The Pentax K-01 combines unusual looks with a tried-and-tested 16.28-million-pixel sensor that is capable of excellent results. We find out how much difference the unique design makes in our Pentax K-01 review

Product Overview

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Pentax K-01

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LCD viewfinder:
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Pentax K-01 review


Price as reviewed:


At a glance:

  • 16.28-million-pixel CMOS sensor
  • Pentax K mount
  • 3in, 921,000-dot
  • LCD screen
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • Built-in flash
  • Street price around £600 (body only), around £680 (with 40mm f/2.8 XS pancake lens)

When digital cameras first became popular, people were saying that reflex mechanisms, mirrors, prisms and viewfinders could all disappear. With these traditional pieces of engineering gone, cameras would no longer have to look the way they always had so they could be all sorts of new shapes and sizes.

Most manufacturers now have a compact system camera range that foregoes traditional SLR technology, with LCD screens and EVFs replacing optical viewfinders. By removing the mirror box, new mounts can be created to make interchangeable lenses smaller and lighter. But what if you kept an existing mount and designed a digital camera that had no optical viewfinder? That is just what Pentax has done with the K-01.

Designed by Australian designer Marc Newson, the K-01 is a mirrorless system camera that uses Pentax’s standard K lens mount. At its launch, it was the K-01’s simple yet striking looks that drew most attention. Yet while the K-01 is unconventional when compared to its contemporaries, its core is built entirely around Pentax’s DSLR range.

In this test I want to find out how the K-01’s unique design works in practice, and whether there are any advantages to removing the reflex mirror and viewfinder.

  1. 1. At a glance:
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. SMC Pentax-DA 40mm f/2.8 XS lens
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Dynamic range
  8. 8. White balance
  9. 9. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  10. 10. LCD, live view and video
  11. 11. The competition
  12. 12. Our verdict
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