Pentax K-01 review

May 5, 2012

Overall Rating:


Pentax K-01

  • Metering:
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Price as Reviewed:


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

Our verdict

As photographers, we should be interested in how our photographs, not our cameras, look and to judge the K-01’s appearance in this test would be purely subjective. What is important about a camera, though, is that it feels comfortable for a photographer to use, and while all the K-01’s controls are in the correct places, it feels very much like a box with buttons.

In a compact system camera there are advantages to the lack of mirror box, namely a reduction in the size of the body and lenses. With no moving mirror, the shooting rate is often better than a comparable DSLR. By using the existing K mount, the K-01 has none of these advantages. In size and weight, it is not much different from an entry-level DSLR.

However, as would be expected from Pentax, the image quality is excellent, as is the huge range of available lenses.

Pentax K-mount users looking for a compact system camera may be intrigued by the K-01, but if they require a small, light camera for travelling they may be better served by a smaller compact system camera and a suitable K-mount adapter.

Pentax K-01 – Key features

As well as a built-in pop-up flash, the K-01 has a hotshoe for use with Pentax-compatible
flash units.

Green button
This is a function button and can be assigned to a number of different features. I set it to turn focus peaking on and off when manually focusing.

Shooting rate
The Pentax K-01 is reasonably fast, shooting JPEG images at around 6fps. However, when shooting DNG raw files the rate drops significantly to just a single image a second.

Colour options
As well as the black version of the K-01 pictured here, a yellow version is available. In the yellow version the black rubber is replaced with yellow rubber, which makes it look a little like an underwater camera.

In-camera HDR
As we have previously seen in Pentax DSLRs, the K-01 has the ability to combine bracketed exposures into a single HDR exposure with a full range of highlight and shadow tones.

Interval timer
Built into the K-01 is an interval timer that allows a set number of images to be photographed at given intervals, which is useful for time-lapse photography.

Interface cover
Behind this cover is the memory-card socket, and USB and HDMI ports. Annoyingly, the cover is rubber, and fiddly to fit back into position.

Red button
This starts video capture, regardless of the current shooting mode.

  • Video: 1960 x 1080 pixels (16:9) at 30, 25, 24fps; 1280 x 720 pixels (16:9) at 60, 50, 30, 25, 24fps; 640 x 480 pixels (4:3) at 30, 25, 24fps; MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
  • White Balance: Auto, 11 presets, custom setting, Kelvin and WB fine adjustment
  • External mic: Yes
  • Dioptre Adjustment: N/A
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 12m @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Output Size: 4928 x 3264 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: N/A
  • Memory Card: SD or SDHC
  • LCD: 3in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Field of View: N/A
  • AF Points: Contrast-detection AF from 81 selectable points
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/180sec
  • Sensor: 16.28-million-effective-pixel, APS-C sized (23.7 x 15.7 mm) CMOS sensor
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes, over 3 images
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
  • Exposure Modes: Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, sensitivity priority, shutter and aperture priority, bulb
  • Power: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion D-LI90 battery
  • Weight: 560g (including battery and card), 480g (without)
  • File Format: 12-bit DNG raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV or 1/2EV steps plus bulb
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Approx 6fps (JPEG, Continuous Hi), Approx 3fps (JPEG, Continuous Lo) or 1fps raw
  • Dimensions: 79 x 121 x 59 mm
  • DoF Preview: N/A
  • Metering System: Multi-segment, centreweighted and spot
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1⁄3EV or 1/2EV steps
  • RRP: £629.99 (body only)
  • Lens Mount: Pentax KAF2
  • ISO: 100-12,800 (expanded to ISO 25,600)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual (with focus peaking), AF.S, face detection, tracking
  • Tested as: Enthusiast CSC

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