Pentax K-30 Hands-On: The Fastest, Toughest, Inexpensive DSLR We've Ever Used

The promise of the new Pentax K-30: the toughest, fastest DSLR that won't break your bank. We just tried it out for the first time, and so far we're impressed. A $900 DSLR body shouldn't feel this good.

Lower-end DSLRs can take great photos, but the build quality's usually pretty cheap and their performance can be a little sluggish. If you drop them, they'll break, and don't expect them to respond to your every desire.

The K-30 is weather-sealed for "all weather conditions". Pentax told us it'd be good to go in a monsoon. We didn't get a chance to put the camera under water, but it does feel a lot sturdier than the Nikon D3200 we used to take pictures of the K-30. One detail we didn't notice before is that the cheaper 18-55mm kit lens isn't actually fully weather-sealed -- only the special 18-135mm lens is. Packaged together, the lens and camera will run you $1100 at full retail price. That's cheap considering DSLRs can get ridiculously expensive, but it's not $900 like the cheaper kit package.

What's really impressive is the camera's performance. It's the fastest we've ever used. The camera's autofocus locks on instantaneously, and in continuous mode the camera peels frames at 6fps, which is faster than the 5fps Canon EOS 650D.

And make no mistake, the 650D is this camera's main competitor. Its brand new Live View autofocus should make shooting video a breeze. Plus the 650D's touchscreen controls are the first of its kind on a DSLR. The K-30 and 650D come in at the exact same fully loaded $1100 price, so we'll see if the camera's ruggedness and speed are enough to counter Canon's innovations.

We haven't closely inspected the images from the camera, so we don't yet know what kinda of image quality the camera's 16-megapixel APS-C sensor is good for. We'll let you know soon.



    So there's your Que for a" BATTLEMODO CAMERA STYLE"

    Damnit"Cue" LOL
    Was in tending to write "queue" meaning line up

    I love the fact that companies such as Pentax can make cameras that rival the big names of Canon and Nikon but I just can't see myself investing in a bunch of Pentax lenses for the long term.

      Then buy Sigma lenses.
      Seriously, the sensor in the k5 (same as in this one but updated) is rated by DXO mark as better then the 5dmk3 .....

      I'm just saying is all.

        How will buying Sigma lenses help? They'll still be Pentax K-mount. I'm with olly - the Pentax K-5 (and the K-30 for that matter) seems like a beast of a camera, but I'm quite attached to my old Nikon SLRs.

    Am I correct in saying that Pentax lets you use Lenses from other Makers?

      Kind of, but not really. A lot of lens manufacturers produce lens for various brands of camera bodies. It may seem like Pentax uses lenses from more manufacturers because they're standard lens mount has been around for years, so there is a huge back catalogue of compatible lenses.

        Also, with what James says below, it's easier and cheaper for lens manufacturers to make good quality lenses without shake reduction/image stabilisation, so there may be more brands in the market producing lenses for the k-mount.

    the best thing about pentax is that the shake reduction is in the body, not the lens. this means that you can use all of the old really good quality lenses with the new cameras and not have to upgrade lenses.

      And the lenses are smaller and cheaper for not having to build gyros and stablising lens elements into them. It makes a difference when travelling, back packing or wanting to be inconspicuous.

    I agree this is going to be a great travel camera for the price. I just took my Pentax K-7 (older, heavier, more expensive but with weather sealing and -10 degree capability) to New Zealand with the Pentax DA18-135mm weather sealed lens and it was great in all conditions. Up in the snow, wet days wandering around - you can't soak it of course but fell secure in all weathers and so toughly made. Pentax also have these wonderful and tiny prime lenses of which I have several (the 15mm, 21mm, 31mm, 43mm and 77mm) which have brilliant image quality and so small with the small camera body they are very discrete and easy to carry. The limited prime lenses are not weather sealed however.

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