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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
120
I own it
10
I want it
16
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 875
56789
JackM
By JackM (Feb 2, 2012)

At least it makes more sense than a Nikon 1, but I am still waiting for my digital Pentax MX.

0 upvotes
RiderV
By RiderV (Feb 2, 2012)

What? More sense? What are you talking about, dude? They killed fast dslr AF for what? It is fu...n huge brick like k-5.

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Feb 2, 2012)

Dude, at least it is APS-C and takes legacy lenses without an adapter. Yeah it won't fit in your pocket but neither will the Nikon 1. If a camera won't fit in my pocket, I expect it to have a big sensor.

0 upvotes
mathlawguy
By mathlawguy (Feb 2, 2012)

They really should have filed a Chapter 11 petition along with this press release. Manages to combine butt-ugly design with poorly thought through ergonomics in just one camera. Mark Newson may design products that some find attractive where aesthetics matter as much as functionality -- his web site boasts some interesting hair dryers -- but Pentax's making him the headline here on an under-specified bloated mirrorless camera is really dumb.

0 upvotes
R Thornton
By R Thornton (Feb 2, 2012)

One can only take so much!
Seeing this makes me wanna design one myself...
Cannot see how I could go wrong.

2 upvotes
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Feb 2, 2012)

Extraordinary. A mirrorless camera with NONE of the advantages of a mirrorless camera. Plus no viewfinder and no proper grip. And a name which is so ill-advised that they have to explain the pronunciation! I could just about understand this if it was a student project at the local arts and technology college but from a "respected product designer"??????????????

2 upvotes
tinetz
By tinetz (Feb 2, 2012)

Well, maybe the other way round:

a metal bodied camera with the sensor with the highest IQ-score in it's class and compatibility to one of the largest lens pools with a lot of cheap but highest grade manual lenses, that can be focussed even easier than on a OVF, for the price of an entry level plastic DSLR???

If you ask me...

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Sanford
By Sanford (Feb 2, 2012)

Stunningly horribly ugly! There is a lesson here, if you are going to use and outside designer to design your camera, have to good sense to use an Italian, not the British...

7 upvotes
R Thornton
By R Thornton (Feb 2, 2012)

Exactly!

0 upvotes
easyeddy
By easyeddy (Feb 2, 2012)

Hey! Lay off us Brits! Apple products from the iMac to MacBook Air to iPhone are the work of Brit designer Jonathan Ives. And we designed the Austin Maestro automobile. OK, forget that last one.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

Italian designers are plenty capable of designing monstrosities alongside beauties.

0 upvotes
Gliderg
By Gliderg (Feb 2, 2012)

As large as K-5, almost the same weight but lacks viewfinder and has a smaller grip...
With all these mirrorless cameras on the market, from Nikon 1 to this Pentax, it really seems that Oly/Pana got it right years ago with 4/3 and m4/3 specifications.
At the moment IMHO m4/3 is the best compromise between DOF, lens dimensions, body ergonomics, total weight.

4 upvotes
Linnin
By Linnin (Feb 2, 2012)

Agree totally!

0 upvotes
Atlasman
By Atlasman (Feb 2, 2012)

Wow, another departure from size matters.

K-01 wider, taller, way thicker than Sony's NEX-5N.

K-01 almost 300 grams heavier that Sony's NEX-5N.

K-01 no flip-out screen.

K-01 no touchscreen.

K-01 no EVF—or possibility?

Wow again.

3 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

Stupid post. NEX-5 flange distance is 2.5 times smaller than K-mount.

I can write a lot of weaknesses of NEX...

0 upvotes
buzzinhornet
By buzzinhornet (Feb 2, 2012)

At first look it seems like Pentax missed the boat on this one. Lots of negative response won't help its market either. However, taking a closer look at the new 40mm Pancake XS lens reveals a different story that may develop with this camera. By removing the mirror, Pentax has created space within the body for a lens to retract into, this it seems is how the 40mm lens (which is already quite small) managed to shrink even further. I will watch for a future pancake zoom that plays the same trick.

0 upvotes
buzzinhornet
By buzzinhornet (Feb 2, 2012)

I don't care how big the camera gets when I turn it on and use it, just when its off and I have to put it away. This has potentail in that regard. Also as the street price is likely to be closer to entry level DSLR, but with alot more to offer in image quality from the great sensor, they may offering P&S upgraders (who don't use OVF today) the best features of the DSLR in a format they are acustomed to . I don't think its intended for DSLR diehards, I won't trade my K-5 for it, but it would allow my wife to use my lens kit p&s style the way she's used to. Now if it had FF sensor and retained the same size body, the story would change.

