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Hands on: Pentax K-01

Ben Pitt
2 Feb 2012
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Retro-styled CSC from Pentax uses established lens mount

Pentax has launched the K-01, the first in a new line of compact system cameras (CSCs). Pentax now has two CSCs to its name, but the K-01 couldn't be much more different to the Pentax Q, except perhaps for its quirkiness.

Unlike the Q and all the other CSCs we've seen to date, the K-01 uses a lens mount that's already well-established among SLR cameras – in this case the Pentax K Mount. This gives it compatibility with hundreds of lenses, and will be particularly welcome for Pentax SLR owners who want something smaller to shoot with but don't want to start a new lens collection.

Pentax K-01

The design is by Marc Newson whose previous work includes a Ford concept car, airport lounges, furniture and watches. It's certainly a striking camera with its bold, square form and chunky top-mounted dials. There isn't much shape to the handgrip and it's not the smallest CSC - but it felt comfortable to use.

Pentax K-01

Talking to the assembled crowd of journalists from both technology and design-oriented publications at the launch event, there seemed to be a consensus that it was an attractive camera. We're not entirely convinced by its somewhat toy-like appearance, especially in the yellow finish, but each to their own. The straightforward-looking controls were a hit with some of the non-technical journalists, who said they considered most SLRs' controls to be intimidatingly complex.

Pentax K-01

In truth, though, its controls are just as capable as on consumer SLRs. It uses the same excellent menu system that we've seen on recent Pentax SLRs, and includes an easily customisable Auto ISO mode, high-dynamic-range (HDR) shooting, control over noise reduction strength and Custom Image presets for adjusting saturation, contrast, sharpness, hue and various other settings.

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