It was a little more than a year ago that Ricoh's acquisition of Pentax Imaging was confirmed in the press. Since then, the company has launched a pair of non-traditional cameras, including the Pentax Q (the world's smallest interchangeable lens camera) and the Pentax K-01 (the only mirrorless interchangeable lens camera designed to accept a pre-existing lens line). Today, we have in our hands the first digital SLR that is definitively a result of the Pentax-Ricoh alliance.
The Pentax K-30 is a return to normalcy—a standard-issue digital SLR with a mirror, a pentaprism, a (mostly) familiar shape, and a tried and true sensor. Though the company's future product strategy is a bit difficult to predict at this point, the K-30 is clearly positioned below the semi-pro K-5, and above (or perhaps adjacent to) the oddball K-01 in terms of features and build. It clearly outclasses the K-r, thanks to its weather sealing, dual control dials, 100% viewfinder, and other K-5-derived bells and whistles. A number of new features, largely gleaned from the K-01, include focus peaking, the Prime-M processing engine, and the new SAFOX IXi+ autofocus system, which promises faster and more accurate focus in all shooting conditions.
We received the Pentax K-30 just about a week ago, and over the past seven days we've put it through a battery of tests, shot with it in the field, and generally come to grips with this new mid-range offering. In the following review, we'll delve into all aspects of this new camera and see how it stacks up to the venerable Pentax K-5. Is the K-30 a valid alternative to Pentax's current top dawg? Does it improve upon an already great design? Read on to find out!