The K-1 has the honour of being the first full-frame Pentax DSLR. Matt Golowczynski takes a closer look at this impressively specified camera in this Pentax K-1 review
Pentax K-1 review: Verdict
A model as anticipated as the K-1 has to work hard to meet expectations, but those who have waited patiently are likely to be very pleased. Its recipe for success is simple: not only does it offer an awful lot for its very reasonable asking price, but it also marries this with excellent performance in several key areas.
Crucially, image quality is one of its major strengths. The camera is capable of excellent dynamic range and high resolution, and noise is well controlled, while the abundance of colour and white-balance options means you can easily get the result you want in camera – particularly if you take advantage of post-capture raw processing.
Just as praiseworthy is the model’s design, and more specifically what this means for handling and operation. With only very minor exceptions, I can’t think of any physical aspect of the camera’s design that would benefit from being revised. Controls are easily accessible and clearly marked, and the camera feels excellent in the hands, providing fine support for both everyday lenses and weightier optics.
With its agreeable price tag and a handful of more specialist features, it’s clear that this is a camera designed for a wide audience, although there are some areas where the advantage lies with rival bodies. Video quality is perfectly good, for example, but control over it isn’t quite as comprehensive as you’ll find elsewhere. Meanwhile the performance of the continuous autofocus system is only average.
On a practical level, while the model is compatible with a wealth of legacy lenses and supports APS-C lenses, too, there is understandably a more limited range of full-frame lenses available than in other stables, and fewer third-party options, too. This may be something to consider for photographers working in specific genres. Hopefully we’ll see the Pentax range expanding in the near future.
Still, for many people with no strong ties to any particular system, the K-1 is well worth a spot on the full-frame shortlist. With a solid set of specs, excellent handling, strong image quality and a very competitive price, it’s one of the most exciting DSLRs we’ve seen in recent times.