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12-16-2019, 03:22 PM - 1 Like   #1
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K-01 - why did it not suceed?

Why did the K-01 not succeed? I like some of the features coming out in mirrorless cameras, but I have no desire to start a new collection of lenses, or give up things like auto focus and exposure or open aperture metering. It would have been swell if the K-01 started a series that carried on with newer models.

12-16-2019, 03:25 PM   #2

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Weird design (by a "name" designer not many camera people have ever heard of), but mainly because it was a K-mount mirrorless and the masses want a small mirrorless. Personally, I like it but also truthfully only bought it because a super deal came around.
12-16-2019, 03:31 PM   #3

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Well the K-01 is a mirrorless technically, but not a mirrorless system per se. It was more a Dslr stripped off its mirror, prism and phase detection AF system. It was an early stage for mirrorless when it came out and its AF capabilities were mediocre compared to other names in the game. the only good thing was the continuation of the k-mount and the legacy of lenses. But the thing I think stopped the concept from taking off was the fact that it was widely perceived like an experiment, unlike the Q system.
12-16-2019, 03:33 PM   #4
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I'm not sure that it didn't succeed... though it certainly wasn't the most popular Pentax camera when it was current - yet it has a bit of a cult following now

I think there are several reasons why it wasn't more successful:

1) It's size was about the same as an APS-C DSLR without the viewfinder prism - basically, because the flange focal distance for K-mount was maintained; and, as such, it was big, thick and boxy for an APS-C mirrorless camera compared to the likes of Sony and Samsung's offerings (for example) - whilst for existing Pentax users, there wasn't a significant size advantage over, say, a K-5

2) AF was leisurely due to CDAF only - no PDAF sensor was included

3) It was a little bit too "fashionable" in design, with the whole "Marc Newson" tie-in

Nice camera, though

Last edited by BigMackCam; 12-16-2019 at 03:59 PM.
12-16-2019, 03:34 PM   #5
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It is a great camera but a few mistakes were made when it was introduced, including a) rather high price, b) bad choice of kit-lens (focal length not very useful on aps-c, not a zoom), c) released before the focusing system was ready - this was fixed with an updated firmware but the initial reviews were understandably bad (focusing is still a weak point, ok in most situations with some lenses but not all). The design was not to everybody's liking but could have helped in selling the camera if not for the aforementioned problems. It is still one of the coolest looking cameras out there (especially the yellow one!) but that was not enough.
12-16-2019, 03:36 PM   #6
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I think (having one) it was more design over function. I like it, but missed some of the features that were on my K-7 at the time. More mirrorless lenses would have come, I am sure, if it was more of a success. Maybe they should have released a few more lenses (3?) at the same time as the camera. Having only the 40mm kept it confined, though I like having the breadth of lenses offered via the K systems.
12-16-2019, 03:39 PM   #7
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It is still desirable though. I just had a look on fleabay and it is fetching 250+, one is even up for 1100 + postage! What a bargain
12-16-2019, 03:49 PM   #8
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Back in the day, there was lots of argument over the ONE thing that made it fail (body design, lack of an OVF, slow AF - especially with 1.00 firmware, high launch price, lack of a tilt/flip screen, subpar video, etc., etc., etc.) I would say that it was ALL all of these things, but it really came down to the basics - it just wasn't competitive, features-for-price, with the other MILCs available at the time. Lots of people bought them when the price was less than 300 bucks - and promptly started complaining here about how it couldn't do what <insert brand/model here> could do. A unique body design and a big battery weren't enough to offset all the other issues.

So long as there is that big empty hole in the middle of the body, a short-register-mount MILC is going to pack a lot more features/capabilities into the same body size or smaller, and since the big makers are going to be able to make their cameras cheaper, Pentax will be in the position of offering less at a higher price. That's never a formula for success.

12-16-2019, 03:52 PM - 2 Likes   #9

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It isn't a great primary camera, only as a secondary K-mount to your other K-mount body.
12-16-2019, 04:02 PM   #10
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Pentax seems to have learned "MILC is not for us".
Others here have often blamed styling.
I can only say that I personally will not purchase another MILC without a viewfinder
{I did purchase a Q-7, but only because of size - not an issue shared with the K-01}
12-16-2019, 04:10 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Most replies have covered the main points. At launch time, the most controversial issues that were commented negatively on were the high price and the appearance. The lack of an EVF was possibly less controversial at that time, as the majority of contemporary mirrorless bodies also lacked them, but that changed fairly soon thereafter.

The owner of Pentax at the time (Hoya) also seemed to believe that a toy-like appearance (they would probably describe it as “fun”) would attract sales success, in the absence of any more serious technical advances, and they were probably correct, but mainly for the Japanese market, and more so in the many-coloured DSLR and Q bodies than elsewhere in the market. The Marc Newson design of the K-01 (which was also in keeping with his general industrial design hallmark) fitted that, but didn’t achieve wide popular acclaim in Western markets.

I’m one of those who believe that a less brick-like appearance and a good EVF (along with the fruits of technological progress since the K-01) could still contribute to a successful K-mount MILC, but I’m not holding my breath.
12-16-2019, 04:18 PM   #12

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Not an expert and I only guess here.
It is the timing and their market decision which I have always wondered why they made such market's decision. I think the Mirror-less was a bit too early for the market at that time. And the design itself is too much like a toy which is nothing wrong with experimental product and fun design like that. It would be nice if Pentax and LEGO were working together for that design! When I first saw it, I had to scratch my head and wonder who would buy this beside Pentax's fans. I almost buy a K01 myself, but I am a Pentax user. I am talking about the new buyer. I guess Pentax made it as a special edition for fans only.
12-16-2019, 04:28 PM   #13
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No optical viewfinder
No optional auxiliary optical viewfinders
No electronic viewfinder


( wondering how my KMZ multi-finder might work on a K-01...)
12-16-2019, 04:31 PM   #14
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From an irrational standpoint, the unconventional design on the K-01 suffered a LOT of criticism. I always thought it was rather
smartly designed, but then again, there are folk who think Canon DSLRs are handsome cameras. Go figure.

From a practical standpoint, it lacks an EVF. >That<, IMO, is the K-01's principal fault.

The presence of a K-mount, with its long focal flange distance, is a contentious issue. Some applaud it, others do not. One way or
another, Pentax will have difficulty with most any mirrorless body because the K-mount will leave them damned if they do, damned
if they don't.
12-16-2019, 04:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
The presence of a K-mount, with its long focal flange distance, is a contentious issue. Some applaud it, others do not. One way or
another, Pentax will have difficulty with most any mirrorless body because the K-mount will leave them damned if they do, damned
if they don't.
Not if they were to develop a shorter registration distance body with a native K-mount to new-mount AF adapter. That's all Sony did to attract many (not all, but many) A-mount users over to E-mount. Nikon and Canon have followed suit with F-to-Z and EF-to-RF adapters. That's all it needs...

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