Professional DSLRs like the Nikon D4 and the Canon EOS-1D X are hard-as-nails devices which can take a battering and operate in the toughest of conditions. Users with more modest cameras however, have to be a little more considerate about where and when they shoot. In the middle of a torrential downpour for example, not a good idea … normally. The Pentax K-30 is a mid-level DSLR which packs weather-resistance and dustproofing into an entry-level sized camera.
Fitting into the Pentax line-up somewhere beneath the aging K-5, the 16-megapixel shooter also boasts a few other features borrowed from more professional models including high-speed burst shooting at 6fps (JPEG), an optical viewfinder with nearly 100 percent field of view, a glass pentaprism, and a 1/6000 second high shutter speed. It also comes in three colors, unlike most pro cameras.
The mid-level DSLR is said to offer "worry-free photography" thanks to 81 seals which promise to keep out dust and moisture. The K-30 is also cold-proof and works in temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F) – though you probably wouldn't get to shoot the 480 images the lithium-ion battery is normally capable of capturing, even if not using the built-in pop-up flash.
Measuring 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 inches (128.5 x 96.5 x 71.5 mm) the Pentax K-30 shows its "sporty and functional" design by featuring a large grip and rubber casing, to make it easier to keep a firm grip on. Inside, there's an APS-C-sized (23.7 x 15.7 mm) CMOS sensor – adapted from the Pentax K-01 – with 16.28 effective megapixels. Pentax promises low-noise images, while the camera offers a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to ISO 12800, expandable to ISO 25600.
A 3.0-inch 921k dot LCD panel delivers a 60 frames per second Live-View, which also features a focus-assist function to improve manual-focusing accuracy, and it can display three grid patterns. Auto-focus has received a boost in the form of a newly developed SAFOX IXi+ AF module which is said to offer accurate and reliable auto-focus across 11 points, nine of which have cross-type sensors.
The Pentax K-30 – which is compatible with all PENTAX K-mount lenses and offers full HD video recording (30, 25 or 24 fps at 1080p, or up to 60 fps at 720p) – will be available in glossy white or blue, or a more traditional black, in July at US$850 body-only or $900 including an 18-55mm kit lens.
Pentax also announced the release of a new K-mount 50mm lens, the PENTAX-DA 50mm f/1.8, which is claimed to deliver sharp, clear images from edge to edge and uses round diaphragm blades to deliver creamy bokeh. It will also be available in July, and set you back $250.