Pentax K-01 - Attack of the firmware

When the Pentax K-01 was released earlier this year, it pretty much received ho-hum reviews. It wasn't as slim as other mirroless, it was an 'interesting' design, but the biggest issue that got it panned was its AF speed - it was slow. At an entry-level price, it was much slower than other comparable models. Pretty much most reviewers said it took amazing photos, but the AF (along with some rolling shutter issues) left most reviewers stating that unless you had a Pentax lens system, there were better choices out there.

Well that changed last week.

Ricoh Pentax released firmware 1.01 for the camera, and the biggest change in the firmware was the improvement of the speed of the AF. It has become fast, real fast. YouTube has videos of people showing the speed of the new AF, and it is amazing.

I just picked up a K-01, which came just a few days before the firmware's release. I tested out the camera when it came, and those initial complaints about AF speed were pretty accurate. But with the new firmware, this camera just flies. Even my 70-200 2.8 Tamron (which while dead sharp is known to be a slower lens) was even fast.

Yes, it still one of the biggest mirrorless cameras on the market. But with the 16mp sensor, it is also one of the best for photos.

As for rolling shutter, I think this is one of the overrated complaints people not familiar with Pentax cameras, which have sensor stabilization, really don't investigate. During my own tests, I can eliminate that noticeable rolling shutter by turning off SR. But this doesn't mean SR is worthless - actually SR does a great job reducing shake when hold the camera in your hand. It really is impressive how much that reduces shake. So really, depending on what and how you are shooting you can reduce shake and rolling shutter.

In all, with the AF improvement, plus the quality of the camera (metal body/frame, great sensor, super battery life, mic input, etc) and the deals that can be had, this should be brought back into consideration for those looking for something different than an SLR. In fact, this is Pentax's entry model, and what a camera it is.