Pentax Ricoh Imaging Corporation introduces Pentax K-01 designed by Marc Newson

DENVER, CO February 2, 2012…When is a camera more than a photographer’s tool?  The answer is when it’s an object designed by Marc Newson, one of the most acclaimed and influential contemporary designers.

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION introduces the Marc Newson designed PENTAX K-01* interchangeable lens camera (ILC).  The new PENTAX K-01 is another bold effort from the manufacturer that is known for pushing camera size, color, durability, and now, design, to the limit. Widely known for designing a wide range of objects from furniture and household products to bicycles, cars, aircraft and yachts, Marc Newson has had collected works displayed in The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and many other major museums.

The contemporary, timeless K-01 houses a full array of advanced functions and user-friendly features in a camera body with remarkable form and function. The elimination of an optical viewfinder and quick-return mirror gave Newson more freedom in designing the camera body, and the K-01 showcases Newson originality in every detail.  Available in black, white and Newson’s signature yellow colors, the K-01 features the designer’s autograph logo stamp on the bottom of each camera.

The famed designer’s touch also is evident in a new smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS interchangeable lens.  As the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens,* the new 40mm combines with the PENTAX K-01 camera body to deliver a unique ILC system that is perfect for photographers who are as keen on design as they are on performance.  Together, the K-01 and 40mm lens system mark the intersection where high technology and high design meet.

Key features of the PENTAX K-01 include:
• Durable machined aluminum frame under a stylish black, white, or yellow exterior.
• PENTAX mirrorless body design is compatible with 25+ million PENTAX K-mount lenses spanning decades.
• Large 16 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with low noise image capture and multiple aspect ratios.
• Bright, high resolution 3 inch LCD with 920,000 dots.
• Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 FPS with h.264 compression (60 FPS at 720p) features outstanding video capture flexibility.
• Sensor-shift PENTAX Shake and Dust Reduction system is compatible with every mounted PENTAX lens.
• Fast 6 FPS burst mode is ideal for fast-action photography.
• Flexible ISO range of 100-25600 ensures gorgeous noise-free imaging in any lighting condition.
• Focus peaking mode provides fast and accurate manual focusing for critical focus applications.
* The world’s thinnest interchangeable lens for lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras, as of February 1, 2012 (based on PENTAX’s research).

The K-01 will be available in yellow, black and white in March 2012 for $749.95USD (body only) and $899.95USD (lens kit including new DA 40mm XS) in Marc Newson designed packaging and with the Marc Newson designed strap.  The smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS unifocal interchangeable standard lens will ship at the same time for $249.95 USD.

Additional information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news and a video interview with Mark Newson regarding the K-01design may be viewed here: www.youtube.com/pentaxian1  Images of other Marc Newson creations are available here.

PENTAX is a leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here: www.pentaximaging.com/news

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  • Romain

    Well.. I guess now we all know what happens when you let a designer with dubious tastes create a camera instead of photographers. Pentax, Sony and Fuji thank you very much for your effort to improve their sales

    • Aurelo

      They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m function over form guy, but I have to agree with you there.

      The uglies camera I’ve seen.

    • MJr

      I just have no words for this …

      • Harold Ellis

        it is like, you know, big as DSLR, not quite that good, but more expensive.
        Great move. will be hit.

        • Harold Ellis

          lol now i found it have no viewfinder.

          omg so fail

          • lynn

            marc “uglification” newson, thank u for bankrupting down pentax!

  • WT21

    How to do niche product development: Fuji (X100 and XPro1)

    How NOT to do niche product development: Pentax (Q and K01)

    I like to root for the underdog, but you can’t MAKE Pentax be successful, and they clearly have no interest in being successful. Didn’t Ricoh get to see their product pipeline before purchasing them?

