Coming as it does on the heels of the K-01 and K-5, the K-30 combines a number of features from each to create an entirely new performance package. Read on to find out what's been included, what's been left out, and what's new entirely.
The K-30 features the same improved imaging processor found in the K-01, called PRIME M. It greatly improves overall camera performance compared to the K-5 and previous cameras. Images are displayed faster and can be cycled through more quickly in playback mode, instant preview has a shorter delay, and in-camera image processing has also sped up versus the K-5 and K-r. Most importantly, however, the new processor delivers a much smoother live view experience than in previous Pentax dSLRs--there is practically no latency at all unless you're shooting in extremely low light.
The K-30's contrast detect AF system has also been improved over that found in previous Pentax dSLR live view modes. We'll elaborate on this later in the review.
As in the K-01, Pentax has added a Focus Peaking feature for live view shooting, which we'll discuss in more detail on our autofocus page. Another addition is a "Radiant" Custom Image preset, which can be selected when shooting JPEGs (or used to develop RAWs in-camera).
A few settings from the live view-centric K-01 have snuck into this menu. "Flicker Reduction" can be set to 50 or 60Hz, minimizing flickering from electrical light sources in various geographical regions. You can also control the hue and color balance of the live view image, rather than just screen brightness.
As on the Q and K-01, you can now check the firmware version and update firmware straight from the menu. You can also choose to perform dust removal at shutdown rather than only at startup. The shutdown option might come in handy if you're concerned about the noise distracting your subject when you quickly turn it on to shoot.
The K-30 has inherited many of the K-01's movie-related improvements. In Manual (M) movie mode, users can now change shutter speed, aperture, and sensitivity prior to recording; during recording, they can change the shutter speed, ISO setting, and EV compensation. Pressing the ISO button (up on the d-pad) when recording in M mode switches the rear e-dial from controlling shutter speed to controlling the ISO setting. In Program movie mode, EV compensation can be changed before and during shooting. Finally, when using Av movie mode, the aperture can be set before shooting, and EV compensation can be changed at any time.
The new framerates from the K-01 have also been added to the K-30, and a movie-specific info screen has been added. Unlike the K-01, the K-30 is equipped with only a monaural microphone, positioned atop the pentaprism hump, and does not include a jack for external mics.
The INFO screen remains your one-stop shop for most vital shooting functions. To bring it up, simply hit the INFO button. To change a setting, turn the rear e-dial or press the OK button to bring up a submenu. As on the K-01, the info screen now offers "Auto" settings for Highlight and Shadow correction, letting the camera decide when and when not to used them, based on the makeup of the scene. Pressing the INFO button twice brings up a submenu that allows you to choose between the standard status screen, the electronic level, and turning the screen off entirely. When the O-GPS1 GPS unit is attached to the K-30, a compass display can also be selected from this menu.
Playback mode now features faster image loading and practically instantaneous scrolling. As on the K-5, there are 4-, 9-, 16-, 36-, and 81-thumbnail display options, as well as a new "Calendar Filmstrip" display.
The K-30has suffered a few notable downgrades relative to the K-5: