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Movie Mode

The K-01 has a pretty nice movie mode in terms of specification. It allows you to record Full HD video at 1920 x 1080 with your choice of frame rates: 24, 25, or 30 frames/sec. Sound is recorded in stereo, as you'd expect, and if you want to attach an external mic, there's a port for that. You can keep recording until the elapsed time reaches 25 minutes, or the file size hits 4 GB. If you're recording 1080p at the highest quality setting (***), it looks like you'll hit the file size limit in about 16 minutes. If 1080p is too much for you, the K-01 also supports 720p (at 60 fps) and VGA resolutions. At all resolutions, you can choose a quality setting ranging from one to three stars.

Not surprisingly, you can zoom in and out to your heart's content when recording movies on the K-01. The camera does not offer continuous autofocus, but you can refocus the camera by pressing the AE/AF lock button. That's not a great idea, though, as the refocusing can be slow and noisy.

The K-01 supports full manual control over exposure while you're taking a movie. You can adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity, along with the microphone level. About the only thing missing here is a wind filter. As I touched on earlier, the camera can take a serious of photos over time and compile them into a time-lapse movie. The K-01 does not permit you to take stills while simultaneously recording video.

Videos are recorded using the H.264 codec, and saved in QuickTime format.

Sample Video 1

Download original movie (1920 x 1080, 30 fps, 38.2 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)

The quality's not wondrous, but it'll probably be good enough for most folks. I did notice that if you have focus peaking turned on, the first few frames of a movie will show that effect. I trimmed that out of this clip.

Sample Video 2

Download original movie (1920 x 1080, 30 fps, 47.1 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)

This clip shows perhaps the main weaknesses of the K-01 when it comes to recording video - rolling shutter. Also known as 'jello cam', rolling shutter (where vertical lines appear slanted when the video is panned) is a consequence of how CMOS sensors are designed. Data from the sensor is read out in lines from top to bottom, which means the bottom lines are read later than the top. This is fine for still images, but in video it can result in 'jello cam' unless it is corrected.

The K-01's video footage displays some of the most severe rolling shutter artefacts that we've seen for a while, and this clip, shot at the long end of an 18-135mm zoom lens, is distinctly wobbly.

Sample Video 3

Download original movie (1920 x 1080, 30 fps, 39.2 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)

The rolling shutter effect seems to be exacerbated, unfortunately, by the K-01's shake reduction function, which if you remember, works by shifting the sensor in response to camera movement to counteract camera shake. Unfortunately, the movement of the sensor, coupled with the severe rolling shutter effect creates distinctly odd-looking footage, which looks rather as if it has been projected onto jello. This clip was taken at the long end of an 18-135mm zoom lens, hand-held, with shake reduction turned on.

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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