Pentax Officially Discontinues the Excellent K-1 Camera, Mark II Version Likely Coming

Pentax Officially Discontinues the Excellent K-1 Camera, Mark II Version Likely Coming

The Pentax K-1 was, at its release, one of the best values one could get for any full-frame camera, with a feature set that rivaled and in some ways exceeded those of cameras twice its price. Pentax is now officially discontinuing the camera, but a second version is likely in the works.

We were generally big fans of the Pentax K-1 in our review. It came with some new lenses that were optically quite good, and the camera itself produced gorgeous files full of dynamic range and with excellent noise control. It also featured in-body stabilization, pixel-shift technology, lighted controls and lens mount, AstroTracer, was rugged, and had an almost ludicrously good price point for such a feature-rich full-frame camera. The only real downside was its lackluster autofocus performance that made it hard for me to recommend it to the wedding crowd or the like. Nonetheless, it was (and remains) a top-notch option for landscape photographers or anyone else who doesn't need top-shelf autofocus. Today, the official Ricoh Czech Republic Facebook page announced the discontinuation of the camera (though it seems the announcement was accidentally published a bit early); however, Pentax Rumors is reporting that a Mark II version is in the works, which should please the small, but fiercely loyal Pentax crowd. If the company can improve on the original version's autofocus performance while keeping a similar price point, they'll have a real winner that might bring more photographers to the Pentax side of the table.

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34 Comments

Black Rock's picture

Loved Pentax, but the K-1 is a swan song of such a great brand.

It has always been a niche market brand and always will be. It never set out to be a Canon planned obsolesce type brand.

Canon planned obsolescence ? Really ?

Would have been nice if it were more affordable

Spy Black's picture

$1800 for a full frame 36 meg camera is expensive?

It is not that expensive. Compare specs to specs and it is a bargain.

Dallas Dahms's picture

35mm frame. Not "full frame".

Spy Black's picture

..and your point is?

Dallas Dahms's picture

The frame of this camera is 35mm. What is "full frame"? Micro four thirds is full frame. So is Fujifilm X mount. So is Hasselblad X1D. Why does 35mm seem to be the only format that lays claim to this so-called "full frame" moniker? It's because people who don't know what they are talking about are perpetuating a misnomer all over the internet.

Shaun Whitson's picture

Micro-four thirds is much smaller than 35mm full frame. Fuji-X is APS-C. Hasselblad X1D is medium format. They all have different size sensors. It goes back to film and how 35mm film was standard.

Dallas Dahms's picture

And every lens designed for those systems covers the "full frame" of the sensor. What makes 35mm so special that it alone deserves the moniker "full frame"?

It doesn't. The only reason why people use that term is because for years and years Nikon and Canon have been putting sensors smaller than the format their mount was designed for, resulting in a cropped image when the lenses for that system were used on it. So when they eventually made their 35mm cameras with the proper size sensor in them they called them "full frame" sensors. The term was never intended to be interchangeable with the 35mm format. Yet here we are...

David Penner's picture

Wow you must be fun at parties.. Full frame is what they called it.. Deal with it. If you are getting this upset about the term full frame how mad to you get at the term medium format. That isnt a standardized size in the digital world. Hell even crop sensor isnt standardized. Out of all the sizes the only one that is consistant is full frame.

Dallas Dahms's picture

Whatever dude. Enjoy your day.

David Penner's picture

I will enjoy my day not worrying about terminology people use that doesnt really matter.

The real question should be why is 35m Full Frame smaller than Medium Format and who decided Large Format is the Large ??? :)

Fritz Asuro's picture

LOL! Where the heck did you learn such knowledge? The term for 35mm format is called full frame after the invention of smaller formats.

Dallas Dahms's picture

See above reply.

Hans Rosemond's picture

They call it "full frame" because back when digital SLRs became popular, they were all cropped sensors. It was a big deal when a sensor came out that used the FULL 35mm frame rather than the center crop. It was the original 1Ds, I believe. The full frame moniker has stuck around since then.

