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Pentax K-30 Review

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Drive Modes

The Pentax K-30 has six main drive modes: Single Frame, Continuous Hi, Continuous Lo, Self-Timer, Remote Control, and Bracketing. Sub-options are available for both Self-Timer (12sec and 2sec) and Remote Control (Instantaneous and 3-second Delay). These can be accessed by pressing the right button on the four-way directional pad when the status screen is displayed. The Single Frame mode is the default mode, and it works great for most purposes.

In Continuous Lo mode, the camera shoots at 3 fps and has an unlimited buffer for JPEGs. Depending on your SD card's writing speed, the framerate may decrease slightly along the way until all data is written out. If you're shooting in RAW, the camera will capture about 10 shots at 3 fps before the framerate falls to 1 fps, but the buffer size is still unlimited, provided your card can keep up.

Continuous Hi mode lets you take about 30 JPEG frames at 6 fps. Thereafter, the framerate falls to about the same as in Lo mode. Once you stop shooting, the camera can theoretically recover very quickly and you should be able to shoot at 6 fps even before all current photos have been written to the card. (In our experience this wasn't true, but that may be down to our older 8gb card.) When shooting RAW, you (ideally) get eight shots at 6 fps before the framerate drops.

Overall, the continuous shooting capabilities of the Pentax K-30 are far superior to those of the K-01, despite the fact that both cameras have the same image processor.  This suggests that the K-01 is deliberately down-tuned.

After shooting continuously for some time, there is a slight delay during which the camera is inoperable while it's clearing the buffer, but it generally recovers within a few seconds. A red LED at the lower right corner of the camera's backside lets you know when the system is still busy processing images. If you have instant review on, you will be able to see what you captured right away. Thanks to the new PRIME M image processor, this happens much faster than it did on the K-5. Similarly, photos can be browsed much more fluidly in playback mode.

Bracketing mode lets you shoot a series of photos with varying exposure settings. Though the K-30 supports up to ±5EV of exposure compensation, this option only supports bracketing 3 shots at ±3EV.  It would have been nice to see more options here, as things like these are strictly limited by software.  Extended bracketing is not available, so you can't do other types of bracketing (like Custom Image bracketing, ISO bracketing, or dynamic range bracketing), which are becoming more commonplace on high-end cameras. You can, however, set the bracketing order and One-push Bracketing options on page 2 of the Custom Settings menu.

The K-30 like the K-5 has an interval mode, where it can be set to take up to 999 shots with up to 24 hours in-between.

Continuous Shooting Demonstration

We apologize for the periodic "clicking" noise in these clips, which was caused by a problem with the AVI encoding of the Pentax K-5 (the camera used to shoot the clips).

 
Buy the Pentax K-30