    • illdefined

      let me guess, you like cameras that look like ‘cameras’. you will certainly love the Olympus OM-D. so then why should Pentax go for the same niche?

      just because you remember what old cameras used to look and feel like doesn’t mean there isn’t a generation or two out there who’ve been intimidated by serious interchangeable lens photography and never dove in.

      the K-01 will certainly not be missed at any camera store, and maybe just maybe, it will be many people’s first camera instead of your four or fifth.

  • Markus

    As the ‘keep smiling’ sales guy says It’s cool, and with a name as K-01…boxy boxing…I watch several times in Japan K1 matches, and I have to say this camera has a big chance to go KO out sight of Japan, in Japan there is a large trustful Pentax community, I think outsight Japan hard to sell.

  • http://byazrov.com byazrov.com

    to rephrase him: unlike anything we’d want to see

  • Harold Ellis

    naja.

    hideous design, hideous camera,

    hideous sales

    marketing 101: if you have no fanbase, and your product doesnt shine, do not try to attract only small subset of potentional customers

    • illdefined

      many people said the exact same thing when Pentax introduced the K-x in rainbow colors. instead, it captured a massive new demographic and was an immense hit for the company.

      Pentax/Ricoh already have the K-5, GRD and GRX. see if those cameras don’t have a fan base, and wonder if those fans don’t have relatives or spouses intimidated by photography.

      • bob2

        Funny, I have YET to see a Pentax K-x anywhere in NYC, despite being populated by 8 million+ and visited by tons. “Captured a massive new demographic”–I wonder what that demographic was and how massive–like people who need color to their cameras to go with their outfits or makeup–harajuku girls! Or must be that one person bought one, then another, so it was a 100% growth–phenomenal!!!

  • http://byazrov.com byazrov.com

    volvo my ass ( sorry!)
    it’s ugly and people on video failed to hide the real loathe reaction.
    the great thing though is no adapter for lenses. sony and other fckers could learn from Pentax.

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      Had there been no need for adapters, mFT and Nex wouldn’t have become so popular.

      Don’t you know anything?

  • Duh

    Its about time, at last we see something fresh and contemporary for a digital camera, instead of the usual ‘lets pretend’ film camera style dress ups for those who just cant let go! This will be a classic.

    • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

      What? You’re simply not a real photographer, thus you don’t have a clue what is important and what’s not.

      This K-01 is the answer nobody asked for. Mirrorless solutions are popular because they’re compact. How DSLR-sized brick could be compact? K-01 is equal in size to K-5.

      Short flange distance makes possible using variety of lenses, so everyone can use rangefinder lenses on a body which is 10 times cheaper than original Leica M9. How are you going to do that with K-01? It can take Pentax K lenses only and is priced equally to DSLRs.

      • Chris

        “This K-01 is the answer nobody asked for. Mirrorless solutions are popular because they’re compact. How DSLR-sized brick could be compact? K-01 is equal in size to K-5.”

        Strange – when the Nikon 1 came out, this is exactly the sort of camera everyone was saying it should have been. Perhaps everyones response would be differnt if it was Nikon or Canon.

      • illdefined

        those rangefinder lenses are the same size as Pentax’s highly regarded Limited Lenses, the smallest APS-C lenses on the market, and they are AF. just compare the number and size of the Sony NEX lenses and see just how much you gain by having a skinny body.

        the K-01 is for people new to ‘serious’ photography, who want the high quality of the K-5 and Limited Lenses without intimidation, and in that respect it shines.

  • Ken Elliott

    My first reaction – strange (as in “ugly”). But it started to grow on me. So Pentax gets points for trying something new. I know some people will love it, and that may be good enough.

    What they did right was produce a mirror-less camera that uses the existing lens lineup. I wish Nikon would do this with a DX or …. dare I say it…. a FX sensor. I suspect Canon may be thinking the same.

