Pentax K-30 DSLR Camera Review

The Pentax K-30 is a robust camera with some decent video features, but its performance was lackluster in our tests.



The weatherproof Pentax K-30 is a robust camera with some decent video features, but its performance was lackluster in our tests. Pentax has made strides to improve the video recording capabilities on its DSLR cameras, but the K-30 still falls short compared to the competition in this price range.

Motion & Sharpness

The Pentax K-30 rendered motion fairly well, but it struggled with some artifacting and ghosting around areas where motion was a problem. Sharpness also continued to be distractingly bad, with finer patterns seemingly fluxing as moire overpowered the image in parts of our motion test.

See our full motion performance review, including video clips.

The Pentax K-30 struggled in our sharpness test, as it was unable to replicate more than 500 LW/PH of detail from our standard sharpness chart. Both horizontally and vertically, the sharpness of the final video image was limited by aliasing and averaging, resulting in heavy moire and gray beyond that point.

Read our full sharpness performance review.


Low Light

The Pentax K-30 required only 11 lux to render an image that hit 50 IRE on a waveform monitor in our testing. 50 IRE is a standard for what is considered visually acceptable. That puts the Pentax among the middle of the pack as far as DSLRs are concerned. The K-30 gets that low as it’s able to use up to ISO 3200 when recording video, while the cameras that perform better in this test have a wider range of ISO speeds to call upon. Read our full low light sensitivity performance review.



The Pentax K-30 poses numerous obstacles for those who are looking to capture professional-grade video with their DSLR camera. Thanks to the absence of an external mic jack the K-30 lacks the ability to capture strong audio, which means you're left using the lowly built-in mono mic on the K-30 unless you have a separate audio recorder in your stash. The camera also suffered from a terrible, non-continuous autofocus system in video, although that is something that won't bother people who refuse to use anything but the manual focus ring.

Performance was actually pretty good with the K-30, especially in bright, outdoor light. Program mode didn't always work well for getting exposure values correct, so it's a good thing Pentax offers a full set of manual controls as well as an aperture-priority setting in video mode. Both shutter speed and ISO can be set during recording, but aperture is unfortunately locked once you hit the record button.

The main point to remember about the K-30 is that it's video capabilities are just a step behind the competition. With that in mind, we don't recommend the K-30 for shooting b-roll for an indie film or anything like that. Due to its awful built-in mic and sub-par autofocus, the K-30 isn't ideal for capturing home movies either. But for shooting a video here and there, the K-30 is fine, and you can easily capture high-quality videos with the camera.

To read our full conclusions for the Pentax K-30 including analysis of the camera's video handling and audio options, plus see sample videos and photos, visit the full review at "": In Your Inbox

Sign up to get the latest news and reviews via email

Thanks for signing up!

Pentax k 30 review vanity

Get the Pentax K-30


Buy at Amazon

News and Features

Blackmagic ursa camera hero

With the Blackmagic URSA You Can Swap Lenses, Sensors, and Mounts at Will

Blackmagic's new camera is a budget filmmaker's dream, with 4K video, a global shutter, and a design anyone can upgrade.

Blackmagic studio camera hero

Blackmagic Shows Off New 4K Studio Camera Starting at $3K

NAB 2014 continues the 4K madness with Blackmagic's latest budget-minded camera.


Canon Outs Camcorders, Cinema Gear Ahead Of NAB

Two lenses and two camcorders, all for pros.


Panasonic Reveals New Pro-Grade 4K and HD Camcorders, Next-Gen P2 Cards

Ahead of NAB 2014, Panasonic shows off a new line of pro-geared equipment.

Pocket Drone Smashes Kickstarter Goal, Could Revolutionize Action Cams

This shoebox-sized consumer drone has achieved an unprecedented level of Kickstarter success.

Jvc 350

JVC Releases Pair of New Everio Camcorders at CES 2014

Taking the wraps off its 2014 Everio lineup, JVC shows the world two weather-resistant camcorders.


Sony Unleashes 2014 Camcorder Lineup at CES

Projectors, 4K, Action Cams!


Panasonic Sees Double With Its 2014 Camcorder Lineup

Can picture-in-picture shooting renew consumer interest in camcorders?


Canon Reveals Subdued Camcorder Lineup at CES 2014

The focus is on camcorders for the masses at CES 2014.