Features & Controls

The K-30 sports a 16-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor, with integrated dust and shake reduction. The camera can shoot at burst speeds up to 6 frames per second, and record full 1080p HD video at up to 30 frames per second. The Pentax K mount accepts KAF3, KAF2, KAF, and KA lenses. At last count, the Pentax K-mount accepted more than 25 million lenses, dating from 1975. With DA, DA L, and FA J lenses, the camera works in all capture modes, though with other lenses some functions are unavailable or restricted.

Pentax K-30 WR Sealing Drawing.jpg
The body of the K-30 is made of reinforced polycarbonate over stainless steel and has a operating temperature range of 14-104°F (-10 to 40°C). The body is sealed throughout to protect against the elements.

I wouldn't take my SLR into the pool without an underwater housing even though the body design of the K-30 is touted as fully weather-sealed. But the design certainly provides comfort in case you get caught in a sudden downpour.

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Focus mode is controlled by the focus mode switch on the camera body. The three positions allow you to select AF single, AF continuous, or manual focus. Continuous auto focus is only available when the mode dial is set to P, Sv, Tv, Av, TAv, or M.

The camera uses SAFOX IXi+ TTL phase-detection auto focus with four selectable modes: 11-point Auto , 5-point Auto, User-Selectable (with Expanded Area AF), and Center.

When framing your shot with the LCD using live view, however, the camera uses contrast detection AF, which can be slower to lock onto a subject.

Farther up the camera body is the dedicated RAW/Fx button. By default this button launches RAW+ format so the camera saves both a JPEG and a RAW file simultaneously. You can also customize this button to launch other features, such as exposure bracketing, depth-of-field preview in the viewfinder, or digital preview on the LCD.

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The mode dial on top of the camera offers 12 positions that give you quick access to a variety of shooting modes, including seven exposure modes, movie recording, scene modes, and two custom positions for user-selected settings.

Mode selection: Hyper Program (P), Sensitivity Priority (Sv), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Shutter & Aperture Priority (TAv), Hyper Manual (M), Bulb (B), User (U1, U2), Scene (SCN), Auto Picture (AUTO), Movie

Auto Picture modes: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Blue Sky, Forest

Scene modes: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Forest, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG), Night Snap, Food, Pet, Kids, Surf & Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum

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The rear e-dial sits just below the mode dial on the back of the body, above the LCD. In Manual mode, this dial sets the aperture. Depending on the shooting mode, it also can be used to set the shutter speed and EV compensation values. When accessing menus, you can use the rear dial instead of the four-way controller to change the menu or settings. In playback mode, it is used to control the Index and Magnify options. Along with the front dial and the green button beside the shutter button, its functions can be customized dependent upon the shooting mode.

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The 3-inch TFT LCD has a resolution of 920,000 dots. Nearby, right below the rear dial sits the AF/AE-L button. The default setting is that the button performs autofocus (as does pressing the shutter button half-way). You can choose to disable shutter-button AF and only have this button perform autofocus. As well, you can use the AF/AE-L button to cancel autofocus altogether when held down, or to use it for auto exposure lock.

As the icons indicate on the four-way control buttons, these offer quick access the corresponding settings: ISO, drive mode and timer, white balance, and flash.

Above the four-way controller sits the Playback button, and below it the Info and Menu buttons. The buttons are well placed and, along with the rear dial, offer quick access to settings.

The Info button delivers you to a menu selection of five information display options: Standard, Detailed, Histogram, RGB Histogram, and No Information. When viewing the histogram or RGB histogram, using the up/down arrows on the four-way control will alternate the playback between the two modes.

The Menu button pulls up a wealth of settings and customizable options.

Alone on the left side of the back panel is the Live View/Trash button, which launches live view when in shooting mode, for using the LCD to frame your shots. Unfortunately, the screen is fixed and does not fold out or allow you to angle it in any way for getting more creative angles. In playback mode you use this button to delete photos.

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Immediately below the shutter button is the front e-dial. Behind it are a customizable green button and a dedicated exposure value button. In Manual mode, for example, the front dial adjusts the shutter speed. Like the rear dial, the front dial can be used to scroll through menus, and can be customized to perform different functions in different shooting modes. By default in playback mode, it scrolls through images. The green button is generally used to reset a menu value that you're adjusting, such as shutter speed, and can be customized to launch ISO Auto in some shooting modes.

After pressing the exposure value button, you use the rear dial to adjust EV.

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The P-TTL pop-up flash has a wide angle equivalent of 28mm and has an optimum range of roughly 2.3 to 16.4 feet. You pop up the spring-loaded flash using the dedicated button (pictured at bottom right).

Flash modes: On, Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Wireless

Flash exposure compensation: -2 to 1 EV (1/2 steps)

Between the hinges of the pop-up flash sits the hot shoe, which works with an optional external flash. This allows the use of additional flash modes, such as high-speed sync and P-TTL auto flash, the availability of which may depend on the lens used. The following external flashes from Pentax are compatible with the K-30: AF540FGZ, AF360FGZ, AF200FG and AF160FC.

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The viewfinder's diopter is adjustable using a slide lever that sits behind the rubber eye cup. You can adjust it without removing the eye cup, though it's probably easier to slide the eye cup up and off before adjusting the diopter to your eyesight.

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.