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
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.