0 upvotes
cdembrey
By cdembrey (Feb 2, 2012)

People are up-grading from P&S cameras to camera-phones, NOT mirrorless or entry level DSLRs.

People take photos to share and their camera-phone allows them to immediately up-load their photo to FaceSpace -- can't do that with any enthusiast camera.

0 upvotes
Chris Tofalos
By Chris Tofalos (Feb 2, 2012)

I can forgive Samsung for not including an EVF with the NX200 (IMHO a fatal mistake) but not Pentax, who have building cameras for serious photographers for years.

What were they thinking about?

3 upvotes
eyewundr
By eyewundr (Feb 2, 2012)

Excellent step forward for mirrorless cameras, and attractively designed.

In this decade we will see 'full frame' cameras, mirrorless, with EVFs.
To date, mirrorless has been all about making a DSLR fit into a compact camera form factor. But that will not remain the only use.

We await EVFs that can render pentaprism OVF detail, at a favourable mass production price point, and sensor based auto-focus that can match or exceed current phase detection auto-focus performance.

Pentax's K-01 represents the clearest step toward future mirrorless cameras.

For photographers that have learned to depend on live view for framing the K-01 looks, on paper, like an excellent and attractive camera choice.
And the price point makes it competitive with entry level DSLRs.

All in all, kudos to Pentax.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Matt1645f4
By Matt1645f4 (Feb 2, 2012)

I don't care who designed it (Marc Newson???), it's the most hideous, garish and ridiculous design i've ever seen for an csc or dslr since the days of the old aps-c slrs. I love Pentax and have used them for nearly 10 years but this is the end of the road for me. I for one am going to get my Pentax equipment exchanged sharpish as i fear for it's future resale value, as i can't see a future with designs like this. Why didn't they take a leaf out other companies who have gone for a retro look?? THE END IS NIGH!! RIP Pentax.........

0 upvotes
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Feb 2, 2012)

I want to know why anyone gives an ant's fart what a camera looks like. How much does a carpenter worry about whether his hammer is pretty? Your pictures are a personal expression. Worry about those.

To me this camera is a great idea. Total fan service to people who have invested in the Pentax brand, which consists of three primary things: an excellent lens system that goes as far back as Canikon does, a great APS-C sensor and sensor-shift IS. Compare it with the Q, which discarded all of those things and might as well have been made by Kodak. The idea here is that people who have Pentax lenses but don't want to lug their K5 everywhere can have its most important features in a body that fits in a (large) pocket or a purse. That is why the new lens is a pancake designed to fit so flat against the mount that it adds almost nothing to its profile.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Atlasman
By Atlasman (Feb 2, 2012)

But why lug the K-01 when I can use my Pentax lenses on a Sony 5N?

1 upvote
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Feb 2, 2012)

To add: Since this is clearly pointed at people already invested in Pentax, complaints about an EVF or PDAF are moot. Need those? Bring out the K5 that you already own. Or start with the K-01 and then maybe buy a K5 because, hey, you already own the lenses.

For comparison, Nex owners who want a DSLR might as well buy a Nikon, Canon or Pentax; their existing lens investments (which can be considerable if you want decent glass) will do them zero good. It is smart for Pentax to focus on rewarding and encouraging brand affiliation rather than on producing the smallest possible APS-C body, which at this point is a contest with diminishing returns.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (Feb 2, 2012)

That's exactly the point. Pentax designed a camera that offers nothing over their existing DSLRs. With no VF, slow AF and a large body, why would anyone buy it ?

0 upvotes
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Feb 2, 2012)

@Atlasman: You could do that if if you don't mind manual focus and aperture.

Update to my first comment: I just looked more closely at those pics, and clearly I did not realize how big that camera is. Using the hotshoe and the comparison pic for scale, it looks like people who own this and a DSLR will have very little size reason to choose the mirrorless.

Based on that, I think that the mirrorless aspect is probably a cipher, and the real point of this camera is to give the K-curious another less expensive /entree/ into the Pentax lens system. Cutting the mirror just reduces complexity and saves money.

0 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (Feb 22, 2012)

I know what you're saying. Its like when all my friends complained that I bought a standard Golf to use when I wanted something slower and worse handling than my Golf GTI.

