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Battery Compartment

In the base of the camera's hand grip is the battery compartment, the door is opened by sliding a lock lever across and then pulling the door towards the front of the camera. Inside you can see that the camera takes four AA batteries or 2 CR-V3 Lithium. There is also an optional battery / vertical grip which can be attached to the bottom of the camera, that wasn't available for photography at the time of this preview.


Compact Flash Compartment

The Compact Flash compartment is located on the right side of the camera (from the back) and makes up part of the hand grip. The compartment is opened by pressing a small clip on its edge. The door hinge is spring loaded so that the it opens on its own once released. Inside is the Compact Flash Type II card slot which can accept Type I or Type II cards (including the IBM Microdrive).

This compartment became my main ergonomic annoyance with the *ist D. The card slot is orientated so that the thumb 'lip' on the CF card is at the back of the compartment, unfortunately (a) there is not enough room behind the card and (b) the card doesn't eject far enough with a press of the eject button to be able to grip the card easily. I resorted to having to tilt and shake the camera while pressing the eject button to get the card to drop out, not a good piece of design.


Connections

On the left side of the camera (from the rear) are all of the camera's connections. At the top beside the lens mount is the PC Sync flash terminal, at the bottom on the edge of the camera body is the remote connector, to the right of this the DC-IN connector and above the combined USB and Video Out connector.


Camera Base / Tripod Mount

On the bottom of the camera you'll find the metal tripod socket which is aligned exactly with the center line of the lens. The surrounding area is perfectly flat and ideal for use with a tripod mount plate.


Pop-Up Flash

The *ist D's pop-up flash is released manually via a small button below the unit (this can be seen on the images below). Once up the flash mode can be changed, the flash also acts as an AF assist lamp in low light when up.


Flash Hot-shoe

The hot-shoe is normally protected by a removable plastic cover (not shown here). The *ist D supports a range of Pentax flash units, however Pentax do seem to be pushing the AF360FGZ as the ideal partner that will provide the maximum amount of functionality and flash to camera communication. The AF360FGZ on the *ist D supports red-eye reduction, P-TTL auto flash, TTL auto flash, slow-sync flash, trailing shutter curtain sync flash, contrast control flash, slave flash, high-speed flash sync and wireless flash.


Lens Mount / Sensor

Below on the left you can see the *ist D's lens mount with the mirror down. Lenses are inserted twisted clockwise and lock in place with an anticlockwise turn. Not knowing the Pentax lens mount previous to this I noted that the electronic connections are on the metal mount ring itself and not within the body of the camera. The image on the right is for those curious among you, it was taken with the mirror locked up and the shutter open and shows the *ist D's six megapixel CCD.


Shutter Release Sound

Recording the shutter release sound is something we started with our EOS 300D review. It seemed appropriate to do the same for the *ist D. You can download the recording (click here - 245 KB MP3) of five continuous shots taken with the *ist D followed by nine continuous shots taken by Canon's EOS-10D. Overall the *ist D does seem noisier because of a motor whine noise during each exposure.


(Left: *ist D five shots @ 2.7 fps, Right: EOS 10D nine shots @ 3.3 fps)


Supplied In the Box

Box contents may vary by region:

• Pentax *ist D Digital SLR body
• Shoulder strap
• USB cable
• Video cable
• Software CD-ROM
• Manuals

* Picture shown is of E-1 body & 14-54 mm Kit

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