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
Pentax K-1 review: Viewfinder and screen
Physically, the camera’s LCD is its most unconventional feature. It’s mounted on a hinge, which itself is attached to the camera via four arms; this allows the display to be pulled out and tilted upwards and downwards, moved sidewards when held conventionally and even slightly rotated. This is welcome given that the majority of full-frame cameras do not offer tiltable screens of any kind.
I found it to be particularly useful when capturing ground-level shots in the portrait orientation, as the screen could be adjusted in a similar manner to tiltable screens when used in a landscape orientation. This ease of framing is complemented by a sprightly live-view focusing system, which is fast enough to be usable outdoors in good lighting, with just a slight slowdown in darker conditions.
The screen itself measures 3.2in and has a 1.037-million-dot resolution. It’s clear and colourful, and displays very good clarity in everyday conditions. One new feature is the ‘outdoor view’ setting, conveniently accessed through the down button on the rear menu pad. It offers five separate levels of brightness so you can quickly give it a boost if you find the screen difficult to see in bright light.
The LCD is also backed by four LED lights to illuminate the rear controls when used in darker conditions, and these can be adjusted over two levels of brightness. Owing to a shallow spread of light, I only found this useful on the higher of the two settings when the screen was tilted to a particular position. I imagine that after the user has become familiar with the position of the rear controls, this would be called upon at fewer times.
The pentaprism viewfinder offers near-100% coverage of the scene, with a frame in the centre to show the crop area when using APS-C lenses. As with the active focusing point, you can set this to be illuminated always or only when the camera senses it’s dark enough to be required. The viewfinder itself displays the scene perfectly well in good light, although a comparison with a similarly specified rival camera will show it as not being quite as bright and as bearing a slight yellow cast. Its eyecup isn’t particularly deep, either, which means you’ll naturally have your face pressed closer to the camera (particularly in harsh light). This in itself isn’t a big issue, but as the rear display is unusually positioned very slightly further away from the body than the viewfinder’s eyepiece, it’s easy to smudge the LCD with your face.