Pentax K-01 Review

April 10, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 JS

great IQ but kind of “unwanted” child…I am sure many people will love it!

5:47 pm - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#2 dr mza

better video than K5
Focus peaking (K5 -none)
cheaper than K5
IQ the same as K5
DXO mark 79 on par with K5 /D7000 at a smaller price
Smaller and refreshing look than K5
Native K nount
Cheaper than NEX7
Best IQ in its class
NO other MRLC provides full ranges of lens system WITHOUT adapter
Excellent Value for money

8:41 pm - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#3 emopunk

I already stated it. I am pretty sure this is really a wrong step from Pentax. All of that is sad, since we NEED competition!!

8:46 pm - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#4 Ben

Great camera - not comparable with all those “old fashioned” types. It is just all depends on what you want. If somebody wants to have a new feeling - so take the new K-01. Let´s be honest: The most cameras on the market are similar. Here Pentax goes a new way, for sure - not for everybody, and that´s fine.

10:02 pm - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#5 M.

I like it. Its mode dial is on top of a chimney. A nice touch.
Seriously - just like the reviewer, I always wondered why someone should buy this camera instead of one of Pentax’s DSLRs.

11:54 pm - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#6 Zig

I don’t know, it doesn’t seem that big to me. It’s
Height 79mm by Width 121mm by Depth 59mm. That is smaller than the Canon G1X at 116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7 mm.

Also, you have instant access to every Pentax lens. Add all that and the reported excellent resolution (which seems very good in the samples) and it sounds like a winner to me.

2:42 am - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#7 Punta

Just because you can dosent means it need to be boxy(unergonomic) with weird bumpy lines and punkstatic colors, pentax is going down with a bang.

10:12 am - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#8 Graeme

The comments about body size is a bit unfair when you consider that most of the rivals for the K01 have to use larger lenses to ensure a correct focal distance, unlike most of the Pentax pancake lenses that this can use. Check out the body/lens ratio of the common lens packages offered among mirrorless cameras and you can see it is a design tradeoff one way or another.

Compare images of the NEX-7 which all show a thin camera body but an unwieldy lens which would have to affect comfort and hold during use. So I can see and understand the philosophy of the K01, have a larger body to grip without being awkward and front heavy.

10:18 am - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#9 M.

The bulk of this camera has a reason: to keep the same flange (the distance from lens’ rear element to sensor) as the DSLRs, so K-mount lenses can be used without an adapter.
Which doesn’t make it any prettier, by the way…

11:15 am - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#10 le spationaute

I dont’t get your conclusion at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that Camera and it’s definitely is better than most of the competitors in all relevant topics. Anyhow you only rate it ‘above average’ for you don’t like the idea and the size of the camera?

It’s not really bigger than say the new fuji mirrorless or the canon G 1x. And there are new optics ‘in the pipeline’ that will be using the empty space left over by removing the mirror by deeperly intruding into the body.

And Pentax already has lots of very small high-class lenses in the Line-up!

There are only two relevant flaws in my opinion:
1. No EVF-Port available
2. Older lenses dont fit too well from the ‘design-oriented’ point of view.

Are those minor Poitns worth a ‘above average’ ?

Ask yourself!

1:09 pm - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#11 N

I am curious why the reviewer used the 18-55mm as the default lens for this review. Most reviews I have seen have been with the 40mm, and it seems even more strange to complain about its size and not use that particular lens.

6:03 pm - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#12 Mad Hungarian

would this camera take KAF2 mount lenses? I have some lenses I used to use on a ZX5n back in the last century.

12:12 am - Thursday, April 12, 2012

#13 Peter Harris

This camera uses the same sony sensor used in the nex 5n.  This is a wonderful sensor. So if the size of this is daunting look at the nex; it’s a wonderful camera.

3:22 am - Thursday, April 12, 2012

#14 Le Spationaute

@Mad Hungarian: Yes it does.

11:56 am - Thursday, April 12, 2012

#15 Spodeworld

Just want to reiterate what was said above.  The reason the camera is the size it is, is so that you can use all the legacy K-mount lenses as you would on a DSLR.  This is a fantastic attribute.  The 50mm 1.4 A lens that you have can be used on here with the same characteristics as if it were a DSLR.  I think Pentax has to keep its mirrorless cameras this size for that very reason, as it will be a big, big selling point.  I am waiting for a better version to come out (viewfinder, higher shutter speed, the additional Pentax exposure modes) and I would love to have one.

