As I've already noted, on the K-01's exposure mode dial you'll find a high dynamic range (HDR) mode. This improves contrast by combining three different exposures, each taken at a different value, into a single image. There are four HDR modes to choose from: 'auto' and then 'HDR' 1 - 3. The HDR modes basically control how strong the effect is, with higher numbers being more artistic than realistic. You can also set the interval between the exposures (by using the camera's main dial) from 1EV to 3EV.
|HDR off||HDR on (±3 EV interval)|
While the results are not as impressive as with the Sony cameras I reviewed recently, the K-01's HDR mode still produced more shadow detail and a bit less highlight clipping. The camera will align the images automatically, so a tripod is generally not needed. I should add that you can use HDR in any shooting mode via the main menu, though you can't adjust the exposure interval when you do that.
Let's go over some of the 'correction' options I listed on the previous page. I'll start with distortion correction, which is strangely enough turned off by default. Since the 40 mm pancake lens isn't the kind of lens that has a lot of barrel distortion, I'm using my personal 18 - 55 mm lens for this example. Do note that this is probably not the same 18 - 55 that comes in the dual lens kit.
|Distortion correction off (default)||Distortion correction on|
As you can see, the distortion correction feature 'flattened' the test chart, reducing the fairly strong barrel distortion on the 18-55 lens. If only it worked as well for vignetting!
Next up is highlight correction, which is found in the D-Range Correction options. This is set to 'auto' by default. In order for the camera to do its thing, it will set the sensitivity to ISO 200. Here's a crop of our purple fringing tunnel showing what this feature can do:
|Highlight correction off||Highlight correction on|
While the highlight correction helps a little bit, it doesn't work miracles. The most obvious changes can be found by looking on the ground, to the left of the column - you get some detail back there. The sky remains blown out - it's supposed to be blue in reality. Even with the relatively minor improvements, I see no reason to change the setting from its default 'auto' position.
The other half of the DR correction feature is shadow correction. As you might've guessed, this brightens the dark areas of your photos. You can choose from auto, low, medium, high, and off positions. Unfortunately, the effect is so subtle that I couldn't come up with a decent example for you (despite numerous attempts).
The K-01's sensor is stabilized, and the stabilizer will provide up to 4 stops of shake correction on nearly every Pentax lens. In addition to reducing the likelihood of blurry photos, the shake reduction system smooths out your movies, as well. You can also have the camera 'shake off' the dust when its powered on or off, though you need to turn that feature on in the setup menu.
Pentax K-01 Compact System Camera
with 18-55mm Lens Kit - Black
Pentax K-01 Compact System Camera Body - Black
Pentax K-01 Compact System Camera Body - Silver