Camera makers have been cramming professional quality imaging into a budget (sub-$1000) packages for years. One of the main disadvantages of these cameras is that they're not as resilient as their $US3000 counterparts. The Pentax K-30 aims to change that.
The camera's specs are more or less what you'd expect from a $US850 camera. It uses the same 16-megapixel APS-C sensor as the more expensive Pentax K-5 -- We haven't actually had the chance to use that camera, but by all accounts it's very good. The K-30 is a snappy performer that can shoot continuously at up to 6 frames per second, and features 11-point autofocus system that Pentax claims has new optics to make sure that your shots are in focus when you're peeling off frames at top speed. As with its main competitors -- the Canon T3I and Nikon D3200 -- the K-30 shoots 1080p HD video at up to 30 frames per second.
But besides its more or less standard specs, Pentax is hoping that what will set this camera a part is its weather-ready housing, that's water-resistant and will shield that camera's guts from dust damage when your shooting on sandy beaches. This makes a lot of sense. These cheaper DSLR cameras are aimed mostly at amateurs -- people who want to take their cameras on vacation and due to inexperience are the types who might drop a their new shooter while they're at it. We'll have to wait and see whether this camera is really tougher than the competition -- not to mention whether the camera's image quality holds up.
The Pentax K-30 will be available in July for $US850 (body alone) and $US900 with an 18-55mm kit lens. [Pentax]