7:27 pm - Friday, April 13, 2012

#16 Peter Harris

I think the question is - if it’s the same size as a dslr why not just get one.

12:58 am - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#17 le spationaute

First: Some people don’t like to peek through optical (or electronic) viewfinders.

Second: K-01 still IS smaller than a DSLR and there will be additional lenses that will use the empty space inside the Camera, will be very small and won’t be working on DSLRs

Third: K-01 will turn out beeing cheaper (street-price-wise) compared to a dslr. Don’t compare ‘early-adopter-prices’ with streetprices of camaras that are about to be listet as ‘discontinued’ within the next 6 - 9 months.

8:26 pm - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#18 decks

Aha ?  Ultimately flawed…....just because it doesn’t fit into most people’s narrow view of what a mirrorless camera should be ! Otherwise it does everything well n takes awesome photos.
If they didn’t make it fit k mount they would have been criticized for not doing so….....can’t win either way. I agree It’s a great attribute.
People have missed who this cam is aimed at. Lots of people new to photography don’t like those eye things…....
Your conclusion comment is flawed and as most people go straight there, so you have damaged this camera with poor comments, when you give it good praise in most important areas.
Would you like to re word ?

9:09 pm - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#19 Peter Harris

@decks and #17

If both of you are responding to my statement let me say this: 

If you like the looks of the camera buy it. 

if you want a far smaller camera with the same sensor and some sophisticated electronics buy the nex 3c or 5n and slap your pentax lenses on it.  It is a sony sensor.

I don’t know what this stuff regarding the evf is responding to but if you want the best evf made you can buy one for the nex 5n.  If you hate that idea please don’t buy it.

As for the price; there are some canons and nikon dslrs for about the same. And about the same size.

It is a good looking camera - I just don’t understand the form factor - you remove the mirror but build it for lenses designed for a mirror box,  so the flange/sensor distance is the same as a dslr.  ????

10:08 pm - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#20 nick

If you compare the K-01 with the NEX with lenses, you will see that the cameras are not that different.

4:54 pm - Sunday, April 15, 2012

#21 Vladimir

I have played with this camera a bit on Saturday at Moscow Photo Show and must say that I liked how it looks and feels: well built and stylish (to my eye).
It is by no means for pockets but neither Sony NEX 5 with 18-55 is. It is already $769 on Ebay and something tells me it can break 700 point in several months.

11:08 pm - Sunday, April 15, 2012

#22 dr mza
Pentax K-01 Wins Red Dot Design Award
Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera | April 16, 2012
NEX systems lacks IBIS and needs adapter in comparisons to unique K-01

7:36 am - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#23 Billy

I just don’t get it…but what I DO think is if this camera had the name “Nikon” or “Canon” on it, this reviewer would have given it a higher overall score. It seems like Pentax just can’t catch a break with some reviewers. Personally, I think this K-01 has a lot to offer, as “dr mza” at the top of this blogger contributor list pointed out, especially since the reviewer DID give it a score of 4.5 as far as IQ is concerned….and isn’t THAT one of the foremost considerations for buying ANY camera? Even further, the K-01 just got the top TIPA award for design. Seriously, folks, you need to pay more attention to this camera than what the reviewer did.

9:14 pm - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#24 Peter Harris


I can’t speak for the reviewer but anyone who knows the history of cameras knows that pentax has played a vital role particularly in the field of lens coatings.  Their takumars are considered some of the finest lenses of the 60s and 70s.  IE:  I don’t think anyone is dissing the company.

I agree that IQ is the critical element.  But the issue here is muddied by the fact that this same sensor (ie: the image making device)  is used in slrs that aren’t much larger (Sony and Nikon) and mirrorless cams (the NEX) that are much smaller.

So I think the confusion lies in where this camera fits in and who it’s directed towards.  I think pentax - as of late - has had this issue.

2:13 am - Thursday, April 19, 2012

#25 NocturNalis

Hmm, above average huh? Seems to me that it’s far above average given that it is equal to and some ways superior to the already excellent K5…and at a much cheaper price. In regards to size, I am a fairly big guy with small hands, unfortunately, and to me, cameras like the Nex and GF series are way too small. These MILCs are never going to fit into anyone’s pocket anyway and I don’t see why anyone would try, so shouldn’t ergonomics be a huge consideration? I own the Kr and it is just about perfect for my small hands (if not a little on the chunky side) and it appears that the K-01 has a bit less thickness. Honestly, if this one had been available when I purchased my Kr, I probably would’ve gone for the K-01 (although I’ve gotten very fond of my OVF). Put an EVF on thing and it will destroy the competition, hopefully they’ll include it in the next model. If they do, I’m totally buying one!

