Pentax Dslr users have to be a very patient bunch of people, as the company has had so many ups and downs over the years. New Pentax Dslr models tend to be released only about every two years. The K-5 was heralded as “one of the best APS-C DSLRs currently on the market” but it wasn’t a big enough leap ahead from the K-7 to persuade me to spend my hard saved cash and upgrade.
The latest Pentax offering is the K-30, a modestly priced effort but with some useful improvements, especially to image quality/processing and video and much expanded autofocus modes.
Poor autofocus performance in some situations has been a major issue for many years with Pentax Dslrs. It isn’t a problem for landscape photographers, or even photographers of Goths, but is a major hindrance to following fast-moving birds and shooting in low light situations, which the new autofocus system will hopefully address.
The new PRIME-M processing engine has been developed to give better in-camera image processing and to deliver a much improved live view and image quality is said to be very good indeed.
The usefulness of Pentax Dslr video has been diminished IMO in recent years by the lack of autofocus facility during recording. This has been addressed to a degree in the K-30, which does allow “on demand” autofocus during recording, though it is not continuous, so it requires the operator to press the focus button again when the focus needs to be changed. I’ve not seen a hands on model, but the sample videos I have seen show quite readily the difficulty in maintaining focus throughout a recording.
The K-30 has also suffered a few downgrades from the K-5, to keep the price down, including a plastic body (Yuk!), lower colour depth (12 bit vs 14 bit) and loss of the top LCD display. There is also no connector point for an add-on battery grip. It’s expanded ISO range (100-25600) packs less of a punch than that of the K-5 (80-51200). So, all in all, not a professional spec. compared with competitor’s cameras.
But the K-30 looks like great value for money. The full test bottom line on the Pentax Forum review is “Simply put, if you get the K-30, you’re getting some of the best APS-C class image quality available today.”
What is, perhaps, even tastier news, (OK rumour), is that Pentax is expected to announce soon the release of a long awaited full frame 24 megapixel Dslr, probably in spring 2013. This, as with many Pentax K-3 rumours in the past, cannot be verified. So we must all watch out for Photokina in September and keep our fingers crossed. Now that would be good!
More on the K-3 Rumour.