Pentax K30 -Out and About -A user review


pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#1
The Pentax K30 has been released for some time now (announced in May and available in about Jun'2012)
So why such a late review?
Its a personal camera that I got recently in December so I'd just like to share my impression on using this camera after a few months of usage.
(ie. yes, bought on my own money and not passed over by some distro to review)

With weather sealing, per lens AF fine tuning, 100% coverage viewfinder and 2 control wheels, so far (as of writing) features reserved for much higher end cameras, the K30 (on paper) promises to offer features never before seen in a 'entry' camera at its price point.
So does it deliver? (read on)



K30 -A veritable travel kit with small primes in a small bag.
Lenses :
UWA - DA15mm f4 ltd
Normal - FA31mm f1.8 ltd
Short Tele - FA77mm f1.8 ltd





Just for reference and as a base for the review :
Pentax K-30 specification highlights
1. 16.1MP CMOS sensor
2. In-body image stabilization
3. Weather-sealed polycarbonate body
4. ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25,600, with user-defined Auto ISO range)
5. 1080p HD movie recording at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second
6. Per-lens AF fine adjustment
7. Focus peaking
8. 2 scroll wheels for an 'entry' level/priced camera
9. 100% coverage viewfinder

For those interested in datasheets (and existing reviews):
Official site : PENTAX - K-30 Black
DPReview : Pentax K-30 Review: Digital Photography Review
ImagingResource : Pentax K-30 Camera - Review



Rather than bore anyone with spec sheets which are a google search away anyway.
I'd just cut to the chase.
Talk about the end results (photos) and user experience.


What better way than to go on a tour.....
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#2

View of the 101 from higher ground -a relief to be carry a less encumbering setup like the K30 and small primes
No joke as it was 10mins continuous fast pace up the flight of stairs up to the vantage point. (a decent pace as most guides say it needs to be 15-30mins)




Handling

In the hand, the camera feels pretty solid.
Plastic casing of the body is smooth, hard, sort of like perhaps a fridge or kitchen appliance.
A good thing, as its not some 'knocky', light feeling plastic that can sometimes be found on low end bodies.
The grip is deep and reassuring.
I find the weight to be good, not being overly heavy.



Top view - Quite a wealth of buttons for fast access
2 custom modes that can be configured by the user marked U1/U2 (again often a higher end camera feature)




Back view - Plenty of buttons arrayed to the right, so its easily accessed with the camera holding hand (with one hand)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8367/8552296115_016a80757a_z.jpg

Side view (left) - the RAW switch and AF mode switch

Theres plenty of buttons for fast access on the K30.
Some like the 2 dials, RAW/AF buttons are customizable too.
There are also 2 custom modes that can be saved by the user on the top dial.

For even more options, there is also the quick menu, which can be accessed at the push of the 'INFO' button.


Quick Menu -offering more often used settings not on the hard buttons
 

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joNWKng

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Dec 29, 2012
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#4
Thanks for the great and concise review! Definitely not late. Nice lens collection!
The K-30 has one of the best ergonomics and features amongst the crop-sensor cameras.
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#5

TaiZhong center.
Showing off good dynamic range on the K30 from 1 exposure making sure that shadows and highlights were not clipped.
Made easy with the super-imposed histogram mode available on the K30



The K30 offers a wealth of review modes.
Something that I find makes shooting and review easier.



One of my favorite review modes.
Histogram / camera settings / shadow+highlight clipping all showed within 1 review.
No need to move over multiple screens just to check histogram info




Showing off all the selectable review modes that the user can use



Another feature that I like is the user selectable 1 click zoom in review.
With one click of the scroll wheel, the user can easily check if the shot is accurate/sharp enough.
No need for multiple button presses on a 'magnify' button.
Fast zoom is selectable as 2x, 4x, 8x, x12, x16




From the above review, to x8 magnification with one click of the scroll wheel




Street vendor selling Taiwan sausages; Pingxi old town
 

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pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#6
Promoting this review to Front Page of CS :)

