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Pentax K-30 vs Sony A1

The Pentax K-30 and the Sony A1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2012 and January 2021. The K-30 is a DSLR, while the A1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (K-30) and a full frame (A1) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 49.8 MP.

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
Sony A1
Pentax K-30   Sony A1
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Pentax K mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 49.8 MP – Full Frame sensor
1080/30p Video 8k/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-32,000 (50 - 102,400)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (9437k dots)
3.0" LCD – 921k dots 3.0" LCD – 1440k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
6 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
410 shots per battery charge530 shots per battery charge
130 x 97 x 71 mm, 650 g 129 x 97 x 81 mm, 737 g
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Check K-30 offers at
ebay.com
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Check A1 price at
amazon.com

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax K-30 and the Sony A1? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Pentax K-30 and the Sony A1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 A1 is only available in black.

Size Pentax K-30 vs Sony A1
Compare K-30 versus A1 top
Comparison K-30 or A1 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 Sony A1 are of equal size. However, the A1 is markedly heavier (13 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 A1 can take 530 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The power pack in the A1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 849ebay.com
2.
 
Sony A1 129 mm 97 mm 81 mm 737 g 530 Y Jan 2021 6,499 amazon.com
3.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GX7 123 mm 71 mm 55 mm 402 g 350 n Aug 2013 999ebay.com
6.
 
Pentax K-S2 123 mm 91 mm 73 mm 678 g 410 Y Feb 2015 749ebay.com
7.
 
Pentax K-S1 121 mm 93 mm 70 mm 558 g 410 n Aug 2014 749ebay.com
8.
 
Pentax K-50 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 650 g 410 Y Jun 2013 599ebay.com
9.
 
Pentax K-500 130 mm 97 mm 71 mm 646 g 710 n Jun 2013 549ebay.com
10.
 
Pentax K-3 131 mm 100 mm 77 mm 800 g 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Pentax K-5 II 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2012 1,099ebay.com
12.
 
Pentax K-5 131 mm 97 mm 73 mm 760 g 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099ebay.com
13.
 
Sony A7R V 131 mm 97 mm 82 mm 723 g 530 Y Oct 2022 3,899 amazon.com
14.
 
Sony A7 IV 131 mm 96 mm 80 mm 659 g 580 Y Oct 2021 2,499 amazon.com
15.
 
Sony A7R III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199ebay.com
16.
 
Sony A99 II 143 mm 104 mm 76 mm 849 g 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199ebay.com
17.
 
Sony A7R II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The K-30 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 percent) than the A1, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax K-30 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A1 is 133 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Pentax K-30 and Sony A1 sensor measures

With 49.8MP, the A1 offers a higher resolution than the K-30 (16.1MP), but the A1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.16μm versus 4.79μm for the K-30). Yet, the A1 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 8 months) than the K-30, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 43.2 x 28.8 inches or 109.7 x 73.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 34.6 x 23 inches or 87.8 x 58.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 28.8 x 19.2 inches or 73.2 x 48.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax K-30 are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The A1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

Unlike the K-30, the A1 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (YESMP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

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 Sony A1 are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

In terms of underlying technology, the K-30 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the A1 uses a Stacked BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

K-30 versus A1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A1 offers substantially better image quality than the K-30 (overall score 19 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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.
 
Sony A1 Full Frame 49.8 8640 57608k/30p25.914.5316398
3.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
4.
 
Olympus E-M1 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
5.
 
Panasonic GX7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
6.
 
Pentax K-S2 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.612.9151479
7.
 
Pentax K-S1 APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.513.0106178
8.
 
Pentax K-50 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.0112079
9.
 
Pentax K-500 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.713.1108779
10.
 
Pentax K-3 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680
11.
 
Pentax K-5 II APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.814.1123582
12.
 
Pentax K-5 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282
13.
 
Sony A7R V Full Frame 60.2 9504 63368k/24p25.414.6314396
14.
 
Sony A7 IV Full Frame 32.7 7008 46724K/60p25.414.7337997
15.
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
16.
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
17.
 
Sony A7R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A1 provides a better video resolution than the K-30. It can shoot movie footage at 8k/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A1 has an electronic viewfinder (9437k dots), while the K-30 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A1 has a higher magnification than the one of the K-30 (0.9x vs 0.61x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Pentax K-30 and Sony A1 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Pentax K-30optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Sony A19437 n3.0 / 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
3.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s n n
4.
 
