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Pentax K-01 Mirrorless CSC Full Review : Introduction

Pentax K-01 Mirrorless CSC Full Review - The Pentax K-01 is the only mirrorless camera to accept the same lenses as the Pentax K mount Digital SLR series. Joshua Waller finds out how it performs in our full review.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Pentax K-01
Price : £520
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Pentax K-01 Front
Pentax K-01 Front

The new Pentax K-01 is a brand-new mirrorless camera from Pentax, featuring a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and K mount allowing you to use any K mount lens from Pentax. The camera is due to be available to buy in mid to end March, for £629 body only, or £679 with the new compact f/2.8 40mm lens shown. The camera is also available with an 18-55mm kit lens, as well as a 55-200mm zoom lens, the same lenses available with the Pentax K-r and Pentax K-5.
 

Pentax K-01 Features


Pentax K-01 Front Angle
Pentax K-01 Front Angle

Other features include 6 fps shooting, Full HD video with 30/25/24fps, a microphone socket, HDMI out and a colourful design that will be available in yellow and black, black and silver, or silver. With a white version available in certain markets. The new 40mm lens is said to be the World's smallest interchangeable lens available and was designed specifically for the Pentax K-01.

Pentax K-01 Pop Up Flash
Pentax K-01 Pop Up Flash
 

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel APS-C Sensor
  • Pentax K-Mount
  • 3inch screen, 921k dots
  • 6fps continuous shooting
  • Sensor-shift Shake Reduction
  • Full HD video, 30/25/24fps
  • Stereo microphone socket
  • ISO100-12800, expandable to 25600
  • SD/SDHC card slot
  • 500 shot battery life

 

Pentax K-01 Handling

Pentax K-01 Rear
Pentax K-01 Rear

Handling - The camera is surrounded by a rubber grip, apart from the back which is mostly black, or silver on the silver model and there is not a traditional thumb grip on the back of the camera. The memory and IO ports (AV/HDMI) are covered by a rubber cover, and on the very left of the camera (looking from the back) there is a microphone socket for video recording.

Design - The design of the camera is somewhat unique and is most certainly different, being available in a number of colours it certainly provokes a reaction when people see and touch the camera. Once you get used to the design, or learn to live with it, the camera is reasonably comfortable in the hand, although a deeper hand grip and rear thumb grip would help. The metal strap loops are unique and certainly seem very strong, although the camera doesn't feature a sensor plane marking - this seems to be the case on Pentax mirrorless cameras, although can be found on the majority of other mirrorless cameras as well as newer Pentax Digital SLRs.

Pentax K-01 Top
Pentax K-01 Top

Buttons - The two red and green buttons on the top can be customised, with the red button defaulting to record video in any mode. The camera does not feature an electronic viewfinder, but could support an optical viewfinder in the flash hot shoe. The cameras screen is used for live view and focusing appeared reasonably quick, although not as quick as the quickest mirrorless cameras available.

Pentax K-01 Front Sensor
Pentax K-01 Sensor

The Pentax K-01 can be held easily with one hand but the position of the mode dial is a little bit of a stretch for your hand. The rest of the controls on the back of the camera can be used easily with one hand and they are clearly labelled.

Menus - The Pentax K-01 has the same menu system as the Pentax Digital SLRs, as well as a control panel that can be accessed on the back of the screen by pressing the info button. It's also possible to turn the screen off. The screen is quite sharp and bright with good colour and viewing angles. Outdoors it is quite good, but bright sunlight can make it difficult to see the screen.

Pentax K-01 Bottom Battery
Pentax K-01 bottom, battery and side ports

Battery Life - The battery is a large Digital SLR sized battery with a rating of 1860mAh, so should offer good battery life and has a CIPA rating of 500 shots. We were able to take over 400 shots with the battery showing plenty of life left.

Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

  Pentax K-01 Sony NEX-7
Shutter Response 0.1 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response x 0.2
40mm - Focus / Shutter Response 0.6 x
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response x 0.2
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9 1.1
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.7 0.6
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.7 0.7
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 6fps (6 shots before slowdown) 10fps (18 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 2fps (12 shots only) 0.6 (2 shots)
Continuous Shooting (RAW) 1fps (9 shots before slowdown) 10fps (14 shots)


Instant review was switched off, as was the start up screen, focus was set to centre spot. Focus speed is certainly slower than other mirrorless cameras, although is quick enough in most situations. Continuous shooting (High / Low) the screen blacks out, and it's only when shooting JPEG images that you can use the 6fps shooting mode, switching on RAW slows the camera to 1fps shooting.



Explore More

Photographs taken using the Pentax K-01

Aliens - they are hereCape Daisy : GardenKiss of a wasp spiderWasp Spidereye in eye with a wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi)Beetle in mossStaircase to heavenCockchafer close upStormy IslandStormyLittle PredatorThe hairy eye of a beeMason Cash at the BeachConisbrough Viaduct : Don GorgeGood Morning Lips
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Comments


23 Mar 2012 5:16PM
Sensor plane marking was mentioned in the review. The K-5 has a sensor plane mark, but the K20D does not. I'm not sure about the others.

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mugund 3
23 Mar 2012 5:30PM
Shot-shot time with flash On and flash off looks same. Is this possible or is it a typo? Please update...


Thanks,
Mugundhan
kodachrome 3 539
23 Mar 2012 6:39PM
Good review and what I would expect from the latest Pentax technology, however, Its way too expensive for a APS-C mirrorless camera with out a EVF. An EVF would have been the icing on the cake and would have possibly reduced the negative responses that we have seen.

I just wonder now what's in the pipe line for a KR & K5 replacement.

Kodachrome
joshwa Plus
4 755 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2012 8:11PM

Quote:Shot-shot time with flash On and flash off looks same. Is this possible or is it a typo? Please update...


Thanks,
Mugundhan



Yes, it was the same. Shot to shot is fairly slow compared to many other mirrorless / DSLR cameras, so it's entirely possible for shot to shot with flash to be the same.
joshwa Plus
4 755 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2012 8:12PM

Quote:Sensor plane marking was mentioned in the review. The K-5 has a sensor plane mark, but the K20D does not. I'm not sure about the others.


Thanks for the info, we checked a few, but mostly older models (and the Pentax Q). I'll update that section.
joshwa Plus
4 755 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2012 8:24PM
The sensor plane marking is on the: K-5, K-7, but not the K-x, K-r, K-m, K200D, K20D, *ist D (or Q, or K-01). Perhaps it is deemed unnecessary on entry level models?
franken Plus
12 3.6k 4 Wales
24 Mar 2012 9:03AM
As it doesn't have a viewfinder what's it like when composing images etc in bright sunshine?

regards
Ken
frenchie44 9 302 United Kingdom
25 Mar 2012 1:50PM
this where a unique design comes before function and looks. it reminds me of the plastic cameras of the 60/70'S mainly an Instamatic with extra buttons, itg to be the ugliest camera to date.
joshwa Plus
4 755 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2012 10:19AM

Quote:As it doesn't have a viewfinder what's it like when composing images etc in bright sunshine?

regards
Ken



Outdoors it is quite good, but bright sunlight can make it difficult to see the screen. I've seen worse screens definitely.
franken Plus
12 3.6k 4 Wales
26 Mar 2012 5:24PM
Thanks.

Ken
517 3 Hong Kong
27 Mar 2012 2:16PM
Can use Leica M-lens later ?
Thanks
DC
28 Mar 2012 3:54PM
In my opinion it is a good camera... And lens too.
Can you make more precise, can user limit the maximal ISO level and minimal shoting time when auto ISO level is set?
solar1 6
28 Mar 2012 4:59PM
IIRC, 60 fps is available in 720p video mode. Might wish to update this if correct. thanks.

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