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Pentax announces K-01 K-mount APS-C mirrorless camera

By dpreview staff on Feb 2, 2012 at 12:00 GMT

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.

Jump to:


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

41
I own it
3
I want it
3
I had it
Discuss in the forums
121
I own it
10
I want it
16
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 875
6789
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 FPS with h.264 compression (60 FPS at 720p) features shutter speed and aperture exposure control, video autofocus control, and a built-in mono or external stereo microphone.

0 upvotes
luchs
By luchs (Feb 2, 2012)

Thats a smart idea. By using the exiting mount they had to make the body rather large. But new lenses can be built into the body and be small outside. And still old lenses will work.
I think this looks much more like a tool than a NEX. But why is there no EVF or tilting screen -despite the large body?

2 upvotes
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Feb 2, 2012)

The screen has to go behind the sensor so making it tiltable would have made the body even thicker.

1 upvote
Documensony
By Documensony (Feb 2, 2012)

@luchs: Good point about future lenses being built inside the mount to be smaller outside.

1 upvote
BG_CX3_DPREVIEW
By BG_CX3_DPREVIEW (Feb 2, 2012)

argh, the price is way too high...

Teh rpic eof th eQ must drop, so the K-01 can be lowered

its almost same size as the K-5?

The design is indeed bud ugly to me, but, if the camera performs, i don't care hwat it looks like, the Fuji X-100 is an aesthetical beauty and attracted lots of customers before it was on the market... lots of them selling the X-100 now.

1 upvote
Artistico
By Artistico (Feb 2, 2012)

That it is designed not to use an adapter to use full-format SLR lenses is a bad thing in company with the other mirrorless competition. That means you can't adapt it to use any other lenses except other full-format SLR lenses with a longer flange distance, thus making it less flexible than other mirrorless cameras.

And, it means the camera is thicker and heavier than it had needed to be, although that does mean better balance with bigger lenses, so it depends on one's shooting style whether that is a bad thing or not. But, all in all, at that size, it might as well have had a mirror and been an SLR with its faster and more accurate focusing.

The whole point of mirrorless is to make it significantly more compact, but here you get all the disadvantages of mirrorless with none of the advantages. And they can't claim that the compact design meant there was no room for an EVF, surely?

1 upvote
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Feb 2, 2012)

In most cases the sensor size dictates the lens size. Just look at the unbalanced NEX stuf, virtually unholdable. The extra depth will make it much more ergonomic as well as compatible.

2 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (Feb 2, 2012)

More ergonomic, but less compatible, you should say. I agree with the NEX thing, though. They are amazingly unergonomic. I like Panasonic's faux SLR design, though with the G1, G1H, G2 and G2H - not sure about the G3. I think that's the ideal combination of ergonomics and compactness. Any smaller and the biggest lenses I use would have been uncomfortable to handhold, and any bigger and I might as well have used a small SLR.

But of course, people's needs are different. If I'd done all my photography with the equivalent of a 40-50mm FF lens, then the smaller cameras would also have been good candidates for the job.

0 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

NO PEF....:(((

0 upvotes
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Feb 2, 2012)

What makes you say that? It's got RAW, and I only ever use DNG on my K5 anyway, so PEF can go.

0 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

I use C1Pro. C1Pro can't work with DNG.

0 upvotes
DStudio
By DStudio (Feb 2, 2012)

C1Pro does support Pentax DNG files now, starting with version 6.3.2. But I still prefer to work with PEF files in C1Pro, at least for now.

0 upvotes
Andrew Butterfield
By Andrew Butterfield (Feb 2, 2012)

Well, I quite like the look of it, especially in yellow (or maybe it's green). Okay, so it looks a bit like water might squirt out of the front, but at least it's different.
And it's great if you have a cupboard full of Pentax lenses.
I'm trying to be positive.
It will definitely take great photos.
I'm sure it's well built.
Negativity takes over...
No viewfinder! The size of a breeze block! No fast focusing, tilt LCD, no apparent advantage over an SLR at all....
Sorry. Nobody's making me buy one. I know.
Really, I LOVE it and I think it will be a great success for Pentax, just like the Q...

2 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Feb 2, 2012)

I don't think that's Newson's finest hour (who I find a bit overrated anyway...), but I kind of like it. I like the idea of multiple colors because it enhances the fun side of taking pictures. I'd love to see more wild color combinations, like in the K-r. Serious looking pros, look elswhere... But it looks only marginally smaller than the K-5, so what's the point? The NEXes must not worry, I guess.

0 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Feb 2, 2012)

You are right in one point: that it´s not significantly smaller than a DSLR, what is a mistake.
However the NEx´s biggest illness is lack of lenses; Pentax bives Sony a big smack with it´s 200 compatible lenses.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Feb 2, 2012)

Using a Sony LA EA2 adapter allows you to use ALL Minolta AF and Sony AF lenses on NEX bodies with full phase detect AF. This camera uses contrast detect AF which will be super slow on the non SWD lenses.

