A Quick 1st Look Video – The Pentax K-01

The Pentax K-01 1st Look Video

OK guys, my review will be up in about a week but here is a 1st look video to show you just how the Pentax K-01 looks in my hands. Enjoy! The K-01 is in stock at B&H Photo in Black with the new 40mm pancake. The yellow and white are now out of stock. Oh, I mention in the video it is their 1st mirrorless camera but as you may know, the Q was really their 1st mirrorless.


  1. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been considering the X100 for quite some time, but I tested it out in a local store in summer 2011 (before a couple of firmware updates) and the auto-focus was very poor. Not sure how this camera behaves now.

    Although not aesthetically beautiful, the K-01 may be a viable option. I would be very interested if you could do some comparison photos between the K-01 and X100 of the same scene at ISO’s up to 3200 at least. I would also love to hear your feeling between these two cameras.

    I’m wondering if the K-01 could be an option to the X100 giving up the EVF/OVF for image stabilization, and interchangeable lenses.

    Thank you,

    • Id take the X100 over a K-01 – but that’s just me. The K-01 is not bad in regards to IQ – in fact it is good, but I still prefer the X100 IQ, design, feel, etc. The K-01 is just to fat IMO, to blocky and shooting it in sunlight without an EVF or VF is an awful experience. I went shooting with it over the weekend and couldn’t even use it because the sun drowned out the display really bad. It’s a good camera, with good features and quality but IMO Pentax failed on the design and functionality.

  2. Hey Steve,

    I just bought this camera last Friday and am pretty impressed on several fronts. However, if you hold the camera with the screen in your palm while it is off and gently rock it back and forth there is a sound or rattle it makes, i was curious if you could confirm this with yours and if you had a theory as to what it is? I am imagining it to be something with the sensor stabilization or the protective curtain that open when it is turned on. It does not make the rattle sound while it is on.


  3. I think all of you who make comments on the size of the camera body seem to forget that no one uses a camera without a lens. Compared to other Mirrorless APSc cameras, the K-01 with a lens attached will not but much different than the Sony NEX. Indeed, pentax will be making lenses that fit inside the mirror box and reduce the size of the unit. PLEASE COMPARE CAMERAS WITH THE LENSES ON THEM> IT IS SILLY TO COMPARE BODIES AS NO ONE USES A CAMERA WITHOUT A LENS.

  4. My interpretation is, that Pentax appears to not (yet) wanting to create a completely new mirrorless system, which would comprise new lenses, as they are simply too small for this. So, they decided to bring a mirrorless concept to the market that allows to use their existing (D)SRL lenses. To make it palatable, it had to be something special – in terms of design.

    Apart from this Pentax approach, let me add some more general thoughts. If you compare the viewfinder of APS-C or 4/3 and full format cameras, the cropped ones always lose. This is even more true if you take into account the huge, bright, colorful, contrasty viewfinders of professional film cameras, such as the Leica R9 or the Nikon F6, or those found in current professional full format DSLRs. It will be very hard for a fully electronic concept to outperform their brilliance. However, when it comes to cropped cameras, the electronic version can indeed be the better concept, as an electronic viewfinder may indeed be better and brighter than the optical version. The viewfinder of, say, the Nikon D5100 is so small and dark, that you will find the electronic viewfinder of, say, the Nikon 1 V1 much better and more useful. Electronics makes more out of the smaller amount of light than an optical viewfinder ever can. My forecast is that cropped DSLRs will disappear and be replaced by fully electronic, mirrorless concepts – consumers will have mirrorless, full electronic cameras. And full format DSLRs will survive with their truly excellent optical viewfinders in the professional and advanced amateur segments.

  5. Well, this is a great way to get a first impression of the K-o1, this is all I wanted to know, thanks!!!
    And when you take off the lens from any digicamera, Steve, always power the cam down first. This is why you got that bug, it is y o u r mistake, it is not fair to Pentax to say it’s a buggy camera …

  6. its big and chunky enough to accommodate a viewfinder. If it had one it would be far more attractive a proposition. Its cute, it’d be nice to handle it. I can’t see it succeeding though. Its just too big. If I were a compact user and wanted to try interchangeable lens camera, I’d go for an Olympus or Nikon, far more compact. If I were a pentax user with a set of lenses, why would I go for this rather than anything else?

  7. It really looks like a toy doesnt it? It may be an all metal body but somehow the designer managed to make it appear like cheap plastic. And what about all this wasted space? It’s got a mirror box and a view finder bump but neither mirror nor VF…
    Besides, i wonder what this camera looks like with a more usable standard zoom…

  8. I really want to like it…. but the design and no VF….. fail for me. Thanks for the first look.

  9. Just wondering if the Pentax K01 has a setting for a completely silent shutter. One of things I like about the Nikon 1 system is the discretion afforded by the silent electronic only shutter option. If Pentax has this as well, then the K01 would seem like a very good combination of sensor size, image quality, lens availability, as well as discretion.

  10. It’s silly part of me. Since I’ve been using viewfinder, I have issues with live view monitor. Just feel so weird and don’t know how to take. That’s why K-01 is not my favorite. No view finder, not really wanna buy it. And I know the designer put a lot of effort on it. But it doesn’t work for me.

    But thanks for your review. I decided to buy Fuji X100 after your review, and I’m satisfied.
    That’s why I’m also waiting for your X Pro 1 review. I may not buy it. But who knows mirrorless will be getting better and better. In a few years later, it would be way better than 5D or D800. Thanks agian.