5:28 am - Saturday, April 28, 2012

#26 Jorge Robles

I have a Pentax LX, a K100D, a K-5, and now a K-01.  What I know is that all these cameras have something in common and is that they are fully transparent and unobtrusive to me when I shoot, and my pictures are fantastic!  I just got(at last) this K-01 and if this camera has the same characteristics as the previous ones before it, I do not care about how ugly it looks(and it is ugly even for me) as long as it gives me good pictures.  All my digital cameras have the advantage of using ALL my K-mount lenses, and ALL the screw-mount lenses, even the ones from Olympus that are tack-sharp, with VR/SR/IS so these are pluses for me.  This review only provides what everybody knows: an evaluation of an ugly-odd shaped camera with a fantastic IQ.  If you are somebody that is looking for the out-most technical perfection, look elsewhere.  If you are a photographer consider this one as one of your possibilities.  Just do a fair comparison of the features that YOU are looking for and then check which of the available offerings gives you the most of them.  That is my humble opinion, and I am very satisfied with this little gem!!!

3:33 am - Saturday, May 5, 2012

#27 Frank Stanton

Digital Camera Resource ( did a review, and while the reviewer was impressed with the picture quality, he raised the issue of “quality control”. Apparently, he went through 2 cameras and at least five lenses until he was able to get a good working rig. The lenses appeared to have a “decentering” problem.

5:32 pm - Sunday, May 6, 2012

#28 Peter

I know this is not entirely relevant to the K-01 but I heard a rumour that the new 16mp Kr replacement K30 has an EVF. Does any one know if this is true. The advert just says 100% field of view, this is either the Optical VF inherited from the K5 or an EVF.

1:50 pm - Friday, May 18, 2012

#29 NocturNalis

@ Peter, I think it’s more than just a rumor as I’ve seen actual photos and those photos were leaked from a soon to be release catalog, a French one I think. So I would say that it’s much stronger than a rumor from the looks of it. It looks to be the size of the Kr but much improved. The best part…weather sealing in a camera that costs under $1000 (with the same great sensor found in the K5 and K-01). That 100 percent viewfinder is an OVF as well. It looks like Ricoh/Pentax is upping their game in a big way!

3:16 pm - Friday, May 18, 2012

#30 Peter

Thanks Noc
I had a surf round and found some info on the rumour sites I missed including the French site.

It does look like a great replacement for the Kr.
However, this new Nikon 3200 is a very tempting proposition considering the price and its class leading performance.
I’m not too bothered about weather proofing, although I guess its useful if you get caught in a shower.

6:20 pm - Friday, May 18, 2012

#31 NocturNalis

I really don’t think the K-30 replaces that K-r as much as it’s a re-entry into the midrange market that us Pentax users haven’t seen in quite a few years. In other words, I believe this is the next K-200D. Sources are calling the K30 an entry level camera but I highly doubt that as they will probably continue the K-(insert letter here) naming system. The K-r is a lovely camera but it just doesn’t have the specs of this one so expect the K-r to stay as Pentax’s entry level camera until it finds a proper replacement in the $500-$600 range. The D3200 looks pretty nice and will sway a lot of newbies their way with the Sony 24 megapixel sensor inside (which looks to be unbeatable up to around ISO 800) but for me, I’ll take the better high ISO over more megapixels any day, plus I love shooting bracketed exposures which, to my knowledge, Nikon leaves out of their entry-level cams. And the body on this will be waaay more rugged and feel more solid in the hand. I had to hold a lot of cameras in the sub-$1000 range before choosing Pentax, they just feel better in my hand though Nikon took second place. Canon was dead last as they felt like hollow plastic toys, even behind the very hollow-feeling Olympus E-620. On the topic of weather-proofing, I live in the tropics and it rains all the time. Having to hold an umbrella in one hand while operating the K-r with the other is a pain in the a**, especially if I need to change my focal length. This camera is going to be a big hit for sure and I applaud Pentax for getting back to what they do best, bringing us more bang for the buck!

