FF), 70-200mm ff2.8 (FF), and 18-35 f1.8 (APS-C). Without any post editing, the images are spectacular. The best implementation of Sony 36MP sensor with amazing dynamic range.

I have been a Pentaxian for 7 years and have to say this camera is exactly the full frame camera I was waiting for. In my hand I feel the possibilities are endless. With the movable rear screen, the camera is an excellent choice for any landscape photography shoot. With the improved 5 axis image stabilization, photos come out razor sharp even when hand held in average to low light.

If I had to list improvements that would entice me to upgrade in the future, it would be more cross type focus points, improved frames per second count (at least 7 in ff), 4K video (even though i don't use for filming), improved buffer performance, and continued improvement on autofocus algorithms. While I am not a sports photographer, these upgrades would make the Pentax full frame, the ultimate full frame. However I would add that anyone who purchases the K-1 couldn't possibly be disappointed. This is an amazing camera that should be able to take me through the next 8 years of photography.

What everyone says about the K-1 is true. I have no idea how I can outgrow this camera. I highly recommend the K-1 for any person who loves photography!

New Member

Registered: November, 2017
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 24, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,990.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Full Frame, tropicalized, shake reduction, many lens available even for low budget, great high isos, handling,
Cons: for the moment nothing
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I already have Canon 5D classic, Sony A7 and Kodak Pro 14n, and I wanted to get a full frame by Pentax, the K1 was and is the obvious answer to me.

I had it for $1990 as special offer and also taken official battery grip for increasing handling in portraits shooting and also using my Eneloop AA batteries.

For the moment I am deeply satisfied and will share some pictures very soon.

If you have the basics and really need full frame, you will be happy with K1, however avoid lenses as 28-300 and so on, use constant aperture or prime lenses. For sure if you are low budgeted when once bought K1, 50 1.7 or 1.8 are great choices or take a 35mm, choices are numerous.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: San Rafael, CA
Posts: 672
Review Date: November 1, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,896.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, dynamic range
Cons: Heavy
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I've been using my K-1 pretty constantly since May, primarily for landscape and birding at the moment, stepped up from the K3. All in all it's an excellent camera, a great value for the money. And compared to the big name competition, you can't beat the quality or features for the price. The image quality is excellent, the dynamic range is amazing. I love the unique flippy LCD screen, it saves my back a lot of pain, long overdo.

The ergonomics are as always with Pentax gear, excellent. I'm still getting used to using the third control wheel. Not sure it adds a lot, though I am getting spoiled being able to change ISO on the fly. So I guess it is possible to teach an old dog some new tricks. No complaints for more choices.

Auto focus is very good generally, not as good as I'd like but what photographer was ever satisfied with autofocus

The external illumination is an amazing feature. Was very very happy to find that feature. My only wish is that they could be switched red LED's too.

I primarily use the D-FA 24-70 and the D-FA 150-450, along with the FA-31, FA-77 and FA 100 Macro F/2.8. Most of my other lenses are going unused. I'm anxiously awaiting an ultra wide angle prime from Pentax (20mm range) in order to round out my kit. I'm finding the FA Limiteds to be wickedly sharp on the K-1 body.

My only negative, is that it's heavy, though with a full frame sensor, I wouldn't expect otherwise. Combined with the D-FA 150-450, and it's a work out, especially when shooting birds in flight.

I'd recommend this camera, without hesitation, to anyone looking to move from their current APS-C kit to full frame.

Lastly, my hat is off to Ricoh for being a proactive and excellent steward of the Pentax brand.

Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2014
Location: Bendigo, Victoria
Posts: 389

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 12, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, build quality
Cons: not really designed for big hands, thumb rolls onto the four way controller when using the camera in any mode
Years Owned: 1.5 11700 images    Ergonomics: 5    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I have owned this camera from new. I use the 24 - 70 zoom,the 70 -200 zoom and the 150 - 450 zoom.I also own the 28 - 105 zoom. They all perform amazingly well with the K-1.

