Pentax K-01. Please send me a case of these cameras. They are quirky, eccentric and fun. I want more...

I guess I should confess that, at this point in my career, I just don't really give much thought to SUPER CAMERAS. If you sent me a Leica S2 or a professional  Canon or Nikon I'd turn right around to sell it and buy more whimsical cameras that make good images and make me smile. Cameras like the Pentax K-01.

It's just a crazy little camera with an intriguing and counter-intuitive, modernist design and lots of happy eccentricity piled on top. I read all about it when it first came out but at the time I had such a strong prejudice against cameras without viewfinders that I literally couldn't see why anyone would plunk down eight hundred dollars or more for a camera that focused like molasses and had one big, reverse cyclops viewing mechanism on the back.  But times and tastes change. I'm hardly as serious about cameras as I had to be when cherry picking between models was a necessity. Now almost all cameras use some variant of a Sony sensor (except for Canon which seems to love sensors with low noise and even lower dynamic range...) and the quality from brand to brand is uniformly good.

I was at Precision Camera here in Austin yesterday and I saw a yellow Pentax K-01 on the shelf. I'd just seen the camera on the web in low res photos and I enjoyed the opportunity to hold it in my hand and check it out. I was delighted. I love the control designs. I love the chunkiness of it. I love the retro/jet age/modernist/metro clunkiness of the whole design. I think it's brilliant. After walking around the store with the yellow used one in my hands I couldn't resist so I bargained like a rug trader and paid less for it than I did for the first really high density memory card I bought. It was a 64 megabyte compact flash card and it seemed to modify and then fulfill Bill Gates assertion that no one would need more than 640 Kb of storage. Only upgraded to 64 megabytes.... (Funny that now gigabyte cards are about as expensive as Tic-Tacs or a Starbuck's latte).

The camera is slow to focus but I have high hopes as I just now upgraded the firmware from 1.00 to 1.03. I'll be happy if it's improved but I'll be fine if I need to use it in the manual focus/focus peaking mode for the rest of my life.

The camera is designed like a Metropolitan car. It's that boxy. I shot with it for a few hot hours this morning and there's nothing really to say. The files are sharp and saturated. The menus got mastered in minutes. The screen on the back is good. It's better with a Hoodman Loupe (I should buy their stock...).  It's a perfect camera for someone would works slowly and methodically. 

I'm finished writing this particular entry because I'm impatient to go to Amazon and find a couple more. If all your cameras are serious tools then you are NOT having enough fun doing photography. This failed and lovable camera is just a blast. I could use four more. And I'd like to get one of the rare blue ones....anybody?


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