Review of the K-30 by a shy Pentaxian


Jan 10, 2010
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#1
Hi guys,

I got my blue K-30 less two weeks ago, upgrading from a white K-x. I'm still reading through the manual, figuring out the optimal settings for me. I was going the post a thread about the differences between K-30 and a K-5 and to discuss the settings for both cameras, but since there is a request for a review of the K-30, I will do a quick comparison of the K-30 to the K-x/K-r and to the K5, based on what I read at imaging resource on the K5.

Here are pics of my blue K-30 with the FA77. Pardon if the pics look bad, they were taken using a K-x and the surface is really shiny.
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Specs summarised from Dpreview:
Max resolution 4928 x 3264
Other resolutions 4224 x 2816, 3456 x 2304, 2688 x 1792
Effective pixels 16.3 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 16.5 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.7 x 15.7 mm)
Processor Prime M
ISO Auto, 100 to 12800, in 1, 1/2, 1/3 EV steps (25600 Extended)
White balance presets 9
Custom white balance Yes (3)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Image stabilization notes With rotational compensation (3 stops max)
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Good, Better, Best
Number of focus points 11 (9 cross points)
Lens mount Pentax KAF2 mount
Focal length multiplier 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3"
Screen dots 921,000
Screen type TFT LCD monitor with brightness/color adjustment and AR coating
Viewfinder type Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage 100 %
Viewfinder magnification 0.92×
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/6000 sec
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes (Pop-up)
Flash range 12 m (at ISO 100)
External flash Yes (Hot-shoe, Wireless)
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Red-eye,Slow Sync, Slow Sync+ Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Wireless
Continuous drive Yes (6, 3 fps)
Self-timer Yes ( 2 or 12 seconds)
Exposure compensation ±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB Bracketing No
Videography Format
MPEG-4
H.264
Microphone Mono
Speaker Mono
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30,25,24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60,50,30,25,24 fps), 640 x 424 (30,25,24 fps)
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI No
Environmentally sealed Yes (Weather and dust resistant)
Battery description Lithium-Ion D-LI109 rechargeable battery & charger or 4 x AA batteries (with the optional AA battery holder D-BH109)
Battery Life (CIPA) 410
Weight (inc. batteries) 650 g (1.43 lb / 22.93 oz)
Dimensions 130 x 97 x 71 mm (5.12 x 3.82 x 2.8")
Orientation sensor Yes (Dual axis, pitch and roll)
Timelapse recording Yes (999 shots, 3 sec to 24 hr interval, time delay)
GPS Optional O-GPS1

Availability:
It's about $900 for the black version, body only, and about $1000 for the blue and white version with the black DAL18-55 lens. It should also be available in black with either the DAL18-55 lens, with the 18-135 lens or the 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR lenses at the usual Pentax stores in Funan and Sim Lim and Manly. Pentax webstore sg has bundles with DA18-55 WR or DA40XS as well.

First impressions:
The camera feels very solid and rugged. The weight is right in between a K-X and a K-5, while the dimensions are just slightly smaller than a K-5. The camera strap is attached using modern strap loops like the K-x/K-r unlike the noisy metal D-rings on the K-5. The rubber weather seals are very tight and it seems like the camera can take a splashing if you have a WR lens, but I don't think you should consider running the camera under a tap or dunking it in water unless you want to spoil your camera or lens. The camera is very easy to hold and almost all the controls are at your fingertips. Differences from the K-x are the auto focus assistant lamp and the much higher resolution rear display (used in K-r, K-5 and K-01) and the display of AF points in the viewfinder. The viewfinder now uses a pentaprism so it is brighter and offers 100% coverage like the K-5/K-7 compared to the K-x/K-r. Difference from the K-5 is that it does not have a duplicate rear facing IR receiver and lamp for using the remote control behind the camera. The shutter is not as whisper quiet as the K-5, but not as loud as the K-x, quite comparable to canikon full frames at the wedding I attended.

