Features & Controls

You can buy the K-01 body by itself, or with this f2.8 40mm lens. This lens is extremely compact at just 0.36 inches thick and weighs just 1.8 ounces. With a maximum aperture of f2.8, it is very well suited to creating depth of field by blurring the background. The fixed focal length of 40mm is the 35mm equivalent of 61mm. Minimum focusing distance is 1.31 feet.

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The Pentax K-mount accepts more than 25 million lenses, by the company's count (enormous camera bag not included), going back to 1975. Some older lenses, such as the A series, are manual focus lenses and therefore will not perform auto focus because the SDM (supersonic drive motor) auto focus system resides in the lens. If the K-01 can not automatically retrieve the focal length of a lens, you will have to enter it manually for shake reduction to work. The camera uses contrast detection auto focus, which can be a little sluggish. Two lens correction features are offered, which can be turned off, if you prefer: distortion correction and lateral chromatic aberration.

There are four focus modes: AF single (with focus lock, focus/release priority selectable), face detection AF, tracking AF, and manual.

Focus point adjustments are: auto 81-point, user-selectable, and center.

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The APS-C (23.7 x 15.7mm) CMOS sensor captures high-quality 16-megapixel images. The camera performs sensor-shift shake and dust reduction. Shake reduction can be turned off, and you can set dust removal to occur at startup or shut-down.


The compact pop-up flash performs very well for its size, and has a coverage equivalent of 28mm. Pentax does not publish a coverage depth rating in its specs, but I found that even at a distance of 20 feet in a dark house interior, the flash threw out enough light to capture an acceptably illuminated photo.

In addition to the typical auto, slow sync, and red eye modes, the camera includes a trailing curtain sync mode that is great for conveying speed and motion of a moving subject: the flash fires just prior to the shutter closing, thereby freezing a flash-illuminated image of the subject with a motion trail behind it.

The 921,000-dot resolution of the 3-inch LCD can't be beat. When viewing photos, details are extremely sharp and colors are very rich.

However, the same cannot be said for using the LCD as a viewfinder--or just about any LCD as a viewfinder, in my opinion. In bright sunlight, trying to frame your shot, even with this top-shelf LCD is going to be a frustrating, and possibly unachievable, chore. Given that this camera offers a wealth of specifications for serious photography, the lack of the option to connect an electronic viewfinder is a little puzzling.

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You get a lot of controls within thumb's reach using the four buttons and four-way controller on the back panel. The top button is used to lock autofocus and/or exposure. The Play button is used to launch playback mode.

The Info button launches the most common adjustments you're likely to make when in shooting mode: color modes, digital filter options, metering modes, etc. These same options exist via the standard Menu button at bottom, but from the Info button they are organized as icons rather than a list, which makes them more easily navigable. During playback the Info button launches a menu with five information display options: standard, detailed, histogram, RGB histogram, or no information.

The menu button takes you to the full breadth of camera settings and options, including those covered by the Info button.

The buttons on the four-way controller take you to menus as indicated by their corresponding icons: ISO setting, timer and drive mode settings, white balance, and flash.

From this vantage, you can really appreciate how thin the 40 mm lens is. You'll also notice that the camera lacks an SLR-style hand grip, which makes for a less bulky camera, but may make you feel less confident when holding the camera with one hand. The mode dial atop the camera includes an SCN position (you set the scene mode using the Menu button), a handy no-flash position, and HDR capture. HDR stands for high dynamic range; in this mode the camera captures three different exposures and combines them in order to make an image with maximum dynamic range.

Mode selection dial:
  • Auto Picture
  • Scene (SCN)
  • HDR (JPG only)
  • Flash Off
  • Bulb (B)
  • Metered Manual (M)
  • Aperture Priority (Av)
  • Shutter Priority (TV)
  • Program (P)
  • Movie

The zoom dial falls conveniently under the thumb. In shooting mode, it is convenient for scrolling through menu options. In playback mode, it switches the display to show nine shots or zoom in on an image up to 16X magnification.

The green and red buttons are customizable; they can be assigned to change the file format, apply a digital filter, or launch the focus peaking feature, for example. By default the red button is assigned for movie recording. To its left is a dedicated button for adjusting the exposure: After pressing it you use the zoom dial to adjust the exposure value in one-third step (or one-half) increments from -3 to +3.

The button at lower left pops up the flash, and during playback mode serves as the delete button. Note also the hot shoe for connecting an external flash.

The card slot and main ports sit together behind a rubber flap. The card slot sits behind a small hinged door (labeled "Pull"). The combination port supports mini USB 2.0 and audio/video output. The mini HDMI port handles high-definition video output. A USB cable is included; the HDMI cable is optional.

If you are looking to capture high-quality audio with your HD video, you'll be happy to know that on the other side of the K-01 is a 3.5mm stereo microphone input.

The K-01 accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. There is no internal memory.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery is rated to last approximately 540 shots (with 50% of them taken with flash). The camera comes with a battery charger.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.