Pentax K-30 Review
The ability to successfully manage shadow noise on a per pixel level can be of interest, particularly when comparing cameras that use the same sensor size - in this case APS-C - but offer different resolutions. In the example below we're comparing the Pentax K-30 against the 18MP Canon EOS 650D and the higher resolution 24MP Nikon D3200.
We've taken base ISO Raw shots of our studio test scene and processed them in Adobe Camera Raw with a +3.0EV exposure adjustment. We've then taken crops in the darkest areas of our scene to compare the amount of shadow noise between the two cameras.
|Pentax K-30 ISO 100: ACR +3EV, NR off||100% crop|
|Canon 650D ISO 100: ACR +3EV, NR off||100% crop|
|Nikon D3200 ISO 100: ACR +3EV, NR off||100% crop|
Looking at the 100% crops above, it is clear that the Pentax K-30 displays less more chroma noise than both the Canon EOS 650D and the Nikon D3200, although the difference to the latter is much smaller.
Real world sample
While the results of our studio scene reveal interesting information about the sensor's maximum capabilities, it's important to place those results in the context of real-world photography. Below is an image shot outdoors under typical daylight conditions at ISO 100. We've taken the same raw file and converted it twice in ACR 7.2 - once at default exposure settings and again with three Basic Panel adjustments, detailed below.
|ACR 7.1: Default settings with NR off||ACR 7.1: Shadows +72, Blacks -14, Highlights -20 with NR off|
|100% crop||100% crop|
As you can see with the K-30's Raw files it is certainly possible to gain significant shadow detail while maintaining a reasonable overall exposure by opening up the shadows in ACR - without significantly increasing the shadow noise. This gives you enormous flexibility when editing Raw files and allows you to create almost HDR-like images from only one exposure. In terms of shadow noise the K-30 is no doubt one of the best APS-C camera we have seen until now.
On the Pentax K-30 you have the option to enable distortion correction in the Control Panel. As you can see in the images below, the feature does a good job at keeping the image from showing the barrel distortion caused by the lens. This shot was taken with the 18-135mm lens at its widest focal length.
Overall the distortion correction is doing an excellent job, eliminating a large portion of distortion with only a minimal loss of quality at the edge of the frame. You also lose a small portion of the frame around the edges to the correction.
With this feature activated the number of frames in a burst and the buffer full rate during continuous shooting decrease significantly. So make sure you switch Distortion Correction off when shooting bursts. You can read more about this on the performance page of this review.
Distortion Correction On
Distortion Correction Off
Overall Image Quality
The K-30 uses a further developed version of a sensor that we very impressed with when we first saw it in cameras like the Pentax K-5 and the Nikon D7000. There are now various APS-C cameras around with a higher resolution than the K-30's 16 MP but the Pentax image output still offers enough detail to satisfy most needs. To many photographers the extremely low noise floor will be of higher practical importance than pixel-count anyway. It makes the K-30's Raw files extremely malleable, and allows for an awful lot of flexibility in post-processing - something that photographers could only have dreamed about only a few years ago.
In addition to the low shadow noise levels at default settings and low ISOs, the K-30 captures high levels of detail, even in low-contrast areas of the frame. In the camera's JPEG output first signs of noise appear in areas of plain tone at ISO 400, but you have to zoom in to 100% magnification to spot it, which makes it pretty much irrelevant in practical terms. At ISO 800 upwards, though, the detrimental effects of noise-reduction on fine detail become more visible. As you would expect image quality deteriorates further as you go up the ISO scale, but output remains very usable up to very high sensitivities. However the very highest ISO 25600 setting should probably be reserved for web-use and smaller output sizes only. That said, the K-30 performs generally very well at higher sensitivities and compares very favorably to its peers in this area.
Detail can be further enhanced by processing the camera's Raw files and applying custom sharpening parameters. Raw processing also allows for a customized approach to noise reduction and, as mentioned above, for heavy editing of the images' tonality, thanks to the very low noise floor. Overall the Pentax K-30's image output leaves very little to complain about, and is among the best we have seen from any APS-C sensor camera so far.
Oct 24, 2015
Oct 13, 2015
Oct 29, 2012
Jan 31, 2013
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.