Pentax K-30 Officially Announced

Photos, details, and all the specs (overhauled AF!)

By PF Staff in Pentax Announcements on May 21, 2012
Pentax K-30 Officially Announced

Now that the embargo on the new Pentax K-30 has been lifted, we are happy to be among the first sites to post a complete overview of this revolutionary new $849 DSLR.

The Pentax K-30 is targeted at the mid-range DSLR market.  As such, it's the first successor to the K200D, which ended up being one of the most popular Pentax DSLRs due to its good balance of features and value.  The K-30 can be seen as a K200D on steroids: it is weather-sealed, and while it has no top LCD, additional external controls (including a second control wheel) have been added to make it even easier to use, and it now supports AA's as well as a rechargeable D-LI109 battery.  Other new features since the K200D include an AF assist light, new shooting modes, a larger LCD, and a faster processor. overhauled


Pentax K-30 Autofocus System: SAFOX IXi+
Figure: the overhauled AF system in the K-30

That's enough about the K200D, however.  What's important is that Pentax is reviving the mid-range line with an extremely powerful camera.  The K-30 features a vastly overhauled autofocus system.  Known as SAFOX IXi+, this 11-point AF system incorporates a diffraction lens to minimize chromatic aberration, factors in the light source at the time of shooting, and uses an overhauled algorithm to focus faster and more precisely than even the K-5.  Pentax is also including a new select-area expansion function for enhanced tracking of moving subjects, and promises improvements in "all areas", including focusing accuracy and speed.   Now, let us take a closer look at the specifications of the K-30.

Pentax K-30 Specifications

Sensor 16.28 Megapixel APS-C CMOS
ISO Range 100-25,600
Weather Sealed Yes (81 seals)
Image Processor Prime M
AF System 11-point (9 cross-type)
SAFOX IXi+ Phase Detect
Live View: Contrast Detect w/ manual focus assist
Video Recording Full HD at 30 FPS
720p at 60/50/30/25/24 FPS
VGA at 30FPS

Video AF: Yes
Viewfinder Pentaprism, approx 100% coverage
0.92x magnification
Interchangeable focusing screens
Shutter 6FPS Mechanical
30s-1/6000s (stepless), bulb
Shake Reduction In-Body (w/ optional horizon correction)
Power Source

AA via D-BH109 (not included, or)
Rechargeable Li-ion D-LI109 (included)
Approx. 480 images per charge

Dust Removal Yes, non-ultrasonic
Metering 77-segments
Rear LCD 3-inch VGA (921,000 dots)
Top LCD None
Available Colors Black, Blue, White
Body Price $849 MSRP

As you can see, the K-30 inherits the processor and sensor from the K-01.  It's firmware has been improved, however, with many new features that we will touch on later.

Kit Offerings, Pricing & Pre-Ordering

The launch price for the K-30 body will be $849- just $100 more than the K-01! The K-30 will be available in a new kit together with the DA 18-135mm WR, which we think Pentax should have bundled with the K-5.  It will also be available with the DA L 18-55mm, 18-55 + 50-200mm, or 18-55mm + 55-300mm.

Pentax K-30 with 18-55mm WR (kit not offered in the US)

As always, the K-30 body-only will also be available for purchase. Below are links to pre-order the K-30:

Note that if you do so, you will be eligible for a premium account on PentaxForums.com.

Exterior

The K-30 combines a classic DSLR look with unique touches here and there, including an extra-large grip and additional clearance below the flash.  Below are views of the front, top, back, and sides of the camera.  Click on each thumbnail to enlarge!

K-30 Front K-30 Back
K-30 Top K-30 Side
K-30 Side K-30 Wet

Notice the new U1 and U2 settings on the mode dial: the K-30 how has two easily-selectable custom shooting modes, in addition to the Sv and TAv found on high-end Pentax DSLRs.  Also, notice the presence of the AF mode switch, two e-dials, and RAW button.  The K-30 appears to be a fusion of the K-5 and K-r, with a few modernizations here and there.

On the back of the K-30 you will find the same 3-inch VGA LCD screen as on the K-5, K-r, K-7, 645D, and K-01.

The K-30 has a very large grip with additional padding to make it easy to hold.

Construction and Technology

The Pentax K-30 incorporates 81 weather seals to become coldproof (to -10 degrees Celsius), waterproof, and dustproof.  Below is a drawing that shows the seals:

Pentax K-30 Seals

Other technology in the K-30 includes the new Prime M processor, which delivers lightning-fast instant review and playback and allows the K-30 to shoot higher-framerate videos.  The K-30 takes advantage of the Prime M to deliver 60 FPS in Live View, and it also incorporates a new focus assist function for easier manual focusing, and three optional grid display patterns.  This means that Live View will be even easier to use, and that it won't be as sluggish as in the K-5 and earlier cameras.

The K-30 has a clear glass pentaprism viewfinder with nearly 100% coverage, and 0.92x magnification.  Pentax states that the K-30 will furthermore support interchangeable focusing screens.

The sensor, which is the same as that in the K-5/K-01, has 16.28 megapixels and impressive image quality.  We don't know at this time whether or not 14-bit RAW will be supported, but we have a hunch that it won't (to make people opt for Pentax's upcoming APS-C flagship instead).

Pentax K-30 Technology

The chassis itself is not made entirely of metal (unlike in the K-7/K-5), but this will likely not make any difference in practice, except for the fact that the camera will end up being lighter.  It houses Pentax's original Shake Reduction mechanism that provides up to 4 stops of stabilization for just about any lens!

Pentax K-30 Chassis

Other Features

As mentioned in the specifications, the K-30 will come in three colors: black, white, and blue.

Pentax K-30 Colors

The K-30, like all Pentax DSLRs and compact cameras, will feature an automated Auto Pict mode, as well as a variety of scene modes with pre-configured settings.  It also supports the full lineup of advanced shooting modes, including M, B, TAv, Tv, Sv, Av, and P.  The two control wheels will come in handy especially much for users who rely on these modes rather than the automated scene modes.  P mode incorporates Pentax's unique Hyper Program feature, which lets you override either the aperture or shutter speed at any time while shooting, simply by turning a scrollwheel.  Pressing the green button after an adjustment has been made will return the program line to what the camera wants to use.

It seems that the K-30 has almost all the features of the K-5, which is great to see in a camera that's targeted at the mid-range market.  Pentax has confirmed that the K-30 will support the astrotracer feature when used with the O-GPS1 accessory.

The full K-30 specifications are currently live in our camera database.  Initial reports indicate that the K-30 will start shipping on June 25th.  As with the K-01, we hope to bring you a K-30 review just days after the camera becomes available in the US.  We have high expectations for this camera (especially with respect to the AF), and hope that it will be able set a new standard for Pentax in terms of performance, value, and quality.  We are glad to see that Pentax is returning to the mid-range market (likely to compete with the Nikon D5100), and hope to see this camera be complemented by a K-5 replacement and a K-mount full-frame in the months to come!  The presence of advanced features in a sub-$1000 camera are bound to bring Pentax just as much success as the K200D did.

The K-30 body will retail for $849 in the US and 649 pounds in the UK. The K-30 will be sold together with the DA L 18-55mm lens; the weather-resistant 18-55mm can be bought separately for about $100 more.

See also the list of all Pentax weather-sealed lenses; they are all fully compatible with the K-30.

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