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05-21-2012, 08:31 PM   #1
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Nice Design Comeback by Pentax

Given that I feared Pentax may has lost the plot when it comes to camera ergonomics a while ago, I am very relieved to see that the K-30's designers apparently were determined to design a camera that handles well.

Every contour of the K-30 looks organic; moulded to support function and handling.

The design language of the K-30 communicates the concept of "robustness" very well. There are no gratuitous style elements, however (well, there are, but you'll have to identify them yourself ). The ribbed area on the left hand side (fourth image) improves the grip when short lenses are used.

The sprocketed surfaces appear to support better handling when the camera is wet.

The area where the thumb rests is nicely moulded to improve the grip one has on the camera.

EDIT: Rparmar observes that the "LV" button is out of the way when one uses the camera for shooting. This nicely addresses accidental activation.

I particularly applaud the K-30 designers for apparently having succeeded in making the side doors gel with the body. If they are as sturdy and well integrated as they look, this will be most appreciated by those who detest floppy rubber doors that at best look cheap and at worst stop closing properly after a while. Some of the K-30's doors may very well be not much different from other floppy doors, but at least they are not the eyesores most other rubber doors are.

Interestingly the designers resisted the temptation to have the camera feature old-style strap lugs. I haven't used the latter yet so I cannot comment on how they may improve how the camera tilts when carried with the strap around the neck, but for sure video enthusiasts will be delighted to see that they do not have to deal with this particular source of noise anymore.

I haven't handled the K-30 yet but everything about it looks very promising. Thank you, Pentax, for still catering to photography enthusiasts!

P.S.: I want a top LCD display so I'll await the next Pentax releases, but boy this K-30 bodes well for the future.


Last edited by Class A; 06-04-2012 at 05:05 AM.
05-21-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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Yep, a commendable camera indeed.
And it does make a K-3 more plausible for the future.
05-21-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
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Curiously, it is somebody else now complaining about the positioning of the exposure compensation button, but I think its placement is just fine and judging from the hand holding image it only seems a small finger movement away without causing finger contortions. Hmmh.
05-21-2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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For me, the button placement has been alot more consistent than the last 4 Canon Rebel models. I always got the feeling they squeezed in the buttons after building the body. All Pentax's are different but famliar to my hands.

05-21-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 7samurai Quote
All Pentax's are different but famliar to my hands.
Except for that "Newson" model they are also selling under the Pentax name?
05-22-2012, 01:37 AM   #6
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For me, the button locations are all great. It's the different layout of the 4-way controller that confuses me.
05-22-2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Except for that "Newson" model they are also selling under the Pentax name?
Hah hah. It is like having another brand of camera that mounts my lenses - but I like it for its uses. Since I fubnctionally own a K-30 in a different form factor I'll pass on this one and wait for the K-5 replacement (to upgrade my K10D which is now I think 6 years old).

I kept trying to tell everyone Ricoh has a plan - but I was shouted down. We'll have a pretty good idea of Ricoh's vision in about 3 months.
05-22-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
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Yes, the four way buttons will cause some confusion early on. But I'm sure I will adjust. If I can learn it once, I can learn it again.

05-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #9
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The whole thing with this camera is, how much faster is the faster AF?

Despite what all the doubters like to say, Pentax is not light years behind Canon and Nikon. Perhaps in low light, but in normal to medium low light they are very close already.

And also despite what others have said, I believe it's quite possible that the limiting factor in achieving faster AF in a Pentax camera has been the speed of the processor doing the focusing. Obviously faster AF is a multi part arrangement. You can turn that little screw on the back of the lens as fast as you want, but if you go so fast your processor can't lock focus you'll go right by your focus point, Does this happen? I suspect, from the operation of my camera's that it does. So with every increase in processor speed, you're going to get a faster lock, and you can run your lenses focussing apparatus at higher speed.

Will Pentax eventually boost the voltages to it's SDM lenses or make the screw drive turn faster to take advantage of a faster focussing system? No one knows, but theoretically they could. Theoreticly Pentax could make every screw drive AF lens work faster very easily. Whether or not that is something in the works is another issue. Or they could just design a new series of lenses based on their old tried an true that take advantage of a faster processor.

