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Thursday, 18 February 2016


It's an amazing bit of kit. I think I read that it will provide focus confirmation (beep, visual clue - I dunno) for manual focus lenses. That's nice! It also supports tethering. I'm in the market for a still life/product studio camera and therefore I may join the Pentaxian crowd at some point. Sound like a good place to be.

Joan Baez?
Bob Dylan?

Really mike?
That really goes back to the 60's and the Spotmatic.

Is it THAT good or just a song "blowing in the wind?" (I'm getting chill blains here!)

Mi dos pesos

Where is the changeable prism (with all it's wonderful options) like on my LX?

[I believe it's on the back of the camera in the form of a viewing screen. What would you need to do with interchangeable finders that you can't do with such a flexible screen? --Mike]

This is the most tempted I've ever been, or ever will be, to buy an $1800 camera for the purpose of using it with a $50 lens.

I think I can resist, though.

Well. I am happy to see this as a long-time Pentax user. Still put a roll or two through the old MX even though the shutter sounds like a drunk trying to replace the lid on a metal trash can so as not to disturb anyone.

My K-5 us getting old enough to consider its replacement, but I can't quite convince myself that APS-C isn't my sweet spot. The K-1 tempts me as a camera user; as a photographer not so much.

I've always liked the Pentax handling. I travelled South America with a Pentax SE around 1980. I can't bring myself to sell my quirky-awesome MZ-S.

On the Pentax DSLRs, the "Green Button" is the most convenient thing ever, making manual operation really convenient. It "zeros" out your aperture, speed and ISO to be "optimum" for the lens you have mounted, sort of like setting your camera to a light meter reading.

So, for example, you can be in manual mode, walking through a sunny city street. You duck into a shady market hit the green button. Walk back out, hit the green button. Turn to a back-lit subject, open up the aperture; turn away and hit the green button.

The Pentax problem remains: market share and lenses.

This post, and this news, made me smile. Yes, it's a nostalgia thing, and an underdog thing. I wasn't much into photography as a kid, but Pentax was a familiar and friendly presence. The K1000 was the preferred, and most sensible, choice for my shutterbug friends, especially those who had to start from scratch with their own savings, as it was relatively inexpensive and reputed to be more rugged. These were the kids with darkrooms in their basements, who subscribed to photo magazines, joined photo clubs, and took pictures for the school paper and yearbook. Pentax, the champion of the amateur.

This post also reminded me that Pentax is named after the pentaprism, which is now becoming somewhat scarce. Between cheaper pentamirrors and increasing capable mirrorless solutions, I expect it won't be long before it's found only on high-end SLRs. A bit of irony for the "budget" brand.

Golddurn, that's the most macho camera I've ever seen!! If I were gay, I wouldn't be able to stand up.

Interesting, I honestly never quite believed it would happen!

Oh, and sorry to be a pedant, but:

"like the English in the 2012 Games"

*British, please. It's Team GB that competes, not Team England. Confusingly, Team GB includes Northern Ireland as well as Scotland and Wales, despite NI not actually being part of Great Britain. (It's part of the UK.)

Pentax is one of the (very few) companies whose bodies seem designed by actual photographers, instead of lawyers or focus groups.

They may not be the fastest or strongest competitor, but each new release is usually a breath of fresh air among the "same-body/different-logo" we're used to see.

Careful - English in 2012? Better amend that to UK before the hate mail floods in. Worth noting as well that (never minding the Scots etc) a huge majority of UK medallists came from Yorkshire - where many folk regard themselves as maybe above the "english" epithet.

(only slightly tongue in cheek)

This finally has me wondering about a "dual"system again, Micro 4/3 (which I have) complemented by the Pentax and a couple primes. I notice that the Sigma 35 1.4 you reviewed comes in K mount as well. I hope that Sigma works on bringing over the rest of their full frame Art series.

Only $1799??? How did they do that?

Man, I thought I'd have to wait a couple of years for this camera to drop down to that level.

I'm glad I held off buying a digital camera until sometime after today.

"You know—like Canadians."

Aw shucks. Thanks Mike. (Quad erat demonstrandum)

Forget "quirky"... that is a LOT of camera for the price and on paper there isn't much to wring your hands over. And the timing... I'm considering changing systems to Fuji but now I'm going to wait a bit. And that 28-105 at $499!! with the promise of more lenses on the way. My mental William Shatner voice is saying... I must... stay strong... must... resist temptation. But if it tests out as nice as it looks I think I'll tell William to get lost.

Interesting that Mike does not mention pixel count. Probably a sign of how far we have come is a short span of time... Still, I would like to know! Tempting, must I say.

[Oh, I did say it's the same as the Nikon D810--but I guess I didn't mention the number. 36 megapixels. --Mike]

Pentax, a brand-name of Ricoh Imaging, is brave to enter an already tightly squeezed market with diminishing sales especially in the DSLR sector. Today, even big players such as Samsung no longer have the desire to continue in this market.

