Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Pentax Camera Reviews » Pentax Digital Cameras » Pentax K-mount DSLRs
Pentax K-1 Review RSS Feed

Pentax K-1

Ergonomics 
 9.3
Build Quality 
 9.9
User Interface 
 9.5
Autofocus 
 8.5
Features 
 9.8
Value 
 10.0
Image Quality 
 9.9
Noise 
 9.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
26 81,058 Fri December 20, 2019
spacer
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $1,825.77 9.58
Pentax K-1

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

Description:

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
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Year Introduced
2016
In Production
Yes
Current US Price
N/A
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Sensor Type
CMOS
Megapixels
36.4
Resolution
7360 x 4912 pixels
AA Filter
No (AA filter simulator)
Super Resolution
Yes
Bit Depth
14
Minimum ISO
100
Maximum ISO
204800
ISO Range
100 - 204,800
Imaging
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
300000
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
Yes
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
Yes
Interval shooting
Up to 2000 frames, 2 sec to 24 hours interval
HDR mode
Yes
Multiple exposures
Yes, average, additive and bright, 2 to 2000 shots
Pixel mapping
Yes
Scene Modes
None. Auto (green) sets exposure based on scene analysis
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 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
Focusing
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX 12, 33 focus points, 25 cross type)
AF Points
33
Autofocus sensitivity
-3 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustment for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Yes
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
Viewfinder/LCD
Viewfinder
0.70x, 100%
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism
Diopter adjustment
-3.5 to +1.2
AF Points in viewfinder
Yes
Exchangeable screen
No
Depth of field preview
Yes
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live View
Yes
Top LCD
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Back LCD
3.2 in., 1,037,000 dots, 3:2 aspect ratio, flexible tilt/angle, red light night mode
Body
Weather resistant
Yes
Control wheels
3
Battery grip
D-BG6 (takes D-LI90 or 6x AA)
Card slots
2
Dust removal
Yes, Ultrasonic DR II
Dust alert
No
Memory card type
SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I Compatible)
Size (W x H x D)
136.5 x 110.0 x 85.5 mm
Weight
925g (1010 with battery and SD cards)
File format
PEF (RAW),DNG (RAW),JPG,TIFF,MOV
Battery life
760 images, playback time: 390 minutes
Battery
D-LI90 Rechargeable
Flash
Built-in flash
No
Sync speed
1/200s
P-TTL flash
Yes
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
No
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Video
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p,
1280x720 (16:9) at 60p, 50p
MPEG4 AVC/H.264
Interval Movie (4K, Full HD, HD)
Star Stream
Exposure Modes
P, Av, TAv, Tv, M
Movie mode restrictions
AF During Recording
On-Demand
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo (external mic), Stereo (built-in mic). Adjustable sound level
Interfacing
GPS
Built-In
Tethering
Wired (native),Via built-in Wi-Fi
Connectivity
USB 2, HDMI out, stereo mic, headphones, DC in, X-sync, cable release, GPS, Wi-Fi.
Latest Firmware
Link to Download Page
Notes
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
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 26
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2011
Posts: 365

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 20, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: image quality, pixel shift, astrotracer, lights for astro, gps, weather sealing, body design
Cons: gets pretty heavy I guess
Years Owned: 2    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

I have hesitated reviewing this camera for a while because... well... I still have not been able to master it. It is more camera than I am photographer. But, I think it's time to share some thoughts after owning it for two years now.

TL;DR Pentax killed it with their first full-frame, but you may not really need it.

I originally bought it in 2018 for $800, with some defects. For that price at the time it was a steal to me, as I could sell my K-3 and lens for it. Nowadays, I have seen several used K-1's in the 800-900 USD range, which is incredible. Making the switch to full-frame for me wasn't entirely educated, and to be honest I didn't know what I was getting myself into as far as size and cost. Those concerns notwithstanding, I have never been let down by the image quality or usability of the camera.

