Pentax K-30 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Pentax Cameras / Pentax SLR i Review

Pentax K-30 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally good performance for a consumer SLR, though sluggish startup.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.1 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Shutdown

~0.7 second

How long it takes to turn off.

Buffer clearing time

3 seconds*
after 20 Large/Best JPEGs

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

See Cycle-Time table below for more buffer clearing times.

5 seconds*
after 8 RAW frames
8 seconds*
after 7 RAW + L/B JPEGs

* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup was sluggish for an SLR at just over one second, but buffer clearing times were good with a fast card.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.24 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.1 seconds

Time to display a large/best JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.2 second

Time to display a large/best JPEG file already on the memory card.

Play to Record was very fast as was displaying a recorded image, but switching from Record to Play was somewhat sluggish.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area
(center) AF

0.162 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measurements taken with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime lens.)

Full Autofocus
Auto Area (11-points) AF

0.177 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled

0.540 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. Auto Flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.099 second
This mode is release priority so subject may be out of focus; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.098 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.098 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Live View
Full Autofocus
Live View mode
0.871 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Pre-focused
Live View mode

0.253 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The shutter lag numbers above measure time from shutter button press to image capture, with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. This largely removes the issue of differences in lens focusing speed, and measures how fast the camera can measure and act on focus information. In this metric, the Pentax K-30 was faster than average for a consumer SLR. The Pentax K-30 required 0.162 second for full AF when using Single-point (center) AF mode (our default full AF lag test). This increased only slightly to 0.177 second in Auto area AF mode, which is still quite fast. Continuous and Manual focus lag times were 0.099 and 0.098 second respectively. When prefocused, shutter lag was 0.098 second which while fast, isn't quite as fast as some competing models.

As expected, the Pentax K-30's Live View mode was much slower to focus using contrast detection, though performance here was pretty good compared to most other SLRs. Full autofocus shutter lag was 0.871 seconds, which, while quite a bit slower than when using the optical viewfinder, is pretty good. Prefocused shutter lag was also good for Live View mode, at 0.253 second.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large/Best JPEG
0.41 second
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing down.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.43 second
5 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing down.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/B JPEG
0.41 second
7 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 11 shots (buffer depth).

Early shutter
penalty?

YES

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi mode
Large/Best JPEG
0.18 second
(5.52 fps);
45 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 45 shots.

Continuous Hi mode
RAW

0.18 second
(5.65 fps);
8 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 8 frames, then slows to an average of 0.53 second (1.87 fps) for subsequent shots.

Continuous Hi mode
RAW + L/B JPEG

0.18 second
(5.66 fps);
7 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 7 frames, then slows to an average of 0.74 second (1.35 fps) for subsequent shots.

Flash recycling

2.6 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were pretty good at just over 0.4 second no matter the file type in Single Shot mode.

Continuous Hi mode was good for a consumer SLR, at about 5.5 frames per second for Large/Best JPEGs, and oddly slightly faster when DNG  files were captured, at about 5.7 frames per second. These results are a little short of Pentax's 6 fps specification, though. There is also a Continuous Lo mode available, rated at 3 fps.

The Pentax K-30's buffer depths were quite good for best quality JPEGs. We captured 45 frames before the camera slowed down. (You'll likely do even better, as the target image we use for our tests is designed to be difficult to compress.) Buffer depth with RAW files is a bit shallow, though, at only 8 frames for RAW, and 7 for RAW+JPEG. Buffer clearing was quite quick with a fast card.

The Pentax K-30's flash took 2.6 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is pretty fast.

 

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

5,932 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, downloads speeds are good, though we've seen much faster.

Bottom line, the Pentax K-30's performance is generally pretty good. Startup is a bit sluggish and so is switching from Record to Play, but autofocus is swift, burst speed good, and buffer clearing fast. Buffer depths with RAW files are however on the shallow side.

Battery

Battery Life
Below average battery life for an SLR using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
410
Live View LCD,
(CIPA standard)
Unknown

The Pentax K-30 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. The camera can also use four AA batteries with the optional D-BH109 battery holder.

Battery life with the included lithium-ion battery is well below average for an SLR using an optical viewfinder, and if you plan to use Live View or shoot movies much, you'll definitely want to have a spare battery or two to bring along. Battery life with disposable lithium AAs is quite good though, at a CIPA-rated 1,000 shots.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

Pentax K-30

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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