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

Overall rating:

Pentax K-01

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Pentax K-01 review


Price as reviewed:



Having no mirror box, the K-01 is reliant on contrast-detection AF rather than the phase-detection AF used in DSLRs. However, the vast majority of Pentax’s current K-mount AF lenses have been designed to work with DSLRs equipped with phase-detection AF. When used on the K-01, these lenses don’t perform as fast as they would on a DSLR, taking longer to hunt back and forth to focus and generally being quite loud when doing so.

The new 45mm f/2.8 pancake lens is relatively snappy when focusing, which is understandable given the size of the lens. However, it is also quite noisy. Far quieter is the 16-50mm f/2.8 because it uses a built-in Sonic Drive Motor (SDM). Therefore, anyone wanting to be discreet when taking images with the K-01 would be advised to use SDM optics.

There are 81 selectable AF points, with three different point sizes available. A tracking mode is also present for moderately fast-moving subjects, although one of the most useful focusing options is the focus-peaking feature. This aids manual focusing by highlighting the edges of areas that are in focus, looking much like Unsharp Mask does when taken to extremes. Focus peaking makes it extremely easy to focus manually, which in turn makes the use of all classic manual-focus K-mount lenses feasible. It is also a lot of fun.

Overall, the K-01’s focusing is best described as ‘efficient’. While it can be sluggish with some lenses, particularly in dim conditions, in daylight, especially with the SDM optics, it is fast enough for general use with landscapes, portraits and street-style photography.

  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
Page 6 of 12 - Show Full List