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03-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #1
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Wrapping my head around the K-01

There is a saying "time will tell". There is also another "the proof of the pudding is in the eating (of it)".

I'm not hating on the K-01. Actually I like it, the design anyway.

I'm also not listening to the haters. Haters, one must remember, hate on everything, most memorably the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. And those ended up fairly successful, right?

Finally, I'm not hating on Pentax. I think they had to do this, and it was right for them to do this. It was, in fact, the only thing they could do.

What I am wondering is: will it work?

I admit, I did not imagine the NEX would be as successful as it turned out to be. I thought no one would buy just a badly proportioned camera. I also thought the Nikon 1 would be better received than it was - though part of that was being hugely overpriced at launch. So my track record is fairly poor.

Central to the K-01 is the answer to the following question: is it reasonably enjoyable to use such a large camera (and, typically, large lenses) like a point-and-shoot, holding the camera out in front of you and framing on the rear LCD?

If the answer is basically "yes", then I can see people typically picking this up over the K-r type cameras, as it has the fundamental simplicity of a single mode of operation: live view, all time. It's that little bit more compact, and a lot more stylish, and the same price class essentially.

If the answer is basically "no" (and already people are posting of their frustrations in this respect) there is a problem because outside of style the K-01 has nothing else to offer in terms of features. Any improvements (better video, etc) are just generational, a new K-r model (K-s lets call it) would be expected to have all these things and a couple more. Crucially, it loses out significantly against other competing mirrorless systems in terms of compactness.

I'm going to guess the answer is "no". The K-01 is a cool design, but not a camera many people will actually buy.

Fortunately for Pentax, I've been wrong before.

P.S. Yes, with the XS lens the K-01 is about the right size and proportion to use "point and shoot" style. But that is just one lens and, crucially, it's the wrong focal length. The general-purpose use pancake lens people look for is 28mm, 35mm or perhaps 40-45mm. 60mm? No. You can make the case for the DA15, DA21. Fine, but a) those are expensive relative to the cost of a K-01 and b) it still leaves the 3x kit zoom, which makes the K-01 absolutely huge even by NEX standards.


Last edited by rjm; 03-14-2012 at 05:35 PM.
03-14-2012, 05:40 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by rjm Quote
such a large camera
The size is perfect if you ask me- any smaller would make it really hard to hold. BH has sold several dozen so far, so it's definitely not a failure (unlike the Q).

Take a look at K-01 review we just posted- it sums up how enjoyable that LCDVF was quite well. Personally I would much rather have an optical VF, but from users coming over from the P&S world, the K-01 will probably feel like the best camera they have ever used

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03-14-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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Using the LCD exclusively hasn't yet bothered me in the least. At least in my case, other than with legacy zoom lenses I prefer framing in the LCD and focus peaking with a manual focus lens might just be the feature that catches on (if enough people hear about it.

And I don't hold it out at arm's length. I cradle it like an SLR, but right in front of my face.
03-14-2012, 05:56 PM   #4
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First off, I do not think this is a mainstream camera. I do not think it will attract many people moving up from a P&S. I think they will look at the size of the zooms and move over to the m4/3, Nex, etc.

On the enthusiast side, I think it is interesting because of the Pentax primes. They are quite a bit smaller than the Nex offerings, and pretty solid optically, from what I have seen.

03-14-2012, 05:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
And I don't hold it out at arm's length. I cradle it like an SLR, but right in front of my face.
^ This. Much more comfortable and practical.
03-14-2012, 06:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rjm Quote
...
What I am wondering is: will it work?

I admit, I did not imagine the NEX would be as successful as it turned out to be. I thought no one would buy just a badly proportioned camera. I also thought the Nikon 1 would be better received than it was - though part of that was being hugely overpriced at launch. So my track record is fairly poor.

Central to the K-01 is the answer to the following question: is it reasonably enjoyable to use such a large camera (and, typically, large lenses) like a point-and-shoot, holding the camera out in front of you and framing on the rear LCD?
I'm pretty much in your camp. If companies use an aps-c sensor in these cameras the adapted lenses will be bulky, and the NEX becomes a weird proposition in the handling department. Clearly with an e-mount lens they are much better, but then you've strangled your options - so I'm in favor of much more bulk than a NEX. Whether as much as a k-x though.. hard to say. A year ago I had hopes that Pentax would join 4:3 with a serious weather-sealed camera there, so my forecasting skills have failed as much as yours.

Also consider that true Pentax enthusiasts are speaking out now, those with more exacting standards as to needs and expectations. The rest of the potential market is likely to wait another month or two for reviews to give them more to think about. We have one here now, and that's a start - but only the very start.

