Pentax's latest mirrorless camera is neither DSLR nor CSC. Is Marc Newson's distinctive design a big enough sell? The What Digital Camera Pentax K-01 review...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Pentax K-01

Overall score:76%
Image Quality:90%


  • Great image quality, K-mount compatibility with all Pentax lenses


  • Noisy autofocus isn’t fast enough, no viewfinder possible, large body size, lack of prominent grip


Pentax K-01 Review


Price as reviewed:


Value & Verdict

Pentax K-01 review – Value

Available for £679 with a lens, the K-01 carries a similar asking price as the Olympus E-P3. The Olympus is as expensive as non-viewfinder Compact System Cameras come, so Pentax’s mirrorless model is also a pricey purchase.

However, those with existing Pentax lenses needn’t invest in a new lens system. All Pentax K lenses will work in conjunction with this camera, without the need for an adaptor. That’s a potential cost saver right there. However, from our experience, we say they won’t work as quietly, nor as proficiently as well as they will on a Pentax DSLR system.

Expensive it is, but it’s the overall disappointing design and performance that don’t give the K-01 that much to shout about. We’d much rather plump up an extra £150 to bag a better performing and better looking Pentax K-5.

Pentax K-01 review – Verdict

The Pentax K-01 isn’t like anything else on the market. Its unusual exterior may appeal to design aficionados associated with the world of Marc Newson and other designers, but for most average camera users it’s too bulky and, on account of its small grip alone, won’t appeal to hardened photographers.

The use of the K-mount may appeal, particularly to existing Pentax users, yet it’s hard to see what the K-01 offers that the far superior K-5 doesn’t.

Image quality and the quirky Focus Peaking feature are the model’s high point, though the lacklustre performance, again, is problematic.

Overall the K-01 feels like a bloated Compact System Camera without the associated size benefits of its competitors, or otherwise a lobotomised DSLR. It straddles the two categories but, and ultimately, fails to deliver anything new or innovative enough to inspire.


Built-in Flash:Yes, GN 12 (ISO 100/m)
Lens Mount:K-mount
White Balance:Auto (TTL by CMOS image sensor), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light (D: Daylight Color, N: Daylight White, W: Cool White, L: Warm White), Tungsten, Flash, CTE, Manual (configuration on monitor), Fine adjustment (+/-7 steps)
ISO:100-12,800; 25,600 extended
Video:1960x1080 (16:9) at 30/25/24fps (MPEG-4 AVC/ H.264)
Memory Card:SD (HC/XC)
Exposure Comp:± 3EV (1/2EV step or 1/3EV can be selected)
Cable Release:Remote Control release
Compression:Good, Better, Best
PC Socket:No
Viewfinder Type:N/A - no viewfinder possible
LCD:3in, 921k-dot
Output Size:4928x3264pixels max
Field of View:100% approx
AF Points:N/A - 81-area contrast-detect autofocus
White Balance Bracket:No
Sensor:16.2MP APS-C (23.7mm x 15.7mm) CMOS sensor
Max Flash Sync:1/180th sec
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
DoF Prview:Yes
Other:Bracketing (to 3 frames) / Digital Filters / SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 included / Sensor-shift Shake Reduction
Dust Reduction:SP coating and CMOS sensor operations
Movie Mode:1960x1080 (16:9) at 30/25/24fps (MPEG-4 AVC/ H.264)
Built-in Image Stabilisation:Yes, Shake Reduction technology
Metering System:TTL image sensor metering, multi-segment metering, center weighted metering, and spot metering
Live Mode:Yes
Exposure Modes:Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Bulb, HDR* (JPEG only), Auto Picture Mode (automatically selects from Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Blue Sky, Forest), Scene Modes
Connectivity:USB2.0 (high-speed compatible) / AV output terminal, HDMI output terminal, Stereo microphone input terminal
Weight:560g with battery and card
Power:Rechargeable D-LI90 Lithium-ion battery
File Format:JPEG, Raw (DNG), Raw + JPEG
Dimensions:79 x 121 x 59mm
Shutter Speeds:1/4000 to 30 sec
Drive Mode:Up to 5fps (JPEG only, slower rate with Raw capture)
Focusing Modes:Single AF / Continuous AF / MF / Face Detection, Tracking, Select, Spot / AF Autozoom (OFF/x2/x4/x6), Focus Peaking
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
  1. 1. Pentax K-01 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Value & Verdict
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