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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38 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...

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.

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 John 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 is obviously correct. The term full frame is ridiculous. It was just as ridiculous when they started using it in the early days of digital cameras.

When it was just film and there were smaller than 35mm formats, we never used the term full frame. It was simply 35mm. There is no reason that same logic couldn't have been applied to digital.

As I said recently elsewhere, why not simply say 35mm? And in the rare cases where one is also discussing 35mm film cameras, just say 35mm digital.

While in the end it may be a wasted effort, but I agree with Dallas in that we shouldn't perpetuate misnomers.

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.

Sounds good to me. Anything that gets use closer to something that makes sense I'm all for. Unfortunately we live in a world where too many people are either too lazy, ignorant or simply don't care. That's why we have so many different terms and words to describe the same things, many of which do not make any sense. All that does is impede proper communication, understanding and learning.

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.

"From day 1 of full 35mm coverage on digital they’ve been using the term full frame."

I don't recall that, but yes the manufacturers are also to blame.

"I don’t think it does any good to blame people.."

It would if enough people were willing to do so.

"Knock on canons door rather than insulting the public.."

I simply stated a fact when I said "many people," not "the public," are ignorant, lazy or simply don't care.

Insulting someone and someone feeling insulted are two very different things. I am not insulting anyone.

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.

I have no interest in the history of the manufacturer involvement. Like I said, the manufacturer's are also to blame.

"I would either that whether you think the term is insulting or not,.."

I never said or suggested the term full frame is insulting. I don't know where you are getting that from. I simply find it to be a stupid and meaningless term.

It's not "tenuous" at all to say people interested in photography are also to blame because of ignorance, laziness or not caring. If people are wrong about something those are the usual reasons why. The only thing left are those who have really lost touch with reality.

"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."

Of course it does. Ultimately people are responsible for what they know and how they act. What you're describing and endorsing is the sheep mentality that leads to such nonsense in the first place.

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.

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 C'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.

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