Thoughts on Pentax K-01 (not my new camera)

Today, a friend working in the department who recently bought a new Pentax K-01 camera nicely lent it to me for a few hours.  Unfortunately it was too cold outside for me to do a proper test (and comparison with my Olympus E-620), but from the few hours that I had it, it seems to be a very nice (although quirky) camera.

As always, DPReview has a fairly standard review of the camera, so this post won't be that.  Plus, I am not too fussy about most of the stuff.

First, the size and shape.  It's brick-shaped and a relatively heavy camera, despite the plastic-feel to it.  The colour is nice, but this may be because yellow is my favourite colour.  Traditionalists may not like the shape of it (I am impartial but mainly because of the lack of grip and thumb rest), but it has a pretty interesting and artistic design, I'd say.  Photo taken with my Olympus E-620 with OM lens.

Performance-wise, it's quite good, but that may be because I am comparing it to my rather old E-620, especially when it comes to auto-focusing.  All of the photos below (except the last one) were jpeg photos, framed, resized, and border added.  Colour-wise, I am not a big fan but it's probably because Olympus cameras produce some of the most pleasing colours (to mine and most Olympus users' eyes).



ISO-wise, this camera is excellent.  But again, I am comparing it with my E-620 which only goes up to ISO 3200 and I try not to use it above ISO 800.  Below is the K-01 photo at ISO 12800.


100% crop of the above photo.  Wow.

A neat trick in recent cameras is this ability called peak focusing where the camera highlights the border of subjects in focus.  This is extremely helpful for manual and probably macro photography.  For example, I took the above photo with a Tokina 35-200 lens f 4-5.6 (with the K-01) using peak focusing and manual focus.  Pretty fun and accurate to use.

Goldenrod black-and-white
Like this photo a lot, so I turned it into B&W and put it in my Flickr.

Overall, Pentax K-01 is a nice camera with a lot of great new features, and its ability to take good photos is unquestionable.  However, I have some concerns with it, such as: lack of viewfinder (or even a separate purchasable viewfinder), the flimsy cover for some of the ports (for SD cards, etc), no tiltable screen, the tiny lens cap for the pancake lens, and the plastic lens mounts (especially for attaching metal lenses).  I can see why some people may like it: interesting/artistic design, ability to attach to any K-mount lenses, and the fact that there was a really good deal during the Christmas (for $299 only, but the waiting time was very long which is why my friend just received it recently).
K-01 is a good camera to play around with, but I think I will continue to stick with my E-620 and hope for a new Olympus 4/3 DSLR at the end of the year for me to upgrade to.

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