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12-06-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
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K-01; my first shot at it

I figured I'd share my thoughts as well, seeing as so many others helped me with writing about their experiences. This wasn't the camera I was going to buy, until it was $315. How could I lose giving it a try? It took a few days of getting use too, but I have to say I am impressed.

First, the build quality feels great. As an architect, I can appreciate the minimalist design. I can't quite describe it, but it's just kind of like a jewel box of a camera. Go hold a Canon or Nikon consumer dslr with it's plastic feeling body and lenses and then feel this camera, night and day. And I like the fact that it doesn't look like a camera. I am not trying to convince anyone else I am a photographer. This design also has flaws though. Your hand isn't a rectangle, so holding it isn't as easy as my K-r. I've gotten use to it over the week and am sure now I can get along with it, but I wish the grip was a little bigger and the shutter button more angled. The design changes your shooting grip. And I love the shutter sound compared to the clunk of the K-r. With the 40mm on it, I can put this in a small belt bag or coat pocket and take it anywhere (and the 40mm xs is nicer than I was expecting). Yes, it's not as serious a camera as something like a K-5, but it's a fun camera. You just want to hold it and shoot, like what I hear about the Q.

As for the screen, I can see it in 99% of the daylight situations. The only time you can't see it is if you are shooting down with the camera 45 degrees to the ground and you step to the side so the sun falls flat on the screen. Usually your head would fall between the camera and the sun, so it shades it. If you are shooting level, the angle of the screen to the sun helps and you can see the image, and many times you cast a shadow on the screen anyway. I really wanted an articulating screen like on the NEX, as I shoot allot of shots at kid level, but holding the camera out and low I can frame shots at a steep view no problem. Articulating is better, but this is a passable solution. For tripod work, the lcd beats negotiating your feet around the tripod legs and ducking down to see through the viewfinder. This is great for my interiors work. I keep hearing that you need a viewfinder to frame shots, viewfinder, viewfinder, viewfinder. Maybe with a telescope size lens mounted and handheld this is true, but for what I shoot, this works maybe better than a viewfinder. I can frame fantastically. And focus peaking, probably the best feature on here. For me it works great. I even keep it on in low light AF to verify what the camera's hitting. It has brought new life to my old glass.

There are of course some wasted opportunities with the camera as well. There is plenty of real estate for more buttons, two wheels, etc. It seems like the on board flash could have been made to hand angle to the ceiling for bounce just as easy. I would have loved a little curve area to rest your thumb at the upper right back corner. And the WB on my K-r was awesome in Auto mode. This camera the Auto WB misses too much. I end up having to mess with white balance all the time. And why no focus peaking during video? This would be so useful, seeing as you hear the Pentax screw drive lenses that sound like a dentist drill on your video if you AF during shooting. My opinion is still out on the AF speed shooting a moving toddler. The camera is better locking focus than the K-r in low light I think. It's been usable so far for movement. She doesn't have NFL receiver speed yet, so I think it may suffice, but I am going to play with it more. A dedicated video button has gotten me to shoot more video's this week than I did in 2 years with my k-r.

After reading too many forum posts, I had kind of talked myself into needing what every other Pentax shooter seemed to want, a 100% viewfinder and water resistance, so I was going to sell my K-r and get a k-511 or a k-30. When I really sat down and thought about it, that's not me. It would be nice, but I don't shoot BIF with long lenses in the rain in the Pacific North West. I am not an old guy with bad eyes or that's shot a certain way for 40 years. With all the things I dream of shooting, I actually just shoot architecture and interiors, and a toddler/family 90% of the time. I also live in a major city. If it's crappy out, I am not even standing out in the rain, much less taking pictures. What I really needed instead of WR was water proof and tough, for things like the beach, the pool, and snow adventures like sledding. These types of shots for me are happy snaps more than National Geographic contenders. For this I think I'll get a cheap WG-2. Yes, small sensor, etc., but you need what you need. If I break it, I won't cry, it may just be good enough as the second camera and fulfill my last 'once in a while' requirements, even if they aren't that of the pro's in here.

I'll update more as I get more time with the camera. Thanks everyone in here for answering my K-01 questions before I took the plunge.


