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11-19-2013, 07:34 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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My (Short) K-01 Review

I posted this review on Amazon too. I may get beat up for it, but oh well I stand by my opinion on the matter. Here we go!

"Pentax's K-01 may have failed to online press but pleases it's owners greatly. I could just stop the review right there.

However, I must press on...this camera got a major unfair handshake and the score needs to be settled.

The K-01 came out at a time when the press made expectations from every camera manufacturer about releasing their own mirrorless camera. And because the K-01 didn't meet their expectations, the press misunderstood this camera greatly. They lambasted it for the most part calling it ugly, fat, and totally missing the point - amongst other things.

Totally unfair.

Mirrorless today is still an experimental and developing camera platform. There were no rules then, and there are no rules now for this new frontier. As camera sales started to slide because of the digital camera bubble bursting and a poor economy, few camera makers started taking to experimentation again to fuel consumer demand, others just continued with the safe bet.

Pentax, instead of making yet another "me too" camera like many other makers chose to do, decided to do something courageous and different with the K-01's design. And instead of being praised for experimentation (something the press and enthusiasts normally demand) the "different kid" on the block was made fun of and ridiculed.

The K-01 was designed to target a different audience. This is a fun camera, meant to put the spontaneity into photography and draw in shooters who were normally intimidated by the look of a DSLR. There's a touch of class to the design, and thinking outside of the box. Yet despite its intent, the K-01 is also capable of high level performance ensuring new users could grow into the camera and learn. The K-01 also gave a much smaller body available for Pentax users who wanted something a little different and compact to shoot with when needed. The K-01 was obviously not meant to be a pocketable camera, and this was on purpose- it wasn't an oversight as many press seemed to think. It's also not nearly as large as reviews would have you believe.

A huge advantage- Instead of starting a new lens mount that would derail owners of K mount lenses, this camera allows instant compatibility with all K mount lenses. Wasn't that hardly noticed by press? Sure it was mentioned, but not applauded as it should have been, and gives the K-01 a major advantage over competitors.

The K-01 has many abilities and features that other makes and models only dream of. Its menu system is replete with customizable functions and sports high end features that allow the camera to shoot in a very wide range of circumstances- just like many high end Pentax DSLRS. Yet its looks and design manage to cater to those who want a simple but fun shooting experience. It's image quality scores the highest among ANY mirrorless camera even today. It's new firmware, showing full support by Pentax of its buyers, gave the K-01 much faster autofocus and additional features and stability.

It's battery life, handling, video capabilities, and studio photography capabilities are top notch - adding to the value of the K-01 even more.

Take this to a party and I guaranty you may get a couple laughs, but you'll get a lot more praise for a fun loving camera that can shoot better images than most Canon DSLRS on the market today. Laugh until you see its images. Ridicule till you know its capabilities. Then lets see who's talking.

The K-01 isn't a perfect camera by any means, but no camera is. I dare anyone though to take this camera out for a day, come back and look at the images, and say they aren't impressed. If you let your guard down about it's looks, you might even enjoy shooting with it, and what do you know- even start to like it.

A camera that shows high owner satisfaction despite the short sighted press, its a winner to it's owners.

(A full review of this camera will be posted on my blog dub dub dub photographic-central dot blogspot dot com in the coming weeks).

Carl "


11-19-2013, 08:47 AM   #2
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I thought it looked great. I didn't really hear any negative comments regarding its looks but I wasn't tapped in to the online banter, which i take with a huge grain of salt! For me, I will never buy a camera without a viewfinder. Maybe I'm not the only one who feels this way, especially for a non-point-and-shoot camera.
11-19-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
For me, I will never buy a camera without a viewfinder. Maybe I'm not the only one who feels this way, especially for a non-point-and-shoot camera.
There certainly are others who feel that way about viewfinders - some to a degree bordering on violence. I thought that way when the K-01 was announced. However, after about a month of actually using one, once I gave up on the neckstrap and went with a simple wrist strap, I found it to very liberating to get away from the viewfinder. With the K-01, I will shoot overhead or arm's length or waistlevel or knee-level without hesitation, while with a DSLR, I would have to put it in LiveView and take it off my neck, or kneel, or bend over - after checking the surroundings to make sure I wouldn't be blocking a walkway. I still love my DSLR(s), but losing the VF is not all negative.
11-19-2013, 10:59 AM   #4
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I guess in a world where all cameras are alike, the k01 was a refreshener. some friends of mine, mostly female, not aware of cameras at all, used mine and ended up buying one....
Marketing marketing marketing
Its actually unfortunate that unawareness with consumers and press meant a stop to successors

