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Now it's time to talk about the features on the K-01, starting with those found on the various buttons and dials on the camera. Let's start by getting into the features that you access with the mode dial. First, a list of what you'll find on it:

Option Function
Auto Picture mode Point-and-shoot operation, with automatic scene selection. Some menu options are locked up.
Movie mode While you can record movies at any time with the red button, here's a dedicated mode with a few more options.
Program mode Still point-and-shoot, but with full menu access. Pressing the green button will allow you to use Program Shift, where you can move between various aperture/shutter speed combinations.
Shutter Priority mode You pick the shutter speed, and the camera selects the proper aperture. The shutter speed range is 30 - 1/4000 sec.
Aperture Priority mode You set the aperture, and the camera picks the appropriate shutter speed. The available apertures will depend on what lens is attached.
Full manual mode You select both the aperture and the shutter speed, with the same ranges. as above.
Bulb mode The camera will keep the shutter open for as long as the shutter release is held down. An option in the custom settings menu lets you use the shutter release as a toggle, which gives your finger a break. The optional AC adapter and remote control are helpful here.
Flash off mode An auto mode with the flash disabled.
HDR mode The camera takes three images - each at a different exposure - and combines them into a single photo with dramatically improved contrast.
Scene mode The K-01 has a boatload of scene modes, which include: portrait, landscape, macro, moving object, night scene portrait, sunset, blue sky, forest, night scene, night scene HDR, night snap, food, pet, kids, surf & snow, backlight silhouette, candlelight, stage lighting, and museum.

The K-01 has shooting modes for just about everyone. Beginners will find a capable auto mode and a metric ton of scene modes. Enthusiasts have the usual manual exposure controls - including a bulb mode - plus RAW support, white balance fine-tuning, customizable buttons, and plenty of custom settings. I'll have more on that later.

Shortcut Menu

The Info button usually toggles what's shown on the LCD, but it also opens a handy shortcut menu you see here. From here, you can adjust every important setting on the camera, without having to dive into the main menu.


We're going to move into the K-01's menu system now. Sadly, Marc Newson didn't touch the menus (aside from the background), which use the same antiquated design that Pentax has been using for who knows how long. While it's not pretty, it does get the job done though. Here are some of the highlights from the menu:
Custom image: these are sets of image parameters that allow you to adjust saturation, high/low key, contrast, and sharpness; there are several presets available, including bright, portrait, landscape, bleach bypass, black and white, and cross-process
Digital filter: special effects like extract color, toy camera, retro, and high contrast can be found here
Image capture setting: here you can adjust the aspect ratio (16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1), file format (JPEG, RAW, or both), resolution/quality, and color space
AF/MF settings: choose the AF method (face detect, subject tracking, flexible spot, center), AF auto zoom (camera enlarges the focus point when you halfway-press the shutter release), and turn on focus peaking (discussed earlier)
Lens correction: here you can turn on distortion correction (see example a bit later) and chromatic aberration correction (which is on by default)
Multi-exposure: the K-01 can combine up to nine exposures into a single image, with auto EV adjustment
Interval (time-lapse) shooting: the camera can take up to 999 images at intervals ranging from 1 second to 24 hours; you can set a start time, if you wish; tripod and AC adapter are essentially required for this; the K-01 can also do the same kind of things, but save the results as a Full HD movie instead of a bunch of stills
D-Range setting: home of highlight and shadow correction; see below for examples of both
Noise reduction: you can really fine-tune high ISO NR; slow shutter speed NR is auto/on/off
Live view: turn on grid lines, a live histogram, or highlights for bright/dark areas
Button customization: define what the green and red buttons do, as well as how the AE/AF lock button functions for both stills and movies; you can have the green/red buttons handle one-push file format switch, image previewing, focus peaking, and more
Memory: choose what settings are stored when the camera is turned off
Dust removal: remove dust now, or when the camera is turned on or off

Custom Settings

In addition to the shooting and setup options, there are also sixteen custom settings. Some of the items of note here including EV/ISO steps, ISO expansion (which opens up ISO 25600), and shake reduction options.

Playback Options

Press 'down' on the four-way controller to access the 'real' playback menu RAW editing tool

The Pentax K-01 has a pretty nice playback mode for an interchangeable lens camera. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Quick Zoom: instantly jump to a set magnification when zooming in playback mode
  • Image rotation/resizing/cropping: gotta have these
  • Digital Filter: apply one of 21 special effects to photos you've taken
  • RAW development: edit RAW images right in the camera; you can adjust white balance, exposure, ISO, lens correction, and more; the results are saved as a JPEG
  • Movie editing: divide a movie into two parts, or just extract a segment

By default, the K-01 shows just basic information about your photos. However, press the Info button and you can choose from various other screens, which include tons of details about settings, plus your choice of histograms.

The camera moves from photo-to-photo without delay.

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Total comments: 6

Too bad this camera was considered a flop. I feel it was very misunderstood. Personally, I have been happy with mine for thousands of images. It makes me shoot in a way that's quite different than looking through a viewfiender, and for landscapes I've found it's been incredible for composition. Good for street photography, too. Looking at the LCD is much less conspicuous than looking through a viewfinder. It is not good for anything fast (e.g. sports). Anyway, mine has been great for travel. It fits into a tiny bag with the 40mm XS, so that allows me to fit an extra lens in my carryon compared to a DSLR.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting

It was a success in Asia, where it mattered.


I didn't realize that. Unfortunately, the K-01 was discontinued rather quickly so the Asian market seems to have not been enough.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting

The K-01 like every other camera pretty much has/had to make in the American market and the European market to succeed. You don't brush-off the biggest markets on Earth. Having said that, I've owned and used one for some time, because I just like the style and the simplicity and the relatively noiseless sensor.

Ken Kemble

Sharing the same (long-life) lithium battery as the K3 and K5 makes the K-01 a perfect backup camera; especially with the Pentax DA 70mm f2,4

The appeal of Pentax centred on their HD DA lens range like the Pentax 20~40mm f2,8 zoom which is in a class of its own and reasonable value.

RICOH Pentax...a company that continues to surprise!


Forgot to mention DXOMark rates this camera/sensor and sports performance nearly top of its class of hybrid cameras.

Total comments: 6