Pentax announced the *ist D digital SLR on 26th February 2003, the week before PMA 2003. The *ist D is essentially a digital version of the *ist film SLR announced the week before. The major physical difference between the two cameras (apart from all the digital controls on the rear of the *ist D) is that the *ist D appears to have a heavier metal subframe. Although expected to be on the shelves by July 2003 the camera has been delayed (twice) due to 'procurement of materials required' (Sony's sensor?). The *ist D is the first digital SLR Pentax has brought to market, they did announce and show a pre-production digital SLR a couple of years ago but that project was cancelled in favour of the *ist D we see today.
The *ist D is currently the smallest and lightest digital SLR, it measures just 129 x 95 x 60 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.3 in) and weighs 650 g (1.4 lb) including batteries (no lens). The *ist D has a the same six megapixel (Sony ICX413AQ) sensor used in the Nikon D100, it has a Pentax K lens mount and supports K, KA, KAF and KAF2 lenses. It is also possible to use screw mount lenses, 645 and 67 series lenses with an adapter.
We had a limited range of lenses available to us at the time of review, the three lenses shown below were used for all samples and image quality tests, above each test you will see an indication of the lens used ( the 50 mm F1.4 was used for comparison and resolution tests due to its resolution, neutrality and consistency).
|FA J 18 - 35 mm, F4.0 - F5.6 AL
Equiv. FOV: 27 - 52.5 mm
|FA 28 - 105 mmm, F3.2 - F4.5 AL
Equiv. FOV: 42 - 157.5 mm
|FA 50 mm F1.4
Equiv. FOV: 75 mm
Before publication of this review we posted a detailed preview of the *ist D, a large portion of that preview has been used to make up the first few pages of this review, and as the physical appearance of the *ist D has changed little since we wrote that article we have reused some of the images of the pre-production camera.