Best DSLRs for £700
Pentax's K-30 sits below the K-5. Featuring the same 16.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor as found within Pentax's Compact System Camera, the K-01, it employs a Prime II image processor and offers an ISO range that spans from 100-12,800, expandable to 25,600.
It's a strong candidate for shooting high-speed sequences and has the ability of rattling out a continuous burst at 6fps. The SAFOX IXi+ AF system the K-30 uses is an entirely new development. Designed with improved optical components that include a diffraction lens, it's intended to improve AF responsiveness in low-light situations. As for the arrangement of AF targets, nothing has changed since the K-5: it features Pentax's tried and tested 11-point array with nine of the AF points being the cross-type.
Improving on the Pentax K-x and K-r models, which are now no longer in production, the K-30 has a pentaprism viewfinder offering a 100% optical field of view. Directly beneath this lies a fixed 3in LCD screen that boasts a 921k-dot resolution supporting live view.
Unlike its rivals in this test, the K-30 is the only camera to feature full weather sealing, a feature we're more used to seeing on semi-professional models. With 81 weather seals it's cold proof to temperatures as low as -10°C and is designed to withstand dust, dirt and moisture creeping inside.
With a stainless steel chassis, the K-30 feels solid, robust and highly durable. The deep grip gives you plenty to wrap your fingers around, and with two command dials it allows you to take independent control of aperture and shutter speed settings.
As for video, the K-30 provides full 1080p HD movie capture at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second, however there's no 3.5mm port for attaching an external microphone.
Though the kit lens has a tendency to whir loudly, the K-30 does lock onto subjects at an impressive speed in both single-point and continuous AF. Enter the K-30's live view mode and the AF performance is more sluggish and we noticed the shutter button doesn't feel as refined as its rivals when it's half depressed.
Colour and sharpness was well resolved by the fixed 3in screen. The K-30's 6fps frame rate also means it's no slouch in terms of speed: we found it happily recorded eight Raw files before the buffer became full.
- 16.3Mp CMOS AFS-C sensor
- Pentax KAf2 bayonet mount
- ISO 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600)
- Optical Viewfinder (100% coverage)
- 6fps burst mode
- 3in, 921k-dot TFT display