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Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera Announced!

After years of speculation, early last year it was announced that a full frame Pentax camera was in the works and now the details have been officially announced!

Pentax K1, 36 MP full frame camera available April 2016

The camera will be sporting a 36MP sensor, and as usual with Pentax cameras there are some quite new and exciting twists compared to other cameras on the market.

Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera.

Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera. Image from Pentax Australia, FB

Pixel Shift Super Resolution

The Pentax system has long utilised in body image stabilisation, which means that the sensor can be vibrated somewhat to compensate for shake during hand held image taking. The APSC K3 series developed some new tricks including the AA filter simulator (K3) and the “Pixel Shift” Super Resolution technology (K3ii) which creates ultra hi-res images by combining 4 frames, with the sensor shifted by one pixel between each frame, into one incredibly detailed image.

The K1 builds on these, and the Super Resolution mode now incorporates a “motion correction” feature which apparently will remove artifacts which can appear when the subject moves during the 4 exposures required to complete the Pixel Shift resolution.

GPS & Astro Tracer

The K1 (following on from the K3ii) also includes a built in GPS which means the Astro Tracer function is also built in and no longer requires the add-on OGPS1 unit.

Key Specifications

– 36.4MP CMOS sensor. No low pass filter.
– Real resolution (pixel shift)
– AF sensor SAFOX12. AF point is 33 points (25 points are cross-type). -3EV Correspondence
– Viewfinder magnification 0.70 times. 100% field of view
– LCD monitor 3.2 inches 1,037,000 dot. Flexible tilting
– GPS built-in. Wi-Fi built-in
– Shutter unit of the compact new design. Durability is 300,000 shots
– Dual card slot
– 5-axis camera shake correction. Effective for five stops.
– ISO range is 100-204800
– Continuous shooting 4.4 frames / sec (full size). 6.5 frames / sec. (APS-C)
– The body is magnesium alloy and stainless steel. Dust and water resistant. -10 Degrees of resistance to low temperature
– Size: 136.5 x110 x 85.5mm
– Weight: 925g

Pentax K1 Full Frame tiltable screen

Pentax K1 Full Frame tiltable screen. From the Pentax Australia FB page.

Other Highlights

* The same battery that powers previous APSC bodies such as the K3 & K5, as well as the medium format 645Z will work with the K1 which I feel is a nice touch as it saves users hundreds of dollars purchasing spare batteries.
* Night lights – a truly unique feature – LEDs positioned above the lens mount, in the card slots and in the cable jack have been added to allow ease of operation at night! Very thoughtful features for those (such as myself!) keen on night sky photography.
Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera

Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera and mount light up. Image from Pentax Australia, FB

Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera

Pentax K1 Full Frame Camera and cable socket light up. Image from Pentax Australia, FB

Price and Availability

The Australian price is around the $2800 to $2900 mark, which while great value, falls a long way short of the buzz created at the news of the US launch price of US$1800. The US price is in fact attracting attention to this camera just as much as the feature set!

To put the price in perspective, the Nikon D750 retails in the US for US$1999 and the D810 for US$2796. So an Australian price similar to the D750 (around AU$2300) would have been very welcome and may have given Australian buyers who aren’t as familiar with the Pentax brand an added incentive to switch. As I mentioned AU$2800 is still a decent price, but not really a head turner like the US price.

I have of course already ordered mine and can’t wait for news of an exact delivery date 🙂


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Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.