The K1 seems to be a D810 done right: respectable performance, IBIS, legacy lens support (K-mount and M43 with adapter ring), and some top-performing prime lenses. However, for many including me, we would need to trade our Nikkors for Takumars and if you have a collection of glass, that can be painfully expensive.

Down the road there may be a K1 in my future, I have a wonderful Pentax LX and a set of Takumars that would be able to see again on a new K1.

Lets not forget Pentax was almost the first to market with a full frame DSLR, using the Phillips sensor that eventually ended up in the Contax N1 Digital. Pentax cancelled the project late in development, causing them to miss the initial DSLR boat by years, and then they launched with impenetrable naming schemes. Marketing isn't everything, but sometimes it is vastly important.

I was plenty surprised to see the spec-level of the K1. If I go camera shopping later this year, I could see this on my list of potential purchases. But first, I need to nail down better what I want from a camera that I'm not getting now.


@David Cope: focus confirmation and one-button stop-down metering for manual lenses have long been a Pentax feature. My k-x has them. On my camera, the focus confirmation is via the same green viewfinder dot that appears when focus is achieved with an AF LENS.

Just in case anyone else was wondering, the Pentax K-1 is a little shorter (110 vs 117mm) and much less wide (137 vs 156mm), but thicker (86 vs 82mm) than its closest and most comparable equivalent, the Sony a900. That's my standard of FF comparison, also with its IBIS and trick mirror and substandard (!) video and a rich backlog of legacy lenses.

Oh, the Pentax is heavier (1010 vs. 895 g), but selecting a little Limited lens of one of the plasticky but impressive Pentax-F lenses will make up the difference for me.

This one's definitely on my list.

I sat last night, pondering sending my 35 sigma back to Sigma to convert the mount to Pentax, dumping the last vestiges of my Nikon gear for this, but...the main reason I keep my D600 is the Sigma 35 1.4 Art and 300 3.8 AF-I(Pentax long glass is scary expensive when available). But man, it truly is the _perfect_ body for that 35. This as a big brother to my Fujis would just be so nice...

Regarding David Cope's question about focus confirmation- every DLSR I've seen, and flm SLRs all the way back to my Nikon 8008, will confirm focus lock with manual lenses by a beep or a light in the VF. Modern Pentaxes do much more. The "Catch-in-focus" feature allows you to hold the shutter button down until the camera finds focus at the selected focus point. So you can wait for a subject to move within range, or move the camera back and forth until it finds focus and fires. I think that's unique, and useful.

A Pentax strength has always been selling Goldilocks cameras at best value prices. It's great that the K1 continues this tradition.

I photograph a lot of youth sports with my K3. I'm surprised Pentax don't sell it as an ideal Soccer Mom Camera, but then Pentax marketing has always been a mixture of quirk and stealth. The weather sealing (even with the basic kit zoom) is reliable enough to trust in matchside downpours, and the image quality is a good as it gets. There are faster-focussing beasts, but they and their lenses cost more, and for me the K3 hits a useful spot.

As you point out, Pentax's real weakness is the lens line. The zoom line up is now defensible, but the lack of weather-sealed fringe-free primes is a serious issue, and stops my K1 lust dead in its tracks. The Limiteds are lovely: they're very special f5.6 and f8 lenses, but I find them weak at f2 (flare, softness and fringes) where I mostly photograph these days.

I hope Pentax sell a boatload of K1s, and not just to grey-haired nostalgia buffs. I also hope they fill out the lens line, because the Hoya years have left them with an embarrassing hodgepodge. For now though, full marks to Ricoh as owners.

As both a Canadian and a former Pentaxian (it's complicated), I thank you. ;)

I rationalized a Sony A7II for my OM and M mount lenses. The Nikon D750 was an easy choice to replace my perfect but but on its last legs D700 for the Nikkor lenses. But those wonderful old Takumars that have been seeing occasional service on the Sony cry out for a K-1. I have a daughter that is going to want to go to college in a few years! You should stick to writing about snooker and Butters adventures with sticks in the snow instead of stories like this! D##n!

Actually, the original Pentax K goes back to the M42 mount days (the K refered to the 1/1000s top shutter speed):
As does the classic design cue.

Is it only me or the advertisement photo of a hi-end full frame pro camera with a 28-105mm kit-zoom f/3.5-5.6 is odd? ;)

a local dealer, SRS in Watford, Herts, announced a Pentax open weekend about a week ago. As I suspected the K-1 will be there, and I had already decided to go. From what I have heard, it is a very impressive camera. I'm already a Pentaxian.

I am thrilled for my many fellow Pentaxians who have been pining for a camera like the K-1 for more than a decade. It looks like a fabulous piece of kit and a true value. But, as Edd remarked above, I suspect APS-C may be the sweet spot for me. Let's see what happens to prices for K-3 and K-3 II bodies in the weeks ahead. :)

Pentax claims that their Pixel-Shift technology is not just for still-lifes now. They say that it has a motion compensation feature that enables you to take with a tripod the full color resolution, noise-reduced (from averaging), images of landscapes in which a breeze is blowing.

