on 19 January 2013
This is a rugged camera that can still out perform the competition. I shoot mainly in manual and the two control dials are a massive advantage. high ISO was a massive surprise although the live view performance isnt great. I never shoot in live view and i never shoot in video so the lack of a HDMI out put dosent bother me. The camera is advertised as rugged and it defiantly is. Mine has been out in rain sleet and snow, i had landed on it several times while mountain biking and skiing and it is still as good as new. The auto focusing is more than up for the job. image quality is about the same as a nikon d5100, and d7000 while it blows a canon 600d out of the water. My only complaint is that the viewfinder is a little bit dull, It has 100% coverage but it dose annoy me at times. I would strongly recommend this camera to anyone who is looking for a camera at this price point and especially is you do any shooting out side.
Since i wrote the review I have has a few issues mainly with service. I turned on the camera one day and it refused to take a photo, no matter what i did it simply didn't want to take a photo. I then got in contact with pentax, who told me to send it down to jpservices, which I did. Within six days my camera was back with the fault fixed BUT the viewfinder was filthy and the sensor was covered in rubbish that showed up in photos and made them unusable. I then emailed the company and they replied once and then nothing for a few days. I sent them multiple emails and they simply didn't respond, so i phoned them. They told me to send it in again, which i did and i got it back in around six days but when i tested it the sensor hadn't even been touched while the viewfinder was clear of crap it looks as though their is a finger print on the focusing screen. So Another phone call and more emails and i have to send it in yet again. I still haven't got it back. This has been going on for around four weeks, and is starting to make me change my mind about pentax.
I have since got it back and the sensor is clean but the viewfinder still isn't right, it is usable though so i am not sending it back in. It isn't worth the postage
Overall it is still a great camera but the service is truly awful.
on 28 September 2012
I've only had the K-30 for a few days now, still exploring the multitude of functions and features, but out of the box it's is a really great photographic tool and it performs much the same as the more expensive K-5.
The K-30 has a great set of still shooting features, and is passable for movies, but the overriding benefit is the truly excellent image quality. From ISO 100 - 800 JPEG images are pin-sharp and noise free whilst from ISO 1600 - 3200 there is plenty of detail and noise just adds a subtle graininess. The RAW files are great to work with as you can pull out extra detail out of them in Photoshop, and the camera saves RAW files in the universal Adobe DNG format. You can also convert the last JPEG image taken back to RAW with the press of a button which is something very useful and unique.
In terms of handling, the sculpted K-30 is comfortable to hold and shoot with. It is slightly heavier than the usual `Canikon' especially with my Sigma 17 - 70 mm lens, but it feels well-made and solid, certainly not 'platicky' like the Sony SLTs and of course it's weather-sealed. Having dual thumbwheels is something that is not usual on an a sub-£1,000 camera and is a real bonus. The rear LCD on back is bright and clear with 920K dots but isn't hinged like most of the competition unfortunately. The viewfinder is bright and gives 100% coverage with a good degree of magnification, Live View is nice to have and AF is pretty snappy under almost all conditions.
There are a number of in-camera options to auto-correct distortion and lateral CA, and a huge variety of digital filters such as Extract Colour or Toy Cam, plus a built in HDR mode that takes 3 photos at different exposures and combines them in camera to give an image with higher dynamic range.
Overall, a fantastic camera with semi-Pro features and build quality for entry level DSLR prices, image detail is really very good with a good lens. I bought the body only and paired it up with a quality Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC. Other benefits include Shake Reduction, 6fps continuous shooting and with an adapter it can take AA batteries. In addition, there are a huge number of auto-focus Pentax lenses available that are backward compatible with the K-mount.
on 7 September 2012
I have had the camera for over a month and have taken over 7000 photos with it, testing it extensively and this is my review based on my experiences. I am a hobby photographer, with about twenty five years' experience, coming from the old film SLRs, to a point and shoot and now I finally got the K30 as my first DSLR.
