Pentax K-30 review

Autofocus

The Pentax K-30 makes use of an updated Safox IXi+ AF sensor module. This features 11 AF points, nine of which are the more sensitive cross-type, with 11-point, 5-point, centre-point or individually selectable point modes, and options for face detection and tracking AF (both of which work in video
and stills capture).

The lenses in front of the module have also been improved, with Pentax stating that the new lens minimises chromatic aberrations - a factor that inhibits the consistency and effective operation of
an AF system. A ‘select-area expansion' function is also new - for continued subject tracking even when the subject moves out of the pre-assigned auto-tracking area.

In a variety of lighting conditions and using different standards of lenses, the contrast-detection AF system is speedy and, on the whole, accurate. Even in low-contrast light, with the help of the
AF assist beam, the camera is able to focus on close-range static subjects with ease and minimal ‘hunting'. It is important, however, to select the ‘correct' option for the scene to achieve speedy and accurate AF, otherwise the camera can struggle. It is in such situations, when using the 18-55mm kit lens, where noisy AF becomes obvious. This is a major gripe I have with most Pentax AF lenses - it is hard to remain unobtrusive when using AF. In this respect, the camera feels clunky, even though it is, on the whole, snappy.

I have not directly compared the new Safox IXi+ AF sensor module when tracking moving subjects in the K-30 against the older version in the K-5, but in its own right the new module is suitable for its target audience. Slow-moving subjects are tracked with accuracy, but for fast subjects and low-light action shots, a more sophisticated system is required.