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

Add an EVF and this could be a good start Pentax's transition away from the consumer level DLSR market, where I suspect that all but Canon and Nikon will have to leave soon enough (Sony already has one foot out the door). My only guess as to why Pentax has stayed with K-mount, making the body and most lenses bulkier than mirorless rivals like m4/3 and NEX, is to maximize support for existing lenses, including ones with screw-driver AF. So very much a transitional step for existing Pentax SLR gear and users. Pentax is the champion of backwards compatibility.

But being the biggest, heaviest camera that lacks any "peep-hole" VF, either OVF or EVF, is a problem. I see no hint of an add-on EVF or a socket to connect one.

A future model could continue the transition, adding EVF support and a backward compatible mount with K-mount adaptor, but losing support for older screw-driver AF lenses. For fun, lenses for the new mount could then use that adaptor as a close-up extension tube.

0 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Feb 2, 2012)

Somewhere along the road there will be an EVF/OVF accessory for this, no doubt. The design is fugly at first but yea it kinda grows on you by time.

True, it's not as compact even as Pentaxians dreamed it to be, but at least the K-mount stays - that we truly appreciate.

Anyway, this is supposed to be positioned lower than the K-r or its replacement, not above it I think. True, the burst speed is slow for a mirrorless, but given its positioning, maybe it was nerfed down.

Now it's time to imagine what Pentax has in store to best this little thing and prove there's more to what everybody says a "dying brand" can do.

0 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Feb 2, 2012)

Design-wise, the more I look at it, the more I like it and I think it looks brilliant. Its toyish plasticky semi-retro look is obviously intentional. It's like saying that a photographer should make fun of shooting and that he/she doesn't have to look like some serious pretentious artsy middle-aged single with a 5D and some huge lens on it. (Honey, if you're reading this, can I have a yellow one for Valentine's? Pity there's no red yet...)

2 upvotes
photoholiko
By photoholiko (Feb 2, 2012)

Opah!!

2 upvotes
shoevarek
By shoevarek (Feb 2, 2012)

I am not sure. To me the design says - "Look, I am original in a same as million others kind of way. I pitty you old farts with boring black boxes."

But seriosly, I have hard time finding anything original in that design. You do not like black? Paint your DSLR in any color you like. It was tried and offered many times already. Shapewise that new camera looks similar to previous models - boxy little thing - with some controlswhose placement seems to be an afterthought.

0 upvotes
simon65
By simon65 (Feb 2, 2012)

"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"

You have got to be kidding me Pentax! It's enormous, and weighs more than many DSLRs! What is the point?

Canon EOS 1100D 495 g
Nikon D3100 505 g
Canon 550D 530 g
Nikon D5100 560 g
Pentax K-01 561 g

Here's the new strap line for it:

"The K-01. All the size and weight of a DSLR without the benefit of a proper viewfinder"

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Peter Jonkman
By Peter Jonkman (Feb 2, 2012)

You forgot the tagline: "Slightly heavier than the competition, but MUCH better built than the plastic competition".

Come on, 60G is penuts!

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
increments
By increments (Feb 2, 2012)

Except that its competitors are mirrorless cameras weighing 200g (or so) less. A (more than) 33% weight gain is significant.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

Should take care to consider whether the battery and/or card is included in the weight. At least some of the weights you listed there don't include the battery. And none of those entry-level Nikon or Canon models include in-body stabilization or AF motor.

I'm also still trying to figure out just how much of the Pentax is aluminum vs. plastic.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

"Except that its competitors are mirrorless cameras weighing 200g (or so) less. A (more than) 33% weight gain is significant."

Yes, sometimes...but at the cost of ergonomics and battery life. And those lighter cameras don't have optical viewfinders either. Heck, some don't even have hotshoes or built-in flashes, or in-body stabilization.

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Feb 2, 2012)

Now this is a surprise!
First things first: the possibility of mounting existing K-mount lenses will be this camera's main attribute. And obviously there's the APS-C sensor: it will make it competitive in a market where buyers were brainwashed to believe sensor size is everything.
Although this is not the most important in a camera, there's no escape that this camera is FUGLY. It's plasticky, garish (even in black), looks like a toy - and a cheap one at that - and it resembles a low-end bridge camera. I can see Ricoh's influence here: its design is as braindead as the GXR's. Put it alongside the Fuji X-Pro1 or the forthcoming Olympus E-M5 (or any other, Sonys and Panasonics included) and you'll easily find out that this is the ugliest mirrorless camera ever. It has to go a long way in terms of image quality to make up for that ugliness. Fortunately it is mirrorless: if it faced a mirror, it would want to kill itself for being so ugly and clumsy.
FAIL!

