We can count on one hand the number of times a waterproof camera was the only suitable option for any given photo shoot, but drizzle and even flash monsoons can strike at any moment, especially in some locales. Most clothing and other analog gear can survive such attacks of mother nature nearly unscathed, but smartphones and cameras are another story altogether — unless they’re coated in head-to-toe weather sealing, of course. Pentax may not be a top player in any digital imaging category, but the company does have a few serious DSLR contenders, and should be taken seriously for anyone in the market for a new ILC. The manufacturer’s latest swappable-lens model, the K-30, is quite a respectable beast, and a fairly solid value at $900 with an 18-55mm kit lens. Beneath that steel and polycarbonate black housing there’s a 16.3-megapixel APS-C sensor with shift-based stabilization, a 100-percent FOV optical viewfinder, a color-adjustable 921k-dot 3-inch LCD and a bevy of manual control options, for stills and video alike.
Pentax didn’t wait long after a rather conspicuous leak to make the details official: welcome the K-30, the company’s spiritual successor to the long-serving K-r. The camera makes its biggest numerical jump in sensor size, from 12.4 megapixels to 16, but you’re primarily shelling out for a much tougher body that’s both resistant to rain as well as to dust and temperature extremes; one of the cheapest cameras to do so, if you go by Pentax’s word. We’re slightly down on the light sensitivity being unchanged from three years ago at ISO 100 to 25,600, though you can now shoot video at a much higher 1080p at 30 frames per second — and that French catalog was wrong about a drop in burst speeds, which still top out at a healthy 6 fps. Should you be committed to the K-mount ways, stores will have the K-30 in July at $850 body-only and $900 for an 18-55mm kit. While you’re in the shop, there will also be a new 50mm f/1.8 prime lens to pick up for $250.