Pentax K-01 review

May 5, 2012

Overall Rating:


Pentax K-01

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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



The K-01’s 16.28-million-pixel, APS-C-sized (23.7×15.7mm) CMOS sensor has been used a number of times in the past, in various different guises. It is the same sensor as that found in the Pentax K-5 and, being a Sony-made unit, it is also present in the Alpha 55, Alpha 57 and NEX-5N, as well as in the Nikon D7000.

This sensor has performed extremely well in all these cameras, particularly in low light, producing minimal noise, a good dynamic range and excellent recovery of shadow detail.

Removing the reflex mechanism from a camera has a significant impact on its design and performance. With the K-01, the most obvious change is the lack of an optical viewfinder yet no option for fitting an electronic viewfinder, but more on this later. There is also no phase-detection AF system, so like most compact system cameras the K-01 relies on contrast detection.

The range of metering and exposure modes available on the K-01 will be familiar to DSLR users, as this camera has a full complement of manual exposure modes and a variety of scene options. Evaluative, centreweighted and spot metering modes are on hand to help photographers get a correctly exposed image.

As the electronics of the camera are similar to those of the K-5, most of the capabilities of that camera are also present in the K-01. The new camera shoots both raw and JPEG images, has built-in image stabilisation, a multi-exposure mode, interval timer and HDR capture mode.

The K mount, around which the K-01 is designed, has been used in Pentax SLR cameras since 1975, so there are hundreds of different lenses that are available for use with the K-01 and, for that matter, the company’s current DSLR range. This should be one of the biggest selling points for the K-01, as many photographers will have old Pentax lenses lurking in cupboards waiting to be given a new lease of life.

The firm’s current range of AF lenses is also very comprehensive, and Pentax has even created a new optic to complement the K-01 – an unbelievably thin 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens.

  • 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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