I did extensive research on this camera and the competitors before I got it, and there are many negatives and positives for each brand, which I will not go into here, but I will tell you why I chose the K30.
The main reasons were the proven sensor technology from the K-5, the cheapest weatherproof and most robust DSLR ever, and an improved AF system over the K-5.
The weatherproofing and excellent pictures are what drew me back to the K30 every time I considered the competitors.
Please note, the 18-135mm kit is resistant to dust and water, whereas the 18-55 WR kit lens is only resistant to water, and not dust. The AL lens pictured in the photo here at Amazon may be neither, and I would enquire before purchase to make sure. I purchased the kit in Germany with the 18-55 WR kit lens because I wanted to get a couple of other lenses as well and the budget did not allow the 18-135mm kit lens.
If I had to do it again, I would probably go for the 18-135mm off the bat, though the 18-55 kit, for the very cheap price does not disappoint.
For those who like it short and sweet, in no particular order:
+ photo quality is fantastic
+ AF is quick and usually quite precise
+ menu is super and it is very easy to change all the parameters, two wheels also make this very easy and from the INFO button, you can change any parameter pretty much on the fly.
+ Two wheels for settings, this makes manual changes to the settings very comfortable
+ Very good build quality, it just sits well in the hand, and it fells very solid and robust. You can hold it in your right hand all day without thinking it may drop.
+ 100% viewfinder!! I use this almost exclusively. It is really that great, this was a big plus point for me too coming from a SLR
+ the meter on this camera is very, very good, giving good shadow details even in harsh lighting situations
+ Weather-resistant!! I have had this camera out taking pictures twice while it was pissing rain and the camera was completely soaked...not a worry at all, it takes a licking!
+ Excellent dynamic range
+ good shots at high ISOs
+ Looks great, very sleek and arresting in its style.
+ Built-in flash is quite good surprisingly.
+ quick menu changes, almost no lag at startup, shut down or when flipping between menus
+ fine focus adjustment for lenses (usually only found on much more expensive models), this means, if your lens if focusing in front or behind your chosen focus point, you can adjust this with the camera to compensate. This is really good news, because it would require a trip back to the seller for cameras that do not do this.
+ built-in time-lapse photography...this is cool! You usually need an external gadget for this
+ Focus peaking for those who like to manually focus is really nice, though I do not use it much as I do not use LV as I mentioned above.
- My camera has front focus issues, and each lens I have needs compensation to make them focus properly, but this is pretty easily done, and with such a camera should be done for every lens you buy anyway, but I would have liked to just be able to plug n play as it were. Kit = -8, Tamron = -5 and 40mm limited = -5
- Video quality is good, but sound in MONO...in other words, you do not want this camera if video is your main thing. This is a super duper still camera, but will leave you wanting in the video sound department. Sure, you can do sound externally, but there are DSLRs out there that do not require that for the same price. Why Pentax did not include Stereo sound on this is really beyond me...
- No HDMI out, again hits the video guys, not so much the still guys like me. I do take the occasional video but always download it to PC anyway and have never played one directly to my TV even on my camera that could. For me no big deal, but make sure you know what you are getting when you get it!
- The auto flash is wacky, sometimes giving too slow of a shutter speed when not necessary, but the pictures still come out fine.
What you should know before you buy this camera:
It takes excellent pictures, but it does require basic knowledge of ISO/Shutter Speed, and Aperture settings if you want to take full advantage of this camera's potential. It is aimed at the hobby enthusiast market, i.e. those who know about the basics, or are willing to invest their time to learn them, to take the fullest advantage of this camera. It does take great auto shots, but that is like buying a Ferrari and driving it only in the city at 30 MPH.
This camera screams to be manually treated and the multitude of settings allows you to do this step by baby step, or full blown, it is your choice, but do invest a bit of time to learn it if you get this camera, it is a swiss-army knife waiting to be put through the ropes and will not disappoint those who take the time to use it properly.