I know someone will come on and tell me I'm wrong, so I'll just say thanks in advance. If you're a Pentax engineer, someone who knows the tolerances and specs of older Pentax systems, I'll probably give you a good listen. For all we know every Pentax lens ever made has already been tested at higher speeds than they are currently used. You can run tests to determine mechanical limits without having a fast AF system, most people over-design 10-20% in any case. I'm not saying it's true, but I'm throwing it out there. Just because so many people have thrown out there how badly Pentax sucks. Just saying, maybe they don't. I'm looking forward to seeing what this new AF system can do.
05-22-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
We'll have a pretty good idea of Ricoh's vision in about 3 months.
I'm looking forward to it.

The K-30 is a great start.

P.S.: Thanks for showing a good sense of humour.

Last edited by Class A; 05-22-2012 at 06:30 PM.
05-22-2012, 06:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The whole thing with this camera is, how much faster is the faster AF?
I disagree.

No offense to K-01 owners, but I wouldn't use a K-01 if it had the fastest AF on earth.

Modern sensors are all fine and even the comparatively sluggish AF on my K100D is sufficient for most purposes. Some specialist applications require very fast AF tracking, high burst rates, etc., but for most photography no modern DSLR does not deliver in terms of basic specs.

Hence I believe the biggest differences between cameras is how they handle.
  • How is the grip? Does it enable comfortable and prolonged use of the camera?
  • How is the viewfinder? Is it bright, large, and allows you to see all of what will be in the frame (or even more -> rangefinders)?
  • Can you change all shooting related parameter while you are composing the image? Or do you ever need to change your grip because you need to change the ISO setting, for instance?
  • How many further parameters can be changed quickly using hardware controls rather than menu diving.
  • etc.

Yes, for some the AF performance will be the deciding factor, but for many AF performance like provided by the K-5 is already fine.

BTW, your technical analysis of AF issues misses the mark on several accounts, but this is not the thread to have that discussion.
05-22-2012, 08:01 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I don't see the K30 as a design come back for Pentax, as I don't see the K-01 as a design failure.

The K-01 is very much a niche camera, it was never intended to appeal to everyone. Those that like it, like it allot. And those that don't, well they are as vocal about their distaste as I have ever seen for any design.

The k-01 is a funky, manga inspired, caricature of a camera that puts design ahead of function. To some people, that rocks their boat.

The K-30 is a sleek futuristic, hyper-drive, masculine, spaceship of a camera with vents, and fins. But it puts function far ahead of design. And as for the specs and details that really matter, it is a home run. Twin e-dials, 100% penta prism, and in body SR all for under $900.00? Wow!

I expect the K-3 (K-5 replacement) will bring back the all business look of the K-7/K-5. A new body would be expected, but it will be all business. No fins, flairs, or metallic blue. I expect IF Pentax releases a FF it will look and handle like the K-3.

I am really looking fwd to seeing what Pentax comes out with for the K-300 (k-r replacement). For sure it will be colourful.
05-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #13
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I aggree Class A. The design on the k-30 is great, looks solid, and I'm sure it will feel solid.

The one major thing I personaly do not like, is the position of the AE lock/AF button on the back. I'm looking to upgrade my K-r to either a k-5, k-30, or whatever the k-5 replacement will be. And as much as this might seem petty, the position of that button is important to me. The more I think about it, the more I don't understand the decision to put it there.

I'm a left eye shooter, I use back-button focus, and the K-r is just on the verge of being too small for my hands as it is. If I try to image reaching back there by the side of the LCD panel for that button when its smushed against my face, I just can't seem to picture it, it would be really uncomfortable.

I can't understand why that they've done that. I looked back at the position of the AE button across previous pentax cameras, and a range of canikon stuff too, and it's never ever positioned there. It's either by the thumb on the right, or at least in-line with the exposure dial. Strange. :/
05-22-2012, 08:10 PM   #14
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have a look at where the K-5 has its AF lock button...
05-22-2012, 08:15 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by KungPOW Quote
have a look at where the K-5 has its AF lock button...
Yes but the AE-L button, which I presume is used for back button focus on the k-5 (don't own one), is top right. Same place it is for a multitude of DSLRs. Sorry for any confusion.

EDIT: Huh, just read the K-5 manual. Scratch everything I just said :P. Guess it is in-line with the K-5's rear-AF button then... I honestly am suprised at that, as I can't see how people can grip the camera comfortably and press that. My thumb would ache after a few mins shooting.

Last edited by Tom Woj; 05-22-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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