I have bid hands, 2XL in gloves, and get really pissed off when my fingers roll onto the four way controller part way through a shoot. this is my only criticism, other wise the camera and lens combinations mentioned above really sing. ( see foldedrat on flickr)

Would I buy another? Just as soon as my K-3 dies.

I really like this camera and will super glue some sort of extra relief for my thumb on the back, whenever I remember.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2014
Location: Singapore
Posts: 74

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 29, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image Quality, Build quality, GPS, Dual SD cards, Wifi,
Cons: Slow autofocus, Less 3rd party lens options.
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 7    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   


1. The best implementation of Sony 36MP sensor. Amazing dynamic range. At ISO 64, Nikon 810 is a bit ahead. After ISO 100, K-1 has better dynamic range.

2. Pentax's renowned weather sealing.

3. 33 point (25 cross type) focus points. Best in Pentax range.

4. Tough magnesium allow body.

5. Sturdiest implementation of movable rear screen.

6. Third control wheel to allow more manual control.

7. 5-Axis in body image stabilization. All lenses are image stabilized.

8. Pixel shift mode gives better dynamic range and details than medium formats.

9. In built GPS.

10. Two SD cards for data backup.

11. Astrotracer uses GPS and floating sensor to allow longer sky exposures without risking star trails.

12. Floating sensor allows automatic horizon correction.

13. Floating sensor also allows anti-aliasing filter mode in case you are running into moir.

14. In built Wi-Fi.

15. 14-Bit Adobe DNG Raw files, so all software versions can open it.

16. Supports APS-c lenses in crop mode.

17. Led lights to help change lenses, look at buttons in low light.

18. Finally can use the coveted Pentax Limited lenses on a full frame cameras.


1. Only 25 out of 33 focus points are cross types.

2. Slower focusing as compared to other full frame flagships.

3. Inaccurate tracking focus.

4. Not as many full frame modern lenses from Pentax.

5. Not many lenses from third party. Sigma has stopped supporting K-mount.

6. Focus points do not cover the whole picture frame, concentrated at the center.

7. Video is least impressive. Doesn't support 4k.

8. Doesn't support mechanical image stabilization for video (yet).

9. Slow clearing of buffer even with fastest memory cards.

10. Below average battery life.
New Member

Registered: June, 2013
Posts: 5

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 27, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: dynamic range, build, ISO
Cons: non
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Amazing dynamic range with this camera. What always has been difficult to reproduce are images of the sky. If you shoot in RAW, you will be able to get all these different shades of grey of the cloud formations. It seems to me that is was each time really the sky I photographed. That is an new experience to me .

ISO is impressive as well. Indeed, no more flash needed. I live in an apartment which does not get a lot of sunlight and sun goes down always early in my country. So shooting indoors was often an bad experience for me. AF problems, IQ flash was always needed. But I do not like to shoot with flash. It ruins every picture. Makes it looking artificial. Sure there are a lot of techniques like bouncing flash-light and filters but .......I do not care any more about that. I can shoot now in very low light conditions. So cool ! ISO of 12000 or 25000 is usable.

I did not tested features like ASTROTRACER yet, but this will come soon

WiFi works fine. Your camera will be the "server" where you have to connect to, if you like to get your pictures quickly onto your smart phone. Some free app from RICOH is needed therefore. Worked fine.

And as always, veeery good interface, handling and ergonomics with PENTAX.

I am an very happy K-1 owner but I have to admit, it is my first full frame camera.

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 1,442

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 20, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $2,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: FF, extremely nice package, pixel shift, SR, ...
Cons: limited number of DFA lenses, AF is not a highlight
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 6    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Ongoing review

At last, a Pentax full frame digital camera. Nice.

Dimensions are small for a FF camera, but significantly larger than APS-C. All Pentax lenses presented along with the K1 are also large. You cannot easily switch from APS-C to FF. I came to Pentax for the compact dimensions of the K5 with lots of DA prime lenses.

