Pentax K-01 Digital Camera Review$899.95
Kit Lens & Mount
The K-01 is kitted with one of the coolest lenses we've ever seen. It's a 40mm pancake, with a profile no wider than your thumb. Given the huge, thick body of the K-01, we suppose a pancake is really the only type of lens that would've made any sense for this design. A manual focus ring encircles the outside edge of the "barrel" (which is hardly an appropriate word for such a lens) and this is a fully mechanical focus, not focus by wire, a very satisfying feature.
A gorgeous nine blade aperture moderates the flow of light, though the opening itself is very tiny, only about one-fourth of the lens' total front-facing area. Unfortunately this leads to one inconvenient side effect, the tiny lens cap, which gets our vote for accessory you're most likely to lose.
Like all Pentax DSLRs, the K-01 features the widely-used K mount. We transplanted our old 18-55mm kit lens from last year's K-5, and continued shooting and autofocusing without issue. The mount's hardware is just a sturdy as ever, and the lens release is located below and to the right.
The image sensor is APS-C sized, just like Pentax's flagship K-5. The camera is not equipped with automatic dust cleaning, however the mechanical shutter drops down whenever the camera isn't in use, which provides some measure of protection while swapping lenses.
Convergence areas of different sensor sizes compared
Perhaps the strangest part of the sensor is just how deep in the body it's set. We get the sense this camera could've been a lot thinner were it not for the K mount, because the sensor is positioned at the end of a relatively long tunnel underneath the lens mount. Given how flat the lens is, the 40mm focal length seemed impossible. But once we checked the sensor, this finally added up.
Without any viewfinder, framing is left to the rear LCD, which is adequate but far from perfect. The screen is plenty bright, and accurate when viewed straight on. However we had some issues with glare, even indoors, and viewing angle could be better, especially since this is a fixed position panel. At least responsiveness is good, we could detect only the slightest bit of image lag, which goes a long way toward accurate action shooting.
The built-in flash bulb pops up and away from the rest of the body with a touch of the electronic release, located on the left side of the top plate. With a guide number of around 12 at ISO 100, this is a bright flash for a built-in one. Furthermore, the light cast isn't half bad. While nowhere near as natural as ambient light, shots using the built-in flash weren't as ugly as we've come to expect.
Both output terminals are thoroughly concealed underneath the rubber of the right panel. We don't have any problem with the connectors themselves, there's a microUSB and a miniHDMI here, but the rubber covering is flimsy, and feels like it could wear out or tear off at any time. Worst of all, it's annoying. The rubber surface doesn't fit easily into its closed position, so you'll need to fiddle with it every time you remove the memory card or attach a cable.
We don't perform battery testing but the included pack is rated to 500 consecutive shots according to CIPA standards. That's quite a bit, and come to think of it, we rarely charged the K-01 during our time with it.
The memory slot gets an extra door, this one made of plastic. Again, while we have no complaints here, the fact that it's hidden under the inconvenient rubber stopper is annoying.