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Pentax K-30 vs K-50

The Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-50 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2012 and June 2013. 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-50
Pentax K-30 Pentax K-50
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 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-51,200
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 6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
130 x 97 x 71 mm, 650 g 130 x 97 x 71 mm, 650 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-50? 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-50 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-50 is available in three color-versions (black, red, white).

Size Pentax K-30 vs Pentax K-50
Compare K-30 versus K-50 top
Comparison K-30 or K-50 rear

In this particular case, the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-50 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. Moreover, the two cameras also share the same weight. 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.

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 849i
2.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599i
3.
 
Pentax KP 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i
4.
 
Pentax K-70 126 mm 93 mm 74 mm 688 g 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i
5.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749 i
6.
 
Pentax K-3 II 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099i
7.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749i
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
12.
 
Sony A77 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 732 g 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399i
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-50 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 29 percent) than the K-30, which puts it into a different market segment. 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-50 is 1 percent smaller. 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.

Pentax K-30 and Pentax K-50 sensor measures

Even though the K-30 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 16.1 megapixels. This implies that the K-30 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 4.77μm for the K-50), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the K-50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the K-30, 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-50 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).

K-30 versus K-50 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 32641080/30p23.713.0112979
2.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
3.
 
Pentax KP APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i........
4.
 
Pentax K-70 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i........
5.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p........
6.
 
Pentax K-3 II APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680
7.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
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
12.
 
Sony A77 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

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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-50 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-50 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-50optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
3.
 
Pentax KPoptical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y
4.
 
Pentax K-70optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
5.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
6.
 
Pentax K-3 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y
7.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4 Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y
12.
 
Sony A772359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y

The Pentax K-50 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-50 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-50 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-50Ymonomono--micro2.0---
3.
 
Pentax KPYstereomonoY--2.0Y--
4.
 
Pentax K-70YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Pentax K-S2YmonomonoY-micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Pentax K-3 IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
7.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereomono--micro2.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-500Ymonomono---2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-3YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Sony A77YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

Both the K-30 and the K-50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The K-30 was replaced by the Pentax K-50, while the K-50 was followed by the Pentax K-70. 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-50 – 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:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2012).


Advantages of the Pentax K-50:

  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (29 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-50 emerges as the winner of the match-up (3 : 1 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 01:03 K-50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax K-30 and the Pentax K-50 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-50 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 849i
2.
 
Pentax K-505/5....5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599i
3.
 
Pentax KP4/5..82/1005/54.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i
4.
 
Pentax K-704.5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i
5.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5....5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
6.
 
Pentax K-3 II4.5/5....5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099i
7.
 
Pentax K-S14/5....4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749i
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
12.
 
Sony A775/591/10081/100..5/5 Aug 2011 1,399i
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-50:
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-50

    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-50
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 June 2013
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-50
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.2 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 4.77 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor PRIME M PRIME M
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 79 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.0 13.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1129 1120
    Screen Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-50
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x 0.61x
    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-50
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/6000s 1/6000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-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-50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Pentax K-30 Pentax K-50
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 D-LI109
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 650 g (22.9 oz) 650 g (22.9 oz)

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