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Controls:
The controls are a step up from the K-x/K-r, with dual control dials that allow you to use hyper program mode (you can instantly shift to aperture or shutter priority by setting one of them with a dial). Unfortunately, the K-30 does not allow the user to specify the program line (Auto, higher shutter speeds, shallow DOF, MTF or normal) like the K5. If using Av or Tv mode, it can be configured so that the other dial adjusts ISO or exposure compensation). The mode dial is on the left side and now only has one SCN mode, instead of indicating all the different scenes on the K-x/K-r and also has 2 user modes for custom settings. The K-5 mode dial is on the right and has to be unlocked by pressing the button in the centre, and has only 1 user mode position (the 5 user settings have to be selected via menu) and has a X sync mode and no SCN modes. The K-30 has no dedicated optical DOF preview on the on/off switch but it can be assigned to the raw/fx button.

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On the left side, the K-30 has a AF lever that can be switched to AF.S, AF.C and MF as well as a raw/Fx button like the K-5. On top, it loses the top lcd display of the K-5, and has the exposure compensation and green button like the K-x/K-r. On the rear, the button layout is similar to the K-x/K-r, but with the AF/AE-L shifted inwards and the LV button sharing the same position as the delete button at the top left corner. The flash button has been shifted to the left side near the flash. Overall, it feels easier to reach each button, but might take some time getting used to it.

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Last edited:
Jan 10, 2010
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#2
Autofocus and Metering:
Autofocus is now much faster and more decisive that the K-x/K-r, similar to the K-5. The low light/tungsten focusing issue is supposed to be solved, but haven't had a chance to test it out. Metering is very accurate and should be similar to K-5 since it also uses 77 segments, and it does not need any EV compensation unlike the K-x/K-r which needed +0.7ev normally in my experience.

Sensor and Processor
The K-30 uses the same sensor as the K-01 and Sony Nex-5N which is a variation of the one used in the K-5, Nikon D7000, so image quality is comparable across these cameras. However ISO is limited to 100-12800 (25600 extended) compared to K-5 which has the same standard range but can be extended to (80-512000). As both the K-30 and K-01 use the new Prime M processor, image processing and review are faster than those using the old Prime II processor (K-x/K-r/K-7/K-5). Sensor stabilisation includes rotational stabilisation like the K-5, and can be used for up to 2 degrees of horizon correction like the K-5, not available on the K-x. the K-5 has an effective ultrasonic sensor cleaning mechanism not found on the K-30. Both K-30 and K-5 have dual axis levels (roll and pitch), but the pitch information can only be viewed on the rear display via a specially chosen mode or in liveview. K-5 raws are 14 bit compared to 12 bits in the K-30 giving more dynamic range if processing the raws manually.

Drive Modes:
Drive modes are similar to K-x/K-r, which means that they lack modes for continuous burst remote capture and mirror lock up and mirror lock up with remote control. However mirror lockup can still be done using self timer or remote control with 3s. For low speed continuous burst, it is 3 fps, which is more useful than K-5's 1.6 fps, while high speed is 6fps vs 7fps on K-5. Exposure bracketing is limited to 3 frames, unlike the 2,3, or 5 on the K-5. K-30 also has interval shooting like the K-5 but not found on K-x, and the multiple exposure setting mode in the menu in Pentax cameras that can be used for creative image addition effects or for image averaging effects which can be used in place of a ND filter to capture milky water (8 averaged exposure = ND6). Raws can be saved for multiple exposures but not HDR.

Image settings
For custom image settings, applicable to jpegs, the K-30 has the radiant setting (boosts yellow and blue axis) which the K-x/K-5 does not have. There are also the bleach bypass and reversal film image settings which the K-5 has but the K-x does not. For the image settings parameters, the K-5 has additional settings for contrast highlight, contrast shadow, fine sharpness 2 which the K-30 does not have. For digital filters, compared to the K-x/K-5, the K-30 loses the Soft, Starburst and Fisheye filters, but gains the shading, invert color and color filters. For HDR, there is auto alignment not found on the K-x, but available from K-r onwards that allows handheld HDR. There is also an option to set exposure bracket value for HDR (+-1 +-2 +-3 EV) not found in the K-5. Note that digital filters and HDR can only be used in jpeg mode (no raws). K-5 also has the option for 4 stars for jpeg compression not found in K-x or K-30. For dynamic range, shadow and highlight correction, the K-30 gains the auto setting besides the on and off setting found in the k-x/K-5. For slow speed shutter NR (dark frame subtraction), this is the same as the K-5 but was not available as an option on the K-x. The K-30 also does not have support for smaller .pef raw files, and raw files can be processed by the supplied Silkypix 3 and not the older PDCU 4 used for K-5 raws.

