Pentax and full-frame. We’ve never heard those phrases together until now. Maybe that was a good thing because the news coming out of Pentax has me convinced it was worth the wait.
Glancing back in time, Pentax did want to enter the full-frame market 15 years ago but shelved the plans in favor the APS-C crowd. That changes with the K-1 becoming official.
Pentax k-1 Specs
You have our attention, Pentax. Now impress us. Let’s hit the bullet points:
36.4 effective MP, AA Filterless Full Frame CMOS sensor
Newly Designed Prime IV Engine
High Sensitivity 204,800 ISO
SRII five-axis Shake Reduction System
Pixel Shift Resolution System with motion correction function
Continuous shooting at 4.4fps
Selectable Anti-Aliasing Filter Effect
33 Point Auto-Focus System
SAFOX 12 Autofocus Module
Pentaprism Optical Viewfinder with 100% FOV
4-point LED Illumination of critical camera functions
3.2-inch Cross-Tilt LCD display
APS-C Crop Mode for maximum lens flexibility and compatibility
Built-in GPS and ASTRO TRACER Functions
Built-in Electronic Compass
Wi-Fi Camera Control and Image Transfer
Professional H.264 Full HD video
Dual SD card slots
Fully weather sealed
Want the ‘mic drop’ moment? It’s the price at $1,799.95. That damn nickel makes it a steal. Joking aside, that’s a hell of a salvo against Nikon and Canon. Do the specs stack up? Well, it depends.
Does it have the incredible ISO numbers from the Nikon D5? No, but we don’t know how usable the images are in that range. The lack of 4K is disappointing, but the counter to that is buy a dedicated 4K video camera.
One of the more interesting features is the LCD. Sure, most cameras tout the ability to articulate the screen around. Pentax? You can move it to various angles, and it stays on the lens’ optical axis. Now that could be the compelling feature.
It’s late to the full-frame party. There is a serious lack of modern K-mount lenses to take advantage of the K-1 sensor. APS-C crop mode is great, but you buy the full-frame for the full-frame sensor.
Is that a deal breaker? Probably not thanks to the price point. Plus, Pentax announced two lenses alongside the K-1. A 15-30mm f/2.8 ultra-wide angle zoom and a 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 general purpose zoom. There is also the line of older 35mm lenses from the film era.
What do I want to see? Performance. It ships in April. The price is fantastic for a full-frame, but it needs lenses. Especially prime lenses. No announcement of a solid 35mm or even 50mm is disappointing. It’ll come, but Pentax is racing against a market that saw Canon and Nikon both announce new full-frame options with absolutely gaudy features.
We will see how it all shapes out when the K-1 ships in April.