Pentax K-01 Review
The Pentax K-01 (from $749) is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a most unusual design. Created by Australian designer Marc Newson of (who, admittedly, I'd never heard of before the K-01), the modern look of the K-01 will certainly turn heads (especially if you get the yellow one). Aside from its unique looks, the K-01 is also a fully-featured camera. It has a 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor, K-mount lens support with built-in (sensor-based) image stabilization, lots of manual controls, a boatload of scene modes and special effects, an HDR function, and 1080p video recording.
What's in the Box?
The K-01 is available in three kits in three colors (black, white, yellow). You can go body only for $749, add a 40mm pancake lens (pictured in this review) for $899, or get a dual lens kit with more traditional-looking 18 - 55 and 50 - 200 mm zooms for $999. Here's what you'll find in the box for each of those:
- The 16.3 effective Megapixel Pentax K-01 camera body
- F2.8, 40mm Pentax DA XS lens [40mm lens kit only]
- F3.5-5.6, 18 - 55 mm Pentax DA lens [dual lens kit only]
- F4.0-5.6, 50 - 200 mm Pentax DA lens [dual lens kit only]
- D-LI90 lithium-ion battery
- Battery charger
- Body cap
- Shoulder strap
- USB cable
- CD-ROM featuring SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0
- Fold-out Quick Start Guide + 265 page Operating Manual (printed)
Memory Cards and Battery
Returning to the review now, let's talk about memory cards. Interchangeable lens cameras like the K-01 never come with memory cards. So, if you don't have one already, you'll need to pick one up. The K-01 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC media, and I'd recommend picking up a 4GB if you'll be taking mostly still photos, and 8 - 16 GB if you'll be recording a lot of Full HD videos.
The K-01 uses the D-LI90 lithium-ion battery for power. It has a whopping 14 Wh of energy, which is at least twice as much as the battery in your typical interchangeable lens camera. If you think that's going to give the K-01 some big battery life numbers, you're right. Here's how it comes to other ILCs:
|Camera||Battery life w/live view
|Nikon 1 J1||230 shots||EN-EL20|
|Olympus E-P3||300 shots||BLS-1 / BLS-5|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1||300 shots *||DMW-BLD10|
|Pentax K-01||500 shots||D-LI90|
|Samsung NX210||320 shots||BP1030|
|Sony Alpha NEX-5N||430 shots||NP-FW50|
With the 14 - 42 mm kit lens
Sure enough, the Pentax K-01 has the best battery life in the group, beating the second place Sony NEX-5N by about 16%. If you do feel the need to get a spare battery, an extra D-LI90 will set you back just shy of $50.
|When it's time to charge the D-LI90, just pop it into the included charger. And then go for a long drive, as it'll take a lengthy 320 minutes for the battery to charge. I guess that's the price you pay for having such great battery life!|
The K-01 has a pretty good set of accessories, though one missing item that I think a lot of people would've liked is an electronic viewfinder. Here are the most exciting accessories for the K-01:
|Accessory||Model #||Price *||Description|
|Lenses||Varies||Varies||You can use any K-mount lens with the K-01, with a 1.5X crop factor.|
|The AF200FG is a basic external flash with a guide number of 20 meters. The two higher-end models are much more powerful, can tilt/rotate, and support high speed x-sync.|
|GPS receiver||O-GPS1||From $225||Tag your location and direction with this GPS, which can be controlled right from the camera menu. GPS is self-powered.|
|Wireless remote control||Remote Ctrl F
|Remote Control F is a old model which simply releases the shutter. The O-RC1 is waterproof and has a few additional buttons.|
|A/V cable||I-AVC7||From $16||A composite A/V cable for connecting to older TVs.|
|AC adapter||K-AC1202||TBC||Power the camera without using your battery.|
|Camera case||O-CC120||TBC||The manual mentions this case, but I can't seem to find any details on it. May be a Japan-only product.|
|* Prices were accurate at time of publication|
There are a couple of other things available too, including a macro ring flash and various hot shoe accessories.
Pentax includes SilkyPix Developer Studio for Pentax version 3.0 with the K-01. SilkyPix is included by many manufacturers (Panasonic most notably), so there's a good chance that you've used it before. SilkyPix is a capable editor for both JPEG and RAW images, though it's interface is clunky, with some poor Japanese to English translations. That said, it will edit all kinds of RAW (DNG) properties, including exposure, dynamic range, white balance, noise reduction, sharpness, and color. If you'd rather use Photoshop, that's no problem, since the K-01 uses Adobe's own DNG format for its RAW images. Pentax doesn't provide anything for editing movies, though the software that comes with Mac OS or Windows should be fine for basic edits.
While other camera companies skimp on their documentation, usually providing them in PDF format, Pentax still spends the money on a full, printed manual. The manual is lengthy, detailed, and fairly user-friendly. Instructions for using the included software will be installed onto your Mac or PC.
This review was first published at www.dcresource.com, and is presented here with minimal changes, notably the inclusion of a full set of product images, our usual studio comparisons and an expanded samples gallery, plus the addition of a standard dpreview score. Our original hands-on preview of the Pentax K-01 is still online and can be found here.