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08-24-2015, 08:00 AM   #1
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K-01, Autofocus, and Jello Shutter

Hi! I was looking to purchase the K-01 off eBay, but I've been put off by a couple of complaints I noticed in various reviews.

Chief among these has been autofocus performance. The review here puts its autofocus performance worse than the K-5 in low-light conditions; DPReview flat-out panned it, saying that it the camera was "not well suited for taking pictures of moving subjects". Since those reviews, there have been firmware updates that have purportedly improved autofocus performance. In light of this, what has your experience been like?

The other gripe that stood out to me was video recording performance, which is a bit more contentious. DPReview complained about horrendous rolling shutter -- with an accompanying bad video clip -- while the review here showed two clips with little to no jello shutter. As I may end up using this to record video at some point, I was curious as to what peoples' experiences have been here.

Thanks in advance for the help!

08-24-2015, 12:44 PM   #2
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Even with the firmware updates, the K-01 will never be an AF action camera. (I'll throw in here that there were photographers taking action shots decades before there was such a thing as auto-focus.) For stills and manual focus lenses, it's a great little camera. Contrast-detect AF does have certain quirks - for example, if you are shooting flowers with long stems like tulips, it will not resist focusing on the stem instead of the flower, which can get interesting if you are shooting with thin depth of field. Comparing apples to apples and CDAF to CDAF, I'd say its AF is as good or better than the K-5 in LiveView mode.

I don't shoot a lot of video, but it's been fine for what I wanted - which usually involves a tripod. Again, it's not an action camera. Pentax cameras in general lag behind on video capabilities, so if you are looking to do serious video on an ILC, you probably should look at a Sony, Panasonic, or Canon. However, we do have members who have shot professional video on K-01s. It's all about knowing the tool, using its strengths, and avoiding its weaknesses.
08-24-2015, 01:29 PM - 1 Like   #3
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The K-01 is an awesome camera for photography. Maybe not sports photography, it is definitely NOT for moving subjects since CDAF can only go so far. For landscapes, street photog or pre-focused environments it is excellent.
The main selling point of this camera, I think, is the mood it puts you in. With an expensive DSLR you are walking around like a pro photographer with intimidating, bulky equipment. The K-01 is meant to be a simpler, more casual alternative to a DSLR while maintaining compatibility with all the lenses. That's why I love mine so much. You can take it and go. It looks a little weird with a large zoom mounted to it, so I prefer to use my primes but sometimes the 16-50 is on there. It's clunky but it works. The main point being, it's not a "serious" camera in the sense that it still brings impeccable image quality but is just less capable than a true DSLR, but at the same time due to its casual nature it is more fun to use.

In terms of video, it's not the K-01's strong point. Not even in terms of jello shutter. The compression on the K-01 is pretty heavy which means things like distant leaves in trees will just turn into green blobs. It tends to have a fake sharpening effect even with sharpening turned off, resulting in weird moire patterns sometimes. There's artifacts around edges, etc... Watching the video on a small screen is fine since it is scaled down and looks nice. But if you blow it up to full size 1080p on a laptop or desktop you will see how much overall detail it lacks.
Pentax has never really been good with video performance. If you want to do video, go for a Canon/Sony/Panasonic like mentioned above.
If you want to take a look, here is a video I shot mostly on a K-01
Two scenes (handheld in car) were shot on a Canon camcorder but everything else was the K-01 with a DA 16-50 or DA15.
08-25-2015, 03:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by NitroDC Quote
If you want to take a look, here is a video I shot mostly on a K-01
Actually, that was pretty good, I think the excellent editing and the song made it work well. I forgot all about artifacts and moire..
Is that an original song by the two lads? I really enjoyed listening to that, a bit of David Bowie influence?
Cheers

08-26-2015, 05:36 PM   #5
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I went ahead and got the K-01 -- with the deal I found, it was too good to pass up, in spite of whatever flaws may exist. I think it'll do for what I have in mind. :-)

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!
10-07-2015, 04:49 AM   #6
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Rolling Shutter performance,.... K-01 skews less then a 5D2, but more then a 5D3, and eats the BMD Pocket Cine camera for breakfast.
There are plenty of chats about how to get the best video performance out of it, but the main tips are Tripod, Manual Focus, and SR OFF.
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