Pentax K-30 review


Despite being Pentax's entry-level DSLR, the core of the K-30 is heavily influenced by its bigger brother, the enthusiast-level K-5, which can only be a good thing. As with the K-01, the Prime M processor and imaging sensor are both updated versions of those in the K-5. The main refinement to the K-30's 16.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor is its improved handling of HD video files, while the processor is claimed to improve live view and reduce energy consumption.

With a refined version of the K-5 sensor, we can expect the low-light performance to be very good. Indeed, DNG raw and JPEG files can be captured in a native ISO range of 100-12,800, which is expandable up to 25,600. The K-5 extends to ISO 51,200.

Like many other Pentax DSLRs, the K-30's imaging sensor features shift stabilisation, which means that none of the company's lenses requires optical stabilisation. The sensor-shift feature also enables vibration cleaning that can be activated on start-up and/or shut-down, a dual-axis electronic level gauge and the unique astrotracer shooting mode.

Photographers are likely to appreciate the volume of genuinely useful shooting modes. These include multiple exposure for up to nine frames (with the option for auto EV adjustment) and interval shooting for up to 999 frames down to 3sec intervals with the option to select the start time. Other useful features are correction for lens distortions, highlight and shadow information, auto horizon and composition adjustment.

A 6fps burst mode (the K-5 shoots at 7fps), 19 scene modes, seven digital filters (including toy camera) and HDR are also available. High-speed burst is possible for up to 30 full-resolution JPEG files, while the HDR mode offers a choice of three levels of strength, recorded in a single press of the shutter over three combined frames. Handily, for the custom image colour mode and the digital filters, a test image can be taken using the raw/fx button, and the effect of each filter viewed on that test image prior to shooting.

Image: The multiple-exposure shooting mode can combine up to nine frames and apply auto EV adjustments to the final image, which is the case in this three-frame exposure