A good specification at an affordable price makes the E30 an attractive option
he Pentax E30 is an entry-level camera that trades on its attractive price point. Compared to its siblings, (the Optio M30 and T30), the E30’s specifications look good, so what separates them?
The Optio E30 has a 7MP sensor with a 3x zoom, equivalent to 36-108mm. Having a fairly limited ISO range of 80 to 400 means that the flash is sometimes necessary even in outdoor, daylight conditions. There are 15 program modes to choose from and we would recommend choosing the mode carefully because in ‘auto’ mode the camera is slow to shoot moving subjects; swapping to ‘Sports’ mode helps to resolve this.
The design of the camera is good and it ergonomically fits into your hand with all the buttons on the rear controllable with your thumb. The body is plastic, but looks attractive and the camera is small enough to fit into a pocket. The 2.5in LCD is hard to view in bright light, which can be limiting when shooting or reviewing images. The camera runs on AA batteries, which die quicker than Lithium-ion cells, but can be useful when travelling because they are easier to replace.
Exposures vary in consistency and the camera’s metering system is fooled on occasions. Images generally turn out with a little more contrast than usual, even more so in brighter conditions. Noise is present, but you would have no problem printing an ISO 200 image to A4. There is some lens distortion at both ends of the zoom range, as well as a little colour fringing, but the auto white balance is accurate.
The Pentax Optio E30 is a good budget option, but in this case you get what you pay for. You may soon want to upgrade to another model from the range.