Pentax today announced the new *ist DL. This 'new' camera is essentially the same as the *ist DS but with a few feature changes and specification reductions. We can only assume that this new model will allow Pentax to push the price of their 'most affordable' digital SLR even lower. Primary differences include Auto ISO, removal of 11-area AF, a penta-mirror viewfinder with lower magnification and a larger LCD monitor.

Phil: This information was supposed to be embargoed until later on today however both Pentax Sweden and Pentax USA appear to have now posted full details of the camera (including specifications) hence the embargo is now dead.

Summary of changes (compared to the *ist DS)

  • Auto ISO
  • 3-point wide AF (*ist DS was 11 area)
  • Wide / spot AF
  • Three level 'soft' digital filter
  • Continuous shooting buffer reduced to 5 / 3 images (JPEG / RAW)
  • Penta-mirror viewfinder instead of Penta-prism, 0.85x magnification
  • Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen
  • Larger 2.5" LCD monitor
  • Removal of high speed sync flash
  • Two new languages: Swedish, Dutch
  • Slightly lighter (565g v 605g)
  • Available in black and silver

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Press Release:

PENTAX Introduces an Affordable, Simple-to-Operate Digital SLR as a Perfect Digital Photography Starter Camera

PENTAX Corporation is pleased to announce the marketing of the PENTAX *istDL digital SLR camera. With a compact, lightweight body, simplified operations and outstanding cost performance, the *istDL is designed to extend the advantages of high-quality digital SLR photography, including lens interchangeability, to photographers of all levels, even those who are unfamiliar with digital and SLR photography.

The new *istDL was designed as an affordable starter camera by further advancing PENTAX’s digital camera development concepts of “user-friendliness” and “a harmony between ease of use and portability.”

Despite its compact, lightweight design, the *istDL features 6.1 effective megapixels, an extra-large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, and compatibility with most interchangeable PENTAX lenses. Combining high-quality image reproduction with simple, user-friendly operations, the *istDL is the ideal digital SLR for a variety of users, including digital photography beginners, families and those who plan to step up from digital compact cameras to digital SLRs.

Major Features

1. User-friendly automatic operations
The *istDL is equipped with the innovative Auto Picture Mode, which automatically and instantly selects the most appropriate Picture mode from Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro or Action for a given subject or situation to assure the optimum combination of aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast, and intensity of edges. In addition, the built-in auto flash automatically pops up in dimly lit or backlit situations. As a result, even first-time digital SLR users can immediately produce high-quality digital images with minimal effort.

2. Simple, accessible operation system
From the multi-function four-way controller to the responsive electronic Av/Tv dials and the large, easy-to-use mode dial, all switches and dials are efficiently and functionally laid out on the *istDL’s compact body for flawless fingertip control. The ergonomically designed grip assures firm, comfortable hold of the camera.

3. Extra-large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor
The *istDL’s high-precision 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, with approximately 210,000 pixels, displays recorded images clearly and beautifully, even when the original image is magnified by 12 times using the digital zoom capability. It also facilitates image confirmation after shooting and menu selection during shooting and editing operations. The menu screen also provides an optimum color scheme between menu descriptions and background to assure easy reading under all types of lighting conditions.

4. Compact, go-anywhere design
The *istDL features a compact, high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis and a compact, bright viewfinder combining the PENTAX-original penta-mirror and a newly developed focusing screen. Combining other advanced downsizing technologies, such as 10-layer electronic circuit boards and high-density packaging technology, it offers the outstanding portability — as one of the world’s smallest lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras — to accompany the user anywhere.

5. High-definition, maximum-gradation images with 6.1 effective megapixels
Thanks to its large, high-performance CCD image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm), the *istDL offers 6.1 effective megapixels. Coupled with PENTAX’s original image processing technology using a high-performance engine, it produces high-definition images rich in gradation and saturation. It also offers a choice of finishing touches between “bright” and “natural” to satisfy user preferences.