Liveview
The K-30 has a focusing peaking function like the K-01, making MF a breeze. Only issue is that it highlights in white colour, making it difficult to see at times. For contrast AF, there is a choice of face recognition, tracking, centre area, or selectable area (position and size). There is also a function to zoom 2x, 4x or 6x when AF in liveview and up to 10x in MF in liveview. Unfortunately, to activate the autozoom when it is not set to do so automatically, requires a half-press of the shutter, pressing the ok button, then using the rear dial while half pressing the shutter button, which is is more cumbersome than simply pressing the info button then using the rear dial on the k-x

Movie mode
The K-30 is similar to the K-01 which are superior to the K-5 in terms of movie mode as it supports the smaller H.264 file format and can use higher framerates for HD/full HD, and offers manual video settings. However, it still trails behind the K-01 which offers stereo microphones, mic input which are also found on the K-5.

Battery
The K-30 uses the same D-LI109P battery as the K-r and can also use the same optional 4xAA battery adaptor. Battery life is rated at 410 shots, but my first charge lasted much fewer shots. However my experience is not indicative as I use the rear screen a lot to review my photos and and I also use a eyefi card in direct mode to transmit jpegs to my new ipad (New Ipad is great for reviewing photos due to it's high screen resolution and 99% coverage of the sRGB gamut). K-30 has no support for a battery grip.

Conclusion
If you are upgrading from the K-x/K-r, the K-30 is a great choice, improving on it in every way, while still retaining newbie friendly settings such as scene modes, having fewer complicated controls and settings and having great jpeg output straight from the camera. If you have outgrown the K-x/k-r and want a more sophisticated high end dslr and can live without focus peaking and don't shoot movies, and am willing to manually process the raws for the 14 bit advantage, the K-5/k-5ii(s) might be a good choice too. If you own a K-01, you can consider getting the K-5 to supplement as a main camera, with the K-01 covering the lacking features in focus peaking and movie mode and both share the same batteries. If you own a K-5 and have a split focusing screen (which covers MF) and/or a BG-4 grip, then keep your K-5 and wait for K-5ii(s), or you can also get a K-01 as well.


That's all folks! If I made any errors especially regarding the K-5 which I have not had the chance to own, let me know and I will amend accordingly. Thanks.
 

Last edited:

detritus

Senior Member
Sep 12, 2009
2,922
3
0
shootingbugs.blogspot.com
#3
Conclusion
If you are upgrading from the K-x/K-r, the K-30 is a great choice, improving on it in every way, while still retaining newbie friendly settings such as scene modes, having fewer complicated controls and settings and having great jpeg output straight from the camera. If you have outgrown the K-x/k-r and want a more sophisticated high end dslr and can live without focus peaking and don't shoot movies, and am willing to manually process the raws for the 14 bit advantage, the K-5/k-5ii(s) might be a good choice too. If you own a K-01, you can consider getting the K-5 to supplement as a main camera, with the K-01 covering the lacking features in focus peaking and movie mode and both share the same batteries. If you own a K-5 and have a split focusing screen (which covers MF) and/or a BG-4 grip, then keep your K-5 and wait for K-5ii(s), or you can also get a K-01 as well.


That's all folks! If I made any errors especially regarding the K-5 which I have not had the chance to own, let me know and I will amend accordingly. Thanks.
:thumbsup: takes a lot of effort to put together a review. great job.
 

dielah

New Member
Jul 10, 2007
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#5
A must read for any potential upgrader! (or downgrader from k7 - like me)
 

pinholecam

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 23, 2007
10,944
88
48
#6
Wow!
What a review.
A very good summary of all the detailed bits and pieces regarding features/functions.
I found myself surprised by the improved HDR bracket feature as well as new picture setting options .
Really good comparisons to existing Kx, K5, K01 for features and handling.

