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)

Pentax K-1 review: Verdict


A model as anticipated as the K-1 has to work hard to meet expectations, but those who have waited patiently are likely to be very pleased. Its recipe for success is simple: not only does it offer an awful lot for its very reasonable asking price, but it also marries 
this with excellent performance in several key areas.

Crucially, image quality is one of its major strengths. The camera is capable of excellent dynamic range and high resolution, and noise is well controlled, while the abundance of colour and white-balance options means you can easily get the result you want in camera – particularly if you take advantage of post-capture raw processing.

Just as praiseworthy is the model’s design, and more specifically what this means for handling and operation. With only very minor exceptions, I can’t think of any physical aspect of the camera’s design that would benefit from being revised. Controls are easily accessible and clearly marked, and the camera feels excellent in the hands, providing fine support for both everyday lenses and weightier optics.


With its agreeable price tag and a handful of more specialist features, it’s clear that this is a camera designed for a wide audience, although there are some areas where the advantage lies with rival bodies. Video quality is perfectly good, for example, but control over it isn’t quite as comprehensive as you’ll find elsewhere. Meanwhile the performance of the continuous autofocus system is only average.

On a practical level, while the model is compatible with a wealth of legacy lenses and supports APS-C lenses, too, there is understandably a more limited range of full-frame lenses available than in other stables, and fewer third-party options, too. This may be something to consider for photographers working in specific genres. Hopefully we’ll see the Pentax range expanding in the near future.

Still, for many people with no strong ties to any particular system, the K-1 is well worth a spot on the full-frame shortlist. With a solid set of specs, excellent handling, strong image quality and a very competitive price, it’s one of the most exciting DSLRs we’ve seen in recent times.

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  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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