A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

Started Dec 17, 2016 | User reviews
absquatulate Senior Member • Posts: 8,864
A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
17

Like many people, I remember having my WTH! moment when I first saw this camera, and laughed along with others. Well we're five years down the road now and I have to say I'm not laughing now. Having read copious amounts of reviews from people who either loved or hated this camera I decided to get one. For two reasons, firstly, out of pure curiosity, and secondly, it actually does fill a need for me. Now I have bought fully into Pentax, with the K3II and various lenses I wanted a second body as a back-up and for a lighter alternative, when I don't want to hump around the K3II and heavier lenses.

So the camera came, and I have to say, I was pleasantly suprised, not so much by the look and feel, which is pretty obvious, but by the ease of use and capabilities of the camera. It is very simple and easy to use, everything is very well implemented and the camera never gets in the way of shooting. Yes it's not the quickest at focusing, even with the firmware upgrade, but it's fine for my purposes, and it is accurate. Even in low light, it will focus ok, you just need to ensure there is some contrast for it to lock onto.

I guess the biggest bug bear for most people is the lack of evf or ability to have one. Well I knew that and there are plenty of aids for screen shading in bright light so I'm not too bothered about it, it is what it is. I have the Sigma DPXM's and nothing is harder to shoot in bright light than those cameras, but I've always managed.

So about the image quality? even though its nearly 5 years old it still holds its own. 16mp is plenty for bigger prints and with a decent lens on it then it's capable of excellent results. I am using it with the DA Ltd's, the 15mm, 20-40mm and 70mm and it's perfect for those lenses. No focusing issues or adjustments required, they bolt straight on with no annoying adaptors, it's all good. I particularly like the ISO adjustment implmentation on this camera, it's very easy to switch between auto ISO and picking a single value, nicely done Pentax. High ISO is also something of a revelation, it has a lack of chroma noise and shooting up to 6400 is no problem, even 12800 at a pinch, or for mono results. I feel it's better than the K3II for high ISO shooting, so that is a nice bonus.
The SR was also a nice suprise, I can handhold to lower shutter speeds than I can on the K3II, probably because there is no flapping mirror involved, but either way it's better for sure.

The other bone of contention for most people is the ergonomics, not so much for me. It is heavier than it looks, but it gives it a nice balance when mounting a lens like the Sigma 8-16mm. The deeper body is fine by me, I have medium sized hands and don't find it a problem to hold. None of the decent mirrorless cameras fit in a pocket anyway, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I carry it in a small camera bag, with lenses, just like I would if I was shooting m4/3's (which I used to do), so no biggie for me. If you use it with short zooms or primes it's absolutely fine, I just grip the camera and place my left hand underneath it to shoot, it's fine. I wouldn't recommend it for long telephoto lenses but I have the K3II for that.

Battery life is another plus for this camera, it's excellent for a mirrorless model. It also uses the same batteries as my K3II, another bonus. If you've used any of the other mirrorless brands you'll know how they chew through batteries, not so much with the K-01.

So what don't I like about it? not much really, even the placement of the green button isn't a big issue for me, I don't use it much anyway. The two stage shutter button is a little tricky but I configured the focusing to the AEL button for back button focusing so even that is easy to overcome. Even the looks have grown on me, it's quirky and original, I've grown to like it's uniqueness. The flash is also pretty decent and my Metz flash works perfectly on it as well, another bonus.
The LCD resolution is a little old now, I've grown used to the razor sharp LCD on the K3II, which makes checking critical sharpness easy, but you just have to trust the K-01 to nail the shot, which it usually does, and it's good enough in that context. My shots look sharper on my computer screen than they do on the camera LCD, so it's just a case of adjusting to that.

So in summary, this camera is still relevant today for me, it does the job I need it to do very competently, and I have no complaints about IQ whatsoever. If you've never tried one, and you want something a bit smaller, for shooting primes on it, it does the job very well. The ability to use exactly the same lenses on both my DSLR and the K-01 is not to be under-estimated. They can be picked up pretty cheap now, though they are getting harder to find. I may even pick up a spare, nice job Pentax, I stand corrected, I get it now. I'd love to see an updated model with a tilting LCD but I doubt that will ever happen now, so I'll make do with this interesting camera and enjoy it until something more suitable appears, which may be never.

Pentax K-01
16 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Feb 2, 2012
absquatulate's score
4.0
Average community score
4.1
bad for good for
Kids / pets
okay
Action / sports
acceptable
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
excellent
Flash photography (social)
excellent
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
Pentax K-01
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
zakaria
zakaria Veteran Member • Posts: 4,002
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
1

Love mine so much with the da 35mm Ltd .

