Pentax K-30: The weather-sealed SLR for the rest of us? (previewed)
posted Monday, May 21, 2012 at 6:01 PM EDT
The last few months have been a bit lonely for Pentax's flagship K-5 digital SLR. As the company has focused on its second mirrorless product line with the launch of the designer K-01, the K-5 has had to hold fort by itself as the only currently-produced Pentax digital SLR. The entry-level K-x has been discontinued for quite a while now, and although the K-r is still available in small numbers, production of that model stopped months ago as well.
Today, the K-5 can breathe easy, as Pentax reconfirms a commitment to the digital SLR with the Pentax K-30, a new model that debuts quite a few new features, including an aggressively restyled camera body that perhaps offers a visual cue to one of its standout features: weather-sealing in a sub-$1,000 digital SLR.
Weather-sealed SLRs are pretty common even at the enthusiast level these days, but seldom does list pricing stray far below that magic barrier; indeed, it's been a few years since the last Pentax model did so. (We're not counting the K-5 itself, as while its street price is now well under $1,000 body only, list pricing for that model is still quite a bit over $1,000.) In that sense, although the K-30 sits at a similar pricepoint to the K-r, it's perhaps more of a spiritual successor to 2008's K200D.
Not only does the K-30 mark the return of weather-sealing to a more affordable body that's also a little smaller and lighter than the flagship K-5, but it also brings a further-refined autofocus sensor, dubbed SAFOX IXi+. It's still an 11-point sensor with nine cross-type points, but now incorporates a diffraction lens that's intended to minimize chromatic aberration, for more accurate results, and the autofocus algorithm has likewise been revisited.
Sensor resolution--like that of the K-5 and K-01 before it--is still 16 megapixels, but the K-30 now includes the same PRIME M image processor seen previously in the K-01, in place of the PRIME II used by the K-5. The newer processor improves movie-shooting and live view performance, with the latter now offering a 60 frames-per-second refresh rate and focus peaking function. There's also a 100%, 0.92x magnification viewfinder like that of the K-5, and a burst shooting performance of six frames per second, just one less than the flagship model.
The Pentax K-30 goes on sale in the US market from July 2012. Pricing is set at around US$850 body-only, and US$900 with a DA L 18-55mm zoom lens included in the product bundle, a premium of only $50. More details can be found in our hands-on Pentax K-30 preview!
(130 x 97 x 71 mm)
APS-C (approx. 1.12 in. diagonal)
16.50 megapixels (total)
16.30 megapixels (effective)
4224 x 2816 (11.9 megapixels)
3456 x 2304 (8.0 megapixels)
2688 x 1792 (4.8 megapixels)
27 - 83mm (35mm equivalent)
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Modes: P-TTL: On, Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Wireless
Range: Depends on lens
PENTAX Introduces New K-30 Digital SLR Camera
Featuring weather resistant capabilities, new mid-level DSLR is the perfect creative companion for active travel and outdoor photographers
Denver, CO (May 21, 2012) – PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION today announces the introduction of its new weather and dust resistant digital SLR camera – the PENTAX K-30. Ideal for photographers with active outdoor lifestyles, the new PENTAX K-30 combines a compact, lightweight body with many advanced features found only in higher end DSLR camera models, such as a weather, dust and cold resistant body, a glass prism optical finder with 100% field of view, state-of-the-art autofocusing, and full HD video recording capabilities.
“No detail was overlooked when designing the dynamic new K-30 to be weather resistant,” explains John Carlson, Sr. Manager of Sales and Marketing, PENTAX. “Every seam, every button, every hinge has been weather sealed for adventure-proof creative photography. Whether enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking in the Rocky Mountains or on vacation cruising along on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, photographers can stop worrying about weather conditions and start focusing on capturing the perfect shot.”