2 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Feb 2, 2012)

It may look plasticky.. but check out the spec sheet above: body type: aluminum.

I think aluminum is not a kind of plastic...

0 upvotes
highwave
By highwave (Feb 2, 2012)

"Fortunately it is mirrorless: if it faced a mirror, it would want to kill itself for being so ugly and clumsy.
FAIL!"

LOL!

2 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Feb 2, 2012)

Alizarine, read again: I wrote «it's plasticky», not «it's made of plastic», meaning they managed to make an aluminium body that looks like plastic. Got it?
I'm confident you'd have great success in the metallurgy business, given your extended knowledge in non-ferrous metals, but don't put words in my mouth (or keyboard)... please.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (Feb 2, 2012)

Although I do not mind the design, I would hope to get some advantages from the trades. You lose an optical viewfinder for nothing. You lose some size, OK. You lose PDF focusing for live view. Price is less than K-5 for same sensor. I would hope the lack of mirror would allow for at least higher frame rates. Body is not weatherized. If it gained some fantastic features in exchange for no mirrors and a relatively large mirrorless body, I could see the idea but not as is.

The Sony NEX 5N has the same sensor, same focus type, can use Sony Alpha lenses with full auto focus as well as e-mount. It is much smaller, and due to the short E-mount registration distance it can mount a large number of manual lenses. The K-01 looks like it will mount M42 with an adaptor but certainly not old rangefinder lenses.

2 upvotes
Hansadlp
By Hansadlp (Feb 2, 2012)

Styling clues.. Leica Digilux 1
www.dpreview.com/news/2002/3/14/leicadigilux1

1 upvote
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Feb 2, 2012)

Great looking little monster! I too, find similarities. Time to check e-bay...

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Feb 2, 2012)

The LCD sun-shade is cool tho.

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Feb 2, 2012)

Pentax K-01 is a supermodel compared to Canon G1 X.

9 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Feb 2, 2012)

Really, you think this looks better ? I find that odd. At least the Canon is designed for function with tasteful finishing afterwards, rather than the other way around.

4 upvotes
Extract0r
By Extract0r (Feb 2, 2012)

G1X vs K-01 is like comparing North Korean design vs. Russian design.

2 upvotes
tinetz
By tinetz (Feb 2, 2012)

Well, at least interesting. The more I looke at it, and some videos showing it from different angles, the more I get comfortable with the design. Not YARS (yet another retro styled) cam, which is refreshing.

Keeping the k-mount compatibility is abiguous: it suddenly is the mirrorless system with most available lenses from the start, and with all the limiteds and pancakes not even larger than other apsc-systems (fully functional with lens). But the size reduction seems to be limited - even when the side-by-side comparison image here seems to be a little biased (just looking at the hot shoe or flange, the K-01 seems to be depicted too large - how can this happen, DPreview???).

But a good sign: Pentax seems to design things with focus on quality - a cam at a similar price like an entry level DSLR made with an aluminium frame and controls, that's definitely the way to go.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Feb 2, 2012)

The hot shoe illusion happened to you because the K-5's is black and the Jokecam's is silver.

0 upvotes
tinetz
By tinetz (Feb 2, 2012)

Nope, sorry, actually not.

You can do the same test: open image in external editor, measure f.e. flange size and see: K-5 240 pix and K-01 250 pix!
In reality the flange of the K-01 is even smaller than (not so broad as) the one of the K-5...

2 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Feb 2, 2012)

That's interesting, the side-by-side is indeed flawed.

1 upvote
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Feb 2, 2012)

That's plain wrong. Open Photoshop, copy and paste one hotshoe over the other, turn layer blend mode to Difference and see yourself that the contacts are exactly the same size and spacing.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Feb 2, 2012)

Uhhh i did, and they're definitely not. It's even visible with the naked eye, at least for me it was. We are talking about the same image ?

http://1.s.img-dpreview.com/files/news/4846894009/side-by-side.jpg?v=1322

2 upvotes
tinetz
By tinetz (Feb 2, 2012)

Martin, to your information: the larger the compared objects, the easier to see distortion/differences. Using the contacts of the hot shoe which are some pixels wide is of no help for such a task. The widest common feature on both cams is the flange, which is some pixels smaller with the k-5, in contradiction to reality, where the flange of the K-01 is smaller. You can see it also at the hot shoe, which is slightly broader for the K-01, but of course not with the contacts.