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pentaxian .

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OP absquatulate Senior Member • Posts: 8,864
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

zakaria wrote:

Love mine so much with the da 35mm Ltd .

I think this camera is ideal for all the Ltd primes, you can just rely on it to focus accurately and give you optimum results every time.

zakaria
zakaria Veteran Member • Posts: 4,002
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

absquatulate wrote:

zakaria wrote:

Love mine so much with the da 35mm Ltd .

I think this camera is ideal for all the Ltd primes, you can just rely on it to focus accurately and give you optimum results every time.

Indeed .

It is like the first generation of fuji x cameras . but unfortunately pentax is not fuji . it received all the criteria and complaints .

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pentaxian .

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gaddigad Senior Member • Posts: 1,901
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
1

They should make an update with hybrid AF

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Ask not what your camera can do for you, but what you can do for your camera
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Dale108
Dale108 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,248
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
1

Agree with your assessment.  I have had the K01 for many years now and it has produced some of the best photos I have ever taken.  The colours seem to be great for landscapes.  This is truly, along with the Q, one of Pentax's most underappreciated cameras.

Dale

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Pentax K-1
ozdean
ozdean Forum Pro • Posts: 24,716
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
1

It was ahead of it's time.

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Regards Dean - Capturing Creation
N.B. All my Images are Protected by Copyright

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Mark Ransom
Mark Ransom Veteran Member • Posts: 4,930
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
1

ozdean wrote:

It was ahead of it's time.

It was too expensive when it first came out, I think everybody would have been more tolerant of its quirks if it had been cheaper. I got mine when they started clearing them out, because it was the poor man's way of getting the K-5 sensor. It came with a DA 40mm pancake which is the perfect match.

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Sweets
Sweets Contributing Member • Posts: 694
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

absquatulate wrote:

Like many people, I remember having my WTH! moment when I first saw this camera, and laughed along with others. Well we're five years down the road now and I have to say I'm not laughing now. Having read copious amounts of reviews from people who either loved or hated this camera I decided to get one. For two reasons, firstly, out of pure curiosity, and secondly, it actually does fill a need for me. Now I have bought fully into Pentax, with the K3II and various lenses I wanted a second body as a back-up and for a lighter alternative, when I don't want to hump around the K3II and heavier lenses.

So the camera came, and I have to say, I was pleasantly suprised, not so much by the look and feel, which is pretty obvious, but by the ease of use and capabilities of the camera. It is very simple and easy to use, everything is very well implemented and the camera never gets in the way of shooting. Yes it's not the quickest at focusing, even with the firmware upgrade, but it's fine for my purposes, and it is accurate. Even in low light, it will focus ok, you just need to ensure there is some contrast for it to lock onto.

I guess the biggest bug bear for most people is the lack of evf or ability to have one. Well I knew that and there are plenty of aids for screen shading in bright light so I'm not too bothered about it, it is what it is. I have the Sigma DPXM's and nothing is harder to shoot in bright light than those cameras, but I've always managed.

So about the image quality? even though its nearly 5 years old it still holds its own. 16mp is plenty for bigger prints and with a decent lens on it then it's capable of excellent results. I am using it with the DA Ltd's, the 15mm, 20-40mm and 70mm and it's perfect for those lenses. No focusing issues or adjustments required, they bolt straight on with no annoying adaptors, it's all good. I particularly like the ISO adjustment implmentation on this camera, it's very easy to switch between auto ISO and picking a single value, nicely done Pentax. High ISO is also something of a revelation, it has a lack of chroma noise and shooting up to 6400 is no problem, even 12800 at a pinch, or for mono results. I feel it's better than the K3II for high ISO shooting, so that is a nice bonus.
The SR was also a nice suprise, I can handhold to lower shutter speeds than I can on the K3II, probably because there is no flapping mirror involved, but either way it's better for sure.

The other bone of contention for most people is the ergonomics, not so much for me. It is heavier than it looks, but it gives it a nice balance when mounting a lens like the Sigma 8-16mm. The deeper body is fine by me, I have medium sized hands and don't find it a problem to hold. None of the decent mirrorless cameras fit in a pocket anyway, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I carry it in a small camera bag, with lenses, just like I would if I was shooting m4/3's (which I used to do), so no biggie for me. If you use it with short zooms or primes it's absolutely fine, I just grip the camera and place my left hand underneath it to shoot, it's fine. I wouldn't recommend it for long telephoto lenses but I have the K3II for that.