The only thing going for this camera is that its not as expensive and will give superb IQ.

1 upvote
Documensony
By Documensony (Feb 2, 2012)

It's sad to see design being used to cover up what is basically a very weak concept.

1 upvote
bobbyfuego
By bobbyfuego (Feb 2, 2012)

The camera looks really nice to me. And that it take that many lenses it's awesome. There wasn't such a camera 'till now. Others can use only 5-6 lenses.

I don't understand people complaining about the lacking of VF. After all it's a mirrorless camera it has big screen. If you want Viewfinder use a DSLR. Its simple.

9 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (Feb 2, 2012)

It can take fewer lenses than any other mirrorless camera, as its flange distance is longer and you can't adapt lenses from shorter flange distances to it. The smaller mirrorless cameras can virtually use any lens made for any camera ever. What's with 5-6 lenses? That would only be for brand new cameras with new lens standards for which you can't get adapters yet - but only for a short while until the Hong Kong lens adapter guys catch up.

1 upvote
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Feb 2, 2012)

Sony A35/A55 is an almost similar concept.
You can get a lot of old and new lenses in Alpha/Minolta mount.

And re VF: Sony A35 has VF. Sony A55 has both VF and articulated LCD.

1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (Feb 2, 2012)

Yes, if it had an EVF and fast AF, it would be competition for Sony's a-mount SLT cameras.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Feb 2, 2012)

@Artistico - how many AF lenses can the other mirrorless cameras take? Most adapted lenses are MF only.

1 upvote
kff
By kff (Feb 2, 2012)

big screen is 7 or 10'' ... tablets have it,
but K-01 does'nt have wi-fi ...

It is so simply with wi-fi - there is two ways:
- full external remote controll and viewfinder
- load camera on the back of the tablet ...

Did You try take pics with 10'' tablet ???
It is a very simply and really the best viewfinder :)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Feb 2, 2012)

@kff - and you can look like a real dork! ;-)

0 upvotes
Catalin Stavaru
By Catalin Stavaru (Feb 2, 2012)

The lenses used via lens adapters often don't have their full functionality like auto-focus, etc.

0 upvotes
Documensony
By Documensony (Feb 2, 2012)

Sony NEX cameras can use all Sony/Minolta Alpha glass via an adapter that offers full-speed AF. This camera can use Pentax-glass with very limited/slow AF only.

1 upvote
Simon Zeev
By Simon Zeev (Feb 2, 2012)

I love the yellow one, but .. NO EVF?

1 upvote
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Feb 2, 2012)

I am sure they will be happy to sell you a big lumpy one to sit on top of the camera. The rule is though that it will cost 50% of the cost of the camera. So to see what you are taking a picture of in bright sun light you will need to multiply the cost of the camera by 1.5. Buying a DSLR would seem to be a cheaper and more elegant solution.

1 upvote
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery D-LI90 - I see at the pentaximaging.com

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Feb 2, 2012)

No viewfinder? - they surely could have put an EVF in that fat body.

A K-mount module for the Ricoh GXR might be more interesting

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Documensony
By Documensony (Feb 2, 2012)

Ricoh GXR plus K-module is quite another price level.

0 upvotes
millsart
By millsart (Feb 2, 2012)

Its nearly the same size as the K5 and doesn't have a VF ? Not sure what the point is really, just to say that they too are "mirrorless" ?

3 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Feb 2, 2012)

The MSRP is 699 EUR, the K-5 body sells for 815 EUR street price. The street price of the K-01 will fall down soon, so there will be a noticeable difference.

0 upvotes
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (Feb 2, 2012)

I guess this will sell very well... in Japan.

2 upvotes
wlad
By wlad (Feb 2, 2012)

so, does it also squirt water when you push the shutter ?

26 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Feb 2, 2012)

lol

1 upvote
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

is there PEF? what is the buffer for JPEG and RAW?

0 upvotes
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Feb 2, 2012)

here we go again...

1 upvote
645D
By 645D (Feb 2, 2012)

Yes, the ugliest Pentax ever!!! Where are the designers of 645D?

0 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

Is there AF in video? The battery is the same as K-r?

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jrg
By jrg (Feb 2, 2012)

No VF? Thumbs down. Design? Same deal. Looks like something rolled off a Soviet clone assembly line. I haven't seen an uglier camera in years. Sad, too, because I like the ergonomics of Pentax's DSLR's.

3 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

NEX-3 and NEX-5 have no EVF/OVF.

3 upvotes
junyo
By junyo (Feb 2, 2012)

The NEX5n has a EVF available and a NEX7 big brother. If this were part of a Pentax MILC range, you'd have a point.

0 upvotes
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Feb 2, 2012)

@ogl.
Sony A35 and A55 do have VF. Basically same koncept as K-01. I.e rethinking an existing DSLR and keeping the mount.