    I keep looking at mirrorless, but I hesitate to buy a new design that requires more lenses. I love the idea of using a mirrorless as a second body, or as a walkaround camera. I’ll bet Pentax sells a lot of these with that tiny pancake lens. Nikon and Canon should take note. Nikon should look at the old FM or SP2 for design inspiration. Canon – the old F1 or AE1.

    Good work Pentax. I won’t be buying one, but I bet it sells pretty well. People will be asked “what kind of camera is that”, and a lot of users enjoy showing off their new toy.

    • CR

      …very true, Nikon should take an easy route and bring a giugiaro designed mirrorless DX and FX that are as good as their optical peers.
      unfortunately they want to squeeze more and more DSLR-classics into us at higher prices (D800, D400, 1D, 5DIII, …).

      My dram cam would be:
      – Leica M-size lenses (full-frame, but small size)
      – AF
      – full-frame sensor, no noise range from iso50 to iso1600
      – >= 100% optical viewfinder (range, or mirror), or OLED EVF
      – optional EVF
      – lenses range: 14, 21, 28, 50, 85, 135 primes at 1.4-2.0 and 100-300 2.8 zoom
      – 1600,- usd body, 400-1800,- usd lenses
      what I need: pentax K-01 with 21, 35, 85mm at 1.4 from Nikon ;-)

      • mooboy

        I’m no expert, and someone correct me if I am wrong, but a big reason the Leica M lenses can be so small is they don’t have AF.

        And one you start talking about a 100% viewfinder, it must TTL which requires a mirror. So, good news for you, the camera you’re talking about basically exists.. it’s called a DSLR.

        A mirrorless camera using an existing DSLR mount is an interesting concept, but not this fugly POS. And, I think as well as long registration distance, the main problem in size and weight is all the insides you need for PDAF focus. And you’d at least want a good quality EVF built in.

  • AaronL

    I am trying to like it but no, its just too damned ugly.
    Design FAIL.

  • Mike

    The interview with Marc Newson should not be used as a selling tool. He looks so disinterested, often looks into the air to search for groan worthy answers. And not once does he hold it like a camera should be held. Only the tips of 4 fingers ever touch the thing. That an the lack of a single smile is sending bad body language vibes.

    The camera looks like one of those plastic props you see at Ikea show rooms. I had a laugh out loud moment when he says “it’s a semi-professional camera” I was hoping and praying that his next sentence was “and it comes in canary yellow, like you see over my shoulder”.

    Overall I think Mr. Newson thought too much about blending modern with retro. That control dial next to the flash hump that continues down beside the lens mount looks like an afterthought add on. To use a baseball metaphor: Fuji has just hit two home runs. Pentax bunted and tripped running to first base.

  • Melvin

    Introducing the new Pentax K-01, a design by LEGO (TM). Comes with a 200-page instruction booklet to assemble your camera. Also includes a souvenir 1.5″-tall Marc Newson LEGO man. The perfect camera to bring to your 1990’s Volvo Club meetups.

  • Eric

    Hummmm…..

    I think this…..

    Um…..well….is interesting looking…

    Sorta looks like a toy? But….

    It Sounds like a fantastic sensor.

    I never thought i was camera vain but… I dont know
    If id want to hold onto this thing in public.

    Yeah….. Im confused hahha

  • TheInconvenientRuth

    As much as I love many of Marc Nweson’s designs, I honestly can’t see anything remotely appealing about this design…

    Very disappointing.

    Good concept, bad aesthetics.

    To sum it up: Looks like a Ricoh…. not a Pentax.

    I’ve started out my career on Pentaxes (K-1000, ME-S, Super A, LX and the mighty 67) and I still have a soft spot for them but his is just unlovable…

    • spence

      Ricoh might not make the prettiest cameras on the block, but they are known as being the cameras designed by photographers for photographers. I’m a GXR owner and can say that the build and interface blows away anything on the market. The GXR-M is easily the best digital M solution for the money, especially for wide-angle shooters. And Sure it’s not pretty to some (which is completely subjective), but it’s definitely functional, much more so than my Nikon DSLR and Sony Nex, and that’s what any real photographer cares about. Sony Nex has the most god-aweful interface. The problem with this pentax camera might be* that since it was designed by a non-photog that the layout may be difficult to use. I also wonder about how that LCD will perform in direct sunlight.