1 upvote
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

I compared both images, lens mount & hotshoe. I think the K-01 is probably oversized (vs. the K-5) by at least 3-4%. It was enough that I noticed it by eye and bothered checking.

1 upvote
tinetz
By tinetz (Feb 2, 2012)

Actually, Richard Butler posted that he has corrected it now (he said he might have got the math wrong with the first try), it should fit now better, just for the record...

0 upvotes
andy amos
By andy amos (Feb 2, 2012)

Should be called the K-OMG!
Would have looked snazzy back in say,1973! I'll put this in the same design bag as the Austin Allegro and Robin Relliant! Good intentions don't always have good outcomes, as in this case!! Is the outer case made in "Bakelite"?

2 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

I want to see Oly make an OM-G. :-)

0 upvotes
ecm
By ecm (Feb 2, 2012)

Sounds good. I really like the legacy lens mount; Pentax has some excellent pancakes.... And in-body IS? Nice. Good going, Ricoh/Pentax; listening to the little people, are we?

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
diforbes
By diforbes (Feb 2, 2012)

The choice of a 40mm (60mm in 35mm equivalent) lens is odd. Odd focal length for walking around. Not wide enough, not long enough.

3 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

Buy K-01 body and any DA limited - 15, 21, 70.
I uses FA43 Limited with K-5 approx.60-70% of my photo time.
Don't you know that a lot of film cameras were supplied with 55-58 mm lenses? 60 mm is almost the same.

0 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (Feb 2, 2012)

Only a few 55 and 58 mm lenses were around in the days of film and they tended to be the F1.4 an F1.2 versions. The majority of standard lenses were 50mm and even that was a compromise that came about when Leica invented 35mm because it was easier to make a good 50mm lens than the slightly wider true standard.

Back then it was much harder to make fast lenses of 43mm - the true standard for full frame - it was easier to jump up the focal length a bit. That is why you saw 55 and 58 mm lenses not because the focal lengths were useful (which they are not). 60mm is worse.

The 40mm giving a field of view of a 60mm is the most useless lens I have seen released since we started using less-than-full-frame sized sensors. dforbes is right.

I can only assume no one told the lens designer the camera was aps-c and he thought he was designing for FF. Or maybe they are trying to make you think this is like an old range-finder which often had a 40mm lens and hope you forget it is aps-c!

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

"Only a few 55 and 58 mm lenses were around in the days of film and they tended to be the F1.4 an F1.2 versions."

This isn't what I've observed. By the 1970's, most normal lenses were 50mm but 55 was considerably more common earlier--and they weren't necessarily fast, often f/1.8 or f/2.

Anyway, I think few would argue that 40mm is the very best do-it-all lens on APS-C sensors. But Pentax had one they could make very small (roughly the size of a body cap) at a reasonable price...so they did. If you don't like it, you can mount a slightly larger, cheaper (if purchased separately), and faster DA-L 35/2.4 -- which is still very good optically and still very lightweight.

0 upvotes
tmurph
By tmurph (Feb 2, 2012)

In my own humble opinion I cant see how Ricoh can bring out a mirrorless camera system under the Pentax logo and not run into problems when it comes to there own range without there being a conflict of interest.

Ricohs own system although looking a bit strange with their interchangeable lenes is never the less a good attempt to bring out a smaller but still very versatile camera system.
Now under the Pentax name we have a system that not only uses the famous K-mount but also looks way ahead in design to Ricohs own.
The lens line up alone makes the the G1X look redundant, and I haven't mentioned the features that the new camera has.

To me Ricoh should stick to the small compact market and use the Pentax name as their higher grade camera system, otherwise I can see problems running two mirrorless systems along side each other.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

It will be interesting to see if Ricoh eventually produces a K-mount GXR lensor. Seems to me they'd probably sell enough to make it worthwhile.

0 upvotes
ManuH
By ManuH (Feb 2, 2012)

I'm also dismayed by the lack of EVF but I realize it's an entry-level camera that will replace the K-x and K-r. That's why there is no weather sealing and only one dial. And the price could very well drop under 400$ at some point which would be more difficult to achieve with a DSLR.

But I think the key feature is that Pentax choose to use the K-mount, it means that they don't take any risk with a new mount, it's good for them and their customers: no need to reinvest in a new lens line-up.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

I agree, I think this was a relatively low-risk way to make a splash and try it out. If it is reasonably well-received we could still see an up-market variant in the future.

By maintaining K-mount, they instantly have a large and very competitive lens system for a modern, mirrorless body. No waiting for multi-year roadmapped products that may or may not actually materialize.

