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Pentax K-30 Digital Camera Review
The Pentax K-30 can record video in full 1080/30p, 720/60p, and VGA resolution. The camera allows for framerates of 30, 25, and 24fps in all modes, with 60 and 50fps in 720p HD mode. The camera features three "quality levels" of video capture, indicated by stars in the menu. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
In the camera's video controls tab in the menu you are able to set what exposure setting you want for video capture. The options include auto exposure (program), aperture-priority, and full manual. When in the full manual control mode you can set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO manually, though aperture is locked in once you begin recording. You can still adjust ISO and shutter speed while recording, however. When using either of the other auto-exposure video modes, you can still adjust brightness using the exposure compensation button and the rear control dial.
When shooting in video mode you can also apply any of the camera's "custom image" color mode presets (along with saturation, hue, contrast, and sharpness control) or any of the digital filters. This lets you capture video with colors extracted, inverted color, or even a retro filter applied during capture. None of these seemed to slow down video capture below 30 frames per second.
When shooting video the Pentax K-30 doesn't feature any sort of digital zoom, requiring the user to use the manual zoom ring on the lens in order to change the field of view. The weather resistant 18-135mm lens we tested with has a solid amount of resistance as you zoom in and out, but it also pushes air in and out of the lens, resulting in some excess noise that can be picked up by the microphone.
The Pentax K-30 offers manual and autofocus when shooting video. The continuous autofocus works the best for AF, as the single-shot AF is painfully slow and only activated when holding down the AE-L button on the back of the camera. The continuous AF isn't all that fast, either, but it's better than the alternative.
You can also just manually focus in video, of course, except that Pentax hasn't allowed for the user to use the ever-useful focus peaking feature in video mode. Focus peaking highlights high-contrast (in-focus) areas in a bright color, making it easy to quickly move between focal points manually. Why you can invert all the colors in your video but not use a more useful feature like focus peaking is beyond us.
The Pentax K-30 allows for full control over shutter speed, aperture, and ISO when shooting video, with only a few exceptions. Shutter speed control is limited to 1/30th of a second and faster (1/60th of a second when shooting at 60p and 50p), aperture must be set prior to recording, and ISO is limited to the standard scale of 100-3200, which can be set manually or automatically by the camera.
If you're relying on automatic exposure for video you can adjust the brightness as we stated above, though you're limited to a +/- 2-stop scale, instead of the 5-stop scale allowed for when taking stills with the K-30.
The built-in monaural mic on the Pentax K-30 can be turned off or set to one of five levels of sensitivity. Again, there's no external mic port and no stereo microphone on the camera, so the usability of recorded audio for anything other than quick clips and Youtube videos is going to be fairly limited.