"Ricoh tells us not to expect it to cope with major changes, such as a car driving across the frame but that it should cope with leaves moving in the breeze." -- dpreview

This is me, guessing how this would work... It might take an image with the Bayer array and use that for the portions of the image that don't match perfectly.

I'm a Canadian who used to own Pentaxes. Lots of different ones. Spotmatic (M42), a K1000, an MX, Program Plus (2 different ones), Super Program, an ME Super (I think), even a Ricoh K-mount. I came so close to buying an MZ-M too. But never an LX, something about which I am ashamed. And I had every prime from 24 to 400, the 400 was screw-mount. I even had 2 Pentax flashes.

And then digital came along and I wasn't patient, while Pentax thought about digital. I waited as long as G.A.S. would permit and sold all the Pentax telling myself that it would soon be worthless. Then I used Oly 4/3s, now m-4/3s. But if I won a lottery, I'd buy one of everything that Pentax sells just to give them my support.

As a Nikon guy, this camera is interesting. I still haven't switched to digital (damn iPhone) and because of the iPhone ease of getting my pics where I want them, the K1's built-in wifi is a big plus! As are the nice big knobs. But the ultrasonic (smc?) Pentax lens lineup looks weak, and Pentax unfortunately labels their lenses by equivalent focal lengths instead of actual, I suppose because they didn't have a FF camera until now. Hmmmmm.

I say "weak" because I like fast primes in the 24mm to 105mm range, especially 50mm f1.4 or faster (look for ~30mm in the Pentax lineup. Equivalent focal lengths, remember). Big hole there, Pentax. Darn.

I'm seriously tempted to buy this camera, in part because of the value for money it appears to offer, but mostly to get my hands on that 43mm lens. For me it's the perfect focal length and size, and I've only ever heard good things about it. My first camera was a Pentax Spotmatic F and I've never forgotten how outstanding the Pentax lenses I owned for it were. Also, I'd like to do whatever I can to support Ricoh, whose GR camera I deeply appreciate.

Only when B & H Photo bundles the K1 with a double-double and six Timbits will it be truly Canadian. I do have to say that the weather and cold proofing is a good step towards Pentax becoming the official brand of us Canucks.

So happy to see this
So many good things , not the fastest but I am in ..... Just need to wait a year ... But this has solved my problem.

My DA35 Macro / 77/31 and old lenses all to come in full use .... An articulating LCD ...so good on a tripod.

Will wait 12 months .... Keep K5 for now and later as a back up.

Pentax has always offered great value for money esp for the landscape photographer ... I hope this marks a come back

[Sorry to say the DA 35mm Macro does not quite cover FF. The other two will, though. --Mike]

Could that be the fabled, legendary, hyped, re-hyped, super-hyped, 8-element early version of the Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 strapped to the front of that Spottie?

When I saw your picture I thought Holy crap, how did Mike get a picture of my Pentax Spotmatic from 1969 with the Super Takumar 50/1.4 attached(I still love this lens and still have the camera and lens... somewhere.) Only your picture is a bit later after Honeywell got into the picture, so to speak. I took many hundreds of B&W and a few rolls of color with that camera in High School. Hummm... maybe I'll go find it. After going off to college my younger brother "broke" it and I ended up buying a screw-mount Fuji ST-801 (?) which served me well for many years also. I also had a Pentax 24mm and a 150mm (an awkward focal length) but they sure were sharp to me at the time - no pixel-peeping!

You seldom hear newer photographers saying "I'm buying Pentax" just as you seldom hear anyone saying "I'm going out for Canadian Food".

Is it just me, or does that look a lot like a late-era Contax?

Thanks for amplifying the good news for us patient Pentaxians & polite Canadians.

I could not take my eyes off the picture of that Pentax Spotmatic for a long long time.

Ordered mine last night through the T.O.P. referral link. There's a lot of very happy FA, F, and A lenses here. Waiting to see what alternate focusing screen options there will be to make manual focusing work well. Would have liked higher finder magnification, I'm used to the high magnifications on the MX and LX.

As a Canadian aince birth I too used Pentax film cameras. Wonderful devices. As the purchaser of all the cameras for the various photographic courses at the school board where I was the assistant instructional materials co-ordinator the Pentax K1000 with a 50 mm lense was superb. Somewhere over 500 cameras purchased over time.
Even when dropped by a sloppy student the metal body and the attached glass would continue to perform.
Alas alack. Pentax dropped the ball. These days a very difficult brand to find to purchase here, it is no longer a mainstream device; partly I suspect because the parent company keeps changing.

Me? I switched to Nikon years ago, when a Nikon and a 50mm lense could cost maybe $100.00 used and still be repaired. Pentax then was odd camera out, all my friends used Nikon (Canon did not exist way back then);
and hence it was easier to swap glass back and forth with a common known mount. Pentax was first screw mount (and I have one of those cameras kicking around somewhere) then went to bayonet.

Am currently using a D750, it isn't a D610 and it sure as heck not a D810, maybe it is best that way, eh?

