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Pentax K-30: Weather-resistant and dustproof mid-range DSLR


May 23, 2012

The mid-level Pentax K-30 is said to offer 'worry-free photography' thanks to 81 seals which promise to keep out dust and moisture

The mid-level Pentax K-30 is said to offer 'worry-free photography' thanks to 81 seals which promise to keep out dust and moisture

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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.

Source: Pentax

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Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee. All articles by Simon Crisp

Exactly how do the seals keep out dust and water?

Also, -10°C isn't particularly cold, but I don't think this claim stacks-up.

A Canon EOS-1D Mark IV is only rated as low as 0°C. That makes sense.

At sub-zero temperatures, your breath would most likely freeze on the lens, and viewfinder. Any small amounts of water in joints, and around controls, would freeze and expand slightly, which could cause problems.

Perhaps they have addressed all of this, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Dan Marsh

I own the K20D from Pentax, as well as a couple cameras from Nikon and Cannon. I have never held a camera who's body was as solid and fortified as Pentax makes them...i don't know about the cheaper models, but the K20D and better are as tight as the presidential limo. Of course i've never tested just how tough or water proof they really are, but judging by feel and experience i wouldn't be too upset about a bit of rain...though admittedly the thought makes me cringe even so. If you doubt Pentax then go play with a demo model at the store, you'll only understand when it's in your hands.

John Parkes

We have owned the K10D since '97,, and still love it. We bought the extra battery pack that connects to the bottom, which I might add gives a solid heft without becoming unwieldy. The best is that we can shoot well over 2000 shots before even thinking about recharging either of the batteries.

I do, however, lament the fact that there is no video mode. Shucks, i'm relegated to use my cell phone for quick video's.

Bottom line- our K10D may be older, but because of all the seals, it is still rock solid, and definitely a keeper.

Edwin Wityshyn

Weather sealing is not just for rainy days. Singapore is in the tropics and buildings are air conditioned so when you step outside with a cold camera in sub-tropical damp air, the vapor condensates not only on the outside of the camera and lens where you can easily wipe it dry, the condensation happens inside the camera and lens which can leave water marks on the sensor and other places where you will find difficult to clean. You can of course wait about half an hour for the camera to warm up and keep it in a sealed plastic bag while it heats up.

Julius Bergh
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