8:28 am - Saturday, May 19, 2012

#32 Peter

Thanks noctur,
I suspect there will be much of the K5 specs in the K30 perhaps with a few tweaks.
Pentax will announce the new K30 in the UK on Tuesday 21st May. It will apparently sell with standard 18-55 kit lens for around £850. Not sure of body only price. Yes, mid range, but some reviewers are now calling the K5 mid range!
Its very interesting to see that there are very few Kr’s on the UK used market which indicates people are hanging on to them.
One gratifying thing about the new K30, it doesn’t look like Mark Lawson has had any design involvement and turned it into a ‘Tonka’ toy.
Or has he?
Would fitting a Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 be a better option than the Pentax lens.Photozone said the Tammy was a very good upgrade, both optically and speed on most standard kit zooms.

11:22 am - Saturday, May 19, 2012

#33 Michael B

I bought this camera 2 weeks ago.  I have 3 digital SLRs as well.  This camera has blown me away.  The picture quality is crisp and sharp even at high ISO.  The flash is better than any off the others in it’s class.  The colours are vibrant and true to life.  The Body feels good in the hands.  It isn’t as big as some have made it out to be.  I am very picky when it comes to picture quality, but I have to give kudos to Pentax on this one.  I am more than impressed. I highly recommend this camera.

4:02 am - Sunday, June 3, 2012

#34 NocturNalis

@ Peter. I’ve been trying to reply for a while now but none of them ever post. That lens you are asking about is the very same lens I’m looking at right now. That and the Tamron 90mm macro as well. From everything I’ve seen and read, the Tammy 17-50mm is a VERY sharp lens. The Sigma is tempting as well and either one would be miles better than the kit lens. As for the K30, I have to say that it is just about the prettiest DSLR I’ve ever laid my eyes on and the specs truly have me salivating, especially for the price. PENTAX IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!

6:43 am - Monday, June 4, 2012

#35 NocturNalis

And also, being a Kr owner myself, I can fully understand why people are holding on to them. The IQ coming off that 12MP Sony sensor is just lovely with the Kr’s processor. Bright, yet not overly saturated colors and really nice pixel level detail when shooting RAW. I will probably hold on to mine at least another year or two. Off topic and back to the K-01, dpreview just post a review of it. I’m about to check it out.

7:07 am - Monday, June 4, 2012

#36 Alvin

My first dSLR was a rebadged Pentax and since then, I had stuck with Pentax for years. Built up a small collection of K lens. I was hoping for a replacement for my K-x which was getting old. My heart sink when I saw this pointless rubbish. Thank god the K-30 was announced not long after this. I was worried that the K-01 (and the Pentax Q) will sink Pentax and there will be nothing in the future for me to use my K lens on. Now I am off to place an order for a Stormtrooper White K-30!

11:24 pm - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#37 Fotofoto

things people are complaining about K-01:

1. BIG BODY. but small lens. think of the body-lens size ratio compared to other brands’ aps-c MILC which use small body but big lenses.
2. EXPENSIVE. hey, it is about $500 less than sony nex-7 (which uses the same sensor). moreover, it is only $300 now.
3. UGLY DESIGN. you guys are so boring!

nuff said..

3:09 pm - Monday, December 24, 2012

#38 Peter B

I could live with the design if it had EVF.
The K30 is also being heavily discounted in the UK and I have seen a body for under £400.
The K30 seems to have knocked the K-01 sales quite dramatically.

9:18 am - Tuesday, December 25, 2012

#39 Azzaro

Since I bought it, after a lot hesitation, I can whole heartedly say that I love it to the utmost.
It is an incredible well made camera. To me it is without a doubt a 10star winner. I can make absolutely make stunning pictures with it. Also I love to use my old Takumars with it. And it makes in Raw better pictures than a Sony Nex 6 or 7 for half the money. Who cares about its look since it is built like a tank to last forever.
Thank you Pentax and thank you Marc Newson this type of out of the box courage. I love it everyday!

11:08 pm - Sunday, November 10, 2013


Top notch camera,can’t stop to use despite my other K30! Love it

12:40 am - Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#41 A Hardy

I don’t understand how a non-SLR camera ( i.e. one without an optical viewfinder ) can possibly have a mirror. And yet somehow while reviewing this camera’s sensor cleaning facility you appear to have discovered one.

9:01 am - Monday, December 14, 2015

#42 Peter Bower

An EVF would have been a worth while addition, either built in or clip on, that in my view would have transformed the camera appeal to a much wider audience.

11:02 am - Monday, December 14, 2015

Entry Tags

review, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, compact system camera, 16 megapixel, mirrorless, csc, camera, retro, digital, Pentax K-01, Pentax K01, Pentax K-01 Review, marc newson, k01 review, k-01 review

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