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

I like the design. Does it enhance the camera's performance? No, but so what? Sometimes it's just nice to own something that's interesting to look at.

I bet 95% of the people who are complaining about Pentax being "stupid" for hiring a well-known designer are doing so on their iPads and MacBooks, which are some of the most over-designed products in the world.

3 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (Feb 2, 2012)

Well to me it does not know what it is trying to be.

The compatibility without an adapter of K mount lenses trumps the Sony Nex but the price is you end up with a small d-slr sized body. I bet it is little different to a Panasonic G2 (which has an evf as well as LCD).

The result of using an aps-c sensor is bigger lenses when you stop looking at pancakes. This is true of this camera, the Nex and Samsung cameras in this field.

For this reason none of them appeal and in my opinion the only camera maker to get the concept right is Olympus. Their cameras offer a true size advantage over a d-slr in both body AND lenses. They also look the part of what they are supposed to be if you get my drift.

I use a Sony A77 but I won't buy a Nex because I think even the kit zoom makes for a ponderous combination. So I certainty won't be buying this .

You can't even consider it a dslr minus the OVF because it has no EVF and focuses differently.

1 upvote
Ibida Bab
By Ibida Bab (Feb 2, 2012)

lego

6 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Feb 2, 2012)

"When is a camera more than a photographer’s tool? The answer is when it’s an object designed by Marc Newson..."

When is promotional drivel more than a load of old b0110x? See above.

Of course it must be acknowledged that most photographers' biggest desire has long been for a camera designed by Marc "Who He?" Newson. Preferably one without a viewfinder; in two-tone. Bliss.

2 upvotes
Rob Chan
By Rob Chan (Feb 2, 2012)

I couldn't agree more with you man. Like Mescalamba, I personally felt like hurling when I saw this monstrosity (I am not joking, I really wanted to). Goes to show that some bloke who did work for museums and whatnot won't necessarily be able to design a half-decent looking camera. I wonder how Pentax could imagine trying to sell this lovely picture of ugliness (pun intended) just because it bears the name of a designer.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Feb 2, 2012)

If you have Pentax K-mount lenses and want to shoot HD video with manual control and in body SR this does look like a winner. The K-5 is a top rated APS-C DSLR and this has an upgraded processor with the same K-5 sensor !

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Feb 2, 2012)

Excuse me please, Im going to puke.

Worst design ever, in same time its ugly and stupid.

10 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

You are boring

5 upvotes
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Feb 2, 2012)

Promising candidate for the title of the stupidest and most uncalled-for camera of the year.

And, after the appalling "Q", Pentax' second failed attempt to design a sound, competitive mirrorless camera...

5 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Feb 2, 2012)

I think the Nikon 1 deserves to win it for 2012 too.

1 upvote
Atlasman
By Atlasman (Feb 2, 2012)

This mirrorless system has one foot on the DSLR side of the field and the other in mirrorless.

I wish Pentax success—I used, and loved some of their film cameras.

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Feb 2, 2012)

First impression, What a funky looking camera. Looks like a toy camera with all the colouring.

1 upvote
Rriley
By Rriley (Feb 2, 2012)

i hope it works better than it looks
but it looks like it was made by Lego ...

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

You take that back!

Respect the lego!

8 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Feb 2, 2012)

interesting....but still won't buy. i will buy pentax's ff for sure (but they really have to fix their AF system)

0 upvotes
jwalker019
By jwalker019 (Feb 2, 2012)

I think this graphically illustrates why Nikon chose a smaller sensor instead of the APS-C - the depth of the camera required for the lens / sensor combination makes the camera almost as big as a DSLR :/

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Feb 2, 2012)

That's purely down to Pentax retaining the K-mount - it forces the body to be as thick as an SLR. Sony, Samsung and Fujifilm have all shown that APS-C sensors can fit perfectly well into slimline bodies. An NX200 with the 30mm F2 pancake lens (for example) is essentially the same thickness as the K-01 body.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Feb 2, 2012)

Responding to Andy - Sony, Samsung and Fujifilm all lack in-body stabilization. It's possible if Pentax had gone with a smaller body/short flange distance with K-mount adapter, they would not have had room for their IBIS system, or would have experienced heating issues cramming it into a small space. I think their approach best serves their K-mount customers. (However, next model really should have a built-in EVF.)

0 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (Feb 2, 2012)

Baxter, Olympus has IBIS, granted with a longer flange distance. I think those manufacturers opted for in-lens stabilization for better performance with video. Maybe IBIS would be challenging, but I believe it could be done with short registration distances.

