Pentax K-1

Pentax K-1 front
  • 36MP - Full frame Sensor
  • 3.2" Fully Articulated Display
  • ISO 100 - 204800
  • Sensor based 5-axis Image Stabilization
  • No Anti-Alias Filter
  • 1/8000s Max Shutter
  • 1920 x 1080 video
  • Pentax KAF2 Mount
  • 1010g - 137 x 110 x 86mm
  • Introduced February 2016
  • Updated by Pentax K-1 II
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Pentax K-1 overview

Pentax K-1 is Pentax's Advanced DSLR camera originally introduced on February of 2016. The camera houses a 36MP, CMOS Full frame sized sensor and has a maximum resolution of 7360 x 4912.

Pentax introduced the more recent Pentax K-1 II (Read Full Comparison) in order to improve this camera.

The K-1 is ranked #8 out of 92 in Advanced DSLR cameras and all-around #66 out of 1465 for cameras in our list. Remember to check our Advanced camera search to find camera ratings based on your customized requirements.

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Below is a chart of multiple criteria used in the scoring system.

Pentax K-1 family

The Pentax K-1 comes with a history of related cameras. Underneath, you can discover all previous and more recent models alongside important features.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Pentax-K-1-Mark-II front thumbnailPentax K-1 II
K-1 vs K-1 II
36MPFull frame4.4 fps2018
Pentax-K-1 front thumbnailPentax K-136MPFull frame4.4 fps2016
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Pentax K-1 Pros and Cons

Below is a shortlist of pros and cons of the Pentax K-1 based on aspects that are oftentimes viewed as crucial in a camera.

above average ISO range (204,800)
above average min ISO (100)
big sensor size (Full frame)
does have Top display
does not have anti-alias filter
fully articulated screen
has image stabilization (Sensor based 5-axis)
has manual focus
high megapixels (36 megapixels)
high quality video (1920 x 1080 resolution)
includes HDMI socket
includes headphone socket
includes mic socket
interchangeable lenses (Pentax KAF2 mount)
max shutter speed is good (1/8,000 seconds)
nice clear screen (1,037 thousand dots)
provides face detect autofocus
provides tracking focus
saves RAW formats
screen size is good (3.2")
sensor has phase detect autofocus
two card slots
weather proof
display is not selfie friendly
heavier than others (1,010g)
not so great battery (760 per charge)
slow continuous shooting (4.4 frames/s)
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Pentax K-1 Sensor info

The measurement of the sensor in the Pentax K-1 is 35.9mm x 24mm (Full frame). The 862 mm² sensor can resolve 7360 x 4912 pixels and aspect ratios of 3:2. The camera includes Image Stabilization (Sensor based 5-axis). In body stabilization is better than digital stabilization as the latter may lead to cropping.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 36 megapixels and delivers a native ISO range of 100 - 204800. RAW photos are saved which means that the user has wider margin for error.

Pentax decided to skip the anti-alias filter for the Pentax K-1. This will result in more sharper photographs but could cause moire under certain situations.

The image below illustrates the K-1's sensor dimensions in comparison to other common sizes. The K-1 sensor comes with a crop factor of 1 and is presented in green.

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To get an understanding of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Pentax K-1 dimensions

Pentax K-1 weighs about 2.23 lb (1,010g / 35.63 oz) and the measurement of the camera is 137mm x 110mm x 86mm (5.4" x 4.3" x 3.4"). The weight of normal Advanced DSLR camera is 776g so the Pentax K-1 is more heavy when compared to its rivals.

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Below is a photo of the Pentax K-1 beside a soft drink to help you to have a sense of its scale.

Pentax K-1 dimensions scale

The top view directly below will highlight the button layout on the K-1.