Wow! Thanks for the encouragement. :)



Thanks for the great and concise review! Definitely not late. Nice lens collection!
The K-30 has one of the best ergonomics and features amongst the crop-sensor cameras.
Thanks, glad you like it.
Yeah, the Limiteds are really nice lenses all things considered (optical quality, build, size).
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#7

CingJing Grassland -
The Sun was rising to the front and the nice golden light was rapidly fading with each increment of its position.
I wanted to retain the golden look that had caught my attention to stop at this spot.
The ability to preview result of white balance selection, made selecting a warmer w/b easy.
And I got the warm look I wanted.
Shot thru a Tianya polariser filter, which wasn't very flare resistant



Pentax cameras allow the user to preview the effect of white balance selection on the last taken photo.
The K30 retains this nice little touch, that makes w/b selection less of a try and try again procedure.
Very useful for the JPG shooter.
Useful to me too, even though I tend to shoot RAW as it means I need to tweak less later in post process.



small stream -Beitou geothermal park
Custom W/B in camera to take care of the funny color cast on my Tianya ND filter





Showing off how w/b can be previewed from the last taken photo.
 

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jaiyen

Senior Member
Jun 22, 2011
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#8
CingJing Grassland -
The Sun was rising to the front and the nice golden light was rapidly fading with each increment of its position.
I wanted to retain the golden look that had caught my attention to stop at this spot.
The ability to preview result of white balance selection, made selecting a warmer w/b easy.
And I got the warm look I wanted.
Shot thru a Tianya polariser filter, which wasn't very flare resistant

Pentax cameras allow the user to preview the effect of white balance selection on the last taken photo.
The K30 retains this nice little touch, that makes w/b selection less of a try and try again procedure.
Very useful for the JPG shooter.
Useful to me too, even though I tend to shoot RAW as it means I need to tweak less later in post process.

small stream -Beitou geothermal park
Custom W/B in camera to take care of the funny color cast on my Tianya ND filter

Showing off how w/b can be previewed from the last taken photo.
Nice.....
 

Oct 7, 2004
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0
#9
For a entry level camera like this it is very much worth every cents you pay for. Build in SR, fully weather seal & support AA battery are many plus for this camera. the white camera body goes ver well with the silver lens as well, it looks pretty cool.
You did a very good review & nice photos. Keep them coming.
 

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maverickh

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Mar 22, 2009
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#10
A step forward in bringing greater awarness amongst the community here about the PENTAX brand, and most importantly highlighting some of the features which are unique to this brand. Carry on the good work and well done. :thumbsup:



CingJing Grassland -
The Sun was rising to the front and the nice golden light was rapidly fading with each increment of its position.
I wanted to retain the golden look that had caught my attention to stop at this spot.
The ability to preview result of white balance selection, made selecting a warmer w/b easy.
And I got the warm look I wanted.
Shot thru a Tianya polariser filter, which wasn't very flare resistant



Pentax cameras allow the user to preview the effect of white balance selection on the last taken photo.
The K30 retains this nice little touch, that makes w/b selection less of a try and try again procedure.
Very useful for the JPG shooter.
Useful to me too, even though I tend to shoot RAW as it means I need to tweak less later in post process.



small stream -Beitou geothermal park
Custom W/B in camera to take care of the funny color cast on my Tianya ND filter





Showing off how w/b can be previewed from the last taken photo.
 

Aug 26, 2009
557
1
0
#11
Custom W/B in camera to take care of the funny color cast on my Tianya ND filter[/I]
for custom W/B are you able to change the K value?

one of my minor gripes with the K-r is that i cant manually set the K value for custom W/B
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#12
for custom W/B are you able to change the K value?

one of my minor gripes with the K-r is that i cant manually set the K value for custom W/B

Yes, it can be further tweaked with the Kelvin adjustments.
Thats how I got the W/B to be as close as possible to normal in the stream shot above.
 

orablue

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Jun 3, 2008
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#13
Thanks for the K30 review! Great pictures too!

