K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax


K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Australian designer Marc Newson has launched a camera for Japanese brand Pentax.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

The K01 boasts the thinnest interchangeable lens in the world and is compatible with all 214 types of lens in the Pentax range.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

It has a three-inch digital screen, ridged rubber body and comes in black and yellow, black and silver or black and black.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

"I don't recall seeing that many cameras on the market that have been designed by professional designers," says Newson. "Most of them are designed by engineers."

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

We'll be publishing our interview with Newson in the coming days. Meanwhile see all our stories about his work here.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Check out more stories about cameras on Dezeen here.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Here are some more details from Pentax:


An interchangeable-lens digital camera designed in collaboration with designer Marc Newson

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY LTD. is delighted to announce the launch of the PENTAX K-01 interchangeable-lens digital camera in conjunction with the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens* - the smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS unifocal. This latest addition to the popular Pentax K series and the new lens were both designed in partnership with world renowned designer, Marc Newson.

The PENTAX K-01 features 16.28 megapixels, high-speed burst shooting, an extra-wide sensitivity range with a top sensitivity of ISO 25600** and Full HD video recording.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

The camera also features the reliable and ever-popular PENTAX K lens mount, so users can make effective use of their entire range of PENTAX lenses, including those produced for film-format SLR cameras.***

The PENTAX K-01 is a creative and bold step in camera design and has been developed with Newson’s three design themes in mind — TIMELESS, TRUSTY and TOUCHABLE, whilst still maintaining the full array of advanced functions and user-friendly features that you would expect from a digital interchangeable lens camera.

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY has a strong history of innovation – it was the first to develop colour digital SLRs and front customizable compacts, as well as pioneering concept models created in collaboration with various designers and artists.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Newson’s K-01 is a modern digital camera with a contemporary yet timeless design. The body consists of clean and simple lines creating an elegant graphical composition whilst preserving all the functions of a professional camera. Original-design push buttons and control levers are efficiently laid out across the body, while bright colours are used on two key buttons for instant recognition: red for the video recording button, and green for the functional green button. The combination of machined aluminium and natural rubber provide the user with a tactile and durable piece of technology. The mode dial and the power switch are made of a high-quality aluminium alloy, while the memory card slot and connectors on the comfortable, easy-to-hold grip are covered with protective rubber.

Newson’s original design concept is evident in all elements of the K-01, including the product logo, the camera strap and even on the start-up screen when the K-01 is turned on.

The optical viewfinder and quick-return mirror were eliminated during the design process to allow more freedom in the design of the camera body. The result is a camera that shows Marc Newson’s originality in every detail.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Speaking of his design inspiration, Marc says: “I wanted to create something that represented quality and expertise in photography. Some of my favourite photographic devices have been Pentax products. I wanted to return to the high quality roots of the brand and create something which was really unique and iconic.”

The K-01 is the perfect choice for anyone looking for their first easy-to-operate digital interchangeable lens camera or those photographers who demand a camera with originality and style. The K-01 makes a wonderful second camera for current PENTAX SLR users requiring a stylish back-up for their photographic system.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

The PENTAX K-01 comes in the following colour combinations:
Black with black grip
Black with yellow grip
Silver with black grip

The PENTAX K-01 will be available from end March 2012.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Major features

Exceptional image quality

The PENTAX K-01 comes equipped with a newly developed CMOS image sensor measuring 23.7 mm by 15.7 mm. With 16.28 megapixels, this sensor ensures a high-speed readout of image data signals. It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range — from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, or to ISO 25600 when expanded using a custom function — while minimising digital noise at all sensitivity levels.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

High-quality video recording

The PENTAX K-01 comes equipped with a Full HD video-recording function to capture high-quality movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels). The H.264 format offers great images whilst recording at a choice of frame rate (30, 25 or 24 frames per second). It also comes with two new features to facilitate video recording: a video recording button for instant pushbutton start, and a stereo microphone for more realistic sound.

Personal touches can be added to recorded clips using various Custom Functions. Alternatively, the subject can be recorded in a series of video clips using the interval movie shooting mode. The PENTAX K-01 also comes with an HDMI terminal, which allows the user to simultaneously output both Full HD movie clips and stereo sound. It also has an external microphone input terminal. In addition, the K-01 features the new “PRIME M” imaging engine to ensure first-rate movie recording performance.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

New-generation HDR mode

The HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, which produces one extra-wide-gradation composite photo from three images taken at different exposure levels, has been upgraded to create a greater range of visual effects. This upgraded HDR mode can be instantly selected with a turn of the mode dial. The user can take advantage of newly added features to select one of three exposure increments as well as the level of effects, while an automatic position adjustment function assures precise alignment of three images even when they are taken handheld.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

A selection of image processing tools for personalised effects

The PENTAX K-01’s Custom Image function allows the user to select the most appropriate imaging characteristics for a particular subject or scene from 11 preset custom image functions. These functions include: Bleach Bypass to create a dramatic visual effect used in motion pictures and Cross Process to produce an image with unusual colours.

