Feeds
85%
Pentax K-01 mirrorless camera

Pentax K-01 16Mp APS-C hybrid camera review

Mirrorless maverick for grown-up lenses

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Zoom with a view

Put a fast prime lens on a K-01 and you’ll be working with razor-thin depth-of-field which requires careful composition and precise focusing. The K-01 lacks the phase-matching detection autofocus found on the K-5 and many other DSLRs, leaving you with the slower and less-effective contrast detection AF system used by most live-view cameras. Focusing speed is also highly-dependent on your lens, the kit zoom lens not being very quick at all and faster lenses being considerably better at focusing in low light.

Pentax K-01 mirrorless camera

Plenty of room for extra function buttons – in the next version perhaps?

Thankfully, Pentax has included a few features to help you nail the focus. There’s a dedicated focus assist light and an AF auto zoom function. The latter will zoom in the live-view image automatically as you compose to help you check focus as though through a loupe. More interesting is the ‘focus peaking’ feature which highlights and sharpens the edges of in-focus portions of the image so you can see at a glance which elements are sharply focused. This is especially useful when using manual focus, although I found it wasn’t quite precise enough when the depth of field is really narrow, such as when taking a macro shot.

Also missing from the K-01 are several of the K-5’s physical controls. Perhaps Pentax thought a second control dial would break up the clean minimalist lines or intimidate the novice user. Even so, there are vast areas of empty space on the body left unused where useful additional buttons could have been situated. You do, however, get a pair of customisable buttons, one red and one green, with which you can make your favourite functions more accessible.

By default, the red button immediately starts movie recording, which is available in resolutions up to 1080p at up to 60fps with sound captured in stereo from the built-in microphone. The green button functions as a sort of panic switch, instantly cancelling any exposure adjustments you’ve made to allow you to fire off a shot quickly with sensible settings.

Several other functions can be assigned to either button, including depth-of-field preview, focus peaking, one-shot JPEG+RAW capture and adding one of the many available digital filters. It’s almost shame to subject the K-01’s images to such effects but, a must-have for the Instagram generation. There are 17 treatments provided, including such favourites as watercolour, pastel and miniature effects, as well as more useful ones such as a monochrome mode and various colour filters.

Pentax K-01 mirrorless camera

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: Optical profusion

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.