Dallas Dahms's picture

I believe the least confusing moniker for 35mm cameras is the "135 system". That way the people who don't know about anything else outside of what Nikon, Canon and Pentax manufacture won't confuse it with a lens focal length.

But I suppose it is too much to hope for and not helped at all when publishers continue to use the wrong language in their articles.

Hans Rosemond's picture

I don’t think it does any good to blame people for been lazy or ignorant. If you want to blame anyone, blame the camera companies. From day 1 of full 35mm coverage on digital they’ve been using the term full frame. Knock on canons door rather than insulting the public or media who have adopted the nomenclature that was provided from the start.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Bob, if you look at the marketing materials from Canon promoting the 1Ds back in the day, they were promotion it as full frame. They are using the same terms to promote the 5D Mark IV. I would either that whether you think the term is insulting or not, it’s tenuous observation to make. Just because people, being the public or not, use terms that have been established by the makers of the cameras they are describing does not make them lazy or ignorant. In fact, I would say it made them efficient, as communication about full frame sensors is easiest when using the manufacturers own terminology.

Hans Rosemond's picture

Riiiight. Cool, I’ll start calling medium format digital “not-quite medium format” while I’m at it. And no, what leads to people calling full frame that is because that’s what it’s called by the people who developed it. Not because of a sheep mentality. There’s bucking the system and there’s just being contrary for the sake of it. Lest we be sheep, let’s also get rid of the terms “dodging and burning” since neither dodging nor burning occur in photoshop as they do in the darkroom.

Hector Papa's picture

The term 35mm is more associated with the cinematic standard and preexisted the photographic term. The film used on still cameras was just the motion picture film run horizontally, as opposed to the cinema cameras that run it vertically, resulting to a bigger frame size. “Full Frame” was coined dusting the current era of the DSLRs, as described above, and because the lines between still and motion cameras are blended, having a term that represents two different sizes just creates a marketing and a communication nightmare.

Spy Black's picture

If they do follow up with a new model, I hope they bring the AF system into this decade. Actually giving this camera a modern AF system is all it really needs.

Denys Polishchuk's picture

AF and a USB 3.0 ;)

Jen Photographs's picture

What I heard was: the "discontinuation" was a translation error; rather they meant to announce a discontinuation of a promotional deal that was going on. I didn't investigate and can't confirm, though. Take this with a grain of salt.

I did, however, read an article recently in which a high level exec or CEO (can't recall) talked about the need for a flagship camera. Between that and them discontinuing the K3ii (and possibly k1?), I suspect there's a new crop camera in the pipeline.

Alex Cooke's picture

Yeah, I was wary of the automatic Facebook translation too, but a couple native Czech speakers confirmed it. My guess is they got a call from Ricoh HQ who probably weren't happy, as it was probably internal info only intended for dealers. It's unusual to announce the discontinuation of a model before the introduction of the next iteration, and it makes it extremely difficult for dealers to move stock then.

Jen Photographs's picture

I'm hoping we don't have to wait till 2018 for the k1 or k3ii replacement. I'm getting close to needing an upgrade.

Alex Cooke's picture

I would love to see a K-1 replacement with better AF soon. It's a spectacular camera at a great price otherwise.

I have been reading the comments with amusement. The 35mm size was arbitrary. Barnack invented a stills camera that could use 35mm motion picture film. He doubled the frame to 36x24, and it became the world standard.

Medium format "full frame" is either 6x6 cm, 6x7 cm, or 6x4.5 cm. AFAIK, there aren't any digital sensors that large. The 100mp Phase One chip is 4.38 cm × 3.29 cm, Eventually there will be, as the cost of chips continues to decline.

BTW, a competing website holds that the difference between FF 35mm and medium format is negligible.

Also, keep in mind that a digital camera is a computer with a lens, and Moore's Law applies. IOW, it will be obsolete in ~2 years, so calm down everyone.

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