Olympus E-M12360 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
5.
 
Panasonic GX72760 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Pentax K-S2optical n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/6000s 5.4/s Y Y
7.
 
Pentax K-S1optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 5.4/s Y Y
8.
 
Pentax K-50optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Pentax K-500optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/6000s 6.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Pentax K-3optical Y3.2 / 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3/s Y Y
11.
 
Pentax K-5 IIoptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Pentax K-5optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Sony A7R V9440 n3.2 / 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
14.
 
Sony A7 IV3686 n3.0 / 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
15.
 
Sony A7R III3686 n3.0 / 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
16.
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y3.0 / 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
17.
 
Sony A7R II2400 n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The K-30 has one, while the A1 does not. While the built-in flash of the K-30 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A1 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Sony A1 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.

The K-30 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A1 uses CFexpress (type A) or SDXC cards. The A1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the K-30 only has one slot. The A1 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the K-30 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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 Sony A1 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.
 
Sony A1Ystereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
3.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
4.
 
Olympus E-M1Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Panasonic GX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Pentax K-S2Ymono / monoY-micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Pentax K-S1Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
8.
 
Pentax K-50Ymono / mono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Pentax K-500Ymono / mono---2.0---
10.
 
Pentax K-3Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
11.
 
Pentax K-5 IIYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Pentax K-5Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Sony A7R VYstereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
14.
 
Sony A7 IVYstereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
15.
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.1YYY
16.
 
Sony A99 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YYY
17.
 
Sony A7R IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-

It is notable that the A1 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the K-30 does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A1 (unlike the K-30) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

The A1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the K-30 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the K-30 was succeeded by the Pentax K-50. Further information on the features and operation of the K-30 and A1 can be found, respectively, in the Pentax K-30 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A1 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Pentax K-30 and the Sony A1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-30:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 87g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2012).

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Advantages of the Sony A1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (49.8 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 76%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (8k/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.9x vs 0.61x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/6000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (530 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 8 months of technical progress since the K-30 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A1 is the clear winner of the contest (31 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

K-30 06:31 A1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Pentax K-30 and the Sony A1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the K-30 or the A1. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 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 849ebay.com
2.
 
Sony A15/5o4.5/593/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2021 6,499 amazon.com
3.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749ebay.com
4.
 
Olympus E-M15/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GX74/5+..79/1005/55/5 Aug 2013 999ebay.com
6.
 
Pentax K-S24.5/5......5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749ebay.com
7.
 
Pentax K-S14/5......4.5/54/5 Aug 2014 749ebay.com
8.
 
Pentax K-505/5......5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 599ebay.com
9.
 
Pentax K-500........4.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 549ebay.com
10.
 
Pentax K-34/5....83/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Pentax K-5 II5/5....80/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,099ebay.com
12.
 
Pentax K-54/5....83/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099ebay.com
13.
 
Sony A7R V............ Oct 2022 3,899 amazon.com
14.
 
Sony A7 IV5/5+ +4.5/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2021 2,499 amazon.com
15.
 
Sony A7R III..+ +4/590/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199ebay.com
16.
 
Sony A99 II....4.5/585/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199ebay.com
17.
 
Sony A7R II5/5+ +5/590/1005/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Check K-30 offers at
ebay.com
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Check A1 price at
amazon.com

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. 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 Sony A1

    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 Sony A1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Pentax K mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 January 2021
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 6,499
    Sensor Specs Pentax K-30 Sony A1
    Sensor Technology CMOS Stacked BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 49.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 8640 x 5760 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 4.16 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 5.78 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 8k/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 32,000 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 50 - 102,400 ISO
    Image Processor PRIME M Dual BIONZ XR
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 79 98
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7 25.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.0 14.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1129 3163
    Screen Specs Pentax K-30 Sony A1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.61x 0.9x
    Viewfinder Resolution 9437k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Pentax K-30 Sony A1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/6000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/32000s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CFexA or SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support no UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Pentax K-30 Sony A1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.2
    HDMI Port no HDMI full HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Pentax K-30 Sony A1
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type D-LI109 NP-FZ100
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge530 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 130 x 97 x 71 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    129 x 97 x 81 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 650 g (22.9 oz) 737 g (26.0 oz)
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    Check K-30 offers at
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    Check A1 price at
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