The K-3 is amazing. The K-1 just takes it up a notch with new sensor and processor technology. Images have even more dynamic range and noise is better controlled. That being said, if you considering making a similar jump, my images aren't "better" now. With my style of shooting, knowledge and skill level (amateur, approaching intermediate in some areas), I mostly have seen advantages in situations that I can shoot more comfortably in. Like indoors, where I can bump up the ISO and take advantage of the full width of a full-frame lens. I feel like more modern Pentax APS-C cameras like the KP and the new one just announced mitigate this with better ISO performance. My point here is, think twice (maybe thrice) about going full-frame unless you have a specific reason, and don't go full-frame uneducated like me

I really appreciate the astrotracer being built in, and the little lights they put around the camera. I use those all the time with night photography. I don't use the red screen mode as much, as it makes reviewing the images impossible. Otherwise, it's a great idea because it does help with your eyes. Very cool features.

I haven't used pixel shift a lot, because I often find myself without a tripod. But from what I have experienced, it's great. Cool feature.

The jump to 24 -> 36 MP was big. No, I'm not printing that large to make a difference, but I often crop and I feel like it has made a practical difference when I need to.

The camera is very well built. Like a tank. That leads me to my one and only real negative which is size and weight. It is a very chunky camera. In many ways that's actually a positive thing - holding it is easy and it feels premium - but it does make me question taking it out with me for casual walks, and I have resorted to buying old Pentax bodies that are smaller and lighter to fill the photography urge for those kinds of trips. Another thing to think about.

For the price you can get these now it's becoming an even better deal, if you can deal with the size, weight and have access to full-frame glass. If not and you're drooling over it anyway, just know your APS-C camera is just fine

Just tryin' to save you some money
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 175
Review Date: December 16, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-1: Yes | Price: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Plenty of hard buttons and dials, JPEG adjustments, IQ, articulating LCD
Cons: AF maybe, but I have adapted, Pentax stopped firmware update other than new lens support
Years Owned: 3    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I have had my K-1 since March 2017. Bought it new at the Photography Show in Birmingham. I do not shoot raw at all, instead I tweaked and saved user settings for my photo habits. That serves me well 99% of the time. Really cool that I can change them by just turning the dial and I am ready to go.

I have not got much complaint about this camera. Image quality is still outstanding after 3 years, lots of adjustment through menu, and the extra dials make a big difference in handling. I hardly ever enter the menu since I have the user settings saved.

Battery life is pretty good, although I have to admit that the first setting on the camera was to get rid of the info LCD being on all the time, and to turn off instant preview completely. I do it for two (three) reasons on all my digital cameras. First to save battery life. Second: if you do not know what settings you are at without the info screen then you do not know your camera or not pay attention to what you are doing. Third: instant preview is for dummies, isn't it? You have just taken that very picture, do not you remember? If it is fckd it is too late already...
Anyway, back to the review.

AF as many have stated already is its weakest point, or its weak point. But we Pentaxians have learnt to live with it, haven't we? For action I just have the 9 point select one offset to one side (do not need to compose in the middle and move the camera sideways) and that does the job most of the time. Besides all my lenses calibrated/AF fine tuned in-camera, so AF is as good as you can get with a Pentax.

I have not tested my K-1 in harsh condition, but it is reassuring it can take some rain and dust. None of my lenses though, so that is the bottleneck of the system.
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 44
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
Cons:
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: 1,967
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)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/32751914666
2. ISO400
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/42822346734
3. ISO100
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/33079762078
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/40014570223
   
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 

 
Pros: OTTIMA E FACILE DA USARE
Cons: NESSUNO
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   

FINALMENTE LA MACCHINA PERFETTA PER ME. OTTIMA IN OGNI SITUAZIONE ANCHE IN SCARSA LUMINOSITA'. CONTRASTO E COLORI ULTRADEFINITI. MOLTO UTILE IL WI-FI E MOLTO EFFICACE SENZA PERDITA DI SEGNALE E MOLTO VELOCE NEL TRASFERIMENTO DELLE IMMAGINI. OTTIMO IL GPS
SI USA CON MOLTA FACILITA' ED HA UN RAPPORTO QUALITA' PREZZO ECCELLENTE
   
New Member

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.

Positives:
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.
Negatives:
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: 703
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: 76

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   

Pros:

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.


Cons:

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 problems.....so 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.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 1,534

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.
Add Review of Pentax K-1 Buy the Pentax K-1



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:14 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top