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Old Jun 1, 2012, 12:18 PM   #1
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Default DP Review on K01

Not such a favourable review on the K01 referring to it as 'brick'.

Have to say, that for me the only thing in it's favour is that it uses existing K-mount lens.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 3:55 PM   #2
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I'm still neutral on this camera - haven't actually seen one yet. I like what I see in the pictures, and after playing around with the K5's live view, I think I could live without an EVF. I still find it intriguing and am still interested in it. I'm sure I'll feel that way until I actually see one (I'm not buying a new camera of any sort any time soon).

I thought some of the "cons" on the review weren't entirely valid - just like I don't think it's valid to give a "con" to an SUV because it doesn't offer a third row seating option (to me it's a "con" if it HAS a third row!). They obviously didn't like the camera and tried hard to come up with apparently objective reasons to justify their dislike. Guess if you are doing a review you can't just say, "hey, great image quality but I just don't like the thing." The points about the LCD only are valid as are some of the other points, but it's a mirrorless, and its not the only one that doesn't provide for an EVF.

Pentax can't seem to get a break - they came out with the mirrorless Q, a small, entirely new camera/lens system thats a fit in your purse type of thing. They get creamed because it takes a different mount lens. Then they come out with the K01 that has a great sensor and takes K mount lenses. They get creamed because it's too big (some of the size is necessary because of the K mount, some because it's a full sized sensor). I think they've really tried hard to put out a product that answers people's requests, but then they get creamed by someone else because they did what many asked for.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 4:47 PM   #3
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It doesn't look like they harped on it in their conclusion (although they did mention softness on the high iso comparison page). But, one thing that stood out to my eyes when I was looking through it was how much softer the high ISO samples are compared to the K-5.

For example, go to the page for high ISO jpeg comparisons (page 14 of the K-01 review there). This page:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentax-k-01/14

Then, check the box for "show preset positions" so you can click on one of the highlighted squares. Then, compare ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 samples from different cameras by clicking on those preset positions. The K-01 samples are noticeably softer compared to the K-5 in areas that have more fine detail in them. For example, look at the leaves on the tree you'll see on the Bailey's bottle, and note how it's becoming quite soft with more loss of detail compared to the K-5 at ISO 3200 and higher. It looks like dpreview staff also noticed it if you look at their comments.

The raw file samples on the next review page (converted using Adobe Camera Raw) also look softer compared to the K-5. I'm guessing they're using more NR at the RAW level with it and/or using a stronger AA filter that's impacting sharpness. Sure, you see less noise. But, you're also getting softer images.

So, it looks like they made some design tradeoffs in that area (perhaps so it will test better on something like the DxOMark tests that measure Signal to Noise Ratio at the raw level, without taking retained detail into consideration). IOW, you can have a camera with a great S/N ratio, with less detail than one with a poor S/N ratio.

Why they're softer is just speculation on my part. But, that is a drawback to some of the tests like that around (they don't take detail into consideration). Some manufacturers are using NR at the raw level anymore (including Pentax). So, it wouldn't surprise me to see camera manufacturers fine tuning cameras to look better on popular tests.

It could also be that they figured the average buyer would rather have lower noise levels for less PP at higher ISO speeds. I'm just guessing as to why. But, they do look softer to my eyes at higher ISO speeds compared to samples from the K-5 (more noticeable in the jpeg images, but the converted raw files also look softer).
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 6:30 PM   #4
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Something strange on the K01 review front. Both Digital Photography Review and Digital Camera Resource Page had this exact sentence in their reviews, "It took two K-01 bodies and seven lenses to complete this review - double what was expected." That is one hell of a coincidence.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 6:39 PM   #5
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Jeff Keller (owner of dcresource.com) and dpreview.com worked together on it. Note the comments in this announcement about the review:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/05...ax-K-01-review

You'll also see that the main review page says "By Jeff Keller and dpreview.com":

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentax-k-01/
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 8:56 PM   #6
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I did get to try one in Whitehorse and I must say it is not bad looking and is well built. The rear LCD is also a high quality unit but... Other than the K-mount and the build quality there is little to recommend it. I tried it in the store with the 40mm pancake (very nice, worked well) and a 50-200mm DA. The problem was immediately obvious, at the short end of the focal range it focused quickly and accurately, zoom to the 200mm end and it would not lock focus at all!!! This was in a well lit interior. I could zoom out, focus and then zoom in, which of course is the exact opposite to the procedure for creating sharp images. The Olympus E-P2 I had with me was better in every way except the quality of the LCD (and it does have the option of an accessory EVF) and the built in flash (an oversight fixed in the E-P3). It focused faster, was just as well built and had no odd ergonomic issues or rubber flaps to worry about.

I am excited about the K30 but the K-01 is now off my list, perhaps the next model of mirrorless K-mount will fix the shortcomings of this one and I would be interested again.

It is not a terrible camera and I could live with it but I wouldn't spend my money on one. To be fair it is a likable camera and the live view is something I have gotten used to with the PENs but it just has too many minor performance issues that ruin it for me. I would love a Pentax Q but it is ridiculously expensive for the image quality (I bought two Olympus Pen cameras, two lenses and a stereo mic for less than the kit price for a Q).

I like Pentax but I am willing to accept that, beyond their DSLR line, they have made some odd choices.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 11:12 PM   #7
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I think you are right, Jim, about the noise reduction. If you look at the white in the coin picture there's more noise in the K5 which isn't there on the K01, and the K01 is quite soft. Moving the square to the feathers is even more telling. I still want to handle one and see what it's like, though my interest is quickly waning.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 11:54 PM   #8
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Well, in fairness, I'm "pixel peeping" looking at 100% crops.

So, at typical print or viewing sizes, you probably wouldn't notice the loss of fine detail in some areas from Noise Reduction if shooting at ISO 3200+ (and that would save average buyers the trouble of using more NR during post processing).

I'd still prefer that manufacturers don't do that without a way to disable all NR, especially when shooting raw. Pentax is guilty of that (applying NR at the RAW level with no way to disable all of it), and so is Sony. I've also seen evidence of Nikon doing it with some models, which is one reason the D90 probably looked so good compared to other 12MP models using Sony sensors on the Dx0Mark tests, even though reviewers have noticed the D300 (which didn't test as well) images have better per pixel sharpness shooting either RAW or JPEG.

IOW, the camera manufacturers are playing some games with Noise Reduction at the raw level anymore. ;-)
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Old Jun 2, 2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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All of the other mirrorless camera makers have at least one model that includes all three must have specifications for mirrorless; small size, articulating/movable LCD and EVF, either in-camera or optional clip on. Somehow, Pentax managed to make a mirrorless model that has NONE of the above. I am completely mystified by the K-01.
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Old Jun 2, 2012, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Pentax can't seem to get a break - they came out with the mirrorless Q, a small, entirely new camera/lens system thats a fit in your purse type of thing. They get creamed because it takes a different mount lens. Then they come out with the K01 that has a great sensor and takes K mount lenses. They get creamed because it's too big (some of the size is necessary because of the K mount, some because it's a full sized sensor). I think they've really tried hard to put out a product that answers people's requests, but then they get creamed by someone else because they did what many asked for.
I'm with you there - I wonder what would have been said if Nikon or Canon had been brave enough to have released it!

I looked at the smaller sensor cameras like the Lumix GH1 & concluded that it's best to stick with the APS size so in that respect, Pentax definitely got it right. However, as far as styling goes, I want something that looks & feels like a camera in colours (black/silver) to match.
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