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The Cheapest DSLR with Weather Sealing

Updated on January 5, 2014

Get a Water-Resistant DSLR for Under $1000

For a long time, water-resistant DSLR cameras were out of reach of most amateur photographers. Unless you were willing to spend thousands on a pro-grade camera, the technology simply wasn't available.

Semi-pro (or prosumer) cameras brought weather sealing within grasp of more photographers, but until recently, it still wasn't available on an "affordable" or entry-level DSLR. Pentax, however, has changed that. The Pentax K-30 is the cheapest DSLR on the market with full weather sealing, and you can get it for under $1000. Skeptical about the quality? It's also getting rave reviews from photography journals and reviewers.

(Image of water-resistant Pentax K-30 provided by amazon. See link below.)

One of the features that typically distinguishes entry-level DSLR cameras from semi-pro or pro cameras is the weatherproofing. Professional photographers can't just stop shooting when it starts to rain or a dust storm blows in, so expensive cameras have offered water-resistant, dust-resistant, freeze-resistant bodies and lenses for a long time. But Pentax is the first to put this technology in a truly affordable (and well-rated) DSLR.

It's a smart move for Pentax. Canon and Nikon together account for more than 80% of the world's DSLR sales, and many first-time DSLR buyers automatically get into the "Canon vs. Nikon" mindset. Now there's a very compelling reason for first-time buyers to look at Pentax.

The K-30 not only offers weather sealing, but also a compelling set of features, including excellent low-light performance, 6 fps continuous shooting, a 3-inch viewfinder with 100% coverage, 77 segment multi-pattern metering system, 1080p HD video, and much more. Unfortunately, the K-30 doesn't offer one-touch recording or the option for an external mic, making it less than ideal for videographers.

But for still photographers, the camera compares well to its peers. Reviewers at dpreview said, "It's at the top of its class in terms of feature set and high ISO performance," and Popular Photography magazine said the K-30 "might be Pentax's least-expensive DSLR, but it's far from 'entry level.'"

Men's Journal also had praise for the K-30. They awarded the water-resistant camera their "Gear of the Year" award and called it "the ideal DSLR for active adventurers who want versatility, speed, and precision while shooting." Average customers like it, too. On Amazon, it has a 4.7- out of 5-star rating as of this writing. One amazon reviewer who gave it a 5-star rating said, "Pentax, in my opinion, has smashed a home run with this camera."

Pentax K-30 Weather-Sealed 16 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm Lens (Black)
Pentax K-30 Weather-Sealed 16 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm Lens (Black)

Product features:

- 16 MP APS-C CMOS sensor

- Full weather sealing for worry-free use in any weather condition; Rugged coldproof design for sub-freezing use (-10C, 14F)

- Full 1080p30 HD video features h.264 compression, flexible exposure control, and HDR finishing options

- Advanced SAFOX IXi+ autofocus engine features AF assist lamp, light source sensor, and improved optical components

- 3-inch LCD is wide angle viewable, and features 921,000 dots of resolution


Pentax K30 Video Review - How does the Pentax stack up to the Canon EOS T4i?

The Pentax K-30 is the cheapest water resistant DSLR currently on the market

For Fully Waterproof Cameras, You'll Need a Compact - Waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof compacts can go underwater

The Pentax K-30 is fully weather-sealed, but it's not rated to be used underwater. So far, nobody has come out with a fully submersible DSLR camera suitable for underwater photography. You'll still need a waterproof housing if you want to take your K-30 or any other camera scuba diving. But compact cameras are already making strides in this area and offer an affordable way to take underwater photos without an expensive housing.

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    • profile image

      DebMartin 2 years ago

      The time clock is ticking on my need for a new camera. Doing research. Most of my time is spent on the water. Thanks

    • profile image

      artmarks 5 years ago

      Don't know too much about underwater photography :) but just wanted to leave a comment because you made a great lens. Also I think that those DSLR would be great if you want to make photos in rain without worrying about your gear!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      @writerkath: Well, I hate to disappoint you, Kathy, but you can't take this camera scuba diving without an underwater housing. :-(

      Waterproof cameras HAVE come a long way since we learned to dive (I was certified about three years before you), and now you've got a wide choice of waterproof compact cameras that are suitable for diving, such as the Nikon Coolpix AW100 or Panasonic Lumix TS4 for depths less than 40 feet or the GoPro Hero3 for depths down to 197 feet. If you want to take a DSLR diving, you still need an underwater housing.

      I'm still waiting for a truly waterproof DSLR made for scuba diving!!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Wow! waterproof cameras have come a long way! I learned to dive back in 1988 or thereabouts in Australia and had to RENT an underwater camera. :) Haven't gone diving since then, but it was spectacular, and I'm so glad I have the memories on film!