Battery life is another plus for this camera, it's excellent for a mirrorless model. It also uses the same batteries as my K3II, another bonus. If you've used any of the other mirrorless brands you'll know how they chew through batteries, not so much with the K-01.

So what don't I like about it? not much really, even the placement of the green button isn't a big issue for me, I don't use it much anyway. The two stage shutter button is a little tricky but I configured the focusing to the AEL button for back button focusing so even that is easy to overcome. Even the looks have grown on me, it's quirky and original, I've grown to like it's uniqueness. The flash is also pretty decent and my Metz flash works perfectly on it as well, another bonus.
The LCD resolution is a little old now, I've grown used to the razor sharp LCD on the K3II, which makes checking critical sharpness easy, but you just have to trust the K-01 to nail the shot, which it usually does, and it's good enough in that context. My shots look sharper on my computer screen than they do on the camera LCD, so it's just a case of adjusting to that.

So in summary, this camera is still relevant today for me, it does the job I need it to do very competently, and I have no complaints about IQ whatsoever. If you've never tried one, and you want something a bit smaller, for shooting primes on it, it does the job very well. The ability to use exactly the same lenses on both my DSLR and the K-01 is not to be under-estimated. They can be picked up pretty cheap now, though they are getting harder to find. I may even pick up a spare, nice job Pentax, I stand corrected, I get it now. I'd love to see an updated model with a tilting LCD but I doubt that will ever happen now, so I'll make do with this interesting camera and enjoy it until something more suitable appears, which may be never.

+1 here, all the way! Really love the K01 next to my K1… 👌👍

(Althought my K01 is in service now😔 for a frozen/stucked curtain, it seems)

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rgrds. Henk (K-1+DBG6 & -01, GF2+14042X & LBA).

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squareEye Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
2

You left out that you can drive nails with it!

It's a great camera and a ridiculously small package. I would buy another with a tilt screen and a K-1 sensor. No good reason for Ricoh not to start a whole line of non-retro focus K-mount lenses if they had a full frame K-02.

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squareEye

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OP absquatulate Senior Member • Posts: 8,864
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

squareEye wrote:

You left out that you can drive nails with it!

True.

It's a great camera and a ridiculously small package. I would buy another with a tilt screen and a K-1 sensor. No good reason for Ricoh not to start a whole line of non-retro focus K-mount lenses if they had a full frame K-02.

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squareEye

A full frame version would be an interesting proposition.

zakaria
zakaria Veteran Member • Posts: 4,002
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

squareEye wrote:

You left out that you can drive nails with it!

It's a great camera and a ridiculously small package. I would buy another with a tilt screen and a K-1 sensor. No good reason for Ricoh not to start a whole line of non-retro focus K-mount lenses if they had a full frame K-02.

Full frame k02 and I will be the first in the queue !

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pentaxian .

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Jim Beverlin Veteran Member • Posts: 4,524
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

I own two (2) K-01s and to me it is probably the most underrated camera in years.  It has a lot going against it such as ergonomics are poor/ terrible, it is very slow particularly taking RAW images,  AF is nothing to write home about but the design and ergonomics just preclude using it for sports or action (unless it is really slow).  So what are the strong points to this unique camera?

Well, at the end of the day image quality is at the top of the list for me and this is where the K-01 delivers the goods in spades!  A very weak anti-aliasing filter results in very sharp images.  The evaluative metering on the K-01 is the best I have seen on a Pentax camera...........................far better than the K-5 series (although the K-3 may match or even exceed).  Focus peaking, once you get use to it, makes manual focus lenses much easier to use.  The K-01 just begs to be used on a monopod for ease of use and excellent IQ.

Both of mine have primes mounted on them.  On my black K-01 I have the FA31mm f/1.8 which just works superb.  On my yellow K-01 I have a DA*55mm f/1.4

Over the last 4 - 5 years I have invested in a lot of really nice K-mount glass from both Pentax and Sigma.  I probably will update body wise to either the K-3II replacement or a K-3II.  In the meantime I am very content to use my K-01s along with a K-5.

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JRB

kaedepics Regular Member • Posts: 340
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.
1

I have to agree with the above. I found the focus too slow with my 77ltd or anything longer but mount my DA15ltd or my 43ltd it was a marriage made in heaven. No problems with focus speed and also the 43ltd and the K01 looked great together.