The K-01 also features 19 distinctive digital filters — including Miniature, which makes a real life scene appear as an image full of miniature models. Users can be as creative and imaginative as they like by applying multiple digital filters to a single image.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Smooth, quiet, high-speed burst shooting

The PENTAX K-01’s high-speed burst shooting mode allows users to capture fast-moving subjects in a series of images, as it captures up to five images per second. With its mirrorless construction, the K-01 also offers exceptionally silent mechanical operation.

Large, wide-angle 3-inch LCD monitor with approx. 921,000 dots

The PENTAX K-01 features a large, easy-to-view, high-resolution 3-inch colour LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots. Its wide-view design guarantees a clear view of the monitor from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, making it particularly useful in low and high-angle shooting.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

PENTAX-original SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images

The PENTAX K-01 incorporates the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively reduces annoying camera shake by approximately four shutter steps. Usable with all compatible lenses, including those produced for film-format SLR cameras. This mechanism produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions that are prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark without flash illumination, or capturing landscapes in the twilight.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Effortless, user-friendly Auto Picture and Scene modes

The PENTAX K-01 features the PENTAX-original, user-friendly Auto Picture mode, which selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene from Portrait, Landscape, Macro and other distinctive shooting modes, while optimising all camera settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness. The K-01 also offers 19 different Scene modes, which simplifies the photographing of difficult subjects or demanding scenes — such as Night Scene, Portrait, Pet and Backlight Silhouette mode — simply by choosing the corresponding icon on the camera’s LCD monitor.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Other features

TTL image-sensor metering, with a choice of multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot modes
Contrast-detection autofocus system, with 81 selectable focus points
DR (Dust Removal) mechanism to shake off dust adhering to the surface of the CMOS image sensor
CTE (Colour Temperature Enhancement) white-balance control mode to emphasize the predominant colour of a particular scene, such as a sunset
A choice of four image ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1) to accommodate different subjects and photographic situations
Multi-exposure mode (up to nine exposures on a single image), with an auto exposure compensation function
Interval shooting mode, useful in time lapse recording of landscapes and flowers/plants from an exact same location and angle
Compatibility with the new-standard SDXC and UHS Speed Class 1 memory cards
SILKY Developer Studio 3.0 for PENTAX RAW-data development software (developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included. In-camera RAW-data development also available

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

Major Features of the smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS lens

Exterior design by Marc Newson
Marc Newson designed the exterior of this lens, as well as the K-01 body.

Easy-to-use, super-thin lens for everyday use
This unifocal standard lens offers a focal length equivalent to 61mm in the 35mm format, and measures a mere 9.2 mm in length, making it the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens. Thanks to its super-thin design, it is highly portable and easy to store and carry. Its optics were designed based on those of the acclaimed smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited lens. Its maximum aperture of F2.8 produces sharp, bright images in a wide range of photographic situations, including snapshots, scenic photos, portraits, and even low light indoor shooting.

SP coating to block dirt and dust
The front surface of this lens is treated with an SP (Super Protect) coating, which applies an exclusive fluorine compound to the lens surface through a vapour deposition process. This SP coating not only repels dust, water and grease, but also makes it easy to wipe off oily stains such as fingerprints and cosmetics.

K01 by Marc Newson for Pentax

*The world’s thinnest lens for interchangeable-lens digital cameras, as of February 1, 2012 (based on PENTAX’s research).

**When expanded.

*** K-, KA- KAF, KAF2, and KAF3- mount lenses can be used with the PENTAX K-01, while screw-mount lenses, 645-system lenses and 67-system lenses can be used with an adapter. Some functions may not be available on certain lenses.

  • Toni Lenzi

    great job as always.

  • Matt

    It's not clear what contribution this makes over the works of the 'engineers' he derides. Functionally it looks very similar to everything else on the market. Perhaps it has slight ergonomic advantages that aren't apparent without holding it. Visually it's sub-par many of the other recent interchangeable compacts on the market.

    • M.S.

      Furthermore I'm having a hard time believing there aren't professional industrial designers behind the leading contemporary camera models. Ignorant at best and arrogant at worst?

