Pentax K-30 dSLR Review

Review posted 08/06/2012

Quick Take
  • High image quality
  • Good button placement and control dials
  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • Solid, weather-sealed body
  • ISO range of 100 to 12800
  • Sensor-shift shake and dust reduction
  • Live view on high-resolution 3-inch LCD
  • Able to run on AA batteries
  • Records 1080 HD video at 30 fps
  • High dynamic range (HDR) mode
  • Battery life from the Li-ion battery could be better
  • Auto magnify does not work with live view and manual focus
  • Contrast detection AF (used with live view) can be a little slow
  • Auto focus can be slow to adjust during movie recording
  • LCD is fixed and does not articulate
  • No HDMI port
Bottom Line
The Pentax K-30 offers a lot of features, is fast, and provides ample buttons and dials to make quick adjustments. It delivers high image quality, records pleasing HD video, and is sturdy and weatherproof. Even if you're not the outdoorsy type, all its other attributes make the K-30 worth a serious look. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
For 2012, PENTAX has added a new mid-level dSLR to their popular K-series; the K-30. While I wouldn't recommend taking one of these underwater, the K-30 has been designed with over 80 weather-resistant body seals to make the camera hold up in wet, dusty, and sub-freezing conditions. All of which will protect the inside of the camera and its 16-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor that, when paired with the PENTAX PRIME M engine, allows for full 1080p HD video recording at up to 30 frames per second as well as full resolution 6 frames-per-second high-speed burst shooting.

Despite all the advanced controls and customization (such as the RAW/Fx multi-function button which can be programed to bring up various functions or swap recording formats), the K-30 is an ideal camera for novices looking to jump up to a dSLR. A state-of-the-art SAFOX IXi+ AF (AutoFocus) sensor module grabs the sharpest focus in any condition, while there are also Auto Picture modes to help you find the best settings for your present conditions, 19 Creative Scene Modes, and 19 Creative Digital Filters. All of which can be combined to create bold and unique and fun photos. The SR (Shake Reduction) Mechanism ensure your videos will be like all those shaky cam Hollywood blockbusters as well as preventing blurry photos in low-light conditions. If that weren't enough, the SR Mechanism has a build in Automatic Horizon Correction to keep your shots level.

PENTAX K-30 dSLR Features:
  • 81 seals for weather, dust, and cold resistance
  • Proven to work in subfreezing temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C)
  • 16-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor
  • Fixed 3.0-inch LCD monitor (921K dots)
  • Live View allows for framing with the LCD
  • Optical Viewfinder with 100% field of view
  • PRIME M engine
  • ISO 100-12800
  • SAFOX IXi+ AF (Auto Focus) sensor module
  • 6 frames per second high-speed burst shooting
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording (up to 30FPS in 1080p, or up to 60FPS in 720p)
  • Auto Picture
  • 19 Creative Scene Modes
  • SR (Shake Reduction) Mechanism
  • Automatic Horizon Correction
  • Composition Adjustment
  • ASTROTRACER Mode (to eliminate light trails during astronomical photography)
  • 11 Custom Image Functions, including Bleach Bypass and Cross Process
  • 19 Creative Digital Filters, including Miniature
  • 77 segment multi-pattern metering system for accurate light metering
  • DR (Dust Removal) mechanism for the CMOS sensor
  • Dynamic Range Expansion Functionality
  • RAW/Fx multi-function button for one-the-fly switching between formats and other functions
  • Retrieve and save RAW data from buffer when shooting in JPEG
  • SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 Included (RAW processing engine)
  • Included li-ion battery capable of taking up to 480 pictures
  • Optional D-BH109 AA Battery holder allows the camera to run on 4 AA batteries
  • Optional GPS unit O-GPS1

PENTAX's K-30 dSLR is available in three body colors -- crystal white, crystal blue, and traditional black - with a body-only MRSP of $849.95 USD as well as in a kit with the DA L 18-55mm zoom lens with an MSRP of $899.95 USD.

The new PENTAX-DA 50mm f/1.8, is available for $249.95 USD.

What's in the box?:
  • USB Cable I-USB7
  • Battery Charger Kit K-BC109
  • Hotshoe Cover FK
  • Body Mount Cover
  • Focusing Screen MF-60 Frame Matte
  • Li-Ion Battery D-LI109
  • Strap O-ST53
  • Eyecup FR
  • Finder Cap for ME
  • Software CD-ROM

Additional Product Views:
WR Sealing Drawing.jpg

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.