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Pentax K-01 with DA 40mm XS lens review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £680
inc VAT

Refreshingly different and excels for image quality and features, but more expensive, slower to focus and not much smaller than an SLR


23.7×15.7mm 16.0-megapixel sensor, 1.0x zoom (60mm equivalent), 611g

Compact systems cameras (CSCs) are here to stay, with nearly all the leading manufacturers now selling some kind of compact camera with interchangeable lenses. The K-01 has no trouble standing out from the crowd, though, and couldn’t be further removed from the Pentax Q. The Q is by far the smallest and lightest CSC on the market, and the K-01 is the biggest.


There’s a good reason for the K-01’s bulk, though. Whereas other CSCs use lens mounts that are designed for compactness, the K-01 uses Pentax’s well-established K Mount, as used by its SLRs. The distance between the mount and the sensor, known as the flange back distance, is fixed for each lens mount, and in this case it’s 45mm. This is much bigger than Micro Four Thirds’ 19mm or the Q’s 9mm, and explains the K-01’s chunkiness.

Pentax K-01
Using the existing SLR K Mount makes the K-01 a lot chunkier than most CSCs

We’re tempted to say that this is at odds with the basic premise of a CSC, but using the K Mount brings one big advantage. While most CSCs have around half a dozen compatible lenses, there are 34 Pentax K Mount lenses, and lots more from Sigma, Tamron and others. The benefit for anyone who already owns lots of these lenses is obvious.

Pentax K-01
However, the range of lenses available is massive

The camera’s bulk is offset by the simultaneous launch of a new pancake lens. It protrudes just 9mm from the camera body, and the overall size and weight of the camera and lens could just about be described as coat pocket sized. The lens’s 40mm focal length translates to 60mm in 35mm terms, which isn’t ideal for landscape photography but is well suited to portraits and candid street photography.

Pentax K-01
The new pancake lens is a marvel of engineering

Pentax would probably prefer that we dwelled less on the K-01’s bulk and more on its striking appearance. It’s the work of designer Marc Newson, a man who’s clearly not bogged down by convention. Although the K-01’s control layout and functions are familiar, it looks like no other camera we can think of.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 16.0 megapixels
CCD size 23.7×15.7mm
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 921,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 1.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 60mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,928×3,264
File formats JPEG, RAW; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 500 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI, microphone
Body material aluminium, plastic, rubber
Lens mount Pentax K mount
Focal length multiplier 1.5x
Kit lens model name Pentax DA 40mm F2.8 XS Pancake
Accessories USB cable, neck strap
Weight 611g
Size 80x122x74mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £680

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.8 to 22
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 12800
Exposure compensation +/-3 EV
White balance auto, 10 presets with fine tuning, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, hue, high/low key adjust, highlight correction, shadow correction, noise reduction, distortion correction, chromatic aberration correction
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 40cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, IR remote, AE bracket, HDR, interval