0 upvotes
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Feb 2, 2012)

Dennis - true, but the m4/3 sensor is significantly smaller, and therefore easier to shift. When Sony introduced the A900, they made a big dea about how they were able to get IBIS on such a large sensor. Indeed, it was an engineering feat. But the body was huge and the anti-shake effectiveness was much lower than Olympus was achieving with their 4/3 system at the time.

0 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (Feb 3, 2012)

They could have built it thin and put an adapter on it that looked like part of the camera. That would have made the designer earn his crust.

They also missed a great opportunity to put a hand grip on it that was secure like the NEX but having a taller body for better purchase over bigger lenses. I bet the battery is still small...

So many opportunities lost.

0 upvotes
Documensony
By Documensony (Feb 2, 2012)

DSLR-size, no viewfinder and slow AF. Try again, Pentax.

12 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

already tried AF?

3 upvotes
A Schamber
By A Schamber (Feb 2, 2012)

I believe people are seeing it all wrong. This camera is intended not as a new system for everyone who wants a mirrorless, but actually, just a smaller camera to use pancake lenses, for caual shooting. It's for people who want travel with only one set of lenses, and two completely different type of cameras. I probably won't buy it, since I'd rather have the Fuji. But... let's face it: many people would think of that as something really useful.

1 upvote
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

I already own the lenses so this is perhaps more attractive to me...and I'll bet this will be very competitive in a lot of ways (IQ) vs. the Fuji which costs more than twice as much.

0 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (Feb 3, 2012)

Panasonic, Sony and Olympus have a system where they use just one camera body and you put a viewfinder on it to make one type of camera, and take it off for a completely different type of camera.

0 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Feb 2, 2012)

Oh - how ugly this Cam is

2 upvotes
Pixnat2
By Pixnat2 (Feb 2, 2012)

Very nice specs, but... ouch, what a strange camera!
And I thought the main benefit of mirrorless was size? Right?

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

Not really. They wanted to make it the smallest as possible, but... have you seen the lenses? How mane pancake lenses have you seen on each system??? Pentax has more pancake lenses for DSLR, than all of the others together for mirrorless.

0 upvotes
Pixnat2
By Pixnat2 (Feb 2, 2012)

m4/3 : 14mm, 17mm, 20mm pancakes, paired with small cameras, that's a real size advantage. And lenses like 12mm, 25mm, 45mm are not pancakes, but small. So you have a system with : 24, 28, 35, 40, 50 and 90mm equivalent small primes, well, that's coherent!

What is the point of thin pancakes if the camera has the size of a DSLR?

0 upvotes
easyeddy
By easyeddy (Feb 2, 2012)

I was excited when I heard Pentax were developing an APS-C mirrorless and I really wanted this camera to be a success. Maybe owners of existing K-mount lenses will find it attractive, but the world's thinnest 40mm prime is not going to convince me this is anything other than a DSLR-body rehash with the viewfinder taken off. There are plenty of positive comments in this thread, which I'm sure Pentax deserves, but in the highly competitive market that exists today this is certain to be a FAIL.

4 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Feb 2, 2012)

I think your conclusion is a bit strong. In today's market that is highly fragmented, this camera will carve out a niche, and this was accomplished will relatively little risk to Pentax - when compared to introducing an entire new system.

0 upvotes
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Feb 2, 2012)

I've got a rather big soft spot in my heart for Pentax. But this, sorry, is about the biggest failure they could possibly come up with. A mirrorless supposedly supposedly fashionable toy camera exactly as big as the brand's own venerable flagship model, with a fake prism hump but not a viewfinder _at all_, the whole thing meant to be used with big lenses that need support but there isn't even a grip worth mentioning and then this utterly ridiculous design that looks like built from a Lego, or rather Duplo brickset? Not mentioning possible AF issues? What on earth have they been smoking?

15 upvotes
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Feb 2, 2012)

Okay, flagship APS-C camera ;) The fantastic 645D is a bit bigger obviously (but has about the best grip I've ever had in my hands)!

1 upvote
mbot
By mbot (Feb 2, 2012)

Love the look of the silver and black version, looks great. It s OK to take risks with design, especially when done by famed designers, but they screwed up with no thumb grip on the back.
They have now dropped the .PEF RAW format and gone with .DNG RAW files "Uncompressed" which is good but only 12bit processing, which is bad compared to Nikon and Canon.
The thing that does make this camera worthy is the revised updated 16 megapixel chip which has even better noise characteristics than their K5, and that was already a stellar performing chip.
But the best thing for me is the video features, they now have manual aperture and shutter control, autofocus, 60fps in HD mode, a wind filter( which makes a big difference) built in stereo recording and a Mic input, plus MANUAL AUDIO GAIN CONTROL, yee haa just what i wanted. Their new video features now have all the positive attributes of the Canon 5D mkII.
Also they have the best range of post processing filters on the market.

