Pentax K-1: DSLR Review

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High image quality

Robust housing

Well equipped with Wi-Fi and GPS

Large, bright viewfinder

Built-in IS


Can not record video in 4K

arranged auto focus fields strong center

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Fter a long waiting period, there are now the first DSLR with full-frame sensor from Pentax to buy. The Pentax K-1 comes with 36 megapixel, elaborate rotary folding monitor, robust housing and some technical specialties. this website has tested the new professional camera.

Extremely detailed

The image sensor in the K-1 has a resolution of 36 megapixels – also for the full format rather high value as in the Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha 7R. have more pixels, very few, usually much more expensive cameras like the Sony Alpha 7R II, the Canon EOS 5DS or the Hasselblad H6D-100. At a low-pass filter eliminated the K-1 similar to the Nikon D810. There is a switchable low-pass filter function as in the precious-compact camera Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II. In the test was able to convince at first the K-1. In good light and with correspondingly lower ISO setting, the images are very sharp and extremely detailed. Since the K-1 is one of the absolute top cameras: The level of detail is still a corner better than the Nikon D810 and Sony Alpha 7R II comes very close. Even with higher ISO settings provide the K-1 really good results. Up to ISO 1600, the images look very appealing. Only those who have set higher values, then slowly gets noise to see and has to adjust to decreasing sharpness. Photographers who must constantly work with extreme ISOs, should then but grab befitting a professional top model like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II or the Nikon D5.

Example images of the Pentax K-1

22 pictures

to the picture gallery


A special feature of Pentax DSLR in Stock: The sensor of K-1 is movably suspended and compensates for camera movement. The photographer gets such an image stabilizer for all lenses. The offer at the current full-frame models only IIer system cameras from the Alpha-7 series, about the Sony Alpha 7 II The image stabilizer does his job amazingly well. In the test, he was able to offset up to 3.8 f-stops – there are even knackscharfe with a quarter or eighth of pictures in it. Thus good results can otherwise normally they only image stabilizers, which are built into the lens. In super-resolution mode, the movable sensor gets another task: The camera moves the sensor during recording in 1-pixel increments. While this works only from the tripod and best for immovable designs, but ensures greater image quality, because the sensor so exposed each individual pixel in the three basic colors red, green and blue – unlike most digital cameras, where each pixel only one color recognizes and the color information are therefore calculated according to Bayer-principle from the surrounding pixels.

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Robust housing

A specialty at Pentax: Most DSLR models are weatherproof, as the K-1 is no exception. The housing shall put away rain, dust and minus 10 degrees below zero without any problems. When Monitor is Pentax has something new thought. The display can not only fold down but also twist. This is ensured by a particularly complex mechanism. The is so robust that you can touch and lift the camera to the unfolded display – if not a super heavy lens on the camera varies. Clever is the new Sonderfunktionsrad, enables you to quickly change settings – about to take photos with different ISO setting or turn on the wireless function to remotely control the camera via App. Good for weatherproof housing fit the Pentax HD DFA 28-105mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR as more compact and less expensive alternative to the tested Pentax Zoom HD DFA 24-70mm f2.8 ED SDM WR and the super wide-angle zoom Pentax HD DFA 15-30mm f2.8 ED SDM WR for landscape photographers.

For a full-frame DSLR, the Pentax K-1 falls out quite small. Therefore, the monitor takes up a large part of the back, the cross-keys have two functions. Not only camera settings can be change, but optionally also set auto focus points.

Only 33 AF points

The autofocus of the K-1 has over the other Pentax DSLR models improve and get a few extra measurement fields on the sides. It is thus not as elaborate as the top DSLRs competitors who work with up to 153 measurement fields, but should be as sensitive. From a light value of -3 (light moonlight), the auto focus system to focus on. In the test, the autofocus worked really fast: In daylight the picture was by 0.18 seconds in the box, in dim light, it took only 0.20 seconds hardly longer. Continuous shooting and fast-moving subjects, however, the K-1 had some trouble sharpness exactly nachzuführen, especially at longer focal lengths. Since the K-1 does not reach the enormous speed of professional models such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, the Nikon D500 or the Nikon D5.

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Something different for equipment and operation

A wireless connection via WLAN to Smartphone and Tablet is now nothing special anymore. Here pulls the K-1 with the competition equal. The combination of Wi-Fi and built-in GPS receiver, however, is still rare. Among the few exceptions include the Canon EOS 6D and the Leica SL. Who has been photographed with another camera brand, has to get used to something in the K-1, but is rewarded with some specialties that not every competitive model: Thus, for example, unlock the mode dial. Thus, the photographer then changes still fixed between the individual operating modes. In addition, the K-1 has the same five user modes (U1 to U5), which can be directly accessed from the wheel. And who digs through the menu, find there the Astro Tracer function. This record can make the starry sky, where the camera sensor compensates for the motion of the earth in the very long exposure times. The stars are shown as dots and not deformed into strips.

The display Pentax has a particularly complex mechanism donated. It can not only be folded, but also rotate.

4K only Lapse

Sure thing: The K-1 is more for photographers as for filmmakers, because with video recording Full HD maximum is (1920×1080 pixels) at 30 frames per second in it, because just the current competition 60 and more. The autofocus works more comfortably when shooting video – nothing for action movies. In addition, it does not lead to the focus, the autofocus is sure to turn again and again on the trigger. Here, the autofocus is clearly audible when the sound is recorded via the camera’s microphone. Who focuses manually and rather quiet motifs sets the scene, gets very highly detailed Full HD videos, movies in 4K resolution (3840×2160 pixels) takes the K-1 but only in time-lapse mode. It counts the video from many individual photos together.

