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07-09-2012, 03:31 AM   #1
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Just picked up K30 in Sussex, UK

Hi all,

For anyone who is in the UK, Park cameras have got stock of the K30 + 18-135mm in stock in black. They also have 1 k30 white + 18-55mm in stock as well.

They do mail order if anyone is desperate! I guess though this means stock is on the way into UK - they got this delivery Saturday morning.

I was going to buy the 18-55WR and pickup a 50-200mm WR later, but they did not have this option in stock (nor an ETA!). And on reflection, the 18-135mm is more versatile as it has longer reach without swapping lenses (Aka allowing more versatility while in the rain!). Hopefully you guys will now tell me this lens is good!



Got loads to do today so not sure I'm going to be able to get out to test during daylight (also typically the weather is rubbish!)

But LMK if you have any questions!

07-09-2012, 04:20 AM   #2
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Congratulations! The 18-135WR is a very solid walk-around lens and the WR makes it a great match for the K-30.
07-09-2012, 10:48 AM   #3
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Thanks Doc. It'll be good to have a more versatile option for when I cannot/do not want to carry a full kit bag!
07-09-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
Thanks Doc. It'll be good to have a more versatile option for when I cannot/do not want to carry a full kit bag!
And even though it is Sunny England the WR might still be of use upon occasion (mostly abroad I'm sure).

07-09-2012, 10:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
And even though it is Sunny England the WR might still be of use upon occasion (mostly abroad I'm sure).
England? Sunny? Madness!

Pheo - as one of the first few who have posted that you have gotten this camera, you are now obligated by law to provide us more information, your impressions, and sample photos. Refusing to do so will have dire consequences!

Dire!

Thanks
07-09-2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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Park Cameras are a solid company, have dealt with them mail order and also visited their showrooms on special Pentax days. The 18-135 is a great lens, better than its early reputation I think.
07-09-2012, 10:58 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
England? Sunny? Madness!

Pheo - as one of the first few who have posted that you have gotten this camera, you are now obligated by law to provide us more information, your impressions, and sample photos. Refusing to do so will have dire consequences!

Dire!

Thanks
I'd really appreciate some low-light AF and Tungsten light AF tests. Those are critical in my opinion to an analysis of the K-30 (or any other offering from Pentax these days for that matter).

-R
07-09-2012, 01:01 PM   #8
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Hi All!

Happy to oblige. Firstly, uploading test shots to Flickr at the moment. Luckily was able to nip out to a local part between conference calls. The light was a bit patchy, but sun came out for a bit (given its been miserable all day, this was a minor miracle!).
















ISO 6400 Florescent Lighting Test Shot - May not be fully in focus as was taking it at work:




In Camera HDR - Handheld (probably not recommended). Forced to HDR3 (Max Mode, I think). Camera itself produced much more of a light touch on auto HDR:




Still neat you can do that in camera! Takes a little while to process though, during which time camera cannot be used (you can cancel out but you loose the shot)

07-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #9
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Keep those shots coming - thanks!
07-09-2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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Right, initial thoughts:

- It is quite small, but not dramatically different from the K5. I may get one of those extra-hand-grip thingies (Technical term I know!) (not a battery grip)
- General camera operations are fast. Feels a lot snapper than my K10D did. Turns on instantaneously
- Feels Solid in the hand, well built. Similar to the K10D in this regard
- Blimey, can it rattle off shots fast! Again, in comparison to my K10D, this feels distinctly rapid (in Cont. Hi). Estimate that after 8-10 frames it slows to Cont. Low. But still continues taking more than 1 frame a sec. Not very scientific, I can try to be more so if needed
- 18-135mm seems nicely weighted on this body
- Screen is nice, good colour depth, nice colours, OK to view outside (not checked in glaring sunlight as of yet)

- Autofocus. So I've been testing with both the 18-135mm which is SDM, and the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8, which is screw drive:

With the former, the thing is so quiet. I've not had an SDM lens before, therefore for me this is unusual. If anything I slightly miss the auditory feedback. Autofocus seems fine in low light, I've just tested under a 20w halogen desk light, and I observe:

- The focus seems to lock in much more sensibly than the K10D. It doesn't do the whole "travel the whole range of the camera and back" thing that the K10D liked to do with its kit lens
- The "stepping" to lock focus seems sensible - i.e. the lens/camera combo seems to get close, then gradually increments until focus lock. So far, non-moving targets seem to be getting a lock all the time, some taking a little longer than others, but all still plenty fast enough for a non-fast moving target (Which you wouldn't be shooting in low light really!)
- I can only induce any auto focus problems if I do something really stupid, like point it at something in low light, with a completely uniform area, on spot focus mode.
- I tend to default to shooting with the center AF Point. With it locked to 11 points, the autofocus seems to perform the same, if not a little better on areas with no contrast.
- CFAF also seems to work OK, and finds a lock 95% of the time on awkward areas (I'm talking in the dark, low contrast areas here. Admittedly with some use of the AF Assist Light. Generally though, when given a slightly less arcane test, I would be comfortable with this.
- Face detection in this mode also worked efficiently earlier, quickly locking onto the face. The resulting photo seemed a little soft, but I could not properly comment as I was not familiar enough with the camera at this stage

With the Tamron 17-50mm:

- Screw drive lens - now thats a proper sound
- Focus generally fine as well. If anything slightly quicker than the Pentax SDM motor'd lens. But not by much.
- Less searching than on the K10D by a long way, to my eyes. Although this was on an 18-55mm kit lens on the K10D, FYI.

