Pentax *ist D review
I've had my *ist D since late October 2004, some 14554 photos ago. It's had pretty solid use, sustained three drops, and only needed one repair. (That was when the mode dial would not operate: settings were stuck as I had last selected. It was due to a broken brush in the workings.) It takes the wide range of K-mount lenses, including the manual-focus, and I've managed to buy some beaut lenses second-hand. I find the *ist D produces beaut images.
About the only feature I theoretically miss, is a histogram on the image that shows up straight after taking a photo. I say theoretically, since I have this image turned off. If I want to check an image, when the pace slows, then I can see the histogram when reviewing images.
For a camera announced three-and-a-half years ago (Feb 2003), it responds somewhat leisurely compared to a Nikon D200, but there's been quite some water under the development bridge since then.
I find the viewfinder to be very good: quite bright, and useful for focussing manual lenses. (It's not as bright as a 6x7, but then that's a limitation of optics.) This is the area where the *ist D leaps ahead of competitive offerings.
There are a few *ist D cameras now popping up on ebay. I'd recommend you consider them. (And no, mine is not for sale -- I expect to keep it as a spare body, when Pentax release the new version: K200 ??)