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05-13-2016, 08:36 AM   #1
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Is the K-01 right for me?

I had a K-x and upgraded to a K-30. Definite and noticeable improvement. I've kept the K-x as my backup, but I'll be going on a trip where I will be bringing along two bodies, because I won't have the leisure to change lenses. Usually, I keep a DA 18-135 on K-30 (my all-purpose lens), and on the K-x I usually have a:
  • Sigma 10-20 or a DA 10-17 FE (for ultrawide) or
  • DA 21 or DA 40XS or DA50 (for street and compact) or
  • DAL 55-300 (for telephoto)
My plan was to get a K-S2 and use the K-30 as a backup, but prices are not coming down very quickly on the K-S2, even used. So Plan B1 is getting a used K-5 (which are fairly cheap) or Plan B2 as I've thought about it more is to get the K-01.


There are all sorts of reasons why the K-S2 makes sense to me, but I'm hoping you K-01 users might convince me to go w/ a used K-01. (The price is right!) I've read all the reviews and gone through the forums, so I know what the K-01 can do. Here's what I'm thinking and my questions.

  1. I like weather resistance, but none of the lenses I mentioned are WR, so the K-01 is fine.
  2. I like small, so the K-01 wins here.
  3. I have a bunch of Takumar and other old manual lenses, and it sounds like people enjoy using the K-01 with its focus peaking to focus. (Reaching the green button is an issue, but I'm assuming w/ the Taks I can shoot in A mode as I do now on the K-30. True?)
  4. It sounds like K-01 will be great with my small lenses, but how does the K-01 work with a rather chunky and heavy lens like the Sigma 10-20? How does it feel with a long lens like the DAL 55-300 or a SuperTak 300mm f4? (Can it work well handheld and without a tripod?)
  5. Can you see the rear LCD satisfactorily with sunglasses on?
  6. Biggest question: Will I even get accustomed to using the rear LCD instead of a viewfinder? I need to use reading glasses for anything w/in arm's length, so I'd have to put my glasses on. I can manage that, but that's not ideal. (And I have 'reader' sunglasses, hence question #5.) Also, apparently you can develop a good technique for holding the camera out and getting a sufficiently stable shot even w/ larger lenses. (Hence question #4)
Thanks for any advice and helping me think through this!

05-13-2016, 09:09 AM - 1 Like   #2
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how about a K-S1? price is pretty reasonable, very compact like the K-x and K-01, and plus it has a view finder, so you avoid the LCD only option on the K-01.

My K-01 works great with my DA 21 and DA 40, as well as DA 10-17. Heavier and longer lenses like DA 55-300 or Sigma 10-20 are harder to use because of the lack of a good grip.
05-13-2016, 09:16 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I like my K-01 and take it everywhere. I don't see many downsides, but I know that some people do. The K-01 is basically like the K-30, but constantly in live view. No viewfinder. Is that okay for you? It means AF is a little slower, AF tracking is practically useless, burst rate is slow. That said, the K-01 has weak AA filter, so its photos are slightly sharper than K-5, K-30 (but not as great as K-5IIs).

1. 2. Yes
3. Not really an issue. The K-01 also has a Red button, so you can customize both buttons. I have Red button set to turning FP on/off, but sometimes I set it to video recording. Preset lenses and m42 lenses can be used in Av mode, even with auto-iso. You just focus wide open, then stop down the lens by hand, wait a fraction of a second for camera to meter, and take the shot. Or you can use M mode. Its the same as a DSLR.
4. Yes, it will be super compact with the limited lenses. I use Samyang 14mm, DFA 100mm, DA L 55-200mm. These are not super big, but they are a little heavier lenses than the DA 40mm XS or DA 35mm. No problem. Just hold the whole thing by the mount instead of trying to hold the whole thing up just by the camera grip (since it is relatively tiny). I have no issues. Even the time I tested a DA* 300mm, it didn't feel too awkward, as long as I hold it by the centre of gravity. But this also depends on how steady your hand is and how good your technique is.
5. Yes, usually. If you have polarized sunglasses, and turn the camera into portrait orientation, the screen goes black. Otherwise it is fine. I don't even have screen brightness set to maximum, and its fine for most uses. A hat with a shield helps on bright summer days, when the sun is high (your face can get reflected in the LCD). Or one of those LCD loupes. There are some threads about LCD shades and loupes, and some users like them.
6. You will bump the camera against your face a couple times, but you will get used to it. Yes, you can hold your arms out and take photos, especially with lighter and wide angle lenses. But a heavy, metal telephoto might be a bit difficult. In this case, I would recommend a LCD loupe with diopter. I think they exist and can be found online, though some are a bit bulky.