Last edited by chiane; 12-06-2012 at 11:10 AM.
12-06-2012, 10:50 AM   #2
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These are really helpful observations; thanks! I've been tempted by the K-01 numerous times and now at $316, it almost seems to be a no-brainer as a second body. But I can't really figure out why you got it-- sounds like the only major improvement over your K-r is the video function (which may well be enough of a reason to get it). That, and a quieter shutter sound than your K-r, and maybe the look/feel of the camera that makes photography more fun. (oh, and focus peaking is a very nice feature for your manual glass) But I have been pretty set on saving up my pennies to get a K-30 one day, to either replace my K-x or supplement it. I'm not sure it would be worth my while to fork over $316 now, or keep going to the $600 threshold needed for a K-30. I shoot a ton of pictures of my toddler, and have another baby on the way, so autofocus performance, especially indoors, is very important. not sure that the K-01 would add much for me by way of photographic capabilities, although I cannot deny that I enjoy the cool design of the K-01 and the really low price to get a great sensor. I'm very conflicted!
12-06-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
These are really helpful observations; thanks! I've been tempted by the K-01 numerous times and now at $316, it almost seems to be a no-brainer as a second body. But I can't really figure out why you got it-- sounds like the only major improvement over your K-r is the video function (which may well be enough of a reason to get it). That, and a quieter shutter sound than your K-r, and maybe the look/feel of the camera that makes photography more fun. (oh, and focus peaking is a very nice feature for your manual glass) But I have been pretty set on saving up my pennies to get a K-30 one day, to either replace my K-x or supplement it. I'm not sure it would be worth my while to fork over $316 now, or keep going to the $600 threshold needed for a K-30. I shoot a ton of pictures of my toddler, and have another baby on the way, so autofocus performance, especially indoors, is very important. not sure that the K-01 would add much for me by way of photographic capabilities, although I cannot deny that I enjoy the cool design of the K-01 and the really low price to get a great sensor. I'm very conflicted!
Seventy,

Here's what it gives me over the k-r;

1. focus peaking for old lenses I wasn't getting much use out of.
2. better video, which I thought was a must for little kids.
3. framing using the lcd allows me to shoot better at kid level and video while walking at kid level, without being on my knee's to do it
4. quieter shutter helps in shooting kids as well, as you can kind of be anonymous. My almost two year old was starting to shy away at me snapping away.
5. smaller body/lens allows me to take the camera out more in situations where it's just one more thing to pack.
6. K-5 image quality for $315 bucks and a 40mm pancake for $100!
7. Better workflow when shooting architecture on a tripod framing with the lcd vs. the viewfinder.

Until I wrote it, I wasn't 100% sure what it gave me either, as I wasn't sure on many of these points when I bought it. It was more of a trial run for the price, because what the heck, I thought it had potential. Like I said above, it really wasn't the camera I was planning on buying. I wasn't even sure I wanted to buy a camera at this time. I also thought maybe the NEX 6 or the OM-D might be better options, but I have a bunch of Pentax lenses already, so it's a bigger leap to switch systems. And you're right, it's not vastly different than my K-r in many respects, but new toys are always fun aren't they?
12-06-2012, 11:18 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by chiane Quote
new toys are always fun aren't they?
Yep, especially when they're dirt cheap (for a camera that take high quality pictures, that is). I also thought about the NEX-6 but am not willing to switch systems right now or spend $1000 to support a second system. Thanks for your follow-up feedback to my post; lots of food for thought. I've been wavering so much, I'm fairly sure I'll topple over in the direction of owning a K-01 soon enough!

12-06-2012, 01:31 PM   #5
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Chiane,

Thanks for the report. Have you noticed a tendency to use LiveView more on your K-r? That seems to be a side-effect of having both a K-01 and a dSLR. Regarding grip, it felt odd at first to me, too, but now I use the thumb-on-shutter grip ("gangsta style" so much with my K-01 that it almost feels funny to hold a dSLR normally. I hadn't noticed much difference with AWB, but most of my K-01 shooting has been outdoors.

