Pentax K-30 review

Dynamic range

All the DSLRs we have tested that use the same 16-million-pixel sensor as the Pentax K-30 have been particularly impressive in their measured dynamic range. In fact, the K-5 is right at the top of the list of all digital cameras we have tested, while the Nikon D5100 is right up there, too. They are
now joined by the K-30.

Many scenes contain a range of tones beyond the native dynamic range of any camera - a bright overcast sky and dark foreground, for example. In such situations, the K-30 has a couple of options. Highlight correction brings back information in highlight areas with on/off and auto options, while shadow correction brightens detail in the dark areas, and can be selected as auto or any one of three strength levels. Both these options appear to increase detail in an image, but in truth they brighten or darken existing information - the dynamic range remains the same. HDR mode, however, extends the dynamic range by up to ±3EV over three combined frames, once again for any one of three strengths or auto. The strongest HDR setting should be avoided, while auto can generally be relied upon.

As we would expect, the image processor creates JPEG files that are print-ready, with tonal compression applying adjustments to the highlight and shadow areas for punchy results, although at the cost of some shadow and midtone information.