Pentax Ricoh and acclaimed designer Marc Newson have joined forces to create a new 16 megapixel mirrorless camera and a new pancake lens that's claimed to be the world's thinnest interchangeable lens. The Pentax K-01 interchangeable lens camera (pronounced "kay zero one") is also said to be compatible with over 25 million previously-produced Pentax K-mount lenses.

With body-only dimensions of 4.8 x 3.1 x 2.3 inches (121.9 x 78.7 x 58.4 mm), Pentax Ricoh's new, Newson-designed Pentax K-01 is a little on the chunky side, being a good inch (25.4 mm) thicker than Nikon's J1 and gaining over half an inch (15.6 mm) on Sony's NEX 7. In case you're wondering about the company name, Pentax Imaging officially became Pentax Ricoh when Ricoh acquired the HOYA brand in October last year.

The new K-01 has dispensed with the optical viewfinder in favor of just a 3-inch, 921,000 dot LCD display with a 170 degree viewing angle. Inside its machined aluminum frame - with rubberized accents and the designer's autograph logo stamp near the battery door on the bottom - is a 16 megapixel APS-C sized (23.7 x 15.7mm) CMOS sensor that's capable of full 1080p HD video capture at 30 frames per second, and 60 frames per second at 720p resolution. There's a built-in flash for those occasions when the ISO100 - 25600 sensitivity is not enough, in addition to a hot-shoe mount that's compatible with Pentax digital flash units.

The camera benefits from JPG (8-bits per channel color depth) and RAW (12-bits per channel color depth) image format support, sensor-shift image stabilization, and is capable of six frames per second burst shooting. There's a P/A/S/M settings and exposure dial (although the K-01's dial is labeled P/Av/Tv/M, where Av is aperture priority and Tv is shutter priority) on the top which can be used to activate the in-camera HDR feature, access numerous scene modes or turn the flash off.

Its Li-ion battery promises 540 images between charges, there's SD, SDHC, SDXC media card support and USB 2.0 and HDMI ports.

The Pentax K-01 will be available from March 2012 in black, white or yellow for a body only price of US$749.95, or $899.95 with that svelte new 0.36 inch (9.2 mm) thin, unifocal smc Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 XS lens. The lens will also be available separately for $249.95.

Product pages: Pentax K-01, XS lens

Have a look at the following in-house interview with Newson, where he talks about designing the new camera:

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