The two knobs provide ample opportunities to quickly switch individual camera settings, such as the Auto Exposure Bracketing (HDR) or to manually adjust with Auto ISO (TAV).

endurance athletes

Typical DSLR: The the Pentax K-1 battery lasts long through. More than 1,000 images on a single battery charge is no problem. The pace has to settle for less contrast. In burst mode, the Pentax K-1 managed with activated autofocus 4.4 frames per second. For snapshots reaches the loose, if you like to photograph action or sports with a Pentax, better take the smaller sister model Pentax K-3 – that managed in Test 6.2 frames per second – or their slightly modified successor Pentax K-3 II.

Photo-technical terms explained simply


The resolution giving the camera manufacturers usually in millions of pixels (megapixels) at. The higher it is, the more image information captured the image sensor. Besides the megapixel number play for the image quality but also the camera settings and the lens used a role. Therefore this website attaches reviews the level of detail and sharpness in line pairs per picture height (LP / BH). This value allows a more accurate conclusion, as the pure megapixel specification.

exposure time

The exposure time is the time period in which light for recording incident on the image sensor. It is usually mechanically controlled via a closure, but can also be adjusted electronically. This camera is quieter, the photographer is however often limited in the choice of the exposure time. The shorter the exposure time, the less light falls on the image sensor – and subject movement may freeze.


Most lenses have an aperture installed. When it closes, falling less light through the lens. At the same time, the depth of field increases – this is the area of ​​the image that is in focus. Very strong Fade leads with digital cameras often the so-called diffraction blur. The light is diffracted at the edge of the aperture and the image sharpness is reduced in the entire image.

focal length

The focal length is the distance between the focal point, in which combine the light beams, and the image sensor. The shorter the focal length, the greater the angle of the lens – and the more comes to recording. The longer the focal length, the more narrows the viewing angle. Focal lengths can be directly compared only with the same sensor size, therefore one expects it mostly to the small screen format.

luminous intensity

The object illumination intensity is the ratio between the maximum aperture and focal length. They are as the inverse of (for example, 1 / 2.8 or even F2.8). The lower the value, the greater the opening – and the more light falls on the sensor. Powerful lenses are an advantage in low ambient light and, through a lower ISO setting or faster shutter speed for better shooting.

image stabilizer

The image stabilizer compensates for the movements of the photographer and thus prevents slight camera shake result in blurred images. There are three types of image stabilizers: The best work usually movable lenses in the lens. Not quite as effective – but regardless of the lens – are image stabilizers which move the image sensor. Mainly when shooting video digital image stabilizers are used, shift the pixels on the sensor.


In a zoom lens can change the focal length. So the photographer adjusts the image to display without leaving his location – for example, for bringing a distant subject. To replace a push several lenses with fixed focal length. Disadvantage of a zoom lens: They are usually larger and heavier than a lens with a fixed focal length and often have a low light intensity.

sensor size

The sensor size has a decisive influence on the design of the camera. With smaller sensors particularly compact cameras built. but larger sensors collect more light and are thus sensitive to light. This usually results in a higher image quality. Integrated sensor sizes are 1 / 2.3 inches (about 4,6×6,2 mm), 1 inch (8,8×13,2 mm), APS-C (circa 15×22,5 mm) and small picture (about 24×36 mm), and full frame called.


The ISO number indicates the light sensitivity of the sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive is its setting. Most sensors have a default ISO 100. For higher values, the signal of the sensor amplified. This makes the image brighter. However, the signal amplification resulting in a very high ISO setting to more image defects such as noise, color distortion and blurring.

White balance

Most digital cameras automatically adjust the color reproduction on the lighting situation. About this white balance the colors to be reproduced without color distortion. This is the perception of the eye closest. Without white balance, for example, images would represented on the beach quickly to blue pictures indoors depending on the type of lamps to red or green. In more expensive cameras, the white balance can be adjusted by hand, if the automatic does not lead to the desired result.


Rangefinder cameras and SLR (DSLR) have an optical viewfinder. In a DSLR photographer looks directly through the lens in a camera viewfinder by a separate optical system. Advantage of an optical viewfinder: The image is especially rich in detail and is shown in full contrast range. In addition, there is no delay in the presentation. Disadvantage: The effects of camera settings such as exposure or white balance can – unlike an electronic viewfinder – not represent.

Electronic viewfinder More expensive compact cameras and system cameras is often in addition to the screen an electronic viewfinder installed or available as an accessory. This is similar to the screen, but often has a higher resolution and therefore shows a more detailed picture. For the presentation of the image sensor is read. This delays the display in comparison with an optical viewfinder. With newer models, the difference is only rarely perceive as you turn the camera.

Fi / NFC

Many new digital cameras with Wi-Fi. The camera have offered apps for smartphone or tablet with which to remotely control the cameras and can transfer images. Some manufacturers also remote control via PC or laptop is possible. An NFC chip in the camera facilitates the connection between the camera and recording smartphone – is often enough a simple stringing holding the device.

GPS / Glonass

Many digital cameras have a built-in GPS satellite receiver. About the GPS signals, the camera determines the recording location and stores it in the image files. received Some camera models besides GPS signals also the Russian Glonass satellites. The double reception a little more accurate positioning is possible.