  11. A little advice for these video previews: *Make yourself a template that you work through for each camera and/or lens (a features check list, if you will), and minimize the narrative. We don’t need to hear your every thought. The video alone should nearly speak for itself…the narrative acting as a guide only.

    • Well, I’m not a template guy, besides, I am sure you can fine 100 other videos on the Pentax (and any other camera) that follow a template. Features of a camera can be seen on any website or online store that sells them. My videos for the past three years have always had my thoughts and narrative. Just say what is on my mind for whatever model I am talking about. Thanks.

      • you tell him Steve. too right, your review is YOURS as an individual, and I liked it a lot. I want to hear your thoughts and opinions.

        I like the cam, it looks modern, cute and refreshing.

  12. What a great looking camera. It’s good to see Pentax come out with a bold new design. Marc did a nice job with this.

  13. I love Marc Newson. He is one of the greatest designers of our generation, along with Jonathan Ive. With that said, he was out of his league here. He prides himself on taking design and starting with a blank slate. The problem that arises here is that he doesn’t understand cameras. You can’t start with a blank slate unless you are educated about what already exists; what is successful camera design and what fails as camera design. It is a noble effort but taking photos with a camera that gets an “A” for effort doesn’t cut it. This design simply doesn’t work. Marc Newson is a fish out of water.

    • Maybe aesthetically it doesn’t work, but the real test is how it is to use. We won’t know that until we get our chapped hands on one and try for ourselves. I’d rather have an ugly camera that works well in my hands, than a beauty that is a pain to operate.

  14. I finally got to hold a K-01 and it was very comfortable to hold for my large hands. Also great to hold with large lenses. The smaller cameras really get to my fingers. It is much better than I was expecting.

  15. Would like to see what the camera looks like with a normal sized lens mounted. I may be one of the few people that thinks the k01 actually looks kinda cool, and I’m a fan of Marc newson, but I imagine with any other lens of traditional size and design mounted, it’ll seriously look goofy.

  16. If it has similar IQ to the K5 (dxomark of 82) at a price of $749, it blows away every other mirrorless doesn’t it?

    I love my K5, but I’m not sold on the mirrorless design. I recently had a Sony NEX-7 and found it to be an absolute dust magnet, and the “dust shaker” on the NEX did a feeble job of getting rid of the dust spots. With similar usage on the K5 I have no “blue sky dust blobs” whereas the NEX-7 had them all over the place.

    So I think having a mirror in between is a major lifesaver for a clean sensor; and not wanting to do sensor swabs in the field all the time, that’s a big selling point for me. Or it could be perhaps the NEX sensor is prone, i.e. a dust-friendly static field attracting every particle in a 50 meter radius! 😉

    • The K5 and Sony-5N share basically the same sensor. If you look at the score only, you’d think the K-5 is significantly better, but that’s almost purely down to the fact that the K-5 shoots 14-bit, giving it a DR advantage at low ISOs. The higher you ISOs you use, the smaller the difference becomes.

      Another thing to note is that the DxO score doesn’t take color accuracy in to account, but you can find the measurement under the Color Response tab, called “Sensitivity metamerism index ISO 17321”. Here you see that the 5N has a distinct advantage in color accuracy, due to a different CFA. So basically what you’ve got are two cameras that are neigh indistinguishable at high ISOs, with one camera having a DR advantage at low ISOs, while the other has a color accuracy advantage.

    • The problem is that this new Pentax is barely “mirrorless.” They removed the mirror, but left the mirror box, so there’s no distinct size advantage.

  17. Hi Steve. So good to have the reviews coming. I’d be interested to know once you get more time with the K-01:
    1. Does the rubber card door ever come open or even slide a bit during regular use
    2. What kind of comments you may get when using it in public
    3. Battery life for sure
    4. If you ever bump the on/off switch to off when using.
    5. High ISO quality ONLY up to ISO 6400
    I LOVE Pentax cameras and WANT to love them again because they’re the underdogs. I admire them for taking chances and making the cameras nobody else would dare. I just bought a Pentax Q (get it tomorrow) and had a K-5 for two weeks with the 35-150 but couldn’t get a sharp focus if my life depended on it. (I have 10,000 published in my name so it wasn’t user error). I was and still am heartbroken because I loved the K-5.

  18. This camera is growing on me more and more each day. If it has the image quality of and better video than a K-5, kinda seems like a bargain. Thanks for taking a look at this one, Steve. I bought the X100 based on your review and love it.

  19. Looking forward to your review. Depending the outcome of your review, it is either the K-01 or the Q for me as a second camera to take along with my K-5. Thanks for giving attention to my brand of camera. 🙂

    • I was going to get the K-01 also to compliment my K-5, but the fact that it did not stopped me.

      I purchased the Sony NEX instead, it has the same 16mp sensor and has an articulating screen. The fact that you can buy third parted lens adapters sold it for me. Now I can use a mirror less camera, use Sony E lenses if I need auto, and have my Pentax glass if I wish.

      I’m glad I made the decision. The only thing I will need is the EVF for bright daytime situations (to bad it is so expensive) !


  20. Hmmm…take the K-5, remove the OVF and fast AF, and make it only marginally smaller with a debatable design aesthetic. Between this and the Q, Pentax’s mirrorless decisions have been bizarre.

  21. I am really interested to see your full take on this baby Steve.
    As it is practically a mirrorless K5 without a VF for close to half the price of the K5.
    So could be a very tidy little performer. 😀

  22. I like how your voice breaks into falsetto on a regular basis.
    Cannot wait for your review.

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