1 upvote
louie c
By louie c (Feb 2, 2012)

Looks like someone who doesn't use cameras designed this camera, but in all fairness the excellent K5 doesn't sell well because of it's unassuming design... Consumers would be more likely to buy this camera and as an added bonus you could get smiling pictures because they will be amused by the design, the average consumer is a funny beast.

0 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (Feb 2, 2012)

Less is less in this case.

4 upvotes
Color Blotch
By Color Blotch (Feb 2, 2012)

If they were trying to go for cheap toy camera look with this one then they definitely succeeded.

0 upvotes
Charles Babbage
By Charles Babbage (Feb 2, 2012)

Why on earth they present cameras that look like mechanical versions of Bozo the clown is beyond me! Years ago an Asahi-Pentax advert was accompanied by the phrase 'When word comes around cameras just say you have an Asahi-Pentax'. Now when the word comes around cameras those who own this clown will simply shy away.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 2, 2012)

This seems a strange choice of technologies, it's got the disadvantages of a DSLR (long lens mount, large retrofocal lenses) with none of the advantages (optical viewfinder, fast PDAF and metering).

Personally I think a new mount with a K mount adapter would make more sense, but perhaps as Pentax is rather late in the game they feel they can't afford to release a dedicated lens lineup for it?

2 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (Feb 2, 2012)

WELL DONE Pentax

this is something CANON or NIKON could have easily done
but they choose to sit on their ass....

Only a small company like PENTAX would listen to customers
They really handed one to the big boys !

7 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Feb 2, 2012)

hmm.. let me imagine the design brief that led to this outcome...

OK, listen up guys; we are going to start from the best that we know in D-SLR design and then remove the defining feature, all without adding anything to make up for that loss.

So my vision here is for something just as big and about as heavy, but minus the peerless optical viewfinder and the auto-focus performance. And that's it! Should fly?

Maybe we should kind'a add a faux pentaprism-esqe bulge at the top also, just to remind people of what isn't there any more?

5 upvotes
Atlasman
By Atlasman (Feb 2, 2012)

WetSleet

Well said and expressed.

1 upvote
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

Pentax is different AGAIN. I see inert thought of people, inert reactions,
real xenophobia to brave moves and thoughts...

The main task was to make K-01 unusual. Marc Newson could make it.

The main thing - nobody are indifferent to K-01. Either like, or dislike.
It means - the work of M.Newson is the artwork.

2 upvotes
Miserere
By Miserere (Feb 2, 2012)

And that's going to help sell K-01 units, how? It's not museums who buy cameras, it's people, people who want a camera that delivers the goods.

2 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

I will buy it. A lof of Pentaxian and new users.

0 upvotes
JasonQR
By JasonQR (Feb 2, 2012)

There are a lot of "brave" cameras out there. But that's not a virtue by itself. You have to also add something. (See: Ricoh GXR, Sigma SD1.)

0 upvotes
Tim in upstate NY
By Tim in upstate NY (Feb 2, 2012)

Aren't you afraid that other photographers will laugh when they see you using it?

0 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

I don't care about other opinion at all. Never. Especially, about photographers....I like unusual things.

0 upvotes
Faintandfuzzy
By Faintandfuzzy (Feb 2, 2012)

No viewfinder? Fail

2 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

NEX-3 and NEX-5 - NO EVF/OVF. FAIL?

1 upvote
balios
By balios (Feb 2, 2012)

Nex-3/-5 aren't the size of DSLR, yet lack of a EVF is still an area of complaint for Nex users and a major reason for people upgrading to the -5N/-7.

The problem with the Pentax is that people have many options for mirrorless these days, and I have yet to hear someone demand a big clunky mirrorless without a VF...

1 upvote
easyeddy
By easyeddy (Feb 2, 2012)

Well, the K-01 is bulkier than competitors with no mirror and no viewfinder (NEX-3/NEX-5) and lacks the viewfinder/phase AF features of similarly-sized DSLRs so it's hard to see where the K-01 fits in.

3 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Feb 2, 2012)

It fits to whom uses K-mount lenses.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 875
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