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Live View & Displays

Live view

The K-30's live view implementation has slightly changed compared to the K5 but AF speed has slightly improved. The contrast detect AF is not as fast as in most mirrorless system cameras such as the Panasonic G-series or the Sony NEX. However, compared to previous generations, the AF speeds are now good enough to make live view a viable alternative to viewfinder shooting in some situations.

Live view is initiated using the dedicated 'LV' button the the left of the viewfinder on the camera's rear. The K-30 has done away with the K-5's phase-detection AF option in live view but there are now four contrast detect options - Face Detection, Tracking, Manual AF area selection and Spot AF (center point).

The K-30's live view image can be magnified by pressing OK while the focus is locked (this does not work in AF Tracking mode). You can then use the rear dial to switch between 2x, 4x, and 6x magnification. Like on the K-5 none of the magnification stages give a particularly sharp screen image, and maximum magnification especially is perhaps a step too far, but even so it's quite effective for judging manual focus assuming a relatively high-contrast target.

Like many other cameras the K-30 simulates exposure in live view mode by darkening or brightening the live view image when you dial in exposure compensation or change shutter speed/aperture in manual exposure mode. However, the degree to which the live view image brightness changes is more limited than on other cameras with this feature and only gives you a very rough approximation of the final image's exposure. A histogram can be overlaid but as usual, this just shows the tonal distribution of the image on the LCD screen - i.e. not the estimated tonal distribution of the final image - and is therefore no more help.

In live view you can overlay a histogram but it only shows the tonal range of the live image rather than the final exposure. The live view image can be magnified up to 6x which is particularly useful for manual focus.
White Balance, ISO and other parameters are superimposed on the live view image when you press the respective button. In the live view menu section you can select focus mode, activate focus peaking and turn on the grid display among other things.

Record review and play images

Selection of the image review options has changed on the K-30 compared to previous Pentax DSLR models. While you could previously cycle through the available display options by pressing the INFO button you now get a display selection screen instead. Here you can choose between the Standard Information Display, the Detailed Information Display, the Histogram Display, the RGB Histogram Display and the No Information Display. The display options themselves are pretty much identical to those on the K-5 and other previous Pentax models.

The display selection screen lets you choose your preferred display type. The Standard Information Display gives you basic shooting information. In the playback menu you can also opt to see highlight and shadow areas.
In the Detailed Information Display you get to see all essential shooting parameters and a thumbnail version of the image. In the histogram view you can switch between RGB histograms and a luminance histogram by pressing the down arrow on the four-way controller.
The RGB Histogram display provides you with a histogram for each color channel. The last option displays the image without any overlaid shooting data.

Play thumbnail index and magnification

As on previous Pentax models, thumbnail and magnification views can be entered using the rear dial. The K-30 lets you choose from several thumbnail display screens by pressing the INFO button - 2x2, 3x3, 3x3, 6x6 or 9x9. You can magnify the image up to 16x and optionally preset the initial zoom step. If you 'zoom out' on step further from the thumbnail view you get to the folder view.

1.2x magnification 16x magnification
3 x 3 thumbnail view Folder view
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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