The Pentax K-30 is the latest addition in the company's DSLR range. With stiff competition in the mid-range DSLR market, does it do enough to stand out from the crowd? We find out in our Pentax K-30 review.
Pentax K30 Review – Image Quality
Tone & Exposure
In the past Pentax D-SLR’s have been known to underexpose a touch, however we experienced no such concerns in our tests. Even in tricky situations where the lighting was harsh and the colours were vibrant, the K30 handled situations well. Loading a large selection of RAW files into Photoshop revealed histograms that shared a uniform shape and it was only when we turned the highlight and shadow clipping warnings on that we realised shadows were clipped ever so slightly. In areas where there were extremely bright highlights, the 77-segmented metering system delivered excellent results and retained superb detail, leaving little, if any work to be carried out with the recovery slider in Camera RAW.
RAW vs JPEG
As can be expected, there is a difference between the compressed and uncompressed files the K30 produces. Viewing our selection of shots in Adobe Bridge revealed JPEG’s are far richer than RAW’s in terms of saturation. Red, green and blue tones appear deeper and as an image the RAW file offers a better representation of the scene as it appeared to the eye. JPEG’s also receive a strong level of sharpening which is made more noticeable when images are viewed up against their RAW counterparts.
Pentax K30 RAW example.
Pentax K30 JPEG example.
ISO sensitivity & noise
When we previously tested the K-01 we were extremely impressed by the way the sensor handled noise at its high sensitivity settings. The level of detail the sensor resolved up to ISO 3200 was exceptional and only began to fall away at ISO 6400. In regard to the K30, the ISO performance is nigh on identical, which is no great surprise considering the fact that it features an identical sensor. Ultra fine detail is controlled exceptionally well up to ISO 3200 and it’s only when you push beyond this point that some of the finer details in an image become less distinct. Noise is evident at ISO 6400 and the two highest settings – ISO 12,800 and 25,600 should be avoided as the results at these sensitivities contain strong signs of colour noise.
To view images taken through the K30’s ISO range click here.
Sharpness & detail
As far as sharpness and detail goes you can’t fault the K-30. The 16.3Mp chip that Pentax has made clear is produced by Sony delivers outstanding levels of sharpness. Images are bursting with detail and to view the test images for yourself, make sure you check out our image sample gallery by clicking here.