Hands on: Pentax K-01 review with video

First look at new designer camera

Pentax k 01

When it comes to its design, we can see the Pentax K-01 splitting opinion. While some will appreciate the chunky aesthetic, there will be others who are less than appreciative.

Once you've decided whether you love or loathe the look of it, what you will find is a fairly chunky camera that's carrying some decent weight. It's made from aluminium and feels as though it's well put together.

From the front, the K-01 is reasonably similar in appearance to other mirrorless models on the market, but turn it sideways and you'll see that the body has a surprising amount of depth. This has been necessary in order to incorporate the design for the K-mount.

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This size, according to Pentax means that there should be less vignetting in images because the back focus distance is longer.

The controls on the K-01 are well designed and thought out, with most controls directly accessible either through a dedicated button or through the handy quick menu which can be accessed via the Info button. There's a useful direct video record button on the top plate of the camera, while a second button can be customised to be used with a number of different settings.

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One handy feature is the ability to set the range of the camera's automatic sensitivity. So, you can limit this to between ISO 100-200 if you wished, or set a number of different options all the way up to ISO 100-12800. This is a good way to prevent having to constantly mess around with ISO options.

Dials and buttons are quick and satisfying to use, which is especially true of the large top mode dial which features a number of different selectable modes, including aperture priority, shutter priority, scene modes and HDR mode.

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The lens release button is built in flush to the lens mount, which gives a nice rounded aesthetic to the front of the camera. However, the new 40mm lens can be a little fiddly to remove and reattach, owing to its thin size.

On the back of the camera is a large 3 inch LCD screen, which has been equipped with anti-reflective coating for improved visibility in bright light. It's difficult to pass comment on the effectiveness of this as we were inside while using the camera, but this something we'll be keen to test out when we get the camera in for a full review.

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Surprisingly, the K-01 is not fitted with a viewfinder, and there's no opportunity to buy one as an extra either. Considering this camera is being pitched at Pentax traditionalists, we're not sure how well this will go down.

The in-built pop-up flash can be activated via a small button to the side of the flash, and it feels reasonably sturdy and well built. A hotshoe on top of the camera means that any Pentax compatible flashes (or indeed any other accessory) can be used with the camera as well.

Pentax k 01