With current prices for the Pentax K-01 hovering around £680 in the UK and $900 in the US, this camera is about as inexpensive as it is compact. When compared to similarly specified competition, the price is a little dearer.
Much of the competition, such as the Panasonic Lumix GX1, Olympus PEN E-P3 or the Sony NEX-5N, also benefit from a more compact body and faster autofocus performance. This makes it really difficult to see the value in the Pentax K-01, unless you already have a stash of Pentax K-mount lenses to use with the camera.
This is a shame because, frustrations with the slow autofocus performance and slightly odd handling aside, Pentax has created a very capable camera in the K-01.
The Pentax K-01 produces sharp, vibrant images with low noise at high sensitivities. The ability to use any K-mount lens with the camera is also an asset, especially for those who have already invested in Pentax optics.
Auto focus speeds are lacklustre when compared to the opposition, which may be frustrating if attempting to shoot erratically moving subjects. Some elements of the handling could be improved on, such as the rubber flap that protects the SD card slot and the positioning of some buttons.
Image quality on the Pentax K-01 is excellent, with the camera yielding sharp, colourful images, with low noise at high sensitivities. Plus, it has the features to please both beginners and experienced photographers alike.
The Pentax K-01 is certainly capable of producing excellent quality images, but unless you already own Pentax optics, it may not be the best value mirrorless camera available with current prices.
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.