That said, K1 feels rock solid even with DFA 70-200 - also without battery grip. Perfect size for hand holding. For travelling I will have to get used to size and dimensions. The camera fits perfectly in your hands even when walking.

AF is not improved over K3 and focus area only covers APS-C area. It works, it is OK, it can follow some faster action, but it is not a K1 highlight. High-ISO performance is also great and much improved over K3(s).
Pixel shift resolution is great, 36 MP is amazing, 5 stops SR s great, performance in general is great. K1 uses standard Pentax batteries, so I already have spares.

I am still missing a possibility to save user settings. It would have been nice to transfer settings from K3, ... or save K1 settings on disk for later use. The new quick selection wheel has some benefits, I mainly use it to switch crop mode while still working with APS-C lenses. APS-C lenses in crop mode make for decent panoramas and often some more area with dark corner is more important than no coverage at all.
Viewfinder has no blinds and the plastic cover cannot be fixed on the carrying strap. I am missing an inbuild flash, but I am also happy with the current size.
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 30, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,799.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sensor, ergonomics, WR, af, shake reduction, pixelshift, wifi, screen, gps, size, price
Cons: none
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

After two months usage and more than 20,000 actuations this is my conclusion :

It's flawless and it's the best deal FF camera on the market today.
It has a great amount of available new and used full frame AF Pentax & third party lenses and a huge number of full frame manual lenses to cover all possible professional needs.
In terms of ergonomics, it is the best full frame 35mm DSLR ever created.
In terms of autofocus, i've never imagined i could use a camera with 80 to 100% AF succes rate, depending of the lens attached.
The screw driven AF is fast enough for 99% of the needs. The SDM AF is fast and ..silent! enough for 99% too.
I won't talk much about everything else that i find perfect and covering the 99% of top notch full frame photographer's needs.

The 1% downside is the shots/sec rate. Do not forget that Pentax doesn't have a line of sport specific cameras like Canon and Nikon that aim high shooting rate. But what you loose in high end sports photography with this one, you gain in studio shots with the pixel shift technology, and you get yourself the cheapest medium format equivalent quality possible.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Central Plains of North America
Posts: 50

9 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 23, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,796.95 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 36 mm x 24 mm sensor size, intuitive controls
Cons: Chunky appearance, no pop up flash
Years Owned: <1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Here’s the reaction of one older photographer who cut his teeth on a 1960s era manual everything (including aperture) Pentax 35mm SLR, who has shot digital since 2005, and is adding a K-1 to a photographic stable which until recently was headed by a K-5. With a little luck, it'll slice the pie in a different enough way from other reviews to provide just enough new insight to help someone with an upgrade decision.

Things I don’t like:

- The body style. It’s chunky, and the biggest body Pentax has ever offered in the 35 mm SLR form factor, albeit smaller than its current competition. It does fit my hand well though, and as at least one other person has mentioned, my pinky fits on the grip instead of having to go under the base plate.

- The loss of the pop up flash. It’s something I use fairly frequently with other cameras to control off-camera flash, and the removal of this convenience is an annoyance. Some have rationalized the camera is more professional without the popup, but if professional is the aim, how about removing the clutter of the Auto and P modes from the exposure mode dial? I suspect it’s more a matter of physically fitting guts into a space-constrained shell, and as such will deal with it with no further complaint.

- The change of of the metering mode switch from a lever under the exposure mode dial to a selection button. The physical lever is simple and direct, the button a little more complicated and less direct. This was apparently introduced with the K-3, but this is the first time I’ve experienced it.

Things I like:

- Faster, quieter, surer focusing, in dimmer ambient light than the K-5.

- Insane low noise sensor sensitivity.

- Use of the same battery as the APS-C cameras.

- The rear display. It’s wider and clearer than the K-5, and of course, articulated. I don’t have an opinion of the mechanics other than I wish it would tip down further for overhead shots. More about this in the WiFi comment. I use focus point selection a lot, and the way the 4-way controller is depicted on the display in different modes is WAY better and more intuitive than the K-5 and previous models.