11-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #5
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A solid review that I pretty much agree with. Incredible bang for your buck!
11-19-2013, 02:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
I thought it looked great. I didn't really hear any negative comments regarding its looks but I wasn't tapped in to the online banter, which i take with a huge grain of salt! For me, I will never buy a camera without a viewfinder. Maybe I'm not the only one who feels this way, especially for a non-point-and-shoot camera.
I thought it should have had an optional EVF to be added if user wanted it, but honestly, from what I understand, these don't sell too well. An awful lot of folks feel more comfortable shooting their camera with the back LCD as their composition aid.

What I can't argue with is the image quality. It is really good for such a small package...
11-19-2013, 04:24 PM - 1 Like   #7
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As much as I really, REALLY love my K-01 (I wouldn't have purchased TWO of them if I didn't think it was a great camera) I do have to say I think Pentax/Ricoh made one serious problem when the camera was initially released:

The K-01 was WAY overpriced at the time of release.

Ricoh might want to charge high-end prices for Pentax gear but one thing is unavoidable: Pentax is PENTAX. You can't expect amazing sales (or amazing reviews) if you charge crazy amounts of money for a PENTAX camera that had those specs even when it was new.

The fact that the K-01 sold like wildfire when it went on closeout is all the proof you need that price was the biggest problem.

"Maybe" if Pentax added an EVF (built-in or optional accessory) and gave the K-01 a continuous/burst rate of 6fps in RAW mode then Pentax could have charged "close" to the MSRP of the camera at the time of launch. Still, the bottom line is that Pentax can't get great sales if they're priced as high (or higher) than the competition.

I love Pentax, but I also acknowledge that most people don't think of Pentax the same way they think of Nikon or Canon.

This pricing problem smacked Pentax in the face with the K-01 and it will probably happen again with the new 20-40mm f/2.8-4 Limited lens. I mean, 20-40mm is similar to the range of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens. The Sigma is a CONSTANT F1.8 APERTURE and it's SHARP while it costs LESS than the price of the variable-aperture Pentax 20-40mm lens.

The folks at Ricoh and Pentax need a reality check (or maybe a "price check") and need to re-evaluate what they are charging for some of their stuff. The K-3 is priced reasonably (as is the K-500) but then there are crazy prices for stuff like the K-01 and the 20-40mm that (at the time of launch) make absolutely ZERO sense given the way the competition is priced in the market.

Last edited by JJJPhoto; 11-24-2013 at 01:19 PM.
11-19-2013, 08:24 PM   #8
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I think the biggest issue was that Pentax didn't do a good job communicating to its press outlets what the K-01 was meant to be in the market and why they decided to do what they did. Just about every online review seemed totally confused as to what the K-01 was trying to accomplish. Makes perfect sense to me now but even when I talked to Pentax in person I was a bit befuddled. It was a radical deviation from the norm, Pentax didn't do a good job of compensating for that. That was then an this is now, just the other day I saw a Ricoh add behind a head coach post game NFL interview, I never saw Pentax do any adds on national TV here in the USA. Thats a start. Got to market and communicate your products to sell them.

Anyways, hopefully Pentax will make a K-02 with integrated EVF, flip LCD screen (flush mounted unlike the MX), change the rubber doors to hard doors, and improve the AF even more. Also make a wider pancake XS kit lens in the 20-30mm range to go with it.