I like my K-01, but I know its not for everybody. Mostly its a little slower than modern DSLRs. Some people really want a viewfinder. These are not problems for me, but it is something to think about.
Edit: a K-S1 might be an interesting alternative to K-01. Don't know how its prices are, though. There were some great deals, but it might have gone back to normal. When I held a K-S1, i was surprised how small it is. It is smaller than K-r, really close to K-01. And it has a newer sensor. I think K-S1 is another underrated camera.
05-13-2016, 09:19 AM   #4
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I really love my K-01 - except when I'm outdoors in sunlight.

05-13-2016, 10:03 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I had a K-x and upgraded to a K-30. Definite and noticeable improvement. I've kept the K-x as my backup, but I'll be going on a trip where I will be bringing along two bodies, because I won't have the leisure to change lenses. Usually, I keep a DA 18-135 on K-30 (my all-purpose lens), and on the K-x I usually have a:
  • Sigma 10-20 or a DA 10-17 FE (for ultrawide) or
  • DA 21 or DA 40XS or DA50 (for street and compact) or
  • DAL 55-300 (for telephoto)
My plan was to get a K-S2 and use the K-30 as a backup, but prices are not coming down very quickly on the K-S2, even used. So Plan B1 is getting a used K-5 (which are fairly cheap) or Plan B2 as I've thought about it more is to get the K-01.


There are all sorts of reasons why the K-S2 makes sense to me, but I'm hoping you K-01 users might convince me to go w/ a used K-01. (The price is right!) I've read all the reviews and gone through the forums, so I know what the K-01 can do. Here's what I'm thinking and my questions.

  1. I like weather resistance, but none of the lenses I mentioned are WR, so the K-01 is fine.
  2. I like small, so the K-01 wins here.
  3. I have a bunch of Takumar and other old manual lenses, and it sounds like people enjoy using the K-01 with its focus peaking to focus. (Reaching the green button is an issue, but I'm assuming w/ the Taks I can shoot in A mode as I do now on the K-30. True?)
  4. It sounds like K-01 will be great with my small lenses, but how does the K-01 work with a rather chunky and heavy lens like the Sigma 10-20? How does it feel with a long lens like the DAL 55-300 or a SuperTak 300mm f4? (Can it work well handheld and without a tripod?)
  5. Can you see the rear LCD satisfactorily with sunglasses on?
  6. Biggest question: Will I even get accustomed to using the rear LCD instead of a viewfinder? I need to use reading glasses for anything w/in arm's length, so I'd have to put my glasses on. I can manage that, but that's not ideal. (And I have 'reader' sunglasses, hence question #5.) Also, apparently you can develop a good technique for holding the camera out and getting a sufficiently stable shot even w/ larger lenses. (Hence question #4)
Thanks for any advice and helping me think through this!
The K-01's live view is identical to your K-30's, as are all its functions and menus. So you'll be able to find out whether or not it works for you first-hand

Because you only get CDAF, focusing performance with longer lenses like the 55-300mm is not ideal.

It sounds like the K-S2 would be perfect for you, but if it continues to be outside of your budget I'd second the K-S1 recommendation. It's a nice step up in image quality, too.

Adam
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05-13-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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I have a K-01, and I say life is too short for its auto focus. If you think that won't be an issue for you, then when combined with DA40 (in my case) it is really a nice combo, great to carry around, image quality is really great, I love the time lapse, and iso is quite ok up to 1600 The button layout is rather simple and useful, too. battery life is also great.

It is not small though. with your XS40 and DA21 only a bit smaller than a small dslr, but with any other lens I don't believe you will feel it as a small camera.

LCD gives some difficulty in sun light, but personally it was really easy to get used to LCD over viewfinder in fact, many times it helps with the angle or compsing.

As above said grip is rather poor, especially for larger hands, but I think camera overall is not that small so even with larger lenses it is ok I guess.

long story short, auto focus is a bitch.
05-13-2016, 10:10 AM - 1 Like   #7
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My thoughts:

0) "The price is right." is the wrong reason to buy a camera, especially an unconventional one like the K-01. I've had to quit many, many threads to avoid saying, "I don't know, why DIDN'T you buy the Sony/Fuji/Oly/Pana you obviously wanted instead of the K-01? Are you dumb, or just cheap?"
1 & 2) As others have said, the K-S1 is also an option, if you shop around. (I have both)
3) My first thought on handling a K-01 was "the green button is in the wrong place", but it really isn't a major issue. The odd ergonomics are actually better than some DSLRs when wearing gloves.
4) The rule for the K-01 is "Small and bright, works all right. Long and slow, it's no-go." Besides size, the 55-300 isn't a good match for CDAF focusing. The Sigma 10-20 isn't too bad, but you have to shoot old-school, with the weight of the lens and camera supported by your LEFT hand and the right just providing control, rather than having all the weight on your right and a "death hold" on a fat grip.
5) I don't usually wear sunglasses when I'm shooting. I've learned to live with the LCD; if there's enough image to frame the composition, I don't worry about the details. Try shooting your K-30 outdoors in LiveView only for a day or two, and see if you can stand it.
6) After two weeks of accidentally banging the K-01 into your forehead, the swelling goes down and you discover you love The Brick! I struggled with it for about a week, then threw out the neck strap and shot with just a wrist cord. That really opened up a world for me of shooting at arm's length and angles that I would never bother with a DLSR - I'd have to make a conscious decision to use LiveView, flip the neck strap over my head, put the camera in LiveView, work out the shot, take it out of LiveView, put the neck strap back over my head, etc. I'm much more spontaneous with the K-01. In fact, I shoot the K-S1 with just a wrist cord as well. I hope Pentax continues experimenting with a "minimum size" K-mount body, but I'm probably in the minority.

