PIX 2015
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Body & Design

The K-30 is nothing if not distinctive in its styling. We suspect it will polarize opinion - with some people embracing its angular looks just as firmly as others reject them. And the looks aren't all about function or necessity - the angled top-right shoulder surface doesn't appear to serve an ergonomic purpose and the forward-angled name plate and over-hanging flash lip also appear to have been choices (flip the flash up and you discover it could have been shorter and squared-off if Pentax had wanted).

However these flourishes don't come at the expense of Pentax's tradition of good ergonomic design - the grip is initially very comfortable and the buttons are pretty well placed. The movement of the ISO button from the top plate to the back of the camera is a bit of a step backwards compared to the K-5, but the distinct buttons of the four-way controller are still pretty easy to hit with the camera to your eye, so it's not a big problem.

Top of camera controls

From the top you can see the K-30's flash, shown here in its closed (stowed) position and the hotshoe which can accept any of Pentax's current range of flashes and third-party models. The left-hand side of the top plate is bare, but on the right of the viewfinder 'hump' you can see a cluster of control points, which are explained below.

On the top-plate of the K-30 you can find a couple of characteristic Pentax features, such as the Green button (which resets the camera to its exposure program line) and the TAv and Sv exposure modes on the mode dial. The Sv ('Sensitivity Value') mode allows you to specify an ISO setting, with the camera choosing shutter speed and aperture (essentially P mode, but with ISO accessible on a control dial).

Meanwhile, TAv mode allows you to specify both shutter speed and aperture, leaving the camera to adjust ISO to keep the correct exposure. We've seen this start to appear on other cameras (effectively this is what you get if you can engage Auto ISO in manual exposure mode), but because it's an intentional exposure mode here, you are guaranteed control of Exposure Compensation.

Other than that the layout of the camera's top-controls is fairly standard, with an exposure compensation button behind the shutter button, and both front and rear control dials.

Front of camera controls

On the left flank of the camera is the RAW button we've come to expect from Pentax. It's now called RAW/Fx and is customizable. There's also the button to pop-up the flash, and further down you find the AF-mode switch which let's you choose between single, continuous and manual AF.

Back of camera controls

On its back the K-30 still offers a fairly comprehensive set of controls, although not quite as many as the K-5 (the K-30 doesn't have an AF-area switch or separate AF and AE-L buttons). Nevertheless it has retained a lot, given how much less expensive it is than the Pentax flagship model.

The combined live view/delete button is the only control on the left to the viewfinder and screen. The right side is dominated by the four-way controller that also gives you access to flash, ISO, drive mode and white balance settings. Pressing the OK button in its center opens a little 'pop-up window' in which you can select the AF-point you want to use, if you are in AF Active Area Select mode.

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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