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02-25-2012, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #1
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K-01 Hands-on

I was fortunate enough to try out the K-01 at the Pentax Forum in Tokyo today. They had several of them on display in all three colour schemes and they were letting customers mount a variety of lenses on them. I didn't attempt to judge the image quality, so this is just my impression of the handling and AF performance.

When I picked it up, I was surprised how light and compact it felt. When you look at the dimensions and weight on a spec sheet, it doesn't seem like there's much advantage over a DSLR, but it feels much lighter in reality. I preferred the black bodies. The white ones are smooth, whereas the black ones have a more textured finish. You can see it if you look at the product pictures.

When you pick it up, your grip is naturally a bit different from a DSLR. Your index finger is more vertical. I found the button placement to be good. You can reach the top buttons and turn the mode dial easily with your index finger. In fact, that might be a justification for the much discussed "chimney". It makes it easy to turn the mode dial without changing your hand placement. However, the new placement of the on/off lever is a step backwards in my view.

There is no dedicated TAv mode on the dial, but according to a Japanese magazine published recently, it has a "hidden TAv mode" which is activated when you choose manual and set the ISO to auto.

Here are some impressions of the lenses I tried, including a couple of my own.

40mm XS Clearly this lens has been optimised for the K-01. Very fast focus, 27mm barrel extends during focusing, but does not automatically retract when the camera is switched off - I was a bit disappointed about that. The staff said it can be used on DSLR but not film cameras due to vignetting.

DAL 18-55 A light lens so the weight balance is still good. Fast focus. Looks good with white body, white lens. Makes sense as a kit option.

DA35 2.4 Yellow lens attached to yellow body. Focused well. Looks cool . . . assuming you like bright yellow.

My FA35 The DA35 lens focused faster but the FA was still fine.

My F35-70 Focusing seemed similar to my K20D in terms of speed and noise. It's really neat that you can use such an old lens on this camera with full functionality. I can imagine I'd use this compact lens with it quite a lot.

The way that lenses focus feels different from PDAF. They tend to overshoot a bit and return but I don't think it makes much difference to the overall speed. I'm assuming that the firmware is still a pre-release version, but I didn't ask specifically.

If you want to use larger zoom lenses, I think the K-5 would be a lot better because of the grip, but for the smaller K-mount lenses, this new camera is a really nice option.

02-25-2012, 01:03 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
ere is no dedicated TAv mode on the dial, but according to a Japanese magazine published recently, it has a "hidden TAv mode" which is activated when you choose manual and set the ISO to auto.
That wiill answer a objection! Thanks for posting this. I have one ordered and it just keeps looking better and better.
02-25-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote

There is no dedicated TAv mode on the dial, but according to a Japanese magazine published recently, it has a "hidden TAv mode" which is activated when you choose manual and set the ISO to auto.
Does exposure compensation work when setup like this? My 7D has auto ISO in manual mode that works similarly but for some reason you can't use exposure compensation when doing so, which is a real hassle.
02-25-2012, 05:10 PM   #4
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Brilliant on that auto-iso in manual mode thing if true. My k-x doesn't have it (or Tav) but i would sometimes love to have auto-iso while running in manual mode. I'm forced to use Av mode to compensate a lot.

02-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #5
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So I have been a little confused. The product photos I had seen feature three color choices:
  • Black grip with black body, with satin silver flash hump
  • Black grip with satin silver body with black flash hump (this site)
  • Yellow grip with black body and satin silver flash hump
Now I see that the satin silver is out and is replaced by storm trooper white as in the OPs report. B&H has a picture of the satin silver version on their pre-order for white while pentaximaging.com has the storm trooper version. What gives? I sort of liked the satin silver.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-25-2012 at 05:52 PM.
02-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
There is no dedicated TAv mode on the dial, but according to a Japanese magazine published recently, it has a "hidden TAv mode" which is activated when you choose manual and set the ISO to auto.

DA35 2.4 Yellow lens attached to yellow body. Focused well. Looks cool . . . assuming you like bright yellow.
Yabbadabbadoo are they the same colour yellow?

That is nice to have TAv to handle!
02-25-2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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I think the shade of yellow was a bit different, but close enough. Silver is not available in Japan, so out of the the three, I found the black most appealing.