- GPS. Geotagging images is an extremely useful capability, one I’ve grown to love for snapshots on my iPhone. There’s also an option to keep a separate log file of periodic position updates for trip/expedition records, if you don’t have another means to do so.

- Wi Fi. Not sure why it can’t be used to connect with computers for file transfer, but it will connect with mobile devices using the Image Sync app. Using the capability to synch images to my iPhone is something I’ll probably never use, but the ability to use a smartphone as a remote control is a great feature. There is a remote viewing capability which could probably be used to overcome the inability of the articulated display to point directly downwards, along with other obvious uses. Exposure settings can be made in accordance with the exposure mode set on the physical camera dial, as well as selecting focus points. The green button is also available as well as a quite responsive virtual shutter release button.

Using Image Sync to control the camera appears to work only when the shutter is in single shot mode, and you should be sure it’s set that way before connecting the camera to the phone. While the app can be a little finicky, the actual WiFi connection seems quite robust and reliable, connecting quickly and easily, and maintaining the connection to at least 30 feet or more.

- The controls. They’re close to a direct transition from the K-5 (and even closer for a K-3 as far as I can tell). The changes seem to be a change for the better.

— The viewfinder diopter adjustment is a dial like on the K-3 rather than a slider like on the K-5 and previous models. Much easier to use.

— The addition of the smart function dial. Unlike some reviewers, I see it as a real plus, giving direct physical or alternative access to 9 settings. As I use the camera more, I may have reason to quibble with the functions chosen by the designers, but overall it’s an improvement over the K-5.

— The addition of all 5 user modes to the exposure mode dial. This is a step up from the innovative but awkward 1 user position on the mode dial on the K-5 and 3 positions on the K-3.

— Making the MF/AF switch a two-position switch. It was always awkward selecting single AF vs. continuous AF from MF without directly looking at the switch. Now you can go between MF and AF easily, and change the AF mode as needed with a separate control. This is apparently featured on the K-3 too.

— Moving the focus point selection mode change function from the OK button to a separate button above the 4 way controls. Quicker and less ambiguous for me.

- I didn’t buy a DSLR to do video, but I appreciate the addition of being able to focus with the AF button as needed while video is in progress. I also look forward to having the ability to adjust audio recording levels. Again, these features were introduced to the Pentax lineup with the K-3, but they’re new to me as they would be to anyone else upgrading from a K-5 or earlier body.

- Focus peaking. Very cool feature which highlights in-focus edges in live view. Another new to me but not K-3 users option.

- 36 mm x 24 mm full frame sensor size. As a person raised on 35 mm film, putting a camera with a full frame sensor to eye quite simply feels like returning home. Lenses have the proper field of view, and although subtle, have the proper depth of field.

— My 30 year old A 24 mm f/2.8 lens didn’t get much use on my other digital bodies because it didn’t offer much, if anything over the DA lenses I had. It’s a different story on the K-1. Although at similar magnifications it’s similar in performance to my DA 15 mm Limited, it completely blows the 15 mm out of the water when used to provide a similar field of view. It’s not a knock on the DA lens, which has to work in a much more stressful setup to provide a wide field of view in a smaller image, but is a clear demonstration of the advantages of the full frame sensor size, especially for wide angle lenses. For telephoto lenses, it’s pretty much a wash, because even if there’s a wider field of view in full frame for the same lens, you can always manually crop for the same performance as APS-C, or even set the camera to capture in APS-C mode (even with an FA lens).

— 36 MP is nice, but not necessary for a lot of photography… it’s the actual physical sensor size which makes the biggest difference for me with the K-1. I expect that at least one of my user modes will involve a lower pixel count capture setting. That being said, being able to print a 33” x 55” enlargement directly from the image file is nothing to scoff at. And the difference between really good and magnificent lenses will be more obvious than ever!

— The FF/APS-C mode implementation is slick. For lenses, you can choose APS-C, Full Frame, or Auto modes, the latter setting automatically choosing the effective sensor size based on whether you’re using a DA or FA lens. When in APS-C mode, the viewfinder displays an outline of the area that will be captured in an image. I expect to continue getting full use of my DA lenses when they make sense, particularly in the transition period where I’ll be filling in holes in my full frame lens stable.

