Pentax K-30 Affordable Weather Sealed DSLR Camera

May 22, 2012

Pentax K-30 announced at May 21, 2012, this is the latest addition to Pentax DSLR camera’s lineup. Another weather-sealed camera that keeps a good balance between features and price. The K-30 is sealed against water splashes, dust and resistant to cold down to -10 Celsius degrees. This is a great camera for the enthusiast outdoor photographer and for people who usually shoot in harsh weather conditions.

This is not a waterproof camera that you can take underwater like Pentax WG point-and-shoot cameras.  This is a camera that you might take to you next Ski trip, shoot surfers at the beach, take to a trip to the rain forest, etc.

Pentax already have several high-quality weather-sealed DSLRs, including the K-5 and the K-7.  It’s not built with the same Magnesium-alloy body as the K-7 and the K-5, but rather reinforced Polycarbonate over stainless steel chassis, however, it’s still a very strong and durable camera.

What so special about the Pentax K-30?

The first thing that is unique about this camera is it’s design. It looks like a sport-camera design, with beautiful curves and soft durable rubber surrounding the grip and the left side of the camera (for vertical shooting). A rubber is useful to preserve firm hold of the camera, especially when the camera gets wet.

Pentax K-30 blue with water splash

Pentax K-30 (blue), doesn't afraid of water splashes

Pentax also decided to make this camera also in white and blue other than just the black variation. Pentax is well known for a company who loves to release cameras i a wide variety of colors. In fact, only three colors (black, white, blue) seems weird when it comes to Pentax, I was expecting at least five :)

Pentax K-30: top, front, rear sides

Pentax K-30: top, front, rear sides

The K-30 keeps it similarity to other models (ie. K-7, K-5), but many will agree that it’s unique in design. The AF/AE-L button moved to the left, making more room to lay your thumb, improving your holding of the camera.

At the back you will find the same excellent 3-inch 921K-dots fixed LCD display that you can find on the K-7 and K-5 too.

I think that Pentax didn’t opt for articulated LCD, top LCD panel and Magnesium-alloy chassis in order to keep the price down. I think that is a smart decision because as for right now, you won’t find any other weather-resistant DSLR at this price range.

If you really that kind of durability with a Canon camera, many people will suggest buying one camera in the Canon EOS 1 series and equip it with certain weather-sealed L-lenses if you want your camera to withstand hard weather conditions. Even than and according to Canon, the seals of the camera do not make the camera water resistant or water proof. Canon recommend to always try to keep the camera dry.

Those of you who want to use Canon (or Nikon)  in the rain for example, Canon recommends buying a camera housing to protect your gear against water.

Of course those cameras are pro-level cameras and cost as such. Pentax didn’t have a problem creating a large banner on the K-30 product page ans say:

“Never Take a Rain Check”

So their you have it, a REAL weather-sealed affordable DSLR camera.


K-30 Key Specifications

Pentax K-30 comes with a new SAFOX IXi+ AF system. An improved AF sensor with 11 AF points (9 cross-type). Pentax works hard to improve the AF algorithm and especially the subject tracking algorithm so the camera can focus almost instantly on fast moving subjects.

The K-30 AF system incorporates a diffraction lens to minimize chromatic aberration and therefore be able to achieve a higher degree of accuracy.

Many companies work on improving their AF system.  More and more photographers are aware of this feature. Mirrorless camera manufacturers like Panasonic and Olympus market that ‘Ultra AF Speed” feature as an important feature, and it seems more people are looking into the specs, asking questions and wanting to know how fast the AF is. Panasonic even gave  it a friendly name like “Light Speed AF“.

that means that next time people will search for an interchangeable lens camera (ILC or DSLR), they might also ask about the AF speed too.

AF speed is not a gimmick. Many people really need it for certain type of photography shooting style, whether it’s for sports photography, shooting animals in the wild, car racing, etc.

Beginners might not even notice the differences. Even so, you should be glad to know that the AF system has been vastly improved in the K-30, and that’s what matters. Professional reviews will probably give us better details on “how good” the AF system really is, but I don’t think that this camera with disappoint.

The Pentax K-30 can record Full HD videos at 1080p at 30/25/24 frames per second.  Just in comparison, the Pentax K-7 can shoot only 720p30 and the K-5 can shoot 1080p, but only in 25 fps.

That certainly add extra value to this camera, because when you take this camera in the rain, to the beach or to shoot a Ski event, you can use it for both stills and videos too! – just note that the Pentax K-30 doesn’t come with an external microphone jack, so you need to accept the lower sound quality of the camera’s internal microphone.

Other interesting specs:

  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • Shake Reduction (SR) image stabilization mechanism which is useful to 3-stops
  • LCD comes with anti reflective coating to reduce sun and strong light reflections (needed for outdoor video shooting, but very useful in general)
  • 410 shots battery life (CIPA), not as good as the 980 shots of the K-5 and K-7
  • ISO 100-25600 (extended)
  • 16.3MP CMOS sensor
  • PRIME M image processor
  • Weight: 650g
  • Dimensions: 130 x 97 x 71 mm (5.12 x 3.82 x 2.8″)
  • Pentaprism viewfinder: 100% coverage and 0.92x magnification
  • 12m (ISO 100) built-in flash
  • compatible with SD/SDHX and SDXC memory cards
  • Shutter speed 1/6000 to 30 seconds
  • Large variety of scene modes: ortrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Forest, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG), Night Snap, Food, Pet, Kids, Surf & Snow, Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum
  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • In-camera HDR
  • 77 Segment Metering system
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion or AA battery compatible


All in all, the Pentax K-30 looks like an excellent alternative to Canon and Nikon mid-range DSLRs. It boasts excellent specifications and on top of that it’s weather-sealed. You get a weather-sealed camera without leaving out important all the default features that you can expect with a mid-range DSLR today. It has fast and accurate AF, it looks great, it’s weather-sealed, can shoot 1080p Full HD videos, has a high-res LCD screen and of course you cac enjoy a large selection of high quality & exotic Pentax interchangeable lenses.

Pentax K-30 (Blue) via Amazon
Pentax K-30 (Black) via Amazon
Pentax K-30 (White) via Amazon

Click here to view a visual size comparison of the K-30, K-7 and K-5 side by side

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