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