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Pentax K-30 vs K-5

The Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2012 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 16.1 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Pentax K-30
versus
Pentax K-5
Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/25p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-12,800 (80 - 51,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second 7 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge740 shots per battery charge
130 x 97 x 71 mm, 650 g 131 x 97 x 73 mm, 760 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The K-30 can be obtained in seven different colors (black, silver, blue, red, yellow, green, white), while the K-5 is only available in black.

Size Pentax K-30 vs Pentax K-5
Compare K-30 versus K-5 top
Comparison K-30 or K-5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-5 are of equal size. However, the K-5 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the K-30. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the K-30 gets 410 shots out of its D-LI109 battery, while the K-5 can take 740 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 849 i
2.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099 i
3.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399 i
5.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999 i
6.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
7.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099 i
8.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749 i
9.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599 i
10.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549 i
11.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299 i
12.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The K-30 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the K-5, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the K-5 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the K-5 uses a more advanced image processing engine (PRIME II) than the K-30 (PRIME M), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Pentax K-30 and Pentax K-5 sensor measures

Even though the K-5 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 16.1 megapixels. This implies that the K-5 has a lower pixel density and marginally larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 4.79μm for the K-30), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the K-30 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the K-5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Pentax K-30 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-51200.

K-30 versus K-5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 32641080/30p23.713.01129 79
2.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.11162 82
3.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.13279 89
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.7757 73
5.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.2718 70
6.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.61106 80
8.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.01061 78
9.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.01120 79
10.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.11087 79
11.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.41216 80
12.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.11235 82

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the K-30 provides a higher frame rate than the K-5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the K-5 is limited to 1080/25p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The K-30 and the K-5 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.61x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-30 and Pentax K-5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(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 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
3.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
4.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
6.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
8.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-50optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
12.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the K-5, but is missing on the K-30 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The Pentax K-5 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the K-30 and the K-5 write their files to SDXC cards.

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Connectivity 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 Pentax K-5 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Pentax K-30Ymonomono---2.0---
2.
 
Pentax K-5YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
4.
 
Olympus E-M1YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Pentax K-S2YmonomonoY-micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereomono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-50Ymonomono--micro2.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-500Ymonomono---2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
12.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the K-5 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The K-30 does not feature such a mic input.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-5 (unlike the K-30) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the K-30 and the K-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The K-5 was replaced by the Pentax K-5 II, while the K-30 was followed by the Pentax K-50. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Pentax K-30 or the Pentax K-5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-30:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/25p).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 110g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the K-5).


Advantages of the Pentax K-5:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (PRIME II vs PRIME M).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/6000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (740 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-5 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

K-30 04:10 K-5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the K-30 or the K-5 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 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 849 i
2.
 
Pentax K-54/5..83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099 i
3.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i
4.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399 i
5.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999 i
6.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5....5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
7.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5....5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099 i
8.
 
Pentax K-S14/5....4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749 i
9.
 
Pentax K-505/5....5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599 i
10.
 
Pentax K-500......4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549 i
11.
 
Pentax K-34/5..83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299 i
12.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5..80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax K-5:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Pentax K-30 vs Pentax K-5

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 1,099
    Sensor Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 4.81 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 4.32 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/25p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 80 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME M PRIME II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 79 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.0 14.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1129 1162
    Screen Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x 0.61x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 7 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-5
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 D-LI90
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge740 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    131 x 97 x 73 mm
    (5.2 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 650 g (22.9 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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