Pentax K-1 Review

by Mark Bailey

The first time I held the Pentax K-1, it was easy to see the changes that had been made. Pentax, for the first time, added a 35mm full-frame SLR camera to its range. Thankfully, Pentax fans can find in the K-1, what Canon and Nikon have been doing for some years now.

Before we dive into the full feature, here are some interesting things you need to know about the K-1, Pentax’s beauty upgrade.

  1. The value for money

Because Canon and Nikon are way up there in terms of quality and performance, Pentax marks its niche by compensating adequately with great value. The K-1 has a 35.9 X 24mm 36 mp sensor, magnesium alloy casing, weather-proof and a new 5 axis stabilisation system. This comes at a fair price, which I’ll say, is a good deal.

  1. Fine set of lenses

A digital camera is only as valuable as its lenses, so they make a valid point. With 14 full-frame compatible lenses available in the market, K-1 users are spoilt for choice. In addition, the K-1 is compatible with the earlier K-mount Pentax lens, although much older ones will only work in manual focus mode.

  1. The peculiar ‘Flextilt’ screen

Tilt screens are no strangers to the SLR categories; the Nikon D500 features one too. But what makes the K-1 stand out is the unusual angle tilt; some pundits have described it as stilts. But Pentax argues that they are strong and can support the K-1’s 3.2” screen. While this is great, design-wise the flexibility of a traditional hinge has more freedom.

  1. Absence of an AA filter

The K-1 lacks anti-aliasing (AA) filters. This is no surprise because most manufacturers are doing the same. After all, it produces sharper images. But you can work around it by simulating an AA filter. Just apply microscopic vibrations at the sub-pixel level; it has the effect of creating a moiré reduction in the same way an optical AA filter would.

  1. A smorgasbord of attractive features

The K-1 really strives to impress. It provides the user with a 100% view from its pentaprism optical finder. There is also a 4k video capture, weather-proof, magnesium alloy casing, GPS and Wi-Fi, just to mention a few. A special Astro Tracer feature makes the K-1 a capable camera for photographing night skies by allowing for the earth’s rotation. Talk about smart.

A snapshot of the Pentax K-1 Features

Body Type

  • Is mid-size SLR
  • Body material is magnesium alloy


  • Max resolution: 7360 x 4912
  • Effective pixels: 36 mega pixels
  • Sensor photo detectors: 37 mega pixels
  • Full-frame (35.9 x 24 mm)


  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 204800
  • Image stabilization: Sensor-shift
  • Uncompressed format is RAW
  • File format: JPEG (Exif v2.3)


  • Has assist lamp
  • Manual focus
  • 33 focus points
  • Lens mount Pentax KAF2


  • 100% coverage
  • Articulated LCD is tilting
  • Screen size 3.2”
  • Screen-dots: 1,037,000

The K-1 has a distinctive LED lighting that is extremely useful in limited light or places with challenging lighting. The LED is located behind the LCD screen, in the memory card slot, the battery compartment and atop the lens mount.

What makes the Pentax K-1 tick?


  • Has an amazing sensor and image quality
  • Viewfinder has 100% coverage
  • High ISO which has been stepped up 2 levels
  • Compatible with previous FA lens which are easily available
  • Ergonomic and comfortable design
  • Has many features including tilt, GPS, LCD, Wi-Fi


  • DA lenses only offers 15 megapixel images, and you’ll have to use the crop overlay in the viewfinder
  • New full frame (DFA) lenses are limited
  • Top LCD is smaller
  • FPS is slower than the K-3 (4 as opposed to 8.3)

The Pentax K-1 retails for £1,783.49 on Amazon

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