One of the most under rated feature of Pentax entry DSLR (K30 included) is the ability to take AA batteries without a battery grip. You will have this warm and fuzzy feeling that backup power is always available :)

I also appreciate the inclusion of an electronic level meter too!

The scroll wheels don't feel as smooth as the one in K200D though.
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#14
Thanks for the K30 review! Great pictures too!

One of the most under rated feature of Pentax entry DSLR (K30 included) is the ability to take AA batteries without a battery grip. You will have this warm and fuzzy feeling that backup power is always available :)

I also appreciate the inclusion of an electronic level meter too!

The scroll wheels don't feel as smooth as the one in K200D though.
Thanks.


Yes, its a nice feeling knowing that it can take AA batteries.
Here's why :


K30 - battery and optional AA battery adapter

The K30 runs on its Li-on battery, for about 450 shots.
There are some who complain that its too little.
However, in use during the tour, it lasted a good full day with active shooting, often with about 1/4 battery life left for the next day.
To me, thats quite enough in practical use.
Anyway, as Li-on spares go nowadays, they are like $10 each off ebay. (I have 3 batteries)
There is also the optional AA battery adapter, which makes truly flat on battery juice quite unlikely.




PingXi old town
After about a week travelling, with night priorities given to take care of my 2 active children, I actually found myself left with about half battery power and 2 spare batts that I forgot to recharge.
Proceeded into a shop to grab 4 AA's 'just in case'.
I never did end up using the AA's (the 1/2 battery lasted for the half day I was in the town), but at least I did not have to over worry.



Some other shots from Pingxi


Pingxi is an old town that used to be part of the mining industry in the area.
Serviced by rail, but now certainly past its heyday.
Characterful little place.





The town is actually famous during CNY period for its sky lanterns.
Too bad was traveling with family which made going in the night to witness the event impossible.
This does not stop day visitors from releasing lanterns in the day just for luck and fun.
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#16
Travelling with a small DSLR and small primes

Perhaps I'd take the chance to touch on travelling with a small DSLR and some small primes.

I'm not only official family scribe, but also pack mule and man friday on a trip.
Yes, that means that other than having to try and get the best photos/memories for the family, I also need to lug around the pram, water (kids and adults), baby food/powder/diaper/etc, as well as change the diaper (or at least help out the Mrs with it).

The K30 with 3 small primes is a godsend to me.
No compromise in photo quality, handling and not too encumbering.
I never felt burdened down by the system throughout the whole trip.
Nor did I have to make any sacrifice in terms of focal length coverage which covered from 15mm (UWA - for wide views); 31mm (for most stuff); 77mm (for reach/portraits/isolation).

Here are some examples.


15mm (UWA) for most wide views



When even wider is needed - 3 frames stitched in Photoshop Elements taken with the same 15mm.
Also the Dynamic Range from the K30 is very good, the shaded areas within the station to the bright sunlit buildings outside all recovered from 1 RAW exposure.




31mm 'normal' - for most general uses



31mm or 77mm for the small things that catch our interest in a trip



77mm short tele for reach, isolation, portraits
 

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pinholecam

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Staff member
Jul 23, 2007
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#18
For a entry level camera like this it is very much worth every cents you pay for. Build in SR, fully weather seal & support AA battery are many plus for this camera. the white camera body goes ver well with the silver lens as well, it looks pretty cool.
You did a very good review & nice photos. Keep them coming.
A step forward in bringing greater awarness amongst the community here about the PENTAX brand, and most importantly highlighting some of the features which are unique to this brand. Carry on the good work and well done. :thumbsup:
hahaa..i like this
Thanks guys.
Glad you liked the shots/review.

Hopefully it clears some doubts for those considering the K30
 

zoom3

New Member
May 18, 2007
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Singapore
#20
Nice review JK.

A nice balance of words & pictures. Thanks for your effort :thumbsup:
 

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