In addition to its versatile weather-proof capabilities, the new K-30 offers features including high-speed burst shooting at a maximum speed of six images per second, a high-speed shutter unit with a top speed of 1/6000 second, and convenient dual electronic dials for quick, fingertip access to exposure control and several Auto Picture and scene modes. Coupled with an ergonomic grip that provides firm, comfortable control of the camera, and a sporty, functional design, the K-30 assures dependable, flawless performance in the field. The new K-30 is available in three body colors: Crystal White and Crystal Blue, with brilliant, glossy finishes reminiscent of the finish of an exclusive sports car; and Black, for a traditional SLR look. It is also compatible with all PENTAX K-mount lenses.
Major features include:
Weather resistant design ideal for travel and outdoor photography
Featuring 81 seals set in its compact, lightweight, portable body, the K-30 is built to be weather, dust and cold resistant with proven functionality in sub-freezing temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C). Its exterior has been designed to be both sporty and functional for active outdoor photographers – a large grip provides a firm, secure hold of the camera; a low-profile pentaprism housing for reduced height; and a rounded, soft-rubber casing for a solid grip of the camera during vertical shooting.
Newly developed SAFOX IXi+ Autofocus (AF) module for improved autofocus performance
The K-30 features the new state-of-the-art SAFOX IXi+ AF sensor module, which assures responsive, high-precision autofocus operation by incorporating a diffraction lens to minimize chromatic aberration in accordance to the characteristics of each individual lens. A dedicated sensor also factors the light source into its calculations at the time of shooting. Additionally, 9 of its 11 focus points have cross-type sensors to capture subjects in sharp focus, while a spotbeam assists the AF system during low light situations. The K-30’s AF algorithm has also been upgraded in all areas for efficiency and accuracy. A new expanded area AF function allows the sensor module to continue to track a moving subject in AF select mode, even when it moves out of a pre-assigned auto-tracking area, by assessing distance data collected by neighboring focus sensors. This greatly improves the accuracy and speed of detecting moving subjects during autofocus shooting, and autofocusing performance when using a telephoto lens.
High resolution, low noise, true-to-life image reproduction
The K-30 incorporates the latest 16 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with a large image-capturing area measuring 23.7mm by 15.7mm. It assures high speed image data readout to deliver super high resolution, rich gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels. This image sensor is coupled in the K-30 with the PENTAX “PRIME M” imaging engine for outstanding full 1080p HD movie clips (1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second), in addition to outstanding still image capture processing. The camera also minimizes luminance noise at low sensitivities, while offering a wide sensitivity range between ISO 100 and ISO 12800 (ISO 25600 maximum when expanded via a custom function).
Optical finder with 100% field of view
Despite its compact body, which is smaller and lighter than traditional mid level DSLR camera models, the K-30 comes equipped with a glass pentaprism finder featuring a 100% field of view and approximately 0.92X maximum magnification (with a 50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity) to cover the entire field of view for easy focusing and framing. Since its viewfinder delivers a clear view of the subject even in the brightest sunshine while also eliminating parallax, the K-30 responds efficiently and reliably to demanding applications and subjects, such as landscapes requiring delicate, high-precision framing, and sports scenes where the timing of shutter release is critical. The K-30 also accepts interchangeable PENTAX Natural-Bright-Matte III focusing screens to facilitate manual focusing operation. Optional focus screens include cross-lined and scale types, to accommodate more specialized applications.
High-speed burst shooting at approximately six images per second
When photographing sporting events, concerts or wildlife, the K-30’s high-speed burst shooting function comes in handy, allowing the photographer to capture active, fast moving subjects in a series of images at a maximum speed of approximately 6 frames per second (in JPEG format).
Advanced Live View shooting
Thanks to the latest CMOS image sensor and PRIME M engine, the K-30 offers a clear, true-to-life Live View at a smooth 60 frames per second. It also features a focus peaking function during live view to improve manual focusing speed and accuracy. Live View on the K-30 also offers a choice of three grid display patterns including a Golden Section overlay, and detailed information overlay if desired by the photographer.
