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07-13-2012, 04:12 PM   #1
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first 36 hours with the K-30

I had the camera for only 2 days. I will probably hold off at least another week before I write a full review of it.
I had a K200D for 4 years and K-r for just 2 months, so not new to Pentax.

What I like about it so far :
- the 100% optical viewfinder is bright and great
- the eyepiece is much better than on the K-r. It easily pops up and down like the one on the K200D. Not like the one on the K-r that you have to push in and out. I like to remove the eyepiece to use a right angle viewer sometimes.
- the picture quality is very good . Even at ISO 12800 once you run noise ninja on them, the pics are completely usable. I may never use flash again, either the built-in or the external flash.
- the video quality is amazing. It's 1080p. Much better than the K-r . And noticeably better than my Canon Rebel T3i also . It looks better than my Canon HG21 camcorder as well (this was a $1000 top-of-the-line consumer HD camcorder 4 years ago). I think the K-30 has the best video quality of anything I have seen so far.
- the autofocus is really WAY improved over the K200D and K-r. This is true for PDAF (regular AF) to some degree, in terms of accuracy in low-light. But to a MUCH greater degree with CDAF (the one used with Live view by default) . CDAF still causes the focus to go back and forth a couple times, that is the nature of CDAF. However, it is incredible how fast the focus ring turns now. I had some torture focus tests with the K-r that took something like 10 seconds in low light with CDAF . This is down to maybe 3 seconds . The sound of the ring turning is quite different. I don't have any SDM or HSM type lens to test it with. I also never had a K-5 so can't compare with it either.
- the double dials really improves the ergonomics. I never had a camera with 2 dials.
- it takes AA batteries, with the help of an internal adapter. The K-5 cannot do that. Neither can my Canon T3i, which requires a grip for that, making it much bigger.
- the amazing blue color. My bf does not like it, though. He said it does not go well with all my black lenses.
- I like the new color scheme in the UI too.
- ISO and shutter speed can be changed during video recording.
- it has a cable released connector, unlike the K-r. I have not tried it yet.

What I don't like so far :
- biggest con for me : the audio quality is pure crap. There is no other way to describe it. Only 32 Khz sampling rate, and built-in mic is mono. And I hear a recurring noise every half second or so, a bit like a front loading washing machine turning at low speed, even if I record silence. Not sure if anyone else is seeing this. It is so bad that I know I will always want to use some other audio. I am actually hoping my unit has a production defect, but I doubt it, the K-r audio was also awful, with similar periodic noise.
Last night I did a piano recording session with the K-30, Canon T3i, and Canon HG21 4yr old HD camcorder, and 9 semi-professional mics in the same room for the same performance of me playing my 9ft grand piano. That is a lot of tripods for both audio and video, as you can imagine. The audio for the K-30 was the worst, by a long shot.
- there is no mic input, so no way to easily get around the crappy audio. An external audio recorder is required, and extra time needs to be spent in video editing to put it together.
- the LCD screen is fixed. It should be able to tilt for video recording. My Canon T3i has this. So does my camcorder. The K-30 has very good video and it is a shame that it lacks it.
- aperture cannot be changed during video recording. My T3i can do this.
- I couldn't get any AF to work after starting video recording. I thought it was possible to get it to refocus on some other object by half press. But it won't do it.
- no vertical battery grip option. My K200D had this option. But at least I can use AAs without the grip on the K-30, like K-r. My Canon Rebel T3i in the same price range has a grip option. I keep the grip 100% of the time on the T3i in order to use AAs.
- AA battery adapter really should have been included in the box. I already had one from China for the K-r so I was set.
- I find the card door harder to open than on the K200D and K-r. It just isn't very comfortable.
- defaults in green mode with flash popped up are silly - exposure time increased to 1" . I probably won't use green mode much, or the flash for that matter, but this is confusing.