I'm a K-5 owner since late 2010 and whenever I go back over my images of the time, I can't help noticing how creamy-nice they look. Sharp, no noise, beautiful colour. It got relegated for smaller, lighter m4/3 and fixed zoom do-it-all gear but I keep thinking I want to use it again.

I've been thinking about buying a K-3 II and one or two of those Limited lenses, but their focal lengths didn't make sense on APS-C. Now they do on the K-1. Maybe I'll invest in one of those Limiteds and watch the price of the K-1 for a while.

Uh oh, Pentax have shaken it up again, now I will need to ponder which setting to leave the new control dial set at. It used to be easy, front dial shutter, rear dial aperture, button + rear dial for either iso or exposure compensation now I can go completely manual for the 3 main parameters that control exposure (iso, Tv and Av) or set and forget iso in M mode and have exposure comp as the extra. Decisions, decisions.
Generally it looks to have been very well received barring one nutter spamming the comments section on DpR and I have to say I'm as a paid up Pentaxian am feeling very gruntled about the whole release. Mr Hirakawa even gave me a like on Facebook when I announced that the first lens I would mount would be my cherished FA43 and that it would promptly be joining the single lens for a month challenge to figure it out on a digital FF.

Funny, as you were describing it, I thought, "Just like my old Pentax LX" - not in form factor or layout, but in sheer competence of design, and in the ability to go toe to toe with the big boys at an attractive price. In terms of lens line ups, I got very good results from Pentax glass in the 80's and 90's -- the Nikon and Canon lineups always had a slight edge in both reach and speed, but always in lenses I couldn't afford anyway. The Pentax LX is the only camera I have bought and sold twice. Anyway, nice to see Pentax making a go of it in serious digital. And that IBIS . . . whoo, now you are talking superhuman capabilities. So, yeah: heartstrings are twanging.

Please please please somebody explain why I should care that its screen tilts on the lens' optical axis. Please.

[Because it's much easier to use than those goofy screens that swing out to the side. Have you ever used one of those? I hate 'em. --Mike]

My first two digital cameras were both Pentax models. They seemed to have the most well thought through features for someone actually wanting to take pictures, and appealing value. I remember rumors about the full frame model from many moons ago (a prototype was even shown in public!). It makes me happy to see them finally do it, but also a little melancholic that it took so long.

As a side note, you are one of multiple sources that I have seen extol the size of the viewfinder in this camera. While it may be significantly better than the aps-c viewfinder, I think all current cameras have rather pathetic viewfinders. The great film era cameras are such a pleasure to look through - the Pentax MX has a .97x magnification! If only someone would make a camera today with something that glorious. The typical .7x magnification today would have only been acceptable in the lowest end of the product line not so long ago.

[No, actually ~.7X was very common for cameras with 100% viewfinders in the film era. Nikon F6 for example was 100% with 0.74X and 18mm eyepoint.... --Mike]

Can we look forward to the Johnston review of the K-1 paired with the 35mm Sigma Art or the 43mm Pentax Limited?

A D810 killer? If they made a version with a Nikon F bayonet, it would certainly be! And if they added a version able to use Canon EF lenses, they would launch a new thing: a third party body. And a mean one at that!

Regarding screen tilts, you write,

[Because it's much easier to use than those goofy screens that swing out to the side. Have you ever used one of those? I hate 'em. --Mike]

Yes. I love them!

Can the Pentax screen tilts do this? I couldn't figure it out from the descriptions of the tilts. (Necessary for low-to-ground flower photography in vertical mode.)


- Richard

I remember wondering about what happened to K1 when Pentax launched the K2, KX, and KM. Fortunately in the intervening 40 years I have had other things to think about. (40 years? how'd that happen?)

The shape of the penta-hump has been that way since the very first pentax in 1957, the Pentax K came out in 58. I think. Too old for me. I kind of remember Heiland Pentaxes and Bell and Howell Canons though.

The new K-1 looks great, especially the pentaprism. However, those 1960's Pentax cameras were beautifully small (and full frame). It would be nice to see that small size again for digital, and I don't mean mirrorless.

Is nobody mentioning the built-in GPS ? I had this on a Panasonic camera which I used a lot on a touring holiday and find it very convenient, especially as I now suffer 'senior moments'

Could that be the...8-element early version of the Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Yes - you can tell from the positioning of the IR mark.

We now just need some independent image IQ.
If it's as good as the original 5D (not sharpness and pixel count, how GOOD the image looks straight out of it).
The 5 user settings are great! Back when I used to help doing events, I'd have the main stage on manual, and the other areas on the M, Av, Tv... Not the best but in real life, no time for fiddling for banks in menus!
Real features for real photography!

I started with a Pentax K1000 back in The Olden Days, and still use an MX on the rare occasions I shoot 35mm rather than the larger formats I usually work with. I have no interest in digital really, I'm a black and white darkroom guy, but I want one of these cameras, badly. If I had any money I'd be buying it. It's the kind of camera which could tempt me into shooting colour and making big prints. Nothing else has ever come close to that, apart from MF digital cameras which are well out of my price range. I'm hoping when the reviews come in there's some in-principle deal breaker.