SeventySixersFan,

On a previous thread, you were thinking in terms of a replacement for your K-x. Are you still leaning that way? It seems like those that are happiest with the K-01 are either using it as a second body, or never had a dSLR to begin with.
12-06-2012, 02:05 PM   #6
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Yeah, I think I shouldn't get the K-01 if I meant to replace the K-X. It would be as a second body to have around the house that might be easier/less intimidating for my wife to use, or for me to use with video (I rarely use my K-X for video because it's so bad at it). I know you had advised me to probably save my money up to get a K-30 which is what I really want-- not necessarily for the WR (although that's nice to have), but for the fast AF and 100% viewfinder-- both things that I definitely appreciate when trying to capture my toddler and crazy big dog. It's just that at the $316 list price, it's really really tempting me to just give it a try and see if it would be good enough for certain situations. I think in an ideal world I would have had a K-5 and a K-01 (like many on these forums) so that K-01 makes a bit more sense as a second, smaller body, but for me, I have a K-X, so the K-01 is really not that much smaller (although I know it is a bit smaller and lighter which is always appreciated). of course-- I don't NEED a second camera body, and it's not like I have tons of spare cash lying around that needs to be spent. So, a big part of me thinks I should probably just sit pat, resist these urges, and see what 2013 brings in terms of price drops on the K-30, or newer models that have even better technologies. But I can't deny that for the low price, K-01 is an amazing deal, and I'm all about getting a good deal. I just have to think more rationally about this and whether that amount of money, even though it's "only" $316, would be better spent towards a different camera in the future...
12-07-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
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I still think the K-30 is better for a single-camera option. Having said that (and avoided being a total K-01 fanboy), the K-01 is a very useful second body with a lot of K-30 under the skin. I thought it would be a 'niche' camera, useful mostly for the quiet shutter, but I found that its differentness pulled me in new directions and got me shooting a lot more from PoV other than eye-level, and it's just enough smaller than a K-x to fit in a jacket pocket.

...you do already have the Limiteds and small F35-70 zoom that suit the K-01 so well... (I'm not helping, am I? )
12-07-2012, 10:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
I'm not helping, am I?
I'm so suggestible!! Especially when I'm already trying to talk my way into it, rather than out of it. Although the $299 price on the Nikon V1 has also been making me think long and hard about what I want out of a second camera body. I know I can't compare the V1 and the K-01 in terms of image quality, but size and autofocus speed are definitely in favor of the Nikon mirrorless. Still, I love the idea of mounting my existing lenses on the K-01... this is driving me crazy!

12-07-2012, 11:08 AM   #9
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I am shooting with a K10D and a DS, both of which give me good results; actually, I don't use either as much as I should. I also occasionally shoot with a Mamiya 645, though less and less as processing becomes a greater PITA. I just ordered a K-01 body, thinking that it would be good, tripod mounted, for shooting macro and landscapes. While I have had no real interest in this camera, I decided to buy it at the greatly reduced price, to have another tool in the kit. Hopefully, a good decision.
12-07-2012, 11:54 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
... this is driving me crazy!
Oh, it's not worth going crazy over (I was already there, so no loss ). Maybe the thing to do is get one, be careful with it, and send it back inside of 30 days if it shows any signs of being a shelf queen. The shipping costs wouldn't be a huge price to pay for first-hand knowledge.
12-07-2012, 11:59 AM   #11
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Certainly if the K-01 were available in brick-and-mortar stores near me, I wouldn't be waffling as much because I would have such first-hand experience. Right now I'm going on what I read, people's opinions, and videos online. I really would love to just hold it and handle the camera for a while and compare it to my K-x and see whether there would be a place for it in my home. But what you suggest is definitely an option and I'll consider it! Thanks for the idea!
12-07-2012, 12:25 PM   #12
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Ace Photo out near Dulles has (or had) the fakey demo K-01s (real shell, but no guts). I got to handle one around Labor Day, and thought "nah, I don't need this". Then the price went down, and I caved - and to my surprise, really liked the little brick. Then price went WAY down.

According to Ace's website, they have the K-01 (yellow only) at the $346 price. Based on my visit, if you wanted to hold a real one, they would have to go looking for it in the back, and they probably wouldn't let you power it up - I guess they don't sell enough Pentax to waste one as a "demo" unit.
12-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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Thanks for the tip about Ace Photo! Never been there before but this may be a good excuse to make the trip.
12-07-2012, 01:40 PM   #14
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I usually stay near Dulles when I'm up DC-way (the hotels are cheaper, there's a Wegmans nearby, and it's an excuse to stop by Udvar-Hazy! ), but I hadn't gone looking for Ace until this year. I figured I'd pick up a couple packs of Eneloops and at least look at the K-30. My experience was positive, although when I asked to see "the new Pentax", the person helping me admitted no one had ever said that to her before. *sigh*
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