Pentax K-1 topview buttons dials

Pentax K-1 Lens info

The K-1 uses the Pentax KAF2 mount and has 17 lenses on sale. Below is a few of the lenses we have in our collection which will fit the K-1.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Venus-Laowa-105mm-F2-Smooth-Trans-Focus-Pentax-KAF2 lensVenus Laowa 105mm F2 Smooth Trans Focus105mmf/2745g
Pentax-smc-DA-16-50mm-F2.8-ED-AL-IF-SDM lensPentax smc DA 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL IF SDM16-50mmf/2.8 565g
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Venus-Laowa-25mm-F2.8-2.5-5X-Ultra-Macro-Pentax-KAF2 lensVenus Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro25mmf/2.8400g
Samsung-D-Xenon-100mm-F2.8-macro lensSamsung D-Xenon 100mm F2.8 macro100mmf/2.8 345g
Venus-Laowa-100mm-F2.8-2X-Ultra-Macro-APO-Pentax-KAF2 lensVenus Laowa 100mm F2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO100mmf/2.8638g
Pentax-smc-DA-50-135mm-F2.8-ED-IF-SDM lensPentax smc DA 50-135mm F2.8 ED IF SDM50-135mmf/2.8 685g
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Pentax-smc-DA-60-250mm-F4.0-ED-IF-SDM lensPentax smc DA 60-250mm F4.0 ED IF SDM60-250mmf/4.0 1040g
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Pentax K-1 Connectivity

The K-1 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes
  • HDMI Yes
  • GPS Yes

Cameras that have NFC or Bluetooth compatibility are able to be controlled wirelessly through smartphones. You will be able to send pictures and oftentimes change settings without connecting straight to the camera.

Some applications even give a Liveview and click the shutter whenever you aren't near the camera. If the camera features a HDMI out, it can easily be attached to an external screen. The majority of cameras will allow you to recharge the battery through the USB socket.

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Pentax K-1 Video info

The maximum video quality in the Pentax K-1 is 1920 x 1080 and it can shoot in MPEG-4 and H.264 format. 1080p quality offers a decent balance in quality versus file sizes but FULL HD is not going to give you much room to crop. The camera does feature both headphone and mic socket making it incredibly useful whilst capturing sound.

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Pentax K-1 Weather Sealing

Pentax K-1 comes with weather sealing making it a very good pick to use in tough places. This is especially handy in case you are unsure about the conditions you may face in outdoor photography.

Pentax K-1 Display and Viewfinder

The Pentax K-1 is equipped with a 3.2 inch fully articulated screen supporting a resolution of 1,037 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the screen is not a touch screen. The K-1 also has a Top display allowing you to quickly checkout your settings.

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The ViewFinder details regarding Pentax K-1 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism)
  • ViewFinder Coverage 100%
  • ViewFinder Magnification 0.7x

In those bright outdoor conditions which make the camera screens washed out and tricky to view, viewfinders can be very helpful.

Pentax K-1 Shutter info

Pentax K-1 can shoot continuously at 4.4 frames/s. The maximum shutter speed is 1/8000 sec.

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Pentax K-1 Flash and Hot shoe info

Pentax K-1 includes external flash ability but does not include built-in flash. The highest flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Pentax K-1 Autofocus info

Pentax K-1 includes both Phase Detect Auto Focus and Contrast Based Auto Focus. Phase Detection focusing is more snappier & exact when compared to Contrast Based focusing. The camera supports Face detect making it handy for people photography.

It supports 33 focus points to choose from. It also features Tracking Auto Focus for moving objects. Pentax K-1 supports manual focusing in case it is required in low light scenarios or you need more exact focusing control.

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Pentax K-1 Battery life

The battery (D-LI90) for the Pentax K-1 is built to last for 760 images with respect to the CIPA benchmarks which is lower when compared to its rivals. The general Advanced DSLR camera battery life is 909. Nikon D780 offers the highest possible (2260) battery life in this category of cameras.

Here is a listing of Advanced DSLR cameras with the best battery life:

ModelVisualizeBattery LifeRAWNFCBluetooth
Nikon-D780 front thumbnailNikon D780
K-1 vs D780
2260 yesnoyes
Nikon-D850 front thumbnailNikon D850
K-1 vs D850
1840 yesyesyes
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Nikon-Df front thumbnailNikon Df
K-1 vs Df
1400 yesnono
Canon-EOS-90D front thumbnailCanon 90D
K-1 vs 90D
1300 yesnoyes
Nikon-D500 front thumbnailNikon D500
K-1 vs D500
1240 yesyesyes

Pentax K-1 for specific forms of photography

The following illustration indicates a analysis of the Pentax K-1 for specific forms of photography. To learn more, have a look at the specific section below.