Damn. Very tempting.

Dear Mike,
I need your advice. My brother in law just gave me an apparently virgin, perfect, unsoiled and never mounted, 70-210 Macro focusing f3.8 PK mount Soligor lens. I've never owned a Pentax in 50 years as a GAS enjoyer, and I believe Soligor had a pretty good reputation.
I was going to adapt this to Fuji X - but, (and a big but it is) it's a push-pull,(trombone) zooming mechanism. Unless memory fails me that's an invitation to hoovering dust into my precious chamber of sensor delights.
What to do, what to do?
Gabe, in Ca.

Things have changed a bit since the H1a I bought in High School (1966).

...closer and closer to quietly abandoning the Canon camp under cloak of night.

The fact that Pentax is calling out a cold temperature operating spec is especially interesting to me, as I have an interest in cameras that can operate for several days on end in sub-freezing conditions.

Sony's A7 series, by comparison, does not specify that.

Anyone knowledgeable care to speculate on whether this body might make an exceptionally good digital FF camera for winter mountain work? I'd be willing to invest in something other than Canon (my current digital 35mm platform), or Sony, or Nikon, etc.

Oh goody, something to play with while hoping for the Sigma SD1 upgrade.

I was wondering if Pentax is the Alfa Romeo of the camera world. Odd, elegant in its own way (read: targetted toward people who know what Sv mode does) and you're not a motorhead/gear-freak until you've owned one?

P.P.S. +1 on cold-proofing reeling in the Canucks. It was literal -42 C at my parents' house the other day. I remember my first DSLR wasn't cold-proof, and it was pretty inconvenient at times!

This might be the perfect camera for a landscape photographer that does a lot of work from a kayak or canoe (or for that matter, any other landscape photographer who works in inclement conditions).

As for screens that swing out to the side, they are not ideal for stills, and seem to be geared to video. Tilting upwards or downwards is more frequently useful for stills photographers. I like my full frame 6D for macro work BUT I wish it had a tilt-up screen, because I have it near ground level a lot. To see the screen, I have to become ..er.. somewhat unsightly myself.

Huh; never thought about the screen being out to the side sometimes as a problem. Is *that* why so many tilt in only one direction? I'd always wondered, I consider tilting in only one direction to be a serious limitation.

Maybe one of my toy cameras tilted out to the side; if so I never noticed it as a problem. It's completely standard, and very convenient, on video cameras.

Maybe I'd understand if I had one? Learn to hate it? But I doubt it.

"This might be the perfect camera for a landscape photographer that does a lot of work from a kayak or canoe (or for that matter, any other landscape photographer who works in inclement conditions)."

NancyP, yes, this is what's intriguing me too. I mentioned cold, but the fact that Pentax specs it, combined with weather proofing, makes this really intriguing.

My main digital 35mm-size camera is also a 6D, but I'm really liking what I see on this camera. If paired with nice, old Takumars, and/or those apparently beautifully compact limited lenses, this could be a real winner for high mountain/cold work.

[From what I hear they tried to optimize it for long battery life, too. --Mike]

The peak on the top is very like my Sony A900. They'd look good together, as affordable FF camera pseudo-siblings (likely capable of outstanding results).

I think I would absolutely buy this camera, assuming that the early reviews don't find anything unexpected or awful, and assuming I could find a nice suite of prime lenses. The CaNikon bodies with big sensors don't have IBIS, which is a lack I'm feeling, and I'm seriously frustrated with the way the matrix metering is really more like spot metering on the D8xx cameras (I know, a bunch of people are going to tell me it's better -- but I have to chimp constantly with the D800e and readjust almost every exposure, while the Olympus nails the exposure of the identical scene first time every time.) I'm thinking of moving to the Sony FF, but the expensive lenses and horrible menus scare me (not to mention the body price).

OK, I'd get the Sigma Art 35. Sold. OK, a couple more primes. Oops. I don't see the other Sigma Art lenses showing up. I don't see any good tests of the native Pentax lenses, though some reviews mention the "Limited" series as something to envy. But really I'm not seeing any other excellent FF lenses for the Pentax system in a first look, or at least any with convincing reviews. Pentaxers, can you help me?

Mike says: Ricoh was interested in the interchangeable-lens camera assets, and that's what it bought from Hoya—similar to the way Sony bought the camera making assets of Minolta, except that Sony considered its own name to be stronger in the market whereas Ricoh continues to use the Pentax name. Ricoh acquired all shares of the former Pentax Imaging Corp. and created a new division called Pentax Ricoh Imaging Company Ltd. in 2011.

To clarify this was not quite the same as Sony and Konica/Minolta deal.

Konica/Minolta and Sony agreed to work on DSLR cameras in 2005. Sony bought the intellectual property of Minolta's SLRs and lenses from Konica/Minolta when they exited the DSLR camera (and photo film, photo paper paper and minilab) market in 2006.


