Customer Review

158 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best kit at this price today, 8 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Pentax K-30 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm DAL Lens Kit - Black (16MP, CMOS APS-C Sensor) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)
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.

Please be aware that this camera, even with the 18-55 kit, is not a travel compact camera. The 18-135mm is a tad larger than the 18-55 too. It is a good-sized and weight DSLR. If you are looking for a point and shoot or something you can stuff in your pocket this is not the camera you want. If you put the 40mm pancake lens on it, it makes it much smaller and inconspicuous for street photography and general tourism. The limited pancake lens is stunningly amazing, but so is the price, however worth every penny. Just look at the reviews here on it.

For those who like it short and sweet, in no particular order:

The good:

+ 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.

The bad:

- 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 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!
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Oct 2012 14:27:15 GMT
Arturo says:
Wow, what a superb objective review you have written. I've just had a quick look at review. For the first time ever, I'm amazed at the image quality; other cameras don't get a look in, bearing in mind the images are straight out of camera. Thanks a million for your write up.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012 14:40:15 GMT
Thanks mate!

Posted on 24 Dec 2012 00:02:23 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 21 Jan 2014 19:15:26 GMT]

Posted on 30 Dec 2012 20:12:42 GMT
Mrs. C. Pyam says:
A superb review with an excellent description and an honest assessment of pros and cons. Well done and thank you for taking the time and trouble.


Posted on 15 Apr 2013 00:25:39 BDT
What a cracking review and so down to earth, crisp detail and honest comments make for an easy and interesting read and as this camera was the one I had in mind, I'm now conviced....a heartfelt thanks for going to all the trouble of bothering.

Posted on 15 Sep 2013 16:13:13 BDT
Maximus says:
Hi mate, hope you can answer a few questions for me:
- do you still have the camera, how is it after 1 year?
- What is Pentax warranty on this? Nikon offers 2 years and I think Canon does 3 years.
- Why didn't you try to get it repaired under warranty regarding the front focus issue? Did you talk to other owners, do they have this problem as well or was just an unlucky piece?

Posted on 21 Jan 2014 19:09:12 GMT
Hi Split-pea-soup,

I was wondering. Would you still recommend this camera now in 2014? I'm looking for my first DSLR and thought I had narrowed it down to the Nikon 5100 or 7100. Then I stumbled across the Pentax's and your review. I kinda like going for the 'alternative' option so I'm intrigued by the Pentax. I don't mind that it's not cutting edge and I love quirky technology!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2014 12:17:39 GMT
Hi, would definitely still recommend this camera. The automatic pictures are great for those who do not want to fuss, and the manual options are plenty. I think at the end of the day it comes down to preference. I really like the pentax and it has some great lenses which are expensive, but worth it (i.e. 40mm Limited)(good ones for either Nikon or Pentax will cost a fortune though). I really like the Tamron 90mm macro with this camera too. I still use it every time I go out for walks or travel. The front focus was fixed with some minor adjustments and has not been an issue since. Not a single quirk or problem with the camera and over 25k photos snapped in total. The K-3 is a step up, but for beginners, this one would do excellently.

Posted on 27 Apr 2014 11:25:24 BDT
Hi Splitpea. I have just read your review. I'm new to DSLR having inherited a K100D and recently invested in a getting off Automatic DSLR 3 days course. I promised myself a new lens but because the K100D is an older generation DSLR I am thinking of changing the camera before investing in a middle lens. I have the kit lens and also inherited a Sigma 70 - 300. I stumbled across your review this morning. So thanks for the review and if you have any advice re whether to upgrade or not it would be greatly appreciated.
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