Brilliant image quality; full K-mount lens system support
Bulky and heavy; slow and noisy autofocus
$799 (body); $849 (40mm F2.8 XS lens); $849 (DAL18-55mm lens)
If the whole idea behind the CSC category is to shed the bulk and weight of a DSLR, somebody forgot to tell Pentax. Designed by Aussie Marc Newson, the K-01 is chunky, heavy and striking.
While every other CSC camera on test requires its own breed of lenses, the K-01 is unique in the fact that it uses the Pentax K-Mount, immediately opening up a huge collection of lenses for users. This fact alone will help the K-01 sell some units, especially with legacy Pentax SLR users.
Despite the bulk, the controls on the K-01 are well laid out, offering simple access to all the main functions of the camera. The mode dial offers quick access to both a bulb mode and HDR mode in addition to the standard suite of manual and automatic options. It’s a nice addition for keen photographers hoping to get the most out of their camera.
Image quality is fantastic thanks to the 16.3 megapixel APS-C sized sensor, although the act of getting there is a process and a half. The autofocus on the 40mm kit lens is slow, cumbersome and noisy. In fact, it’s seriously noisy, like grinding your car’s gears without pressing down the clutch. It gets there in the end, but the process is easily the slowest on test.
The 3in LCD is bright and vibrant, accurately representing the taken shot, although disappointingly, like the Nikon it doesn’t showcase changes to the settings in real time.
On the upside, in-body stabilisation helps keep photos with slower shutter speeds free of blur, although it doesn’t hold a candle to the performance of the Olympus stabilisation.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
If you own a large collection of Pentax K-Mount lenses, this is a serious option. But the bulk, weight and terrible autofocus will turn off most other potential customers.