Skip to main content

Pentax K-1 review

The Pentax K-1 boasts a new sensor, processing engine and AF system, along with a robust tilting screen, at a competitive price

Pentax K-1

We chose three rival cameras for the Pentax K-1 to see how it measured up in our lab tests: the Sony Alpha 7R, the Nikon D810 and the Canon EOS 5D Mk III.

We've carried out lab tests on the Pentax K-1 across its full ISO range for resolution, noise (including signal to noise ratio) and dynamic range. We test the JPEGs shot by the camera, but we also check the performance with raw files. Most enthusiasts and pros prefer to shoot raw, and the results can often be quite different.

Pentax K-1 resolution charts

We test camera resolution using an industry-standard ISO test chart that allows precise visual comparisons. This gives us numerical values for resolution in line widths/picture height, and you can see how the Pentax K-1 compares with its rivals in the charts below.

Pentax K-1 review

JPEG resolution analysis: There was a clear difference between the K-1's JPEG and raw file results in our lab testing. This was far less apparent with real world images, but the JPEGs are a little softer. The K-1's results lag behind those of the competition, including the Canon 5D Mk III, which has a lower pixel count.

Pentax K-1 review

Raw (converted to TIFF) resolution analysis: The K-1's raw files (after conversion to TIFF) compare much more favourably with the competition than the JPEGs, matching or beating the 36MP Sony A7R at most sensitivity settings. As ISO values rise, though, it can't maintain detail levels quite as well as the Nikon D810.