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Pentax K-30 Comparison Review

The Pentax K-30 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in May 2012 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16.1 megapixel.

camera

Is the Pentax K-30 a good camera? The K-30 has a Camera Elo of 1668. This rating puts the K-30 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the K-30 also ranks below average. – Well, the Pentax K-30 is more than 9 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2012.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-30
Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100 - 12 800 (100 - 25 600)
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge
130 x 97 x 71 mm, 650 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Pentax K-30 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Pentax K-30 vs credit card front
K-30 versus credit card top view
K-30 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Pentax K-30 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-30 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y May 2012 849i
2.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399i
4.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999i
5.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
6.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
7.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
8.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549i
9.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099i
11.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Pentax K-30 was launched in the US market at a price of $849. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Pentax K-30:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Pentax K-30 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Pentax K-30 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Pentax K-30 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Pentax K-30 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
2.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
3.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
4.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
5.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
6.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
7.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
8.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
9.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
11.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The K-30 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the K-30 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-30 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.61x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Pentax K-30 and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Pentax K-30optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
3.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
4.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
5.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
6.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-50optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-500optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

One convenient feature of the K-30 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Pentax K-30 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-30Ymono / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-M1Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Pentax K-S2Ymono / monoY-micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
7.
 
Pentax K-50Ymono / mono--micro2.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-500Ymono / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the K-30. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Pentax K-304/5....78/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 849i
2.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399i
4.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+..79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999i
5.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5......5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
6.
 
Pentax K-S14/5......4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
7.
 
Pentax K-505/5......5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
8.
 
Pentax K-500........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549i
9.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
10.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5....80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099i
11.
 
Pentax K-54/5....83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Pentax K-30 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the K-30.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the K-30?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Pentax equipped the K-30 with the PRIME M image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the K-30?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Pentax K-30?

Pentax does not publish a shutter rating for the K-30. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Pentax K-30?

The K-30 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Pentax K-30 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The K-30's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Which battery does the K-30 use?

The camera gets its power from the D-LI109 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Pentax K-30
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012
    Launch Price USD 849
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 928 x 3 264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12 800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25 600 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME M
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1129
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 650 g (22.9 oz)

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