11-19-2013, 08:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rush2112 Quote
I think the biggest issue was that Pentax didn't do a good job communicating to its press outlets what the K-01 was meant to be in the market and why they decided to do what they did. Just about every online review seemed totally confused as to what the K-01 was trying to accomplish. Makes perfect sense to me now but even when I talked to Pentax in person I was a bit befuddled. It was a radical deviation from the norm, Pentax didn't do a good job of compensating for that. That was then an this is now, just the other day I saw a Ricoh add behind a head coach post game NFL interview, I never saw Pentax do any adds on national TV here in the USA. Thats a start. Got to market and communicate your products to sell them.

Anyways, hopefully Pentax will make a K-02 with integrated EVF, flip LCD screen (flush mounted unlike the MX), change the rubber doors to hard doors, and improve the AF even more. Also make a wider pancake XS kit lens in the 20-30mm range to go with it.
I'm a rubber door convert. At first I thought the rubber door on my K5ii was cheap but then I realized it did the job well, was weather resistant and not likely to snap off. Good overall.
11-20-2013, 12:07 PM   #10
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Overall comment for the k-01

QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
I'm a rubber door convert. At first I thought the rubber door on my K5ii was cheap but then I realized it did the job well, was weather resistant and not likely to snap off. Good overall.
And why I bought two and encouraged a novice to replace her Digital Rebel with one. She is taking more and better photos.

Yes, it does the job very well.
11-20-2013, 12:58 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I absolutely love my own K-01. In my opinion it is a terrific camera. I personally feel that the decision to stay with K-Mount lenses was brilliant.

However, I do agree with one point that has been voiced here.

I did not buy my first K-01 until it was discontinued and went on sale. It was way overpriced when it was introduced, as was the original Q. Fortunately Pentax has stayed with the Q. I wish they would have reduced the price on the K-01 and let it catch on as well.

I do not fully agree with the desire for an EVF. First, to add one to the top totally destroys any size advantage the K-01 has. Second, if it were incorporated into the current body design, as on the left or right side, it would have been even more expensive.

Finally, I have to say that this camera was sabotaged as much by the pricing model as it was by the reviewers. As a result we will never really know what it could have been. Even worse, I suspect that any future mirrorless of this type will not be using the K-Mount.
11-20-2013, 02:22 PM   #12
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I have a K-01 too (had it about a year) but only recently realized that the TRACKING AF MODE doesn't alter the focus at all after the initial acquisition. The screen indicator moves around the screen following the subject but focus does not alter. A simple test is to acquire focus in tracking mode and slowly step away and you should see "clearly" the subject go OOF with no attempt by the camera to compensate. I now regard this mode as totally useless and it has been my main method all year.. tragic.

PS: I also have serious doubts about the SR mechanism in my K-01 because I get a number of blurred shots at 1/30-1/80 with my FA31 that just don't happen with my K-5.
11-20-2013, 02:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
I have a K-01 too (had it about a year) but only recently realized that the TRACKING AF MODE doesn't alter the focus at all after the initial acquisition. The screen indicator moves around the screen following the subject but focus does not alter. A simple test is to acquire focus in tracking mode and slowly step away and you should see "clearly" the subject go OOF with no attempt by the camera to compensate. I now regard this mode as totally useless and it has been my main method all year.. tragic.

PS: I also have serious doubts about the SR mechanism in my K-01 because I get a number of blurred shots at 1/30-1/80 with my FA31 that just don't happen with my K-5.
Don't you think SR has to work a lot harder when you are not holding your camera to your eye? I believe that that makes a big difference in my ability to hand hold an SLR versus a mirrorless without an EVF.

(photo to perk up the thread).


11-20-2013, 02:51 PM   #14
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Yes, you are probably right there Vincent..The larger movements of the camera at arms length are probably much harder to compensate for.

Nice shot there too mate.
11-20-2013, 04:15 PM   #15
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I really enjoy my K-01. As a complete novice to DSLR cameras, I am actually happier in hindsight than when I first bought it. While the k-mount adds a lot of bulk to the camera, I love that I have access to a huge variety of lenses. I didn't realize this when I first purchased it. I also don't mind the heft because the body is about the same size as the large P&S that I upgraded from.
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