Stylish Pentax K-01 Mirrorless Camera Will Support DSLR Lenses

Pentax K-01
Pentax today announced its second mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, the Pentax K-01, and the new model is a far cry from the Pentax Q in aesthetics, sensor-size, and lens support. The Pentax K-01 has a body in the midcentury-modern style conjured up by Australian industrial designer Marc Newson, as well as the same K-mount lens mount used by Pentax's DSLR lenses.

When compared with the pint-size Pentax Q announced last year, the Pentax K-01 is an entirely different beast altogether in terms of photo quality and target market. The Pentax K-01 is built around a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor that is roughly 13 times the size of the 1/2.3-inch-type sensor found in the Pentax Q, and the K-01's support for K-mount lenses means that the camera should be enticing for any Pentax lens owner who may be looking for a more-portable alternative to a DSLR. The K-01 also has a body-based, sensor-shift image stabilization system to accomodate legacy lenses without built-in optical stabilization.

Pentax K-01

In addition to RAW shooting (captured in .DNG files), full manual exposure controls, and aperture- and shutter-priority modes, the Pentax K-01 has a dedicated exposure-bracketing HDR setting accessible via its top-mounted mode dial. ISO equivalency settings range from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600. The K-01's burst mode maxes out at 6 frames per second at full resolution, and the camera will capture 1080p video at 24 fps, 25 fps, and 30 fps, as well as 720p video at 60 fps.

Pentax K-01 top view
The new model offers no built-in eye-level EVF, but the fixed 3-inch LCD screen looked mighty sharp during my limited hands-on time with the camera at this year's CES trade show. The K-01's physical design is certainly eye-catching, too. Although the build is chunkier than that of most interchangeable-lens compacts (2.3 inches deep, 4.8 inches wide, and 3.1 inches tall), the K-01 feels solid in the hand as a result.

The Marc Newson-designed body sports a rubberized, ribbed grip covering a durable-feeling aluminum frame, and you can set two unmarked colored buttons on the top of the camera to jump to custom functions. A pop-up flash hides above the lens mount on the top of the camera, in front of a hot shoe for external flashes, and the entire control interface on the top of the K-01 has a minimalist, modern look and feel.

Pentax DA 40mm/F2.8 XS
The K-01's prime kit lens is also an engineering and design feat. It's just 0.36 inch thick, making it more of a crepe lens than a pancake lens (and making the pun I just wrote the worst lens-related joke in photography history).

The Pentax DA 40mm/F2.8 XS is compatible with any K-mount camera; the K-01 has a focal length multiplier of about 1.5X, and the 40mm lens will have a focal-length equivalent of 61mm in 35mm format when attached to the new camera.

Due in March, the Pentax K-01 will be available in white, black, or yellow, priced at $750 for the body only and $900 as a kit with the superslim 40mm/F2.8 lens. The lens will also be sold separately for $250.

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