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I wanted a DSLR to accompany my existing camera but wanted something that was going to stand the test of time, after all, i made the transition from compact digital to dslr but i wanted something that i could take out in all weathers without worry i'd still be able to use the camera ever again...
In comes the Pentax K-30!
It's weather proof! YAY!
That means when it's pouring it down i don't have to keep putting it away, i just use my lens hood to avoid splashing and water droplets and i'm worry free!
I managed to get this camera with the included lens the 18-55mm, this covers nicely the wide angle to mid zoom, great for portraits, although i can change this lens out for something with a bit more reach if i want but for most situations i find it suits my needs just fine, i can get so much in when taking photos of large groups of people and i can get all my architecture in without missing parts of buildings on the sides.
FULL HD shooting is also very very nice, coupled with my manual lenses i can get superb depth of field and a really nice bokeh (blurred background) when conditions are nice and bright, looks fantastic in full hd, i'd even recommend this camera to anyone looking to do a little amateur filming, the results are that good.
Coming in at 16mp you get nice sharp well detailed and beautifully saturated images, i'd say i'm as pleased with the colour reproduction as much as i have been in the past with Nikon cameras, although here you're paying just that little bit less, but you're still getting quality workmanship.
You get all this with the kit...
RECHARGEABLE L-ION BATTERY D-LI109
PENTAX USB CABLE
HOTSHOE COVER FK
BODY MOUNT COVER
Pentax K-30 18-55mm DAL Lens Kit
It's a great fully bundled kit if you can find it and i'd recommend it to beginners and amateurs alike, the weather proofed body means it adds more to it's versatility without compromising on anything, i didn't find it too bulky and i had peace of mind in all weathers, that means a lot as i don't have to consider rain anymore as a restricting factor in getting the right photo!
The pentax k30 is an incredibly ugly camera, it looks like a frankenstein camera with the range of different textured plastics they use. Looks aside it's a great camera.
For the price of a entry level canon you get a pentax which although entry level has some features that rival the flagship canon's.
Pentax aren't a very popular brand compared to canon/nikon but I have no idea why, they really do make great cameras and although they had been playing catch up for a number of years I feel that in the last year or two they have leaped ahead, the k5 was better than the 7d/d7000, and now the k30 is better than the 600d.
2 things you don't expect on an entry level camera are 1) 100% viewfinder, so you see exactly what you are getting in your picture, and 2) weather sealing, so you can take it outdoors and not worry about it.
Pentax' weather sealing is the best in the business, and despite this not being as well sealed as their flagship k5 camera it should still be as good if not better than the competing canon and nikon models.
The af system on pentax is still relatively primitive compared to canon/nikon models, but works reasonably well in decent light, although the competition and even the flagship k5 does better in low light- but this is to be expected for a product in this price bracket.
Also expected is the plastic shell, it is polycarbonate (which is what they use in police riot shields) so it's not cheap plastic, but it's never going to be as tough as the magnesium alloy cameras out there, as long as you're not in the habbit of dropping your camera onto concrete you should be ok with a polycarbonate shell, and it helps keep the weight down- the k30 is a very small and very light camera.
That's pentax's niche, they don't compete with canon/nikon to product professional cameras, they create cameras that are firmly focused (pun intended) on photographers, and even their flasgship k-5 is tiny compared to say the canon 7d.
Like all 'budget' cameras there's a real lack of hands on controls, and again the k-30 disappoints, you might find yourself outgrowing this camera.
Battery life is another budget camera foible, and here the battery lasts around 400 shots, which is about equal to a canon 600d, but less than half that the professional canon's can do (even the 60d which is mid range can do 1100 shots per charge). pentax does have a trick though, they can take AA batteries through the use of an optional adapter, which can be a life saver when you run out of juice (as long as you're near a city), this is a very traditional pentax touch and i'm glad they do their own thing instead of trying to copy canon/nikon.
Another pentax touch is in body IS- this is an amazing feature and although lens based IS has some advantages (mainly that it stabilises the viewfinder), having IS on all your lenses, even super old school vintage prime lenses is a real bonus and is a feature that canon/nikon are really lacking, to be able to stabilise a £20 lens is a treat, but the availability of cheap lenses for pentax has angered many a wife as their husbands photography collection spirals out of control