      *I haven’t used this camera, so I can’t make any claim to it’s useability.

      • TheInconvenientRuth

        Ah, hadn’t considered the GXR, I was actually thinking about old-school Ricoh film cameras… I had a KR-5 and a XR-2s :)

        Never used a GXR, so can’t comment on it, but I’ve heard good things about it.

        I don’t mind ‘ugly’ cameras at all, the Pentax 67 sure wasn’t pretty but gave awesome images. And when the Z-1 came out, I was still using the F4s and fell in love with the front-back dial design of the Z1 (not a pretty camera either..) and prayed Nikon would do that too (never liked the Canon solution and I have used pretty much all of them) and then had to wait 5 years for the F5 answer my prayers.

        Pentax has done some amazing innovations, some legendary cameras but this is just wrong… It looks like a plastic toy camera, in ANY color combination.

  • preston

    While I agree with you all that they only got halfway there with the features, I have to respectfully disagree on the beauty of the design (except for that hideous yellow). I would be showing this off to everyone that asked about it on the streets! (please, don’t attack me for this. I don’t own a Pentax, so I’m not a fanboy. I’m a happy Nikon D90 owner actually, and this black K-01 is much sexier than the D90)

  • http://www.timelock.in Beavis Walker

    The design looks like 100 % inspired by Dieter Rams work for Braun, Nizzo and Hoja
    http://dieterrams.tumblr.com/tagged/dieter%20rams

  • ugh

    So for you a ‘real photographer’ is more interested in the look of the camera, how disingenuous? And wouldn’t a real photographer be more comfortable with a dslr shape body! You cant have your cake and eat it.

    So far all attempts at mirrorless aps-c have resulted in thick cameras either because of the bodies or the lenses because you simply cant escape physics.

    Refreshing to see a camera design that does not pretend to hide this.

    Perhaps future organic sensors will allow thinner designs like film cameras.

    • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

      You didn’t get it at all. There is no point in SLR-sized APS-C camera which lacks optical viewfinder and grip.

      • mervis

        Sez you…

        • mooboy

          So, um, what is the advantage? You’ve lost your view finder and grip… and you’ve gained what exactly?

  • hmm

    40mm on APS-C is about 60mm in 35mm equiv. Not a very attractive focal length if you ask me.

  • CR

    I have to say, I take back my earlier comments on how ugly this is, as I was looking at a dummy picture.
    Now, I like:
    – full SLR and DSLR lenses support
    – compact size with unique style
    – 40mm lens
    – price, after Fuji and Nokia’s reach for over-pricing their new products it’s nice to see a manufacturer putting his feet on earth again.
    – video full-hd, fps
    – 6fs speed
    dislike: – nothing
    whish: – full-size sensor

    The design is special, but it has to be special to reach out for new customers.
    Actually the design relates much to the original BRAUN Dieter Rams designs, being somehow innovative, somehow retro-neutral, boring-neutral enough to stand behind the function.
    A good approach to the “less, but better” rule of Dieter. Although I’m not yet sure how well it came out, by just looking at 2 videos.

    If pentax puts out a full-frame sensor at 1400,- usd, these two cameras might change the market for pentax, as nikon is betting on the CX system, Canon has no clue, where to go (the G1x is a gap-filler, good and pricy, without long-term strategy), Fuji is hunting for Leica, Sony is rolling on the compactness of a body, Olympus and Panasonic squeezed into the middle with their m4/3 system that I can’t see winning.
    The future is with the software, but you need a physical ground to achieve better quality, and that doesn’t work with sensor-sizes below APS-C in RAW, in JPG? yes.