High quality video recording
The PENTAX K-30 features full HD video recording to capture high quality movie clips in 1080p resolution (1920x1080 pixels). The efficient h.264 compression format offers a choice of frame rates (30, 25 or 24 frames per second) at 1080p, or up to 60 FPS at 720p, to accommodate user specific applications. Video recording options are flexible, allowing the photographer to select aperture or shutter exposure control, while PENTAX Shake Reduction helps stabilize captured video. Users may add creative artistic effects to recorded clips using various Custom Image modes or record subjects in a series of video clips with the Interval Movie Shooting mode.
User friendly Auto Picture and Scene modes
The K-30 features the PENTAX-original Auto Picture mode, which analyzes a scene then automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode from Portrait, Landscape, Macro as well as others. This allows the photographer to concentrate on image composition and other creative elements while leaving more technical settings to the K-30, such as shutter speed, aperture, white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness. The K-30 also offers 19 creative Scene modes, including Night Scene Portrait, Pet, Backlight Silhouette, and more, to simplify photographing unique subjects and scenes that often require uncommon camera settings.
PENTAX Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism for sharp, blur free images
The PENTAX K-30 incorporates the PENTAX-developed SR mechanism, which effectively reduces blur due to camera shake by approximately four shutter steps. Usable with all PENTAX compatible lenses*, including those produced for film format SLR cameras, this mechanism produces sharp, blur free images even under demanding conditions that are prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark without flash illumination, or capturing landscapes in twilight. The K-30's SR system also offers several other useful features to assist the photographer during shooting, including an Automatic Horizon Correction function to assure high precision image framing and effortless adjustment of horizontal alignment, a Composition Adjustment function to allow minute adjustments of image alignment horizontally/vertically/axially, and an ASTROTRACER mode to eliminate light trails during astronomical photography in combination with the optional O-GPS1 GPS Unit (available separately).
* Lenses compatible with this mechanism: PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2- and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.
A selection of image processing tools for creative, personalized expression
The K-30 features a Custom Image function, which allows the user to easily and quickly select the desired finishing touch for a particular image. Choose from 11 custom settings including Bleach Bypass that creates a dramatic visual effect similar to that used in motion pictures, and Cross Process to produce fanciful, eye-catching images boasting dramatic colors. The K-30 also offers a choice of 19 creative digital filters including Miniature, which transforms an actual scene into what appears to be an image of miniature models. These filters add distinctive visual effects to captured images producing creative, artistic images without the need for a computer. The user can further expand the creative possibilities by applying multiple filters and processing modes to a single image.
Choice of two power sources
In addition to the included lithium ion battery capable of capturing approximately 480 images with a single charge**, the K-30 can also be powered by four AA-size batteries using the optional D-BH109 AA Battery Holder. Since AA batteries can be easily obtained almost anywhere around the world, there’s no worry about battery shortages, even when shooting for an extended period of time or in remote locations.
** Under testing conditions prescribed by PENTAX, using the D-LI109 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery with no flash discharges.
Additional features include:
Large, wide angle viewable 3-inch LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots of resolution
77 segment multi-pattern metering system for accurate light measurement
DR (Dust Removal) mechanism to shake dust off from the surface of the CMOS image sensor
PENTAX-designed Hyper control system to assure fast and flexible response to the photographer’s creative intentions
Dynamic range expansion function to compensate for blown out (overexposed) and muddy (underexposed) areas of an image
Retrieve and save RAW data from buffer memory for a just-recorded JPEG image
RAW/Fx multi-function button for on-the-fly switching of image file formats, as well as for assignment and instant recall of other specific functions
SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 for PENTAX (RAW processing engine developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included
Pricing and Availability
The new PENTAX K-30 will be available at retail outlets nationwide and online in July 2012 with a suggested retail price of $849.95 for body only, and $899.95 for the kit including the DA L 18-55mm zoom lens.
♦ K-30 is a trademark of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD.
♦ All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
♦ Designs and specifications are subjects to change without notice.
PENTAX is a leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here: www.pentaximaging.com/news
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