You certainly offered a user review that delved into the K30 as only a user would be able to (as opposed to a camera reviewer which will often just touch and go)
:thumbsup:


Guys, it takes effort to write all this.
Would appreciate it if you'd give him a 'like' or some encouraging comment, if you found the thread useful.
Pls don't be 'shy' :)
 

iamnubie

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
676
5
0
Singapore
#7
Thanks for the review, i'm considering K-30 or K-5iiS
If i can ask, about the mirror lock up, isn't it when you are in live view mode the mirror is locked up ?
 

detritus

Senior Member
Sep 12, 2009
2,922
3
0
shootingbugs.blogspot.com
#8
Thanks for the review, i'm considering K-30 or K-5iiS
If i can ask, about the mirror lock up, isn't it when you are in live view mode the mirror is locked up ?
mirror up mode is set from the timer button. once u set it, u need to press the shutter release button twice to take a picture - the first one lifts up the mirror and locks it in place, the second one will activate the shutter. this reduces vibration resulting from the mirror moving up and down.

most of the time, you can't tell the difference :bsmilie: i only use it for macro and landscape when the camera's mounted on a tripod and i have the luxury of time to set everything up properly, and if the subject's not moving.

some users claim that at low shutter speed, shutter induced blur is quite visible but i really can't tell the difference :dunno:
 

airconvent

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2005
4,777
0
36
#9
Thanks for putting so much effort for the review. I am also waiting for a appropriate opportunity to upgrade from my ex-K-x :)
The camera would be even more perfect if they made it even smaller than the kx rather than place it between the Kx and k5.
BTW, I was under the impression the colour for the peaking function can be changed? Its not?
How's the focusing speed using liveview? Can it autofocus fast in movie mode? On the k-x its a little too slow to capture live action.
Regards :)
 

wonglp

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 20, 2007
6,813
73
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Bukit Batok
#10
Very good effort. I like the multi-exposure drive mode feature from K5, good that they retain it.
 

iamnubie

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
676
5
0
Singapore
#11
mirror up mode is set from the timer button. once u set it, u need to press the shutter release button twice to take a picture - the first one lifts up the mirror and locks it in place, the second one will activate the shutter. this reduces vibration resulting from the mirror moving up and down.

most of the time, you can't tell the difference :bsmilie: i only use it for macro and landscape when the camera's mounted on a tripod and i have the luxury of time to set everything up properly, and if the subject's not moving.

some users claim that at low shutter speed, shutter induced blur is quite visible but i really can't tell the difference :dunno:
But in live view mode, mirror is already up right ?
 

neon2

New Member
Jan 29, 2009
232
0
0
35
#13
mirror up mode is set from the timer button. once u set it, u need to press the shutter release button twice to take a picture - the first one lifts up the mirror and locks it in place, the second one will activate the shutter. this reduces vibration resulting from the mirror moving up and down.

most of the time, you can't tell the difference :bsmilie: i only use it for macro and landscape when the camera's mounted on a tripod and i have the luxury of time to set everything up properly, and if the subject's not moving.

some users claim that at low shutter speed, shutter induced blur is quite visible but i really can't tell the difference :dunno:
In my opinion, motion blur by shutter is normally seen from older models such as K20D and before. K20D shutter is quite violent when you need the camera to be really stationary. Newer models shutter are much more gentle, so I think this problem is not so common anymore.
 

mqz512

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2007
599
2
18
#15
where can we buy Pentax K30 with different colors apart from the black, white and blue?
Are there any good online sites from nearby countries (eg hongkong) that ships to sg?
 

Mar 24, 2011
185
2
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#17
Anyone know where can buy the K30 body only sperately? white colour.
 

mqz512

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2007
599
2
18
#19
Is the white selling in Singapore glossy or matte? Blue is glossy rite?
 

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