The K-1 has the honour of being the first full-frame Pentax DSLR. Matt Golowczynski takes a closer look at this impressively specified camera in this Pentax K-1 review

Product Overview

Pentax K-1

AWB colour:80%
Dynamic Range:90%
Image Quality:90%
LCD Viewfinder:80%


  • - Excellent image quality; superb resolution and dynamic range
  • - High features-to-price ratio
  • - Excellent handling with many physical controls
  • - One of the most flexible LCD displays around


  • - Occasional auto white balance inconsistencies
  • - Video options not as comprehensive as those on other cameras
  • - Artefacts visible in certain Pixel Shift Resolution images
  • - Continuous focus doesn’t track quite as well as other systems


Pentax K-1 review


Price as reviewed:

£1,599.99 (Body only)

Best Price from Reevoo


Pentax K-1 review: Introduction

At a glance:

  • 36.4-million-pixel, full-frame sensor
  • ISO 100-204,800
  • 5-axis Shake Reduction II system
  • Dustproof and weather resistant
  • 3.2in, 1.037-million-dot, flexible-tilt LCD
  • Built in Wi-Fi and GPS

For years, it seemed doubtful that a full-frame Pentax DSLR would ever materialise. But now that it’s here, the focus has moved to what it represents in an ever-expanding sector. The K-1 isn’t the cheapest way into full-frame photography, nor does it offer the lightweight or small form of some compact system camera rivals. Yet, when you weigh its features against its asking price, it remains a compelling proposition.

The K-1 very much adheres to the format of previous Pentax DSLRs, but it upgrades existing technologies and adds further ones that we’ve not seen on any other camera to date. The camera’s spec sheet suggests that it is targeted towards enthusiasts and professionals who traditionally require high-resolution images, such as landscape or studio photographers, rather than for sports and action. Yet, as the only full-frame model in the line and launched at an aggressive price, its appeal is likely to stretch to a broader range of Pentax users – not to mention others with no strong ties to another system.

  1. 1. Pentax K-1 review: Introduction
  2. 2. Pentax K-1 review: Features
  3. 3. Pentax K-1 review: Pixel Shift Resolution system
  4. 4. Pentax K-1 review: Viewfinder and screen
  5. 5. Pentax K-1 review: Build and handling
  6. 6. Pentax K-1 review: Focusing
  7. 7. Pentax K-1 review: Performance
  8. 8. Pentax K-1 review: Dynamic range, resolution and noise
  9. 9. Pentax K-1 review: Verdict
  10. 10. Pentax K-1 review: (Original hands-on first look)
  11. 11. Pentax K-1 review: Full specification
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  • michael hiransomboon

    Great article – looks like a great camera. Robust, ergonomic (especially with the 3rd control wheel), and a great picture taking machine. Wish video quality was a bit better and I hope they get the new primes right – I really enjoy the image quality of the Limiteds as well as their build quality and size. If they can make the new primes weather sealed (like their wonderfully built DFA 100 macro WR), that would be perfect.

    Their current prime line-up is ok – 31 f1.8, 35 f2, 35 f2.4, 35 f2.8 macro*, 43 f1.9, 50 1.4, 50f1.8, 50 f2.8 macro, 55 f1.4, 70 f2.4*, 77 f1.8, 100 f2.8 macro, 200 f2.8, 300 f4, and the lightweight 560 f5.6 (the * are lenses that vignette until stopping down). Sigma makes the 20, 24, and 28 f1.8’s, but I’d like to see Pentax make something in this area with their typical build quality.

    All in all, it looks to be full of thoughtful features and given the heritage of this sensor, should provide amazing image quality, particularly if pixel shift can be used.

    The features that are standouts for me:
    36mp Sony sensor (ie D810) w/ pixel shift High Res mode and 5 axis, 5 stop in body SR that works with any lens mounted
    Weather sealed, GPS digital compass, and tilt screen.
    Great lenses, both zooms and primes
    Amazing value (I thought it was going to come out at $2500 with less innovation!)

    All these positive reviews have me pretty much certain I’ll be getting one.

  • Andrea

    Wow! In Italy we have a 4 years warranty, also for professional use! If acquired at lauch an extra year of warranty!

  • Zos Xavius

    Its $1800 USD. It can also focus in the dark unlike the A7. The A7 is also lacking as a system, doesn’t have IBIS, full weather sealing, and has an insanely loud shutter. The original A7 series has compressed raw too. Compare the cost to the D810 or even an A7r II and tell me which has better value.

  • Brian White

    Unless it sells for 1400CDN it is not even close to the Sony A7 for value. I’m waiting until it releases. If it’s not close to the Sony in value it looks like my second system change in 10 years will take place. Which will mean a K3, K-5 lls, K30, K-01 and a few nice lenses will be on the market. Come on Pentax…. your first FF… undercut the market and get some K-1’s out there in the hands of converts.