07-13-2012, 04:20 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
- ISO and shutter speed can be changed during video recording.
Excuse my noobish question (I've been using K200D for 3 years as my first DLSR so I've no experience with video capabilities whatsoever) but how does shutter speed influence the video output?
07-13-2012, 04:23 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaoloG Quote
Excuse my noobish question (I've been using K200D for 3 years as my first DLSR so I've no experience with video capabilities whatsoever) but how does shutter speed influence the video output?
It changes the brightness. The slowest shutter speed you can use is the frame rate, ie 1/24, 1/25 or 1/30 on the K-30 .
07-13-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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Looking forward to your full review... is the t3i weather sealed? Is there a camera company that make a WR camera body with a tilt screen?

Well you still have time to return it for a K-5

07-13-2012, 04:34 PM   #5
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Or 1/60 max at 720p? I think I understand now. I always thought that the shutter stays open during the video recording. Now I see it's a nonsense. Again, I'm completely new to video shooting with a DSLR. Anyway, I'll give it a try with my new K-30 soon. And I really like your summary, I'm glad that "cons" are not that important to me, reassuring me that I've made a good choice with the K-30. Thanks madbrain.
07-13-2012, 04:55 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by EdwardConde Quote
Looking forward to your full review... is the t3i weather sealed? Is there a camera company that make a WR camera body with a tilt screen?
No, the T3i isn't WR. The Canon models that have WR are at the high end of their range. I don't think I've ever seen a DSLR with both WR and an articulated screen.

QuoteOriginally posted by PaoloG Quote
Or 1/60 max at 720p? I think I understand now. I always thought that the shutter stays open during the video recording. Now I see it's a nonsense.
The shutter does stay open. It would wear out in no time if it were clicking away whenever we shoot video, and the noise from it would be evident in the recording. In fact, burst rates for continuous shooting show us just how limited the shutters in DSLRs are. You're lucky to get a camera that can do 6-10 frames per second, not because of memory usage or processing power, but because the cycling time of the shutter puts a hard limit on what can be accomplished.

It's not shutter speed so much as it's the captured frame rate. You can get 60 frames per second at 720p, or the "speeds" listed above at 1080p, but it's all done in software, not the shutter. It doesn't affect brightness, it just lets you change the frame rate while recording. A slower frame rate will take less space on the card at a given resolution, but the tradeoff is that the output becomes more jerky. At 24 fps this is noticeable to the eye, which is why some silly marketers try to make it a "feature" by comparing it to old movie cameras. 30 fps should be pretty smooth to the human eye, especially when used with all the processing tricks that go on in these cameras, and 60 fps will be silky smooth - faster than our eyes can perceive.
07-13-2012, 04:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by EdwardConde Quote
Looking forward to your full review... is the t3i weather sealed?
No, it is not. I have to say that I never got a WR lens in my years with the K200D.
I do plan to get some for the K-30, however.

QuoteQuote:
Is there a camera company that make a WR camera body with a tilt screen?
I believe Olympus does, yes.

QuoteQuote:
Well you still have time to return it for a K-5
Never going to happen
07-13-2012, 05:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
Never going to happen
Awesome!! Enjoy your new toy dude!!! Post pics soon!

The thing about Weather Sealed bodies is now you have the options of WR lenses... before when the K-x and K-r... didn't even look at those lenses cause the body wasn't WR... now with my K-5 and you with your K-30 there is a whole other selection out there that we didn't even bother to look at before...

Love this hobby....

Time to shoot all!!!

07-13-2012, 05:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting your thoughts! They only make me want this camera that much more. It's good to hear the perspective from someone who has used a K-r. No offense, but I just don't care about video so really none of your cons bother me at all.

Really appreciate you taking the time to post and looking forward to more of your feelings as you spend more time with the K-30!
07-13-2012, 05:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaoloG Quote
Or 1/60 max at 720p? I think I understand now. I always thought that the shutter stays open during the video recording. Now I see it's a nonsense.
The lens stays physically open, there is no clicking, as Philosothical said.

However, the sensor can be set to capture data for the full duration of the frame, or a shorter amount of time.

This is explained here :
Why Shutter Speed Matters With DSLR Video | Camera Dojo

So actually it isn't just the brightness - I was shooting something without a lot of motion (myself playing the piano), but if you shoot sports, video shutter speed will make a difference too, just like it does for stills. And actually when I freeze a frame and look at my fingers, there is motion blur on them too. I may need to do make adjustments.

