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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Pentax K-01 review


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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.

  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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