You should invest in a photo software such as Lightroom 4, or Photoshop to really take your photos to the next level. While the pics are great from the camera, you will end up wanting more from them and a good software will make that possible.
To take full advantage of this camera's potential you need to invest in good glass. The kit lens will do you fine for most outings, but if you want to get a little more serious, you will need good lenses to make this camera shine. I have and can warmly recommend the Pentax 40mm 2.8 Limited lens and the Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro lens as well. Both are SUPER and make every shot you take look like it belongs in a magazine. You can spend a lot more or a lot less, and I am not saying those lenses are the be all end all, but both are a good bang for the buck.
To conclude, you really cannot go wrong with this camera, it is just an excellent piece of kit that is solidly built an takes great pictures. I am extremely happy with my purchase and can only warmly recommend it!
p.s. if you want to see what kind of pictures I have taken with this camera, look up TJWest at flickr for my photostream.
I have surely forgotten things to this, and will be adding to it regularly as I go, until then, enjoy your camera!
on 20 April 2013
As I use manual mode 99% of the time when using an SLR, my ideal camera would have 3 little wheels, one each for aperture, shutter & ISO. This would allow me to make adjustments without pulling the camera away from my eye to see what I'm doing (I shoot all pictures through the eye-piece).
The Pentax K-30 comes close, having 2 wheels which normally control the shutter speed and aperture, but can easily be reprogrammed for any combination (e.g. shutter & ISO, aperture & ISO, & so on).
This is my third Pentax (or is it really a Ricoh? I also have a K1000 & K110D) but I'm not a "brand bunny", its just that when you already have a range of lenses, it makes sense to find a body to match.
1. Very good for manual operation (what else would you use an SLR for?).
2. Textured "grip" area (for right hand) minimizes chance of dropping it.
3. Sensible diopter adjuster (can't be accidentally offset when someone picks up the camera).
4. Last picture RAW option; if you have just taken a prize winning picture in JPEG (i.e. the last picture you took), you still have the option to save it from the buffer to the SD card in RAW format.
5. Its weather resistant. I wouldn't use it in the bath, but I don't have to run for cover when it rains.
6. I think its a much better camera than my wife's "fair weather" Canon EOS 1100D.
1. Can't think of any.
2. I've had this camera 3 months, and the weak link is the idiot standing behind it.
on 23 July 2014
+ Fantastic image quality
+ Fast and accurate auto-focus in most situations including low light (system could be better at tracking focus)
+ Extremely sturdy build quality and weather-sealing
+ Easy to use but also plenty of advanced features and controls
+ Stellar lenses
+ Extremely comfy to hold
+ Decent low-light performance, usable shots at ISO 1600 and even 3200 in most cases
+ Good resolution sensor
+ Quiet shutter
+ Fast burst mode great for capturing sports/movement
- Video is just about adequate but no where near as good as competitors, photos are this camera's strong point
- Not the most attractive camera, though it feels premium
Owned since January 2014, my first DSLR. Extremely happy with my purchase and I intend to continue using Pentax systems. I have been using it with the weather resistant 18-55mm kit lens and a Sigma 30mm F1.4 Art lens. The camera performs fantastically with both lenses.
I would consider myself an intermediate photographer now and the dual dials (front and back) are so useful for manual modes. Although I am confident technically now, I was a beginner when I bought this camera and - with the help of some online resources and books - this camera was ideal for learning. Even if you don't intend to learn the technical aspects of photography and just want something that will churn out high quality images every time, this camera should be ideal. I often put it in full auto mode to hand to friends or family and the camera produces great quality images simply from them pressing the shutter (though of course no amount of auto modes can fix composition/framing).
An all round good camera with more features for the money than it's rivals from Canon and Nikon. However, do consider Canon and Nikon if you intend to upgrade to full frame in the future as Pentax does not offer a full frame body at the moment.