PROS / This camera features a pentaprism viewfinder that's bright and clear.
CONS / Video capture with the K-30 is relatively basic.
VERDICT / The K-30's interesting balance of image quality and weather protection make it a good choice for budding photographers.
The Pentax K-30 is a DSLR with an entry-level price point and some unique features. Although it doesn't follow the current trends of offering an articulating LCD, Wi-Fi or touchscreen capabilities, features like a weather-sealed body, pentaprism viewfinder and dual-control dials give it a professional flavor. It may not be the best entry-level DSLR available, but these unique features make it a strong contender.
The K-30 has 81 individual seals to keep the weather at bay. While this means you can shoot safely in adverse conditions, it also means that at times the camera is a little more cumbersome to operate. Accessing the ports on the sides of the camera, including the SD card slot, is more awkward on the K-30 than on other models.
Another unique feature is its pentaprism viewfinder. Other brands use a lighter, lower-quality pentamirror design. Rather than using a series of mirrors to orient the image correctly in the viewfinder, a pentaprism design uses a solid piece of glass and produces brighter and clearer viewfinder images.
Pentaprism viewfinders weigh around three times more than a pentamirror, and this no doubt contributes to the K-30's heft. It's important to note that this camera weighs several ounces more than most beginner DSLRs.
Another outstanding feature is the K-30's dual-adjustment dials. With two adjustment dials, you can quickly adjust two of the three exposure settings without having to press extra buttons or access sub-menus. This makes manual shooting easy and intuitive.
Perhaps in order to accommodate the extra controls, the K-30 is larger than most cameras in its class. While this does give it a substantial feel, it also feels a bit clunky. DSLRs aren't the most convenient cameras to carry, but the increased size could make a difference during a long shoot.
In image-quality testing, the K-30 did very well, with high scores for dynamic range, low-light performance and color depth. This means that your photos will typically be clear with lots of details in highlights, shadows and color.
Video performance is markedly less impressive. With a top resolution of 1080p at 30 frames per second, this camera doesn't offer any remarkable features or functionality.
The K-30 comes with a one-year warranty against manufacturer defects. Unfortunately, the Pentax website isn't as rich with support content as its competitors. With some searching, you can find a downloadable manual for the K-30, but you won't find any FAQs, tutorials or troubleshooting information. For this information, Pentax offers phone and email support.
The Pentax K-30 doesn’t have the latest features, like Wi-Fi, GPS or touchscreen capabilities. Instead, Pentax designed this camera with features that directly influence your shooting experience and make it much more than just a beginner camera. With the K-30, you can have excellent manual control, a sharp viewfinder and all-weather protection.