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1. The K-30 has a bright 100% pentaprism finder rather than the dimmer pentamirror type generally found on cameras in this price range. 2. Images can be stored on SD, SDHC or SDXC media. 3. The camera comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but you can use four AAs via an optional adapter and greatly increase the number of shots.

Pentax K-30

Estimated Street Price: $850 (body only)

Pentax has been producing weatherproof DSLRs since the K10D in 2006, but they have always been the flagship models. The K-30 brings this great feature (and the ability to operate in temperatures down to 14°F/-10°C) to a more affordable model. The camera can use the full range of Pentax K-mount lenses, but note that not all Pentax lenses are weatherproof—just the DA* ones, and those with the WR designation. Like all recent Pentax DSLRs, the K-30 has an effective sensor-shift Shake Reduction system that works with all lenses.

Featuring a 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor similar to the highly regarded one in the K-5 (but not the same sensor), the K-30 delivers 12-bit RAW DNG files or JPEGs at 16, 12, 8 and 5 megapixels. It can shoot at 6 fps (up to 30 JPEGs or 8 DNGs). Normal ISO range is 100-12,800, expandable to 25,600. Multilevel in-camera HDR extends detail and even can be used with moving subjects.

The K-30 can shoot 1080 full HD at 30 and 24 fps, and 720 HD at 60, 30 or 24 fps. Sound is mono via a built-in microphone and the level can be adjusted manually. You can apply many of the camera's built-in special effects to video as well as still images. There's also Interval Movie mode, which shoots at preset intervals and saves the images as a video clip.

Other fine features include a top shutter speed of 1⁄6000 sec. (usually 1⁄4000 sec. in this category), digital levels for a viewfinder and an LCD monitor, a built-in flash and a 3-inch LCD monitor.

STANDOUT FEATURE: Weather-, dust- and cold-proof (as are some of the lenses).


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