My first (own) DSLR and I’m very happy with it. Bought it with 18-55 & 50-200 kit lenses, 1GB SD-Card and bag. Besides the fantastic prize I liked the look, grip (got large hands an no problems with it) and the small weight of the Camera (only under 1,5 kg in the bag with both lenses) Compared it with Canon EOS350D and Nikon D50. All great in their way but I liked the istDL2 best for the build quality and the brighter viewfinder.
The biggest selling point for me was the downward compatibility to manual lenses from the past: I got beautiful primes from ebay for only 15€ each and can further go on to "hunt" good lenses for small money. What a nice benefit and great hobby!
JPEGs out of the camera are a little soft but I do PP and you can also change image parameters right in the camera. RAW works best. The camera tends to a slightly underexposure. Overall picture quality is very good and 6MP are enough for daily (even semi-professional) use.
Good picture quality, 6MP sensor works very well (also smaller files and better lens compatibility than 10MP)
Build quality is fantastic for that price (very solid but also lightweight)
Very good viewfinder (large and bright)
Pentax kit lenses are good (in my opinion better than Canon and Nikon in terms of image- and build quality) especially the 50-200 seems to be VERY good
Fast and responsive operation
Preview in OVF or LCD (a picture which is not written to the card can be showed with histogram and highlight-warning)
Good 2,5” LCD (sharp and bright, 210,000 Pixels)
Uses AA batteries and SD-Card
Battery life is great (about 500-650 pictures with 4 2500 NIMH's)
Pentax Remote Assistant Software for controlling the Camera with a PC (not included but downloadable)
Excellent value for money
Continous Mode limited to 5 jpeg's (and gets very slow after that)
No raw+jpeg option
No manual focus point (only center or 5-area AF)
AF in low light is slow but accurate
No AF assistant light (flash fires)
Average writing times and fairly slow operation when magnifying pictures on the LCD (also the viewing angle could be better)
Limited photographic ergonomics (you've to use the quick menu to change drive mode, ISO, Flash and WB)
Shutter release sound is a bit too loud
Limited range of lenses (but wide variety of older compatible manual lenses.)
18-55 kit lens sucks wide open but is getting better from F8
Pentax simply makes great DSLR cameras. Would recommend this camera to anyone considering a pricey DSLR to start with. (At the moment the istDL2 with 18-55 sells for about 470€ in Germany. If you have the money and not so steady hands go for the Pentax K100D
None putting me off from buying or recommending the camera.
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