Pentax has chosen lens compatibility as their point of distinction in the mirror-free market. If it works well enough I'd expect to see a flip or tilt screen K-02 coming soon, and that would be good enough for me. Let's face it though: as a K-5 owner who does not need two bodies, my plans won't do Pentax any good for several years.. unless my yellow-lovin' wife decides a K-01/K-5 pair beats two Lumix G1s? I can dream..
03-14-2012, 07:13 PM   #7
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If the K-01 had HDMI out in video mode, I would have bought it this year as my "movie" body to go with my K5. I was *that* close. Since HDMI connection puts the K-01 in play mode automatically, I'm out.

I go to Europe once a year for a photography/video walk about around September/October. I spend a month there.

This year I will be upgrading my Optio WR and if the Kr replacement is better than my K5, I will buy the Kr replacement.

If there is a K5 replacement that comes before I leave for Europe, I would buy that. Photokina is in September, so not likely.

So camera purchases this year are going to be the Optio WG2 and maybe the K-r or possibly another K5.

If all it takes is a firmware update to make the K-01 HDMI out in video mode, then it might be on again.
03-14-2012, 07:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The size is perfect if you ask me- any smaller would make it really hard to hold. BH has sold several dozen so far, so it's definitely not a failure (unlike the Q).
I guess I don't understand the camera business. WRT the rumored 10,000 B&H preorders for the 5DMkIII I can't beleive several dozen is a success. All this noise for several DOZEN?

I don't know whether to be disappointed that in all the USA through one of the three big distributors only 50 or 60 have sold or to be delighted that I have such discerning early insight.


Last edited by monochrome; 03-15-2012 at 09:09 AM.
03-14-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I guess I don't understand the camera business. WRT the rumored 10,000 B&H preorders for the D800 I can't beleive several dozen is a success. All this noise for several DOZEN?

I don't know whether to be disappointed that in all the USA through one of the three big distributors only 50 or 60 have sold or to be delighted that I have such discerning early insight.
Adam is just taking the opportunity to make fun of the Q
03-14-2012, 08:16 PM   #10
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From what I can tell so far in my local forum, K-01 has been pretty successful in a Pentax context.
The user base is younger here than PF too, so there may also be a income and generation gap.
Nonetheless, enough ppl have got one or asking abt one, just as Kx, Kr before it.


Theres even a m4/3 shooter, who jumped in and got 2.


For me, I will wait for one more price drop and also what's coming in Photokina before deciding to get one, since I have a K5
03-14-2012, 08:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I guess I don't understand the camera business. WRT the rumored 10,000 B&H preorders for the D800 I can't beleive several dozen is a success. All this noise for several DOZEN?

I don't know whether to be disappointed that in all the USA through one of the three big distributors only 50 or 60 have sold or to be delighted that I have such discerning early insight.

I'm pretty sure Adam is going by the numbers bought through the forum link. I seriously doubt Adorama or B&H would be free and easy with their actual sales numbers. When I was in the camera business (8 years at Penn camera in the DC area) I was under strict orders to never disclose inventory levels or sales information to the reps as it would affect negotiations with them. The same went for talking to regular folks as that info could get back to competitors and the reps. I'm sure Adam is loving the referral business
03-14-2012, 09:32 PM   #12
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I was just shocked to get an email from a college student aquaintance and fellow dedicated filmie, who has been looking at my K-01 photos on Flickr and asking me about it. He wants to be able to do a little commercial work, but he has zero interest in DSLRs. He's no "unserious" photographer either; photography is his major!
03-14-2012, 09:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ibkc Quote
I was just shocked to get an email from a college student aquaintance and fellow dedicated filmie, who has been looking at my K-01 photos on Flickr and asking me about it. He wants to be able to do a little commercial work, but he has zero interest in DSLRs. He's no "unserious" photographer either; photography is his major!
I'm in the same boat. Shot film forever, don't own a "real" digital camera. The K-01 is the first one that appeals to me. It's funny how so many people feel the need to tell all of us that this camera won't sell, it isn't a good design, etc. It does appeal to people. I'm very glad Pentax made this camera, no one else has!
03-14-2012, 10:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ibkc Quote
^ This. Much more comfortable and practical.
Me, too. Also, I've always held a P&S as close to my face as possible. I just don't get the folks who hold cameras at arm's length, so unstable...
03-14-2012, 10:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rjm Quote
I'm going to guess the answer is "no". The K-01 is a cool design, but not a camera many people will actually buy.
I think the K-01 is more hampered by the fact that its Pentax. Not much brand recognition by the populace.

QuoteQuote:
P.S. Yes, with the XS lens the K-01 is about the right size and proportion to use "point and shoot" style. But that is just one lens and, crucially, it's the wrong focal length. The general-purpose use pancake lens people look for is 28mm, 35mm or perhaps 40-45mm. 60mm? No. You can make the case for the DA15, DA21. Fine, but a) those are expensive relative to the cost of a K-01 and b) it still leaves the 3x kit zoom, which makes the K-01 absolutely huge even by NEX standards.
Many people have no idea what focal length they need. Heck, many P&S users never even use the zoom function on their cameras. I agree that the 40mm is not the best FL to bundle with the K-01, though.
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