Konica/Minolta is alive and well. One division still designs and builds lenses (and other optics) for third parties that put their own brands on them. This includes camera lenses which you see patented on a regular basis.

Ricoh bought all of the Pentax Imaging company from Hoya which includes not only the ILC cameras but the compact cameras and sports optics (like binoculars and spotting scopes).


Pentax is now really just a brand of Ricoh Imaging Co much as that might irk some Pentaxians.

@John McMillin: "Catch-in-focus" is a trade name for "trap focus". Nikon and Canon DSLRs do that (set focus to AF-C and shutter release to focus priority). It's a not a unique Pentax feature.

The pricing is excellent. The features look practical. And Pixel Shift on a 36Mpixel camera might get the attention of the landscape guys out there.

e.g. imaging-resource.com testing out the K3 Pixel Shift system (it works!).


That might make the K1 the poor man's 645Z. I see Pentax are competing with themselves!

@Dan: You seldom hear newer photographers saying "I'm buying Pentax" just as you seldom hear anyone saying "I'm going out for Canadian Food".

But there's still folks out there who love poutine, eh?


That seems to be part of Ricoh's overall camera strategy: to make a profit from underserved niches. The Ricoh GR isn't to everyones taste either but they sell them to people who like them and there seems to be enough of those people out there (moi aussi).

There is also a hint of the Ricoh "optimizing the UI for the serious user" in the UI of the third dial (and a couple of other features like built-in GPS, Tav with exp comp). One thing about the UI design to the GR (and GXR) is it really seemed to be designed by someone who actually used the camera and wanted to push it to it's limits in real use scenarios (even some odd ones).

The weird tilty twisty screen seems designed for the landscape photographer avoiding specular reflections from the sun whilst trying to compose the shot (without a hood).

I joined the ranks of Pentaxians back in 2007, and I remember fondly how excited everyone was at the soon-to-be-released (according to rumours) FF Pentax DSLR. I'm quite certain it is the longest-lived rumour in all of camera history: At least a decade of "oh yes, there will be a Pentax FF".

As vinck noted, though, most of the people on the Pentax fora that really wanted FF left years ago, mostly to Nikon. And when a camera has been anxiously awaited for a decade, it can only disapoint. There's no way it can live up to the expectations 10 years of unfulfilled dreams have cooked up!

Curiously, I left Pentax at the other end—mirrorless. Pentax could've made a killer MILC, with the best ergonomics in the business. But alas, the K-01 was a joke, and now with Ricoh running the mirrorless section of the company, it won't ever happen.

But still, I'm happy for my long-suffering Pentaxian friends who've stuck it out for over a decade waiting for this camera. I hope they enjoy it!

Pieter Kaufman asks about cold-hardy cameras.

All of my Nikon bodies, including currently the D800e, have been fine in any temperature I can work in, certainly down to 0F. I know you said FF, but all of my Olympus Micro Four Thirds bodies have also been good to below zero F, for extended use. This winter I've used an EM5 MarkII quite a bit in extreme cold with no problems. Both the D800e with the Nikkor primes I have and the Olympus with Oly weatherproof lenses are good in hard rain as well for relatively extended periods. No problems.

The 14 degree thing with this Pentax was one spec that gave me pause, but I figure they must be a bit conservative. If it won't work in colder temps than that I won't keep it if I get it. 14 degrees isn't very cold for mornings in Vermont (most years).

Miserere - I think the other long-waited-for FF solution was Leica R lens fate, which, granted, wasn't waited for by that many, but the gap between the R9/DMR ending and the launch of the SL to R adapter later this year, a similar amount of time has drifted by.

On the topic at hand - could I ask for more in the K-1? Sure, but it'd be pretty hard to complain. I see one somewhere in my future.

John Lehet, thanks for that.

Agreed: 14 degrees isn't that cold, but my thinking here is that if Pentax is specifying a design feature which others are not, it suggests that it expects the camera to exceed average performance.

I don't doubt other cameras will work. I've also read anecdotes about some Sony A7xxs failing in the cold. I've also had my own experiences with batteries in various cameras dying very quickly in cold conditions.

I should add that it's not just Pentax's advertised cold rating and weather sealing that piques my interest, but that, combined with hopefully good battery life, two SD slots, and the micro lights to help see what you're doing in the dark that helps it along.

The scenarios I find myself in often involve waking in a very cramped tent, in the pre-dawn dark, at high elevation, in cold, difficult conditions, with a host of other technical (climbing) considerations to deal with, over several continuous days; there is no car or home or hotel to retreat to at the end of the day to reset/recharge/download/etc. In that context, cameras have been as much a pain as a pleasure. If this shaves off even ten or twenty percent of the pain part, I'll gladly take it.

This is actually part of what's driven me back to shooting mostly film in completely mechanical cameras (Contax S2 or a Leica). So much less to fail. Nothing to recharge. No backup batteries that die. No swapping cards or batteries in difficult physical situations. Everything just works.

But it would be nice to have a digital camera that I'd be happy with in that environment. The 6D is a great camera overall, but battery life is wanting, and single SD card sometimes annoys me. The lenses are simply too big. This Pentax, with those Limited lenses, or older Takumars, would be sweet weight/volume-wise.

