K-01 first impressions:

Started Jun 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
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veroman
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K-01 first impressions:
Jun 22, 2013

I'm sure that most of what I'll write here ... or ALL of what I write here ... has been posted before in one form or another, but I'm going to post anyway. Maybe there's something I can say that brings a fresh perspective.

I'll begin with Mr. Newson's design:

As one who comes from a design background myself ... and has taught design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and the Otis/Parsons School of Design (among others), I'll just say that if one of my students had brought the K-01 into class as fulfillment of a project assignment, he or she would have received an A for the project and an A for the semester.  Newson's K-01, merely as an object to look at, is modern, handsome, fresh, simple and in some ways innovative. It's interesting to me just how much the physical design of the camera has been bashed. And yet, along comes Canon's SL1 ... as much a "brick" as the K-01 ... and people say they love it. Go figure.

The K-01 is beautiful and a very good example of form following function.

Now let's move on the K-01 as a camera:

• IQ is up there with the best of them. It produces some of the best image quality of any camera I've worked with so far, and that's a lot of cameras! It beats my old workhorse, the Canon 1Ds Mark II, and as far as my experience tells me, has no equal in the compact camera realm. I have yet to find its IQ Achilles Heel (but give me time). This is one of the few digital cameras that appears to be totally artifact free.

• The menu structure was a bit intimidating at first. Initially I thought there was something odd about it, but I've not shot Pentax digital before. So I was really comparing its structure to Nikon, Canon, Fuji and Olympus ... all of which I'm used to. After a brief spell I was able to navigate and discover settings and features pretty easily. Bottom line: it's easier and simpler than I first thought.

• The handling, always a personal thing, feels comfortable and secure. I have no qualms about how it feels in my hand, how it feels being carried around for an entire afternoon, how it operates from shot to shot, how it can be adjusted from shot to shot, the speed (including AF speed), etc. Having once owned a Leica Digilux 2 and Leica M8, I can say that the K-01 resembles the handling of both of those cameras, particularly the D2. Very similar indeed.

• The feature set is comprehensive and useful, but I'm a pretty basic photographer who shoots 99% of the time in AV mode at low ISOs with as neutral a setting as possible so, in my hands, many of the features will go unused. But one feature that I love is the very quick way to set either fixed ISO or Auto ISO with a limitation. Takes 2 seconds to go from one to the other, and I find that a real benefit. EV compensation is also quick and easily accessed, as is the focus point selector. All-in-all, I think Pentax has made the more useful features really easy to get to and operate. Very refreshing.

• The rubber flap:  this is the camera's only, true Achilles Heel as far as I'm concerned. A real annoyance and a silly flaw. If I put my designer's cap on, I imagine Mr. Newson didn't design it that way and that it came about as a committee decision to remedy some other problem. Given Mr. Newson's talent, it's hard to believe he originated "The Flap" and the flap's flack. Another weak point in the design is the position of the on/off switch and its size. I've several times accidentally turned the camera on or off when I didn't want to. Forgivable I guess, but sometimes annoying.

• It's a very "real" camera. I don't know if I can express this as well as I feel it. There's something about the gestalt of the K-01 that makes it feel, to me, exactly the way a camera SHOULD feel. On the one hand, I know that I'm holding a camera, not just a box that takes pictures onto which I affix a lens and turn on and off and go click, click. Holding the K-01, I know that I'm holding a tool and a sub-set of tools that are there to serve me under a wide variety of situations and circumstances. I am fully aware that in my hand is a true camera with few, if any, limitations ... just like when I carried a Minolta 101 during my early film days and a Mamiya 6 as I advanced with film. The brands and models weren't as top of mind yo me as the fact that I had a REAL camera in my hand that does the job its supposed to do. That's how I feel about the K-01, and I haven't felt that way since owning a Canon 10D.

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 SteveG

'When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.'
— Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie
www.stephenmichaelgarey.com

 veroman's gear list:veroman's gear list
Olympus E-5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus PEN E-P5
Canon EOS 100D (EOS Rebel SL1) Canon EOS 10D Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Pentax K-01
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