    • enciamet

      I totally agree with you…
      First time listening to Marc Newson about his designs and my first big disillusion about him; full of contradictions…

  • I like it. It looks very clean and durable. Great job

  • towradgi

    Looks good but yeah, what is with the derision of the designers who have had this well under control for decades.
    If they werent getting paid for their designs I certainly hoope the company at least fed them.

  • Lauri

    Funny wording in the first sentence: "Australian designer Marc Newson has launched a camera for Japanese brand Pentax."

    So now it's the designers who launch the products. :D

    Nice design all in all, but nothing spectacular in my opinion.

  • Doug C.

    I'm probably in the minority but I prefer the work of the anonymous toilers at Leica, Canon, Nikon etc. who designed their products with no credit but a high degree of functionality, taste, durability and no quantity of "Look at me, look at me!".

    • Will

      Let's not forget the engineers at Pentax who have managed just fine without Newson's input until now. There's no prettier film camera than a Pentax MX, and there are few DSLRs on the market that are as 'functionally elegant' as the K7 and K5.

  • Peter

    “I don’t recall seeing that many cameras on the market that have been designed by professional designers,” says Newson. “Most of them are designed by engineers.”

    This is just an awfully condescending statement by someone who is no designer himself, but a mere stylist with an inflated self confidence. Nevertheless, the Pentax looks good, but this has nothing to do with design as every serious professional understands it. It is once more his clever extract of retro elements from all kind of directions (some parts remind me of 1970s Agfa cameras) that make it oddly timeless and contemporary at the same time. This star designer BS makes me sick really.

    • mza

      spot on……my sentiments exactily……Newson is a stylist and nothing more…..none of his work is functional…..a dish rack that doesnt let the water drain out, a plane that doesnt fly, a car that doesnt go.

  • ShY

    I used to work at a photoshop part time for over a year while studying, and I was the top regional sales, so I know more or less what kind of camera is attractive to customers; I don't think I can sell this camera if it does exist. chunky and clumsy, button distribution is dated, on/off switch is a direct copy of old Pentacon Six medium format film camera, exposure compensation button is way too close to the dial and recording button, and, it has no fn button, the 'design' of the pop-up flash is decade old……….all and all, this is a failed design.

  • Judge Dreadlocks

    Everyone has a bad day, I think Marc was probably restricted too much, some companies hire designers just to add the glamour that their own engineers cant, this looks like one of those cases, I don’t think it worked out well for MN, I hope he was paid well. I give it 5 yawns.

  • themark

    This camera is for kids, right? My first Pentax? It's too bad that all the hardworking technical innovations by the "Engineers" have been squandered on this clunky and childish design. Get some new design cues Marc, you're out of date.

    And as far as I have seen, there is no all Black version, the top is always silver

  • Tom Ford

    I find that Marc's ego gets in the way of his designs – in the interview he confirms that he designs for himself as a consumer which is in direct opposite to someone like Dieter Rams or the late Achille Castiglioni, who designed for a wide range of users. Also Marc's pressumption that by adding colour one somehow expresses their personality through the product – this is pure advertising speak as products manufactured in huge quantities actually unify the diverse people using them. As for the camera – when he holds it it's obvious that the grip is insufficient, something that gets criticised over and over in camera reviews. It has all the Newson signature bevelled edges but I think that it takes a bit more to create a great camera – just look at the classic Pentax student cameras from the 70s. In the end it will be about the qualtity of photos it takes.
    Marc is being harsh on the engineers – essentially he has not re-invented the camera just re-styled it. The basic camera engineered features are still present, just in yellow rubber and anodised aluminium.

  • I think comments are spot on.

    In addition the “architecture” or relationships between forms (lens to body) and surfaces (metal to plastic) here lack clarity. Not his best work.

    Also I think Marc’s comment about designer / engineer is a reference to lack of a Jony Ive character in Pentax (or other brands). Marc – Jony are good chums.


  • antepostnow

    it was about time that a major player would collaborate with a celebrity designer in order to foster the need of the mini(bmw)-design-all-aspects-of-my-life-and-make-it-as-flashy-as-possible-generation to accessorize their lives – in addition, make it digestable by adding a bit of braun-rahmesque buttons and ivesque finishes. in that aspect, nice job.

  • Ross Walker

    The viewfinder was elininated so they could make it pretty? Give me a break. No viewfinder; no sale..

  • Function over form

    There is a reason why designers are not used as much. The K-01 is a good example. A hopelessly camera design for functioning the camera to actually get the photo you want. Buttons and dials are out of reach, but if it looks good to "somebody" in fashion I guess it must be good.