Dear Pieter,

The temperature operating specs are only useful if you will be working within that range. What the manufacturer is doing is guaranteeing that the camera will operate within that range. It may work well considerably outside that range. There is no way to tell how far outside the range it will be operable from the specs or from any hypothetical analysis. The only way to find out is to try the camera out under those conditions. Even cold weather photography experts can't tell you how a particular camera will perform at a particular temperature without field experience with that camera.

When I went to Yellowknife two years ago, I field-tested my Olympus OMD before going to see if it would perform. There was no way to get as cold as it was in Yellowknife (it hit -36) but I was able to test to well below -20 and the OMD worked fine, which gave me some hope that it would cope with Yellowknife. Which it did. Of course, I was swapping batteries like mad at -36, but the camera had no problems.

This is way outside the manufacturers temperature specs. (It also went against the predominant opinion of the experts I consulted.)

It is important to test your lenses under those conditions, as well. My 45mm f/1.8 was pretty happy in the minus 30s. The 12 mm f/2 required considerable coddling.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

what lenses would work with this? 15, 23, 100 macro, 200 f2.8, 50 f1.4, the new 35 f2.4 (I think).

Elsewhere, someone claims that "Teleconverters used to expand APS-C lens coverage to FF often deliver better IQ than the APS-C lens natively used on an APS-C body"
which is potentially interesting for Pentax and the new K1...

I'd be interested in Ctein's opinion on this, should he have the time.

Assessing cold resistance from manufacturers specs is always problematic. They *never* specify performance at the sort of temperatures where cold becomes a real issue (below minus 15–20 for this ex ice-climber). Pentax has a good reputation there, but other high end enthusiast and pro cameras do too. My personal feeling is that if you can solve the battery problem, and live without the LCD screen, most cameras can be made to work in dry cold.

I have used my K3 in continuous downpours, but , like Peter K, I really value weather sealing for allowing me to be completely secure in high humidity with heavy condensation. A week in and out of a winter tent is more testing than standing in shower - for me, and for the camera.

There is also the fact that large areas of the World, often those that never feature in Western conceptions of contemporary photography, have a monsoon or rainy season. Pentax's proven record of proper seals round doors and buttons, even in the low price models, should give it more of an advantage in those countries. Why they don't push this aspect more I do not know.

Finally, I have never understood the obsession with 'pro' equipment. The K1 is not a 'pro' camera, but why should it be? I don't drive a Caterpillar bulldozer or an Indycar to the supermarket, however much their raw performance might 'beat' my family runabout. There's room for the merely good, especially at an attractive prices.

Pieter, thanks for mentioning the possibility of Sony A7xxxs failing in the cold. (A7rii is a hot contender to replace my D8ooe as soon as I sell a Porsche). I did some searching on it, and found that cold-reliability in the Sonys does seem to be spotty. Some people in Finland etc have reported no problem in the extreme cold, while others find the camera can go non-functional. Everyone agrees that the already troublesome battery life in those cameras drops to barely-workable in the cold. I also found mentioned that Olympus specifies 14F for the current cameras, and clearly function goes below that range.

Maybe it's just me, but the "buxom" form-factor of the K-1 reminds me strongly of the Asahi Pentax 6x7. It may also find a market that is similar, i.e., as one of the cheapest ways into a full-frame 35mm DSLR (the 6x7 was for a long time one of the cheapest ways into a full-fledged medium-format system).

Think I noticed a tiny smile on my collection of Pentax medium format lenses.

Thanks for the complement!

- A Canadian

@ vinck I don't see bringing out a selection of new lenses, including fast primes, as huge a problem as one may think. They have the r&d of the 645 lens line, engineers and technicians that came over from both Hoya and the Pentax Imaging, and a LOT of M42 and K-mount legacy glass that will fill gaps for a lot of users. No, the legacy glass won't measure up to new, but a lot of it will produce very good to even great results for all but the most demanding uses.

I'm not a Pentaxian. I have three M42 lenses (a Ricoh, a Helios and some other off brand,) and one K mount, a SMC 50/1.4. They see little use but not because they're not good glass. I won't be buying a K-1, but if I were offered one I would be happy to start out with those lenses.

I do agree that the overall market for DSLRs is a significant risk for Pentax. In that respect this is somewhat curious and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Finally! Looking forward to being able to use my old M42 bellows and slide copier in the way that Pentax originally intended. I might even finish digitising all those old slides. And my FA 35/2 AL lens will finally get put to good use.

Dear Struan,

Most cameras today do not use LCD screens, they are OLEDs. Those have no cold performance problems. So, that is something important to know about the camera you're planning to take into the cold. Is it one of those or not.

