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Never judge a book by its cover. It’s good advice as far as many things in life are concerned and is particularly apt in relation to Pentax’s K-01. An inevitable first reaction is usually along the lines of ‘What were they thinking?’ mainly because the styling is, shall we say, somewhat unconventional.

There was a similar reaction to Pentax’s Q – this time because of its size – but when we tested the camera we found it worked extremely well and was actually a very desirable little machine. Like the Q, the K-01 is a mirrorless, interchangeable lens design so it’s a compact system camera (CSC), albeit one rather less compact than its pocket-sized sibling (which hopefully won’t suffer now there’s some in-house  competition for development funds).

The K-01’s styling is the work of Marc Newson who is an Australian-born industrial designer responsible for everything from the interiors of Qantas’s Airbus A380s to cookware for Tefal. The main challenge with shaping the K-01 was the requirement for the camera to retain the standard K-bayonet lens mount which demanded a much deeper flange back depth than if an all-new smaller-diameter fitting had been adopted. Consequently, the Pentax has a much deeper bodyshell than any other CSC and the styling is obviously designed to celebrate this rather than conceal it. The lines are bold but simple with an emphasis on minimalism and strong shapes emphasised by colour contrasts.

Its designer label styling has polarised opinion as has retaining the standard K-bayonet lens mount, but the Pentax K-01 turns out to be much greater than the sum of its parts. Report by Paul Burrows.

Thank-you for looking up our review of the Pentax K-01. This equipment review is currently available only as a low-resolution pdf version of the original magazine pages originally printed in the July August 2012 issue.

You can download it here: Pentax K-01 Review.pdf