I really don't know a whole lot about video yet. I have mainly used my camcorder in auto-mode in the past to record video. Apparently the HG21 camcorder can change shutter speed as well. Now that I have 3 good HD video recording devices, I expect to learn a lot more about it.

It is too bad that the K-30 pairs the best video I have seen with the worst audio.
07-13-2012, 05:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote
Thanks for posting your thoughts!

They only make me want this camera that much more. It's good to hear the perspective from someone who has used a K-r.
You are welcome. I don't regret my purchase at all.

QuoteQuote:
No offense, but I just don't care about video so really none of your cons bother me at all.
None taken, but I did have a few non-video cons listed too. They are more minor though.
I spent a lot of time taking movies and less taking pictures with it so far.

Another thing I can mention which is not really an issue with the camera, more software problems, but still problems for me :
- Corel Aftershot Pro is not able to import/display the DNGs from the K-30 . I was able to force it to by changing the EXIF info to say K-01 instead. This is a bit of a pain.
Enough that I have set the camera to shoot RAW + JPEG right now and will just play mostly with the JPEG files until Aftershot fixes it in their next update.
The K-30 has dropped PEF, so I don't have the option to try that. With the K-r, the PEF files gave the best results with Aftershot .
- the video editing applications I have tried have serious performance issues trying to play the video files from the K-30 . Even though they are supposed to be H.264 files, the acceleration does not work. Even on my 8-core CPU with 16GB of RAM, the video doesn't keep up with the audio when playing it in PowerDirector 9 64-bit, or Corel VideoStudio X5 . The editing works fine, but is very slow. Rendering is slower than with input files from my other devices. I have a few other programs to try.
Playback in Windows media player is fine, smooth, and accelerated. That is the only application that seems to work at normal speed with the video files so far.
I'm not sure what is up with that. Could be bugs in all those programs, or something odd with the way the files are written.

I have not even taken the time to install the software that came with the K-30 yet. CD is still shrinkwrapped.
07-13-2012, 05:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbrain Quote
None taken, but I did have a few non-video cons listed too. They are more minor though.

The only one that gives me pause is the SD card door being difficult. I'm opening and closing my K-r one all the time as I like to use a card reader to transfer my files rather than use the camera's battery for that task. Is it real hard to deal with, or do you think it might loosen a bit over time and use?

Thanks again!
07-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #13
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Thanks guys, that's very interesting topic. I see now that the term "shutter speed" considering a video recording is a bit misleading. The external link provided as well as Philoslothical's post are very self-explanatory and lead to even more interesting and more detailed reading about given topic. But I don't want to go offtopic here. I'm sure there is an appropriate thread in here somewhere. Well, I can wait to fiddle with video recording myself. Thanks again!
07-13-2012, 06:01 PM   #14
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Why you want to change aperture while filming ?? IMO when you do that, the video you record will then get lighter and darker as you adjust the aperture which looks unnatural and is very distracting... AF is smooth on a mirrorless camera... But not on this kind of cameras,to get smooth manual focus you should get a followfocus... ofcourse this has to be done if you really want to have a very smooth video..

BTW: I have a 60D and never change the aperture on the fly, if I want to change the initial DoF then stop recording adjust and record again and in post edit the video... If it's because you need more light or want to cut it.. use a Vari-ND filter.

the mono audio/lack of HDMI and Mic output, is what's stopping me to get the K-30 I really think that those features and some others will be on the K-5 replacement.. However the K-30 its a very interesting camera !!

Cheers
07-13-2012, 06:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CyberManiaK Quote
Why you want to change aperture while filming ?? IMO when you do that, the video you record will then get lighter and darker as you adjust the aperture which looks unnatural and is very distracting...
The aperture change would be probably be done only if you move around to a different location where the lighting conditions change, and continue recording.

QuoteQuote:
AF is smooth on a mirrorless camera... But not on this kind of cameras,to get smooth manual focus you should get a followfocus... ofcourse this has to be done if you really want to have a very smooth video..
Right, there is no continuous AF on the K-30. I think Sony has implemented it in their DSLRs.
Supposedly Canon put something in the T4i too.
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