Pentax has formally announced the K-01 K-mount mirrorless interchangable lens camera and a revised 40mm F2.8 pancake lens to match. Built around a 16MP APS-C sensor, the camera can mount most of the lenses the company has ever made. It features sensor-shift image stabilization, a 920k dot rear LCD and can shoot at up to 6 frames per second. The rather interesting design is the work of respected product designer Marc Newson and features a logo of his signature on the base of the camera. The K-01 (which the company says should be pronounced 'kay-zero-one'), will cost around $749 body-only and $899 with the 'XS' version of the 40mm lens.

Our biggest concern, based on its dependance on contrast detection autofocus, is the camera's focus speed. Most lenses designed for DSLR-style phase-detection autofocus don't lend themselves to the rapid contrast detection autofocus required by mirrorless cameras. The contrast detection AF on the K-5 works pretty quickly with some lenses but it's not up to the speed of the camera's phase detection focusing, and certainly not a match for the best mirrorless cameras on the market.

And on handling a pre-production version we noticed that, because it features a full depth K-mount, it is a pretty big camera. Below we demonstrate how its size compares to the company's flagship K-5 DSLR.

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Press Release:

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION INTRODUCES PENTAX K-01 DESIGNED BY MARC NEWSON

DENVER, CO February 2, 2012…When is a camera more than a photographer’s tool?  The answer is when it’s an object designed by Marc Newson, one of the most acclaimed and influential contemporary designers.
PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION introduces the Marc Newson designed PENTAX K-01* interchangeable lens camera (ILC). The new PENTAX K-01 is another bold effort from the manufacturer that is known for pushing camera size, color, durability, and now, design, to the limit. Widely known for designing a wide range of objects from furniture and household products to bicycles, cars, aircraft and yachts, Marc Newson has had collected works displayed in The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and many other major museums.   
*pronounced ‘kay- zero-one’

The contemporary, timeless K-01 houses a full array of advanced functions and user-friendly features in a camera body with remarkable form and function. The elimination of an optical viewfinder and quick-return mirror gave Newson more freedom in designing the camera body, and the K-01 showcases Newson originality in every detail.  Available in black, white and Newson’s signature yellow colors, the K-01 features the designer’s autograph logo stamp on the bottom of each camera.

The famed designer’s touch also is evident in a new smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS interchangeable lens.  As the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens,* the new 40mm combines with the PENTAX K-01 camera body to deliver a unique ILC system that is perfect for photographers who are as keen on design as they are on performance. Together, the K-01 and 40mm lens system mark the intersection where high technology and high design meet.

Key features of the PENTAX K-01 include:

  • Durable machined aluminum frame under a stylish black, white, or yellow exterior.
  • PENTAX mirrorless body design is compatible with 25+ million PENTAX K-mount lenses spanning decades.
  • Large 16 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with low noise image capture and multiple aspect ratios.
  • Bright, high resolution 3 inch LCD with 920,000 dots.
  • Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 FPS with h.264 compression (60 FPS at 720p) features outstanding video capture flexibility.
  • Sensor-shift PENTAX Shake and Dust Reduction system is compatible with every mounted PENTAX lens.
  • Fast 6 FPS burst mode is ideal for fast-action photography.
  • Flexible ISO range of 100-25600 ensures gorgeous noise-free imaging in any lighting condition.
  • Focus peaking mode provides fast and accurate manual focusing for critical focus applications.

* The world’s thinnest interchangeable lens for lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras, as of February 1, 2012 (based on PENTAX’s research).

The K-01 will be available in yellow, black and white in March 2012 for $749.95USD (body only) and $899.95USD (lens kit including new DA 40mm XS) in Marc Newson designed packaging and with the Marc Newson designed strap.  The smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS unifocal interchangeable standard lens will ship at the same time for $249.95 USD.

Additional information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news and a video interview with Mark Newson regarding the K-01design may be viewed here: www.youtube.com/pentaxian1  Images of other Marc Newson creations are available here.

Pentax K-01 specifications

Price
MSRPUS: $749, UK: £629, EU: €823
Body type
Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialAluminium
Sensor
Max resolution4928 x 3264
Other resolutions4352 x 3264, 4224 x 2816, 4928 x 2776, 4224 x 2376, 3840 x 2880, 3456 x 2304, 3456x1944, 3264 x 3264, 3072 x 2304, 2880 x 2880, 2688 x 1792, 2688 x 1512, 2304 x 2304, 2304 x 1728, 1728 x 1728
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors16 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.7 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100 to 12800 in 1, 1/2, or 1/3 EV steps (100 to 25600 extended)
White balance presets9
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsGood, Better, Best
File format
  • JPEG v2.3
  • RAW
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points81
Lens mountPentax KAF2
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3
Screen dots921,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD monitor
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Macro
  • Moving Object
  • Night Scene Portrait
  • Sunset
  • Blue Sky
  • Forest
  • Night Scene
  • Night Scene HDR (JPG only)
  • Night Snap
  • Food
  • Pet
  • Kids
  • Surf & Snow
  • Backlight Silhouette
  • Candlelight
  • Stage Lighting
  • Museum
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range12.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (Hot-shoe, P-TTL, high speed sync w Pentax dedicated flash)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow-speed Sync, Trailing Curtain Sync
Continuous drive6 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing (3 frames at 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps),1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25, 24 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage includedNo
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini HDMI Type C)
Remote controlYes (Optional IR)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion D-LI90 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)540
Weight (inc. batteries)561 g (1.24 lb / 19.79 oz)
Dimensions122 x 79 x 58 mm (4.8 x 3.11 x 2.28)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (1s to 24h, up to 999 shots, delayed start available)
GPSNone

Additional images