Pentax K-01 Review
Body & Design
Love it or hate it, the Pentax K-01's design is certainly unique. When I first saw it's retro-modern design back at CES, I thought it looked like something that would carry a Fisher Price label, rather than Pentax. While it's appearance has grown on me since then, I'm still not a huge fan.
The K-01 is much larger than other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The reason for this to its large flange-back distance, which is what allows it to support K-mount lenses. Since one of the big selling points of mirrorless cameras is their diminutive size, the K-01 seems a bit awkward. The only time you'll fit this camera in your pocket is with the pancake lens - and that's assuming that you have large pockets! With any other lens, it'll be just like carrying around a regular D-SLR.
If you take the lens off the K-01 you'll actually be able to see just how much empty space there is between the mount and the sensor (the flange-back distance) - you could smuggle a mouse in there (not that I recommend it). This sensor itself is mounted on a movable plate, which is used for both image stabilization and dust removal.
The back of the K-01 is relatively normal-looking compared to the rest of the camera. Being a mirrorless camera, you'll be composing all of your photos on the 3-inch LCD that's on display here (no EVF is available). This screen has 921,000, so everything's nice and sharp. Outdoor visibility was about average, and in low light the screen 'gains up' nicely, so you can still see your subject. For those wondering, the K-01 does not support an electronic viewfinder, which is too bad (since there's certainly room for one).
To the right of the LCD we have four well-labeled buttons, which handle AE/AF lock, playback mode, toggling the info shown on the screen (and bringing up the shortcut menu), and entering the menu system. To the right of those is the card access lamp, with the four-way controller under that. The controller is used for menu navigation, reviewing photos, and also serves as a shortcut for adjusting the ISO, flash, self-timer, and white balance. Pressing the 'OK' button while you're manually focusing will enlarge the frame.
Taking each of the cardinal points of the four-way controller in turn, ISO sensitivity can be manually adjusted from 100 to 12800, or you can choose an automatic range like 100-800. Depending on what exposure mode you're in, flash mode can be set to manual, manual with red-eye reduction, slow-speed sync, slow speed sync with red-eye reduction, and 'trailing' (second) curtain sync. Drive options include continuous, self-timer, and wireless remote control shooting, plus AE bracketing. As far as white balance is concerned, the usual presets are all here (including four fluorescent options), plus color temperature enhancement (CTE) which strengthens the color tone of the light source, and a custom mode; you can fine-tune white balance but WB bracketing is not available.
|The K-01 offers a mode dial, two customizable buttons (green and red), an exposure compensation button and an 'UP' button which opens the built-in flash. The rear thumb dial sits flush with the top plate of the camera. A large on/off switch surrounds the shutter release.|
The most striking part of the K-01's design can be found in the top view. The most conventional-looking button is the flash release / delete photo button, located at the bottom-left of the photo. Next to the pop-up flash is the camera's mode dial. Next to that is the uniquely designed power switch, which unfortunately moves a bit too easily. Inside the power switch is the shutter release button.
Below all that are three buttons: the famous Pentax green button (which, by default, resets the setting currently being adjusted), another for exposure compensation, and a third red button for movie recording. The function of both the red and green buttons can be customized. In-between all those buttons is the camera's sole control dial, which you'll use for adjusting the exposure, navigating menus, and enlarging images in both record and playback mode.
Despite the fact that the K-01 is as large as some D-SLRs, it's still very much a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. That means that you'll compose all of your photos on the camera's 3-inch LCD display. Fortunately the image on the K-01's LCD is sharp and bright, with an excellent refresh rate. Options include grid lines, a live histogram, and highlighting of over and underexposed areas of the image.
Unfortunately, an always-handy electronic level is not available. If you're manually focusing, you can not only enlarge the frame (as you can on almost every camera), you can also turn on something called focus peaking. Focus peaking sharply outlines the part of the frame that's in focus, which makes manual focusing a whole lot easier.
|The 'view' in live view, with histogram||While it's difficult to see here, focus peaking is making the edges of the stapler look extra sharp, so I know it's in focus|
Size and Weight Compared
I've talked about how much bulkier the K-01 is compared to its competitors and here's a look at how the K-01 compares to other interchangeable lens cameras in terms of size and weight:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Volume (bulk)||Mass (empty)|
|Nikon 1 J1||4.4 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.||12.7 cu in.||234 g|
|Olympus E-P3||4.8 x 2.7 x 1.4 in.||18.1 cu in.||321 g|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1||4.6 x 2.7 x 1.6 in.||19.9 cu in.||272 g|
|Pentax K-01||4.8 x 3.1 x 2.3 in.||34.2 cu in.||479 g|
|Samsung NX210||4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in.||16.1 cu in.||222 g|
|Sony Alpha NEX-5N||4.4 x 2.4 x 1.6 in.||16.9 cu in.||210 g|
Jul 4, 2013
Jan 31, 2013
May 30, 2012
May 27, 2015
Nikon just released four new firmware updates, adding features and fixing bugs in the D600, D610, D750 and the KeyMission 80.
It probably hasn't made your landscape photography bucket list just yet, but there's a good reason to visit Idaho. Here are 9 must-visit locations in this beautiful state.
Oops... Adobe accidentally leaked their unfinished Lightroom-powered cloud-based photo editor 'Project Nimbus' to some Creative Cloud users yesterday.
Storm chaser and award-winning photographer Mike Oblinski just released his latest time-lapse, and it is absolutely stunning.
Looking to level up your video capture capabilities without buying a whole new camera? Blackmagic's Video Assist 4K is well worth considering, despite a few flaws and its lack of 4K/60p support.
We're big fans of Fujifilm's fast-growing GFX system, and the GF 110mm F2 lens is no exception. Positioned as the system's classic portrait lens, its optics are just as impressive with non-human subjects as well.
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.