Summary: Pentax has a history of making cameras that are just a little bit offbeat. Just take a look at last year’s Pentax Q : rather than making a more traditional mirrorless camera like many of its competitors, the company released the smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market — but one that had a smaller sensor and a custom lens mount.
Pros: Excellent image quality, Excellent battery life, Huge lens ecosystem, Manual controls and easy access to key settings
Cons: Expensive, Relatively large and heavy, Mediocre autofocus, Bizarre physical design
Excerpt: The Pentax K-01 belongs to a class of cameras generally known as “mirrorless”—Pentax calls it a hybrid—that combine large LCD screens with interchangeable lenses and more often than not a retro look. Marc Newson, the Australian industrial designer who crafted the Pentax K-01, works in a style called biomorphism that uses smooth flowing lines, translucency, and an absence of sharp edges.
Conclusion: With the Pentax K-01, the company treads new ground. It's a bold move, making Pentax the only manufacturer to offer two distinct mirrorless product lines, and the only one to offer a way to use existing SLR glass on mirrorless without an adapter. We can't help thinking that there's a reason other manufacturers haven't been down this road, however.
Pros: Premium build quality with metal dials, Generally very good image quality, Excellent high ISO performance, very flexible noise reduction options, Excellent pancake kit lens, very compact, Very good flash range, Very good battery life, Compatible with a large selection of existing lenses, accessories, In-camera image stabilization works with almost all lenses, Optional in-camera distortion and lateral chromatic aberration correction, Focus peaking function is a great a...
Cons: Barely any smaller than an SLR with optical viewfinder, No option for an electronic viewfinder, Body design is uncomfortable in hand, some controls are poorly positioned, Rubber flash / connector compartment door easily bumped open, is tricky to close, Autofocus is slow and proved surprisingly unreliable, both in the lab and the real world, Poor low-light focusing beyond range of AF assist, Sluggish power-on and mode switching, Very slow burst mode with raw files (1 ...
Excerpt: Today, Pentax introduced the Marc Newson designed Pentax K-01 interchangeable lens camera ( ILC ) along with a matching pancake DA 40mm F2.8 XS lens. Here are the bullet points: Scroll down for full press release.
Conclusion: We’ll give Pentax K-01 a passing grade — but just barely. Given the right circumstances, it grabs very nice stills. However, there are just too many negative issues. You have far better options at more palatable prices.
Pros: More sophisticated than its toy-like appearance, 16-megapixel APS-C sensor, K-mount accepts large library of lenses
Cons: Polarizing design, Photos and videos not as good as cheaper competition, Bulky, no hand grip, Poor AF system
Excerpt: For 2012, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING has announced the K-01, the first backward compatible mirrorless camera to use existing dSLR mount lenses without any adapters, which was designed by one of the world's most acclaimed an influential designers, Marc Newson . Before laying his hands on this camera, Newson designed bicycles, cars, aircraft, yachts, and had his collected works shown at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Conclusion: Larger than its peers, but interestingly designed, the Pentax K-01 can capture sharp photos in all types of light and delivers full compatibility with every Pentax K-mount lens ever produced.
Pros: Extremely sharp lens. Excellent high ISO performance. Full compatibility with Pentax K-mount lenses. In-body image stabilization. Selectable video frame rates.
Cons: Larger than other cameras in its class. Slow autofocus. No EVF option. Fixed rear LCD.
Excerpt: Don’t let the bright colors — a signature Pentax touch — fool you. Behind the bold design by Marc Newson , the Pentax K-01 ($749+) , pronounced “kay-zero-one”, has the intentions of a serious enthusiast’s camera. Within the machined aluminum frame, the K-01 houses a 16 megapixel APS-C with sensor-shift stabilization, compatibility with nearly all Pentax lenses including a new ultra-thin 40mm f2.8 XS pancake lens, 920k dot rear LCD, 6 fps burst-mode, ISO range of...
Excerpt: The K-01 is one of the best-looking specimens in the compact system camera category. Thank industrial designer Marc Newson, who simplified the exterior and controls while preserving Pentax’s K lens mount and finding room for advanced guts that exceed the company’s top DSLR in some areas. The 16-MP APS-C sensor—the largest (by a hair) in our test—turned in razor-sharp images, saturated colors, and superb low-light performance.
Pros: Shoots video at three resolutions and 11 frame rates. Works with Pentax’s entire range of lenses.
Cons: No dedicated viewfinder. What weight savings?
Conclusion: Having said that, it may be worth keeping an eye on the street price of the Pentax K-01. If it were to fall, it could become a champion of good value, especially for existing Pentax lens owners, or those willing to sniff out a good lens bargain second-hand. It appears the ability to use any K-mount lens is this camera's main asset.