    Thus I propose a JPG long-term win for Nikon (based on Software and Processing-Power) and an RAW-mode APS-C long-term win for Pentax, or Nikon, Canon (if the two big put mirrorless products following pentax onto the table). Today the best compromise picture quality, flexibility, price is with Olympus m43. Sony NEX or Alpha are niche-compromises (NEX: too small bodies, Alpha SLT: not pushed/innovative enough)
    Fuji will up-sell to a few X100 and catch a few Leica-dreamers. Sigma, oh, that hurts, they’ve got some enormous capabilities, but they don’t get their cams right, good for a niche, similar to Ricoh’s very specific niche products.
    The Pros will be moving to larger formats soon, as they get more and more in reach of their budgets around 10-15K usd. Sports/Docu-Journalists will continue using Nikon and Canon monsters, like D4, 1D…
    I’m using Sigma DP2x, Nikon DSLR and am waiting for D800, D400 and K-01 to come out soon to decide on my new system, most probably D400, but a K-01 could solve both a more compact and a solid photo/video quality requirement… if it’s clearly better, than a D7000, … we’ll see/who knows…

  • http://paultreacy.com Paul Treacy

    Please don’t say “very unique”. That’s dreadful english. It’s either unique or it’s not. Can’t be “very unique”.

    Intriguing camera.

    • El Aura

      How do you differentiate between: unique in some aspects and unique in a lot of aspects? Wouldn’t most people map ‘very unique’ to being unique in more aspects?

  • Luncheon Ticket

    It doesn’t look bad IMHO… If they made an all-black version it would look better (please excuse the poor PS job):

    http://www.luncheonticket.com.ar/files/k01_black.jpg

    • illdefined

      was thinking the exact same thing. this one simple change would’ve gone a long way in silencing all the ‘serious photographers’ on this site. I’m positive Pentax will release this all-black, at least as a Limited Edition (for serious photographers)

      • Luncheon Ticket

        People like to talk and talk and criticize things they don’t like. I don’t see this Pentax as any different in functionality to the Sony SLT cameras, and you don’t see these bitching about them….

        As for the camera itself I think it will be a must for many Pentax shooters, regardless of what people here say (I won’t be buying one myself, as selling my Nikon gear is out of the question).

  • geecen

    I think it might be all right. Pentax can go down this route because they already have a line of very good and small apsc prime lenses, which no other manufacturer does. It might be a tough sell to someone new to the system as these ‘limited’ prime lenses are expensive and it would be a shame to put a kit zoom on it. It is thick, but no matter how thin you make a NEX camera, that kit zoom is huge and they only have one small prime. You can use adapters with manual focus glass on the NEX but, well, it’s manual focus only.

    • Kid

      Several of those “said to be” apsc primes actually cover full frame sensors, however.

    • geecen

      Also, it seems like they can make lenses that poke into that gaping hole left by the mirror, which means they could have more lenses that don’t protrude much past the mount. This might be their trump card– backwards compatible with AF, + new small lenses = quite good really!

  • Jesse

    This is by far the ugliest camera i have ever seen… I just cant comprehend how this has ever made it to the market. The k mount is a nice feature but not at all cost…

    WHY IS THERE NO EVF! What they mainly did is grab the K5 get ride of the OVF and put it in some ugly kiddy camera packaging. So now you have a dslr sized brick which looks shit and has no evf/ovf. This could have been such a great camera but they clearly had no clue what they where doing. At who is this camera targeted anyway ? Enthusiasts would not want it, why would you want this over a k5… novice and regular photographer would prob not want it because they have no clue what a k-mount is and think its simply a hideous camera.

    Please pentax take this idea back to the drawing table you can do better! and p.s next time when you hire a designer pick someone who knows what photographers want.

  • BklynPigeon

    they should have just Slapped a Digital Sensor on the Pentax MX body and called it a day.