Bravo to Ricoh for keeping the Pentax tradition alive, and for introducing such a masterpiece as the K-1. It’s a bit humbling to have to say this, having been a Pentax snob who wouldn’t have given a Ricoh camera or lens the time of day in 1975!
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Location: NC
Posts: 7

7 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 13, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,799.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, Consistent Performer, Solid Build, Weather Sealing, Value
Cons: Video
Years Owned: .4    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

Full review here.

Growing K-1 500px gallery.

K-1 perks from review listed here:

K-1 perk 1) Stellar spec sheet on par with the best full frame cameras available today. Getting the well knowns that separate it from the rest of the Pentax clan out of the way in one perk. 36MP, full frame, 1/8000s shutter speed, and improved 5-axis image stabilization. Few cameras operate in this company.

K-1 perk 2) To add on to the Pentax perk above it has to be said again. Price. Until the K-1 was released the full frame camera I wanted most was a Nikon D810. No more. At $1,000 less not only does it match the D810 spec sheet it keeps going offering features no other DSLR I know of offers regardless of price (Cameras like the Leica SL baffle me what you get for what you pay wise, but much respect to those who can afford them.) like GPS and image stabilization and…

K-1 perk 3) Built in WiFi. Above not only many of it’s siblings, many other DSLRs like the D810 either do not have or require a dongle for this. Of note the D750 has WiFi, but priced above the K-1 it has 24MP, no IS…

K-1 perk 4) 3rd control wheel of many purposes. Agreed they went crazy with the choices, but that control wheel has been fantastic in use.

K-1 perk 5) A ‘unique’ tiltable screen. I will be first to admit that it seemed wonderfully over engineered to me initially (I am an Industrial Engineer by degree you understand). But in use this is what it is about. My preference is flip down/up screens (E-P5, E-PL5, NX300, NX1, RX-100ii for instance) and central to the K-1 screen is this type of mount. No sideways motion with those above however. Side 180 degree swing out and swivel screens (NX30 for instance) are less discrete when used as a waist level viewfinder and have an inherent single point failure point where the screen meets the camera. So what if you want a bit of sideways view action, but with more anchor points? Mount the up/down tilt mechanism to the camera using an interesting rods with sliding ball socket mechanism that works as billed.

K-1 perk 6) LED access lights. Brilliant. Why has no one else done this?

K-1 perk 7) Full frame. Unique to the K-1 this makes the K-1 so much more usable with the 28-75mm and 70-200mm ranges of the 2 Tamrons mentioned above. On the K-3ii the crop factor was not a plus making the 70-200mm too tele for in a pinch walkabout use.

K-1 perk 8) Low noise and image quality on par with the best cameras out there. This cameras performance far outshines the full frame film and digital cameras I have used and my only real IQ comparison can be made with my 2 medium format film cameras. And I am talking about normal mode. Pixel shift mode provides even greater results where the shooting situation allows. The image quality is that good.

I may add perks if more come to me, but these are more than enough in my book. It is my sincere hope that Pentax can get these in to as many hands as possible. It may not convince die hard brand loyalists to switch. I understand. A lot, emotionally and fiscally, goes in to choosing and building a system. But if you have only APS-C bodies and lenses you owe it to yourself to take a look if you have been thinking of moving to full frame. Same applies if you are looking to start off new with a full frame. If you have found yourself with a full frame body, but like I did you now realize you cannot bring yourself to spend the astronomical sums companies, factory and 3rd party, are asking for primes and image stabilized constant aperture zooms consider this: Backwards legacy lens compatibility and the availability of non-stabilized 3rd party constant aperture zoom lenses means I have spent $100 less for a new K-1 ($1,799), 3 legacy primes ($149), and 2 used zooms ($750) combined than the current new price for a D810 ($2799) body alone. A trade could go a long way is all I am saying.
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