Walk into any high street camera shop and you’ll be bombarded with DSLR options. Whether you’ve got a specific budget you need to keep to, you’re keen on getting a camera to match a select set of specifications, or money is no object, most people will agree that whatever your needs, you still want to get a camera that looks good. Which brings us neatly onto the latest DSLR from Pentax, the K-30...
We’ve got to be honest, our first impressions of the K-30 weren’t that good. It looks like a chiselled block of plastic and rubber that’s just waiting to be shattered into tiny pieces at the first hint of impact. But how wrong we were. All these negative thoughts soon went out the window when we picked the camera up. A reassuringly good weight lets you know that you’ve got a solid unit, an extremely ergonomic design allows your fingers to grip round the body and stay in place, and the added textured grip provides that extra security to stop hands slipping off the otherwise shiny surface. All in all, we’ve got to take our hat off to Pentax, as they’ve clearly put a lot of thought into this creation, especially when it comes to handling.
As with all cameras we’re not really familiar with, the first thing we need to get our head around is where all the controls are and how they are activated. The menu system on the LCD screen is extremely easy to understand and simple to navigate around, and not once did we need to consult the manual, scratch our head, or even feel like throwing the camera in a stressful rage!
The Live View function on the K-30 is remarkably easy to use. We put it down to the design of the grip and the fact that we were holding this relatively light camera with a lot of confidence. This is not only a bonus if you prefer shooting via the LCD screen over the viewfinder, but also means that when you want to shoot video you can be sure of getting very smooth and sleek results. When you do want to switch over from shooting stills to movie mode it’s a simple case of turning the main dial round to the video camera logo, then pressing the shutter to start the recording. Then when you’ve finished filming your clip you just press the shutter again.
The back of the camera is made up of the 3in LCD and a few select buttons – ISO, white balance, self-timer and flash options to name just a few. In our opinion, this is just the right amount of important buttons that you could need quick access to.
It’s a refreshing change to see a pleasing amount of focus points on a new DSLR, rather than too many, and Pentax has hit the mark with 11. Clearly it hasn’t felt the need to bombard the consumer with a ridiculous, and often unnecessary, amount of focus points that can often leave the user wondering which ones they need to be using! We find that when it comes to focus points, less is definitely more, and 11 is a perfectly adequate number.
Another great function on this piece of kit is the Pentax SR (Shake Reduction) facility, which is perfect for shooting at slow shutter speeds in dark situations where you don’t want image quality to suffer with visible noise. We managed to handhold a shot indoors at 1/4sec with the SR function activated and it was pin-sharp.
PA verdict: If you’re looking for a quick and easy DSLR to take your photography further, then the K-30 could be the camera for you. If you like your action photography you can shoot on JPEG and get a maximum frame rate of 6fps to ensure you capture the decisive moment. And if you’re worried about draining your batteries from all your frame bursts, Pentax has made a very useful (optional) battery cradle that will hold 4x AA batteries to run the K-30. For the more adventurous shooters – those not afraid of going out in all weather conditions to get the shots – this is ideal. Superbly coated to withstand a sudden downpour, the K-30 boasts 81 seals to ensure the camera doesn’t let any moisture in. We’d recommend this camera to anyone looking to move up from their CSC to an affordable piece of kit that delivers quality image and has an extremely reliable focusing system.
- Body only: £329 (Secondhand price as of June 2016)
- Effective resolution: 16.28MP
- ISO range: 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600)
- Sensor type: 23.7x15.7mm CMOS
- Card types: SD, SDHC, SDXC
- File formats: JPEG, RAW
- LCD size: 3in 921k dots
- Shooting speed: 6fps
- Video: Full HD (1080p)
- Weight: 650g
- Visit: www.ricoh-imaging.co.uk
This review was first published in the October 2012 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.