  • BklynPigeon

    Ugly Camera, but great Idea though. Pentax didnt have to spend all that R&D to make new lenses.

    • WoutK89

      Instead they spent that money on a designer, lol

  • BklynPigeon
  • Vlad

    This is one UGLY a$$ camera, the designer should be fired. First there was a Toy camera and now a bigger Toy camera. Have they gone out of their mind after the Fukushima?? (*_*)

  • eddie

    As usual i see a bunch of enthusiasts imprinting their desires on a product not intended for their market. this was not meant to compete against the fuji lol. it’s less than half the price.
    FWIW I think they got a lot right based on the specs (the Video specs look very good actually)
    I think it will be far more usable than most of the entry mirrorless with a long lens (most people never even but the EVF for their mirrorless BTW, I have rarely seen an EVF in the wild)
    It has the biggest selection of AF lenses in the mirrorless market right out of the gate by maintaining K mount. It is smaller than any DSLR and Lighter. It has a better sensor than anything in the m4/3 camp, and if past history is an indicator it will be better implemented than the same sensor is by sony.
    It’s not a K5 replacement as many people gripe, heck it’s not even the Kr replacment (though it specs better across the board) . It’s the first of what could become a strong category for Ricoh. It isn’t their design BTW this is the apsc that was supposed to come before they even took over. 95% of this is Hoya. Ricoh can take the ball and run with it though as they develop the line (imagine a mirrorless LX FF as the pro mirrorless down the line for instance) Mirrorless does not have to be ultra small. there are benefits to mirrorless beyond size (better video in many cases for one)
    I may well buy one of these as a backup to my other camera (and actually sell off my other 2 back ups) since it will bring some improvement in areas my K7 lacks (as does the K5) without the K5 expense (K5 with the same pancake at best will cost me $300 more than this)
    The only negative for me is the EVF/OVF one, but really if I want a VF then I want a Big OVF and for that I will wait and replace my K7 with a FF Pentax when it drops as rumoured in the fall
    The KR replacement in the spring (rumoured K30/300?) will probably be this camera in traditional DSLR form 100% VF and add PDAF back. likely it will hit the $900 mark and this will drop $100. (the Q BTW now that it is selling for as little as $550 is a far more attractive package than it was on launch)

  • hyui
  • illdefined

    Everybody relax, step back and take a look at the big picture.

    The K-01 looks the way it does because the ‘serious’ and ‘semi-pro’ mirrorless K every camera enthusiast really wanted will be the inevitable K-Mount unit for the GXR.

    Remember, they are the same company now and they just learned a lot about K-mount miniaturization. The K-01will eventually go down in price and be their entry-level consumer mirrorless, while the upcoming GXR-K becomes the true semi-professional mirrorless K.

    Pentax made the right choice in not making yet another new mirrorless mount, because K-Mount are already the smallest modern SLR lenses on the market. They are wisely double downing on their highly regarded, highly complete, LIMITED LENS line, the only line like it for SLRs from any brand. Even Pentax DA zooms are smaller and lighter than equivalents from Canon or Nikon.

    I’m disappointed Pentax/Ricoh didn’t announce the GXR-K today, but I understand that would’ve drowned out the spotlight for the new K-01. For the people paying attention, Pentax/Ricoh did quietly announce a new 16mp APS-C unit for the GXR today, subtly setting the stage for what’s to come.

    Contrary to all the kneejerk “UGLY! PENTAX DOOMED” commenters here, I see Pentax/Ricoh have almost all their parts in place already. With today’s announcement, they also announced they have the most complete mirrorless mount in the world, with a full-range of tiny high quality pancake primes already available. The K-01 represents a powerful, but simple and welcoming trojan horse into K Land, just like the K1000 did before it. Once the price inevitably drops, I can easily see schools and parents buy tons of these, and then the “My First Camera” aesthetic of the K-01 will suddenly make all the sense in the world.

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