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Body & Design

To say the Pentax K-01 differs physically from its mirrorless rivals is an understatement. The decision by Pentax to maintain compatibility with its K-mount lenses without the use of an adapter means the camera must accommodate a large flange-back distance (and essentially leave space for a mirror it doesn't have). And Pentax has shown no hesitation in embracing a large-camera aesthetic. Indeed the K-01 is much closer in size to a DSLR than a mirrorless camera.

Build quality appears solid with a sprinkling of aluminium parts adorning the plastic-coated body (there's an aluminium chassis under there somewhere). The front and side plates of the K-01 are covered with a ribbed rubber layer.The rear half of the rubber side-panel doubles as the accessory port door. It makes sense as part of the design but we found slightly awkward to close and have real concerns about its durability, especially as the rubber starts to lose its flexibility over time.

The camera sports a total of 13 external controls points in addition to a 4-way controller. The size of the camera allows for large, easily identifiable buttons, though we have some reservations about the control point layout.

In your hand

The K-01 is by far the heaviest mirrorless camera we've handled. Even more disappointingly, the lack of a sufficient hand grip makes it not only awkward, but uncomfortable to hold. While the red and green buttons atop the camera are customizable, it is impossible to actually reach the green one with your hand in a shooting position.

With the buttons arranged over such a large camera area, we found key controls difficult to manipulate without large shifts in your hand position. While you can reach both the red and exposure compensation buttons with your hand in the shooting position, neither of them are particularly comfortable, as they are set so far to the rear of the camera plate. The rear thumb dial, by comparison, is very well placed.

There's no getting around the fact, however, that the K-01 is a heavy camera. In addition, it feels particularly unbalanced, with significantly more weight distributed along the grip side of the camera. When using anything other than the Pentax smc DA 40mm F2.8 XS pancake lens, we find the only comfortable option when holding the camera is to support the bulk of its weight with your left hand holding the lens barrel. From an ergonomic handling standpoint, the K-01's external design falls far behind a DSLR form factor like that of the Pentax K-5.

Compared to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

The Pentax K-01 and the Panasonic GX1 make for an interesting comparison. While both cameras offer 16MP resolution and are available as kits with a very compact lens, the camera bodies themselves sit at opposite ends of the size spectrum for mirrorless cameras.

The K-01 is a significantly taller camera than the Panasonic GX1. And while the K-01 houses a physically larger APS-C sensor, it is clear from the top-down view that the extra depth needed to support the K-mount lens specification accounts for much of the drastic difference in size between the cameras.

Furthermore, it's worth remembering that the GX1's lens covers a 28-84mm equivalent range, while the K-01's pancake prime leaves you stuck with a fixed 60mm equivalent field-of-view.
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Comments

Total comments: 376
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Stanny1

It's cute from the front but too thick and bulky. I have looked through the K lens collection and to achieve an 18mm wide angle equivalent, it's just way too expensive. I bought a NEX-3 with 16mm and the Sony WA adapter = 18mm, the more powerrful flash, an 8gb card, camera case for less than $850. All the other hybrids want way more. You can pay $500 to 800 just for a WA lens.

0 upvotes
MichaelSpotts

I question whether the designer is himself an avid photographer.

1 upvote
solarider

Designer has used Pentax Medium Format film cameras on design shoots for years. One can see the interview with MN on youtube.

2 upvotes
traphic

One thing I think that the designer added that is great is the flat ends of the body so it can be set on a surface for shooting in 3 different positions, not just on the base plate.

0 upvotes
walliswizard

Love the way they've made the body as thick as your average small car, yet they'll sell you a superslim pancake lens to put on it.....

Anyway, sorry Pentax - love some of your stuff, but this one is just 'orrible!

0 upvotes
minzaw

The more the critique the more the mixed perceptions
The MORE I like it!
This is the camera for Me.
1.Unique astereotypical design
2.Native mount for ALL K mount from 60s to date (No other mirrorless have this)
3.Thick Fat body to compensate counterbalancing of zoom lens
4.IBIS (very few have this)
5.Video with manual and AF zoom using PRIME lens is a BONUs (very few have this)
6.Stereo Mic with optional stereo MIC input is unique among the peers
7.Smaller form factor ,better video and better IQ and better price package than the GOLD award winner brother K5 (forget about WR- rarely shoot in bad weather. important to protect yourself and your health rather than the camera)
7.920 dot LCD Ability to shoot and compose shots without OVF/EVF in any scenario and sunshine is an ART- needs plenty of experience ,patience and expertise and you have to learn instead of moaning
Must have this Must have that is infact material and personal OCD!!!
The person behind ANY camera is more important .

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 376
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