Jim Beverlin Veteran Member • Posts: 4,524
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

kaedepics wrote:

I have to agree with the above. I found the focus too slow with my 77ltd or anything longer but mount my DA15ltd or my 43ltd it was a marriage made in heaven. No problems with focus speed and also the 43ltd and the K01 looked great together.

Interesting and I like the above shot!  I have the FA43 which in 35mm terms gives you about a focal length of almost 65mm............ a very unique focal length.  Want to try this along with my DA21mm which gives you (again in 35mm terms) about a 32mm focal length which to me is an almost ideal focal length.

One feature of the K-01 that I did not mention in my original post was the on board flash which seems to be more powerful than other on board flash units.

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JRB

M R Padmaraju Veteran Member • Posts: 3,583
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

As ` do a lot of macro of insects , there is no better camera to go face to face with my subjects . And ` have 50 , 80 , M100 . D FA  100 2.8 macros to go with it . Long live K-01 .

Regards ,

mrp .

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Smitty1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

Mark Ransom wrote:

ozdean wrote:

It was ahead of it's time.

It was too expensive when it first came out, I think everybody would have been more tolerant of its quirks if it had been cheaper. I got mine when they started clearing them out, because it was the poor man's way of getting the K-5 sensor. It came with a DA 40mm pancake which is the perfect match.

It could have used an EVF too... trying to use live view in daylight isn't fun.   and 900 USD with the XS 40 at launch was a bit pricey.

Did it really have the same sensor as the K-5?   Was RAW 12-bit or 14-bit?

It seemed, as a whole, the K-01 was essentially a K-30 without the OVF in an artsy shell...

zakaria
zakaria Veteran Member • Posts: 4,002
My K02 dream

I think that  pentax   sooner or later will release k02  because EVF is greatly evolved now .

The k02 which i would buy  must has a  full frame sensor /crop sensor version to come  later/.

a  slim design of the two sides is a must   .traditional design  close to the seventies Cameras.

No video

No GPS

No wi fi

Price it at 1300$ +.

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pentaxian .

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Jim Beverlin Veteran Member • Posts: 4,524
Re: A pleasant surprise and still relevant.

Smitty1 wrote:

Mark Ransom wrote:

ozdean wrote:

It was ahead of it's time.

It was too expensive when it first came out, I think everybody would have been more tolerant of its quirks if it had been cheaper. I got mine when they started clearing them out, because it was the poor man's way of getting the K-5 sensor. It came with a DA 40mm pancake which is the perfect match.

It could have used an EVF too... trying to use live view in daylight isn't fun. and 900 USD with the XS 40 at launch was a bit pricey.

Did it really have the same sensor as the K-5? Was RAW 12-bit or 14-bit?

It seemed, as a whole, the K-01 was essentially a K-30 without the OVF in an artsy shell...

The sensor was a 12 bit so it was not the same as the K-5.  At least that is what I have read on the web.  Still, I cannot differentiate outside of sharpness any real difference between the K-5 and K-01.  But, I do not pixel peep like some people do.  There is an improvement in sharpness thanks to the weak anti-aliasing filter.  Agree it was pricey at the launch and Pentax waited too long to reduce the price.  Then, when inventory was probably way out of hand they sold it at fire sale prices.

This afternoon  l looked at Amazon who still is peddling some new K-01s with pricing ranging from $379 (black body only) to $463 (yellow body only).  Probably if Pentax would have lowered the price of  the K-01 to around $500 - $600 it would have moved.  However if you want a white body only they have a used one for $555!!!  Figure that one out!

I often wonder how many K-01s Pentax manufactured?   And how many sold at the original price?  And, how many were in stock when the price was drastically dropped?

Believe the K-01 sold well in the home market (Japan).  While they were moving out stock in the USA in the $300 range they came up with a powder blue version which I believe was for the Japan only market.  I have bought some nice Pentax and Sigma glass from a couple of Tokyo camera shops off of eBay and Amazon.  One shop sold the blue K-01s and I tried (in vain) to get them to lower the price.  No luck so apparently about a year ago they were still selling.

I really have not had issues using the K-01 in daylight.  Much better than the Sigma DP series cameras that I have.

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JRB

iTrax
iTrax Contributing Member • Posts: 648
Re: My K01

I have a black one, enjoy it and never sell it.

DA 40 2.8 XS ,it is a marvel of engineering and works well with K-1.

For frequent bright days in Perth I have an excellent Carryspeed  VF4 ( recommended by Ron , ohh... I miss the man, I think he actually recommended VF3, have both ) , could be also successfully used with my the Q and Q-s1.

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