Last edited by THoog; 05-13-2016 at 02:18 PM.
05-13-2016, 10:15 AM   #8
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If everything is still life, K-01. If there is any motion, frustration would come into play with AF/ Live view limitations

05-13-2016, 10:54 AM   #9
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Just a tip regarding AF.. make sure you are using the latest firmware, as the original had much worse AF than the new ones.
Secondly, if you use manual focus lenses, this isn't a problem. And finally, QuickShift is a great tool with the K-01. Lenses of 50mm and wider are fine with AF, in my experience. Problem are only really low contrast lenses (usually telephoto with narrow aperture) or lenses with really wide DoF, like UWA.

One thing to remember is K-01 was released in 2012.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 05-13-2016 at 11:06 AM.
05-13-2016, 10:58 AM   #10
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I'd go with a KS-1 over a K-01 mainly because it is about the same size and a huge step up in quality. They should be roughly the same price too. I bought a KS-1 for my mom and for the girl who lives with me and they both love them.

The only reason I still have a K-01 is mine is full spectrum.
05-13-2016, 12:44 PM   #11
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Original Poster
Thank you all. Hmmm... for the price and for what it can do, your suggestions to look at the K-S1 make great sense. You all have been very helpful in my decision process!
05-13-2016, 01:19 PM - 1 Like   #12
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There is a listing on eBay for a brand-new K-S1, with DA-L 18-55, from an authorized Pentax dealer, for $299. Only one left though.

Pentax Ricoh K S1 w 18 55mm Al Lens Bundle Black New in Stock | eBay

Or B&H has body-only for $329.

Good luck!
05-13-2016, 02:51 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I have both cameras and there is no doubt in my mind that for the many reasons listed above, the K-S2 is a far better camera. If you wear reading glasses, the rear screen will be problematic, ditto if the sun shines, or it rains, or you quickly want to +/- exposure etc.

Having said that, if you appreciate the design of the K-01,as I do, you will probably get one anyway.

It is quite compact relative to the K-S1/2. Personally I think the K-01 lovely, indeed I have one of each colour - to park the * lenses on, you see. Easy way to keep the capacitors charged. Wish Pentax would bring out a new version with a discrete EVF.
05-13-2016, 06:13 PM   #14
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I'm a long time user and big fan of the K-01, but I think that given what you've said, you'd be better off with the K-S1. Most of the reasons have already been mentioned.

The main attraction of the K-01 is the design, build quality (metal body) and compact dimensions. Even though the two cameras weigh the same, with a small lens attached, the K-01 will fit on it's end into one lens compartment of a carry bag. I like using the LCD, but from what you say, you're going to be in the sun a lot, and you'll need to keep putting your glasses on, so it would be a pain. The K-01 would work really well with your DA40 and DA21, but the 55-300 is just the kind of lens that it doesn't get along with - it'll hunt back and forth for a few seconds before settling on focus.

The K-S1 is the nearest equivalent to your K-x in the current Pentax line-up. One advantage is that it uses the same battery as your K-30 (K-01 is different), so that's convenient if you're using the cameras in tandem. I know that the K-S1 got a really rough response from the members of this forum, but I think that had a lot to do with impatience about full frame and concern about Ricoh's direction, and little to do with it's value as a camera. Objectively, it's very good for the price, a good match for small primes, and you might find yourself preferring it to the K-30, because the viewfinder is notably better.
05-13-2016, 07:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
The K-01 would work really well with your DA40 and DA21, but the 55-300 is just the kind of lens that it doesn't get along with - it'll hunt back and forth for a few seconds before settling on focus.
My K-01 with the DA21 lens did plenty of noisy zrrt-zrrting when attempting to focus.

QuoteQuote:
I know that the K-S1 got a really rough response from the members of this forum...
What I remember from the launch of the K-S1 was the funky styling, funky controls, candy colors, and the flashing lights that so many ridiculed. I laughed along with everyone else, added my two bits to the usual "What the heck were they thinking?" threads, and then put the K-S1 out of my mind. What I don't remember is anybody talking about the minimal size and weight, the outstanding sensor, or the outstanding viewfinder. It really wasn't given a fair shake.
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