Previous page Next page

Highlight Correction

Highlight Correction is Pentax' highlight dynamic range expansion option, which can be activated in the Control Panel. It is designed to maintain highlight detail without underexposing the image in high contrast scenes. On the K-30 this feature has only three settings - On, Off or Auto. The latter automatically decides whether to activate the mode based on the scene.

Technically, Highlight Correction is like underexposing by a stop to avoid blowing highlight detail, and then pulling up the midtones and shadows in post-processing to compensate, giving an image of the correct overall brightness. This results in an increase in the camera's lowest-available ISO to 200 when Highlight Correction is turned on.

In the sample scene the effects of Highlight Correction are obvious in the bright areas on the boat to the left and the sky which show visibly more detail in the 'corrected' version of the image.

Highlight Correction off
Highlight Correction on

Shadow Correction

Shadow Correction is Highlight Correction's counterpart for, you've guessed it, the shadow areas of the image. It can be activated in the Control Panel and comes with five settings - Off, Levels 1-3 or Auto. The latter automatically picks the level of intensity that is most suited for a given scene.

In the sample below you can see how the shadow areas of the frame which have visibly been lifted. At the highest level the effect can look a little unnatural but both Highlight and Shadow Correction are available when shooting Raw+JPEG, so you've always got your Raw file as a backup when needed.

On 1
On 2
On 3

High Dynamic Range Capture

In addition to the highlight- and shadow correction options the K-30 also features a High Dynamic Range (HDR) option. HDR images attempt to capture the dynamic range of a scene by combining multiple exposures into one. Like the filters below on this page HDR is limited to JPEG-only shooting. There are three settings for HDR (and, of course, off).

We have tested the K-30's HDR mode on this high-contrast scene (here shown with the HDR feature switched off). Click on the crop in our widget below to open the full-size image.

As you can see in the sample scene below, HDR mode 1 visibly increases the dynamic range of the captured scene while maintaining a natural look. Mode 2 is a little more intense, while mode 3 is firmly located in the surrealist camp. HDR mode works best when the camera is placed on a tripod and no moving subjects are in the frame. As you can see in the samples the trees shaking in the wind have caused a ghosting effect which is most visible in the HDR 1 version of the image.

HDR 1 On
HDR 2 On
HDR 3 On

Digital filters

Like most entry- and mid-level DSLRs these days the Pentax K-30 offers a fairly comprehensive range of digital filters. These range from 'traditional' filters, which in the pre-digital era the same effects could have been achieved with a physical filter screwed in front of your lens, such as Color, Starburst or Soft filters, to more sophisticated digital effects, such as the Sketch, Posterization or Miniature filters. The majority of these filters offer customization in terms of color range, intensity and more, so you've got quite a good set of parameters to play when applying the K-30's digital filters to your images.

However, only a portion of all available filters can be applied at the point of capture. In the Control Panel you can choose from the Extract Color, Toy Camera, Retro, High Contrast, Shading, Invert Color and Color filters but, as with previous Pentax DSLRs, this option is unfortunately only available when shooting in JPEG only format. Filters cannot be applied at the point of capture to an image if you shoot in Raw or Raw+JPEG format. However, you can apply the camera's entire array of filters to images which are already stored on your memory card via the Retouch menu. Below you can see the Pentax K-30's digital filters applied to a real-life image.

No filter
Extract Color
Toy Camera
High Contrast
Invert Color
Tone Expansion
Water Color

Custom Image

The Pentax K-30 offers eleven Custom Image color response presets, shown in the table below. For each preset you can modify saturation, hue, high/low key adjustment, contrast and sharpness, essentially giving you endless customization options.

Bleach Bypass
Reversal Film
Cross Processing
Previous page Next page
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 9

Very puzzled by your review. For instance no mention of the very poor on/off switch the near impossible to get a grip on the SD card door. Images do not come even close to my Panasonic fz200 and I have found like many others, it will not update with firmware. My old K200d SUPER blows it away even with only 6 megapixels


I have arthritis in both of my hands and have never had any trouble opening the SD card door.


When I compare the dynamic range of K30 against D7000 and T5i, it looks like K30 under performs. However, that might be because the K30 default contrast in all modes is pretty high compared to the other two. Maybe dpreview should mention that when it presents dynamic range results.


In the RAW Standard studio scene comparison, the k-30 appears to be back-focusing a bit. look at the small writing on the Kodak grey scale


And the "Q" on the queen card is sharper than anything


I called the corporate office myself and spoke with Joe Virgil, who was apologetic, but insisted he couldn’t do anything because the part was being shipped from the Phillipines and there were 65 other service orders suffering from the same problem. I explained that his supply problem was now a customer service problem as we had reached the 7th week of this ordeal. After ordering a part, if it has not arrived in 5 weeks, they are supposed to provide a replacement and this has yet to happen.
When you purchase a camera, you also purchase warranty and customer service with it. This has now past over two months since I initially sent off my camera for repair and the company is refusing to honor its warranty. I have bought a DSLR from one of their competitors and am completely disgusted with Pentax — DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR BUSINESS. I’ve yet to receive my camera back (10 weeks and counting!) or any kind of a firm timeline of when that might happen.

1 upvote

Hi ebaker,

Did you get the repaired camera from them?


I actually liked the camera…. until it didn’t perform as promised. I bought this camera because I work at an aquarium and need to take photos for our marketing. A month after purchase, the telephoto lens drew humidity into the body and condensation formed, thus killing the LCD screen.
While it claims to be weather resistant, it couldn’t even handle humidity.
What is worse is that after sending the camera in on July 6 for repair under the warranty, I have yet to get any kind of a realistic timeline of when I would receive my camera back. After the fifth week of hearing, “Call back next week” I requested a replacement. This caused the customer service rep to become extremely rude and tell me that they were in the midst of a corporate merger so he couldn’t help me. I requested to speak with a manager, he refused to give me their name or number. He insisted he needed to call the corporate office and said he would call me back by the end of the week. Of course, that never happened.

1 upvote

“…the only major barrier to fast and efficient operation is the relegation of movie shooting to the exposure mode dial.” Seriously is the time difference between turning the mode dial and pressing a button to enter the movie function all that relevant – you are talking about an extra second at the most !

Total comments: 9