As for batteries, there isn't going to be much difference between any of the cameras. Currently they are all using similar battery technologies, and all those technologies poop out in the cold. It's a little difficult to understand, but it isn't that the battery loses charge so much as the ability to rejuvenate itself after each bit of current drain. It's like it gets more easily fatigued when cold. A battery may work for only a handful of exposures in extreme cold (minus 30s) but if you put it in your pocket and warm it up, it'll be fine and start working again… For another handful of exposures. Either you have your battery in an external warmer with a cable running to the camera, or you keep a whole bunch of battery packs on hand and swap them frequently.

Weirdly enough, fully automatic lenses are likely to work better in extreme cold, because they have to be extremely low friction and have very little wet lubricant in them, or it takes too much energy for the camera to drive them. But, as I said previously, you have to try rather than assume.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

This moment, the actual introduction of the K-1, has had me intrigued for years.

How would the 43/1.9 Limited lens perform at it's 'design' focal length? (I'd started out with the curiously named *istD.)

Would it occur? So I bought the Pentax 645D. Weather-resistant medium-format, with Pentax's superb haptics, & versatile features.

Where will it fit with APS-C & medium format? (Thinking of both camera size & the image files.) Once I've come close to deciding, I'll know whether this wonderful camera may work for me.

I wonder why the legacy glass would be so bad on the FF K-1 sensor? It seems those lenses would be worse on the APS-C 24Mpixel K-3/ii since the pixel pitch is finer. Maybe I'm missing something (it shouldn't surprise me).

As attractive as the K-1 appears, it almost makes me more interested in the K-3ii. For me, FF isn't an inherent advantage, and the ~$1000 price difference is significant.


You know Mike, I am old enough to remember the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic, Spotmatic II, ES, etc. The Pentax offerings were better (more ergonomic, user friendly) than the Fujica cameras. The standard issue camera for me in my photo courses was either the Yashica Mat-124 or the K-1000. I remember that the "must have" camera was the Pentax "Texas Leica" 67/67 II cameras. I am highly jazzed that Pentax is back in the game again. I just wonder if the old K-1000 lenses would work and how well they would hold up? I also saw Boston and Heart in concert back in 1978. Like I said, old.

re: Battery performance in cold environment. It is my understanding that the K-1 battery grip will take AA batteries. If so, you could use Lithium AA cells for much better low temperature performance. I think the Lithium AAs are rated down to -40C/F

Rick in the Rockies

Unfortunately for Pentax, many of us Pentaxians have already made the move to Sony FF mirrorless cameras. I cannot see myself moving back. The advantages of mirrorless shooting are just too great, and I already have a collection of superb lenses for my A7II. As for current Pentax users, I think that some will be thrilled with the K-1, but most will continue using their APS-C cameras, which are excellent. How many Nikon and Canon users will migrate to Pentax for the K-1? Probably not enough to matter.

Hi Ctein. No argument on the OLEDs, but I turn mine off nearly all the time, especially if worried about battery life, and rely on the top plate display, which on the K3 (and, I think earlier Pentax models) is an LCD. Mine has got sluggish at -15°C.

Fortunately, the K3 has plenty of info in the viewfinder, which seemed unaffected.

Friends who've done winter tours with the British Antarctic survey took unmodified cameras with external battery packs kept under a jacket. It used to be recommended to change the lubricant in manual lenses for prolonged cold, but, as you say, not so much for modern autofocus lenses.

I still think condensation is a bigger enemy than cold. Whether breathing on the viewfinder window or lens front element in extreme cold, or the inevitable build up of moisture in anything unsealed as you go in and out of accommodation.

Pentax has always been above average in coping with bad weather. There's no guarantees with any new model, but if they've sealed and o-ringed it like the K3 or the 645Z, the K1 will be a very useful outdoors camera.

It appears Ricoh is quite serious about the Pentax brand. I find it interesting that some posters declare this camera too late. For me, it appears to be the most capable FF DSLR currently available, how can that be too late? Pixel shift appears to allow this fully equipped camera to compete with the sensor performance of the Sigma Foveon.

Great discussion above--thanks everyone who chimed in regarding cold, condensation, weather, etc.

Struan, your point about condensation is right on, and it's part of what I was alluding to when I mentioned tent conditions in cold, cramped quarters. Things get wet, and there are sudden temperature differentials as a camera is suddenly removed from a jacket or sleeping bag or whatnot, and with cooking and hydrating in a very small two person tent, things can get messy, atmospherically speaking.

I generally agree too that this camera doesn't seem like it needs to be a footnote in the FF DSLR lineage. I have no interest in jumping ship from Canon, and I remain leery of Sony's cameras, but this is the first digital DSLR that has really, seriously caught my attention in a couple of years, and combined with small, manual focus, lightweight Pentax lenses, this could be as close to an ideal high mountains/cold conditions digital 35mm format camera as I've seen.

On tilting and flippy out screens.....

Prefer Tilting in cities and towns for quiet photography from waist level. But flippy gets stuck on my tripos and is no good in Portrait mode.

This design will be easier to use on tripods as coming out backwards will make it easier to use.

I am intrigued by the Pentax / Canadian connection ...and wonder if the Poms are silly enough to leave the EU .... can I come and emigrate ti the Great Lakes???

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