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
|Rocks at Dawn by phucthang|
from The Rock
|Sarlat, France by poppyjk|
from Your City - Dinertime!
|Double Eagle by herbymel|
|Great White Egret vs Lizard by jose garcia|
from Strong - Weak
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.
CopyTrack's study also found that the second most-stolen image is a woman wearing painted jeans. That's apparently a thing.
Forget expensive lenses with fancy coatings and special lens elements – photographer Robin de Puy took these portraits using just a water drop for a lens.
Adobe reports a record quarterly revenue of $1.77 billion for the second quarter fiscal year 2017 ended June 2, 2017.
Zeiss says its new lens is particularly suited for portrait photography but also a good all-rounder and can be used in video applications.
We present to you the top photos from the Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Photographer of the Year photo contest – take a look at 10 of the award-winning puppers.
In case you were looking for any more inspiration to go fly one.
Following a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns, Videre 35mm's creator has re-tooled the camera with sturdier components and a simpler user assembly process.
The two hour long video covers everything an aspiring drone pilot needs to know.
This is what happens when a Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6 lens meets 60,000 PSI of water pressure. Spoiler Alert: the water jet always wins.
Andrew Harnik discusses the challenges – and rewarding moments – of a career making images for the Associated Press in his native DC.
The VMic Pro, VMic Recorder and VMic microphones are targeted at DSLR users who want to record high-quality audio.
While our full OnePlus 5 review is underway, we've put together a sample gallery with images that were taken with both the wide-angle and tele lens in a variety of lighting situations.
The OnePlus 5 main camera comes with a 1/2.8" 16MP Sony IMX 398 sensor and a fast F1.7 aperture. It is supported by a 2x tele-module featuring a 20MP 1/2.8" Sony IMX 350 sensor and F2.6 aperture.
In this video, Vincent Laforet explains why the RED 8K Weapon camera has mostly replaced his still cameras, and it's not all about resolution.
Dupe, Dupe Negative is not a pop song, and Newton's Rings are not NASA's next destination. If you've ever wondered what all that film terminology means, Kodak has you covered.
Fujifilm's X-A3 is the company's only offering to use a new 24MP sensor without their trademark X-Trans color filter array. We've had it out and about with a variety of lenses to see how it compares.
If you thought Nikon had the market cornered on expensive commemorative products, we've got news for you.
The simple drag-and-drop web app reveals the Lightroom edits applied to any JPEG, along with its associated EXIF data, provided that metadata is intact.
Danish photographers Ulrik Hasemann and Mathias Svold spent time documenting the 75,000 refugees currently in Serbia's capitol city. Most are young men from conflict zones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It takes a highly-skilled drone operator to execute a video like this in one take.
According to a report by Nikkei Ricoh is facing its biggest crisis ever and will have to cut costs in order to survive.
Air Koryo started flying in 1952, and much of its current fleet still dates from the 1960s. Danish commercial photographer Arthur Mebius has taken 24 flights on some of its oldest airplanes, so you don't have to.