Other things:

- I'm slightly missing the top LCD, but not much. The info display on the main LCD is clear and easy to read
- For my larger hands, the front e-dial currently feels slightly out of position - i.e. my finger does not fall to it 100% naturally. This might be because it falls naturally to the shutter release instead
- Electronic level is a cool function (not had one before) and works well.

These are just initial observations. Generally, the camera definitely feels like 6 years progress vs the K10D.

Last edited by Pheo; 07-09-2012 at 03:23 PM. Reason: Clarifications
07-09-2012, 02:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
Right, initial thoughts:

- It is quite small, but not dramatically different from the K5. I may get one of those extra-hand-grip thingies (Technical term I know!)
- General camera operations are fast. Feels a lot snapper than my K10D did. Turns on instantaneously
- Feels Solid in the hand, well built. Similar to the K10D in this regard
- Blimey, can it rattle off shots fast! Again, in comparison to my K10D, this feels distinctly rapid (in Cont. Hi). Estimate that after 8-10 frames it slows to Cont. Low. But still continues taking more than 1 frame a sec. Not very scientific, I can try to be more so if needed
- 18-135mm seems nicely weighted on this body
- Screen is nice, good colour depth, nice colours, OK to view outside (not checked in glaring sunlight as of yet)

- Autofocus. So I've been testing with both the 18-135mm which is SDM, and the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8, which is screw drive:

With the former, the thing is so quiet. I've not had an SDM lens before, therefore for me this is unusual. If anything I slightly miss the auditory feedback. Autofocus seems fine in low light, I've just tested under a 20w halogen desk light, and I observe:

- The focus seems to lock in much more sensibly than the K10D. It doesn't do the whole "travel the whole range of the camera and back" thing that the K10D liked to do with its kit lens
- The "stepping" to lock focus seems sensible - i.e. the lens/camera combo seems to get close, then gradually increments until focus lock. So far, non-moving targets seem to be getting a lock all the time, some taking a little longer than others, but all still plenty fast enough for a non-fast moving target (Which you wouldn't be shooting in low light really!)
- I can only induce any auto focus problems if I do something really stupid, like point it at something in low light, with a completely uniform area, on spot focus mode.
- I tend to default to shooting with the center AF Point. With it locked to 11 points, the autofocus seems to perform the same, if not a little better on areas with no contrast.
- Phase Detect AF (the one which is on when liveview is on, anyway, I think thats phase detect) also seems to work OK, and finds a lock 95% of the time on awkward areas (I'm talking in the dark, low contrast areas here. Admittedly with some use of the AF Assist Light. Generally though, when given a slightly less arcane test, I would be comfortable with this.
- Face detection in this mode also worked efficiently earlier, quickly locking onto the face. The resulting photo seemed a little soft, but I could not properly comment as I was not familiar enough with the camera at this stage

With the Tamron 17-50mm:

- Screw drive lens - now thats a proper sound
- Focus generally fine as well. If anything slightly quicker than the Pentax SDM motor'd lens. But not by much.
- Less searching than on the K10D by a long way, to my eyes. Although this was on an 18-55mm kit lens on the K10D, FYI.

Other things:

- I'm slightly missing the top LCD, but not much. The info display on the main LCD is clear and easy to read
- For my larger hands, the front e-dial currently feels slightly out of position - i.e. my finger does not fall to it 100% naturally. This might be because it falls naturally to the shutter release instead
- Electronic level is a cool function (not had one before) and works well.

These are just initial observations. Generally, the camera definitely feels like 6 years progress vs the K10D.

Thanks for that summary. Just FYI, the 18-135 has a DC motor and is not an SDM. The difference is that the 18-135s do not have a reputation for just plain breaking for no apparent reason, the SDM lenses on the other hand.......
07-09-2012, 02:22 PM   #12
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oh good! I was worried about that.

I'll have to google the difference - I guess to me the SDM = in lens motor. But clearly thats not enough demarkation.

LMK if you want me to check anything specific. I see everyone going on about Tungsten lighting, but not being familiar with the issue, don't know how to check it.
07-09-2012, 02:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
oh good! I was worried about that.

I'll have to google the difference - I guess to me the SDM = in lens motor. But clearly thats not enough demarkation.

LMK if you want me to check anything specific. I see everyone going on about Tungsten lighting, but not being familiar with the issue, don't know how to check it.

Low light, old fashioned interior light bulbs as only light source, check for front focusing and undue hunting under those conditions. It was/is a huge issue for the K-r and a worry for the K-30 frankly. Hope its much ado about nothing but.....

Try this tread on the DC vs SDM topic:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/182093-pentax...c-my-take.html
07-09-2012, 02:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
Right, initial thoughts:
Now that is a great real-world review! Very informative and very helpful. Thank you!

And your "technical terms" are my favorite kind.
07-09-2012, 02:46 PM   #15
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Good stuff Pheo I wish I had the 18-135 kit

Couple of points, you won't find an OEM "extra-hand-grip thingy" as the K-30 doesn't support one 3rd party ones may appear like for K100D etc.

Liveview uses Contrast Detect (CDAF) normal focus is Phase

I'm itching to have a decent play with my Tamron 17-50 on it once I've had the lens focus adjustments made. I agree it definitely feels like progress
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