Pentax K-30 review

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In line with Pentax's earlier SLRs the K-30 tends to capture plenty of detail at the risk of showing a little noise. We prefer this approach as it's easier to remove noise post capture than it is to add detail.

Although the native sensitivity setting runs from ISO 100-12,800, images captured at the upper value and at the expansion setting (ISO 25,600) have lots of chroma noise, which is visible in the shadows at normal printing sizes. There is no particular pattern or banding in the noise, so the images are ripe for post-capture editing. Nevertheless we would try to avoid these top two values.

The best results are produced at ISO 3200 and below and this gives the photographer plenty of scope for shooting with the sensitivity set to automatic with this as the upper limit.

Pentax K 30 review

Another area where the K-30 impresses is with its white balance. We used the auto white balance setting in a range of conditions and it performed extremely well, even coping with artificial lighting indoors. That's not to say that you won't want to make the occasional adjustment, but on the whole the colours are good.

We enjoyed using the digital filters and combining them with the Custom Image modes, but it's frustrating that they can't be employed with raw files. Ideally we'd like to be able to use the filters when shooting raw and JPEG files simultaneously to produce one 'filtered' JPEG image and one 'clean' raw file.

Pentax K 30 review

Similarly the 77-segment general purpose metering system does a good job in many situations. There is a tendency to underexpose when faced with scene that has bright areas, but it isn't quite so pronounced as with earlier Pentax cameras and at least it protects the highlights a little.

We found that the Highlight and Shadow Correction options are useful for drawing a little more out of the shadows and highlights. The in-camera HDR mode also produces effects that range from very subtle to overtly HDR depending upon which settings you choose. It's a shame that only the composite image is saved at the end though, it would be nice to have the constituent bracketed images to work on post capture.

With the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DA WR kit lens mounted the autofocus system is best described as adequate. In good light it's pretty quick, but as soon as light dips below ideal it becomes hesitant and indecisive.

Pentax K 30 review

The situation is much improved when a lens such as the DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR with an internal focusing motor is mounted, however, and focusing becomes much quicker and significantly quieter. Fortunately, the K-30 is also available as a kit with the 18-135mm lens and we recommend this option over the 18-55mm kit.

Although the K-30 has a claimed maximum continuous shooting rate of 6fps, we were only able to achieve 5fps when recording the highest quality JPEGs.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera Body Only
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANNo
Effective Camera Resolution16.3 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NamePentax
DurabilityDust Proof, Weather Resistant, Cold Proof
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Time Lapse Function, Continuous Shooting Mode, External Flash Shoe, Self-timer
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeOptical
Weight (Approximate)590 g
Image Sensor Size23.70 mm x 15.70 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4928 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height96.5 mm
Width128.5 mm
Depth71.5 mm
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerRicoh Imaging Company, Ltd.
Product ModelK-30
Product NameK-30 The Outdoor SLR
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio3:2
Manufacturer Part Number15667
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

This new mid-level model offers all standard SLR features and outstanding operability. All of that packed in a compact, weather-resistant, dustproof and lightweight body for worry-free outdoor photography.

This model is developed to help SLR beginners easily capture high-quality shake-reduced 16 megapixel images. The PENTAX K-30 combines a compact, lightweight body, equal in size to entry-class models. Many of its advanced features are found only in upper-class models, such as a weather-resistant, dustproof, cold-proof body and a glass prism finder with nearly 100% field of view. It also offers such handy features as a high-speed shooting of six images per second, a 1/6000 second high shutter speed, and a full-HD movie function. Coupled with a grip providing a firm, comfortable hold of the camera, and a sporty, functional design, it assures dependable, flawless performance on the field. It even offers a choice of three body colors: Crystal White and Crystal Blue, with brilliant, glossy finishes reminiscent of an exclusive sports car's finish; and Classic Black, for a traditional, classy SLR look.

Package Contents
  • K-30 The Outdoor SLR
  • Li-ion Battery DLI-109
  • Battery Charger D-BC109
  • AC Plug Cord D-CO2E
  • USB Cable I-USB7
  • Strap O-ST53
  • Eyecup
  • Hot Shoe Cover FK
  • Body Mount Cover
  • Software Media
Limited Warranty1 Year