As for TAV mode, the person in the Pentax Forum said that it didn't have a TAv mode and then started going on about the HDR mode. I read the comment about a "hidden TAV mode" later on, so I didn't have a chance to try it out. And I don't know whether exposure compensation works with it. I hope the magazine was right.
02-25-2012, 06:44 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
So I have been a little confused. The product photos I had seen feature three color choices:
  • Black grip with black body, with satin silver flash hump
  • Black grip with satin silver body with black flash hump (this site)
  • Yellow grip with black body and satin silver flash hump
Now I see that the satin silver is out and is replaced by storm trooper white as in the OPs report. B&H has a picture of the satin silver version on their pre-order for white while pentaximaging.com has the storm trooper version. What gives? I sort of liked the satin silver.


Steve
Reportedly (per an Adam post on the K-01 Color thread) the Black/Silver (named "Black") and Black/Yellow (named "Yellow") are global colors, Silver with Black grips (named "Silver") is replaced in the USA only by White with Black grips (named "White"). A marketing decision?



I think. I ordered the Black version which I think is the one pictured above (from the Pentax UK website) but I really have no idea what I am going to getto get.

02-27-2012, 04:29 PM   #9
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Can you tell us anything about the focus peeking/peakimg feature?
Was it enabled on the K-01 you used
02-29-2012, 04:05 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I went back to have a second look today and brought a couple more lenses to try out.

Hidden TAv mode
I tried this out and it does work. When you put the camera into M mode, you can still select "Auto ISO". The camera will then work like TAv mode on a K-5. However, there is only one dial, so you have to use the exposure compensation button to toggle between aperture and shutter speed. So, in answer to pingflood's question, I don't think that exposure compensation will work in manual unless it is something that is hidden deep in the menus. If you love TAv mode, you'll want to stick to a DSLR.

Peaking
The peaking function was present on the camera I saw. You get a white outline around the high contrast areas and the only options seemed to be on or off. It didn't look like the same system as on the Ricoh GXR and I don't know how it compares to competing models but it looked like a fairly basic implementation to me but it works. You can press the OK button to magnify the image. You can then use the dial to adjust the magnification as required. When you half-press the shutter button, the screen reverts to the full frame. The next time you press the OK button, it remembers the magnification you set previously. I'm afraid I forgot to check whether this memory persists after the camera has been turned off and on again.

I brought an M135 3.5 to test. This is a lens that I haven't used much because I can't get accurate focus through the OVF on my K20D. It was a completely different story on the K-01. I'm pretty sure I could focus consistently once I got used to it. It was so cool to see the stabilised image on the LCD with this 30-year-old lens.

The other lens I tried today was the FA24-90. Of course it worked fine, but once you're using a mid-size zoom lens like this, you will be more comfortable with a DSLR. The DAL 18-55 available as a kit is better fit because it's so light.

The final point is that the person who helped me said that the firmware I saw was the version that will ship with the camera. Japanese prices usually come down a few weeks after release, so I'm going to have to be VERY patient not to just go out and get the black version and a load of DA limiteds and A primes from the second hand shop! Well, actually I'm not, because I don't have the money, but forgive me my flight of fantasy for a moment.
02-29-2012, 05:39 AM   #11
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Thanks for the new info! I'd love to try the focus peaking with my M50 1.7...
02-29-2012, 12:39 PM   #12
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Is the video 720 or 1080? I'm seeing conflicting specs.
02-29-2012, 01:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
Is the video 720 or 1080? I'm seeing conflicting specs.
I think it is 1080 at 30 fps, 720 offers 30 and 60 fps.
02-29-2012, 06:12 PM   #14
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K-01 video Recorded Pixels

QuoteQuote:
"FullHD(1920x1080,16:9,30fps/25fps/24fps), HD(1280x720,16:9,60fps/50fps/30fps/25fps/24fps), VGA(640x480,4:3,30fps/25fps/24fps)"
PENTAX K-01 A lens-interchangeable digital camera designed in collaboration with world-renowned designer Marc Newson that developed to be the new addition to the long-lasting family of PENTAX K series.


Last edited by jogiba; 02-29-2012 at 06:17 PM.
02-29-2012, 10:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
DA35 2.4 Yellow lens attached to yellow body. Focused well. Looks cool . . . assuming you like bright yellow.
Interesting - sounds like a variant made specifically for the K-01 - first time I hear of it. Maybe this is a Japan-only version of the DA35?
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