2 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Feb 2, 2012)

Neither has the NX200. And they all can live without it, seemingly.

0 upvotes
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Feb 2, 2012)

@Junyo - Give them a chance, it's the first mirrorless! Also it is part of a range, including a couple with OVF (K5, Kr).

0 upvotes
Essai
By Essai (Feb 2, 2012)

The Q is not mirrorless ?

0 upvotes
xpanded
By xpanded (Feb 2, 2012)

When did Fisher-Price acquire Pentax and Ricoh?

19 upvotes
Mike Koo
By Mike Koo (Feb 2, 2012)

You guys can call this camera ugly, but Marc Newson designed this. And people pay him millions to design their stuff. I personally love this design.

2 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Feb 2, 2012)

i think he went for ergo rather than looks. The camera has grip all over it. I like it though.

1 upvote
Franklin
By Franklin (Feb 2, 2012)

It is good to be famous, got paid millions for designing some junk like this.

6 upvotes
Documensony
By Documensony (Feb 2, 2012)

Designing a DSLR-thick mirrorless is no easy task. So Pentax had Newson to smear some very secondary design signals all over it (rubber, aluminium etc) ... but at the end of the day, this is still a DSLR-thick mirrorless with no viewfinder and sloo-o-oow lenses...

3 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Feb 3, 2012)

What happened to the world we lived in.. people get million dollar pay check for a toys like this.

0 upvotes
Seahster
By Seahster (Feb 2, 2012)

I'm sorry but I think the design team fell asleep at the wheel here, it is horrendously ugly, the camera equivalent of a Fiat Multipla ... did they not learn anything from the success of Fuji's X100?

1 upvote
eenymac
By eenymac (Feb 2, 2012)

Well it's different, I'll say that. Good spec too....but not for me.
Without a viewfinder, or the facility to add a good quality external EVF, I couldn't use it. I have tried...man, how I've tried, to use mirrorless without an EVF but I just can't get along without one.
Not knocking this new model in any way though if the output is as good as the K5.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Feb 2, 2012)

Argh.... it IS ugly like hell!

1 upvote
Rupert Bottomsworth
By Rupert Bottomsworth (Feb 2, 2012)

That is possibly the ugliest camera I've even seen.
Do they really expect people to be seen outdoors with it?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
arpikusz
By arpikusz (Feb 2, 2012)

If the price would drop to about $500 it would be a great backup camera for some.

BTW, what is it with Pentax and these wild colors?

2 upvotes
Calvin Chann
By Calvin Chann (Feb 2, 2012)

Nice idea making a K mount compatible mirrorless camera, although I have to say that any miniaturisation possibilities would be negated by using the venerable K Mount. In life, it doesn't look that much smaller than a DSLR.

Now, where did I leave my smc 50mm f1.7 from my ME Super...

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
stanic042
By stanic042 (Feb 2, 2012)

me like :)

2 upvotes
TCSJordan
By TCSJordan (Feb 2, 2012)

Here's the first hands-on video about this camera, which I shot! Any questions or comments, let me know!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-lSQlvqFKs

5 upvotes
Paulo Abreu
By Paulo Abreu (Feb 2, 2012)

With no finder and CD AF, with that design, looks more like a toy for me...

3 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Feb 2, 2012)

Built like a Soviet tank... but at a good price. Needs viewfinder.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Feb 2, 2012)

Agree, lack of VF on such a large body with big lenses is a big minus for practical shooting pusposes.

1 upvote
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Feb 2, 2012)

Yes, but how will it focus the old lenses? Have they got PD-AF on it somehow?

Looks like I may have to move systems, so I'm interested in this one. I can ignore the hideous looks.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Feb 2, 2012)

It's CDAF only. That's a possible source of low performance. Another issue: it's clear that old lens designs, with large flange distances (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony A), can't be used for reducing camera size by removing mirror-box. That's relevant for other makers, like Canon and Nikon. Nikon have now a good PDAF, so they could, in principle, develop an F-mount ML camera, but then size would be an issue (maybe not so much for FF).

0 upvotes
Franklin
By Franklin (Feb 2, 2012)

one ugly camera, very "interesting".

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Helen
By Helen (Feb 2, 2012)

"Interesting" is a good choice of words for the design...

1 upvote
DonR
By DonR (Feb 2, 2012)

WOW !! This is one ugly camera. Even the mostly black version is pretty ugly.....what were they thinking ?

0 upvotes
dosdan
By dosdan (Feb 2, 2012)

"Flash Range: 12 m (at ISO 100)".

I wonder who states it that way? DPR or Pentax marketing?

Pentax has always specified this as a GN (Guide Number) i.e. GN 12.

Yes, the flash range is 12m at ISO100 if you use a f/1 lens. Does anyone have a f/1 lens for K-mount????

Dan.

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 875
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