Pentax K-1 Portrait photography highlights

The Pentax K-1 has a rating of 85 which is brilliant, meaning that it is a excellent pick for portrait images. Shooting portraits favors heavily to sensor dimension, support for RAW files in addition to the option to use external flash.

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manual focus
MP count excellent (36MP)
large sensor size (Full frame)
offers face detect autofocus
saves RAW formats

Pentax K-1 Street photography info

Having a very good rating of 70, the Pentax K-1 is a fine choice to buy for street photography. A good street photography camera comes with a good balance of picture quality and portability.

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screen articulates
has image stabilization (Sensor based 5-axis)
sensor size is big (Full frame)
supports RAW formats
environment sealing
above average high ISO (204,800)
more heavy than others in class (1,010g)

Pentax K-1 Sports photography factors

A fantastic sports photography points total of 76 means the Pentax K-1 is a tremendous choice for photographing sports. A camera really should have great autofocus and fast continuous shooting for sports photography.

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max shutter speed is good (1/8,000 seconds)
built in image stabilization (Sensor based 5-axis)
great sensor resolution (36MP)
sensor size is big (Full frame)
comes with tracking autofocus
environment proofing
supports phase detect autofocus
very slow continuous shooting (4.4 frames per second)
bad battery power (760 per charge)

Pentax K-1 as a Travel photography camera

Size is very critical in buying a camera for travel. Overall, the Pentax K-1 gets a reasonable 53 for a travelling camera which makes it somewhat acceptable to buy for your travels.

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environment sealing
high MP (36MP)
terrible battery pack (760 shots)
more heavy than others in class (1,010 grams)
does not have a selfie friendly display

Pentax K-1 Landscape photography information

If you're planning to pick a camera for landscape pictures, the most important aspect will be image quality. The Pentax K-1 with it's tremendous grade of 81 as a landscape camera is a great fit within the current market.

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manual focus
switch lenses (Pentax KAF2 mount)
good sized screen (3.2 inches)
image stabilization (Sensor based 5-axis)
MP count fantastic (36 megapixels)
big sensor size (Full frame)
doesnt have anti-alias filter
above average ISO range (204,800)
saves RAW formats
weather sealing
two card slots
terrible battery (760 CIPA)

Pentax K-1 Vlogging details

A camera for vlogging preferably should have a articulating screen, microphone port and preferably image stabilization. Considering everything, the Pentax K-1 is not good as a vlog camera as it receives a horrible score of 31.

OM System OM-1 Set to Enhance Autofocus
image stabilization (Sensor based 5-axis)
comes with face detect focusing
video resolution high (1920 x 1080 pxls)
does have mic port
does not contain selfie friendly display
heavier than competition in class (1,010g)

Pentax K-1 Alternatives

If you are interested in replacements to the K-1, here is a number of the top ranked cameras that fall into the category of Advanced DSLR.

The chart down below will give you a summary of the K-1 compared to it's top ranked competitors listed earlier.

There are a bunch of cameras you may take a look at as alternate options. To browse through a full comparison, just click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Pentax K-1
Advanced DSLR
Physical type
Mid-size SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Full frame
Sensor dimensions
35.9 x 24mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
36 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
Maximum resolution
7360 x 4912
RAW files
Maximum native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
Touch focus
Autofocus continuous
Autofocus single
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detect focus
Contract detect focus
Phase detect focus
Total focus points
Cross type focus points
Lens mount type
Pentax KAF2
Total lenses
Crop factor
Display type
Fully Articulated
Display diagonal
Resolution of display
1,037 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch capability
Viewfinder Information
Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
DXO Color Depth rating
DXO Dynamic range rating
DXO Low light rating
Slowest shutter speed
Maximum shutter speed
Continuous shooting rate
4.4 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation
Custom white balance
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash distance
no built-in flash
Flash options
Auto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Trailing Curtain Sync, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Maximum flash synchronize
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Video resolutions
1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
Maximum video resolution
Video file format
MPEG-4, H.264
Mic port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
1010g (2.23 lb)
Physical dimensions
137 x 110 x 86mm (5.4" x 4.3" x 3.4")
Battery life
760 pictures
Style of battery
Battery Pack
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec, custom)
Time lapse recording
Type of storage
Card slots
Pricing at launch