6. User-friendly guide screen
The *istDL features a user-friendly, multi-data guide screen, which offers detailed description of shooting modes, displays drive, flash and white balance settings using text and sample photos, and presents a comprehensive list of all camera settings on the large 2.5-inch monitor.

7. High-precision 16-segment multi-pattern metering
The *istDL incorporates a sophisticated 16-segment metering system to assure high-precision light measurement, even under complicated lighting conditions. It also offers center-weighted metering and spot metering for specialized applications.

8. High‐accuracy AF sensors
Featuring the advanced SAFOX VIII AF system incorporating three cross-type wide-area AF sensors, the *istDL automatically selects the most appropriate sensor for a given subject. It also lets the user fix the sensor point on the middle sensor for specific applications. Using the menu screen, the user can select the preferred focus mode between Single AF, which locks the focus when the shutter release button is half-depressed, and Continuous AF,* which adjusts the focus to the subject’s movement.
* This focus mode is available in the Auto Picture and Picture modes, only when the Action mode is selected.

9. 1/4000‐second high-speed shutter
The *istDL incorporates a high-speed shutter unit, with a top speed of 1/4000 second and a top synchronization speed of 1/180 second, to assure greater visual creativity. The bulb setting is also available to accommodate extended exposures at night.

10. High-speed 2.8-frame consecutive shooting
The *istDL records up to five images (at “best” image quality in JPEG format) consecutively at a speed of approximately 2.8 frames per second, allowing the user to capture a series of photos of the subject’s motion.

11. Compatibility with PENTAX interchangeable lenses
The *istDL offers the outstanding benefit of lens interchangeability, letting the user take advantage of the wide selection of PENTAX interchangeable lenses for use with diversified subjects and applications.**

** PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2-mount 35mm-format lenses can be used without an adapter or modification. PENTAX screw-mount 35mm-format lenses and PENTAX 645- and 67-system lenses can be used with an adapter. Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.

12. SD memory card compatibility
The *istDL uses the widely available SD memory card as its storage media, not only assuring high-speed recording and readout of image data, but also helping to reduce the camera body size.

13. Others

  • Eighteen user-programmable custom functions to personalize camera operations to user preferences
  • Noise-reduction system to minimize annoying digital noise during extended exposures
  • Dual power source, with a choice of two CR-V3 lithium batteries or four AA-size batteries
  • Effortless PC data upload via USB 2.0 (HIGH-SPEED) connection
  • Functional playback functions, including 12X zoom display and nine-image thumbnail display
  • A choice of image format between JPEG (good, better or best) or RAW
  • Four digital filters (black-and-white, sepia, slim, and soft-focus in three patterns) for easy post-shooting image processing
  • PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 2.1 RAW-data processing software and PENTAX
  • PHOTO Browser 2.1 browser software included
  • PictBridge compatibility

Pentax *ist DL specifications

Body material Plastic coating, metal subframe
Sensor • 23.5 x 15.7 mm CCD sensor
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Interline interlaced CCD
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 6.31 million total pixels
• 6.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes

• 3008 x 2000 (Large)
• 2400 x 1600 (Middle)
• 1536 x 1024 (Small)

File formats • RAW (12-bit)
• JPEG (EXIF 2.21) - 3 levels
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Lenses • Pentax KAF2, KAF, KA mount lenses
* Power zoom not available
* K mount lenses available with (function limited)
* S mount lenses available with adapter (function limited)
* 67/645 lenses available with adapter (function limited)
FOV crop 1.5x
Focusing • TTL Phase-matching AF system (3 area)
• EV 1 to 19 (ISO 200 with 50mm F1.4 lens) detection range
• Wide / spot AF
Focus modes • AF-Single
• AF-Continuous (Action mode)
• Manual focus
AF assist Yes, via flash
Shooting modes

• Auto picture mode
• Programmed AE Mode
• Shutter-Priority AE
• Aperture-Priority AE
• Metered Manual
• Bulb
• Picture modes

Picture modes • Standard
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Macro
• Action
• Night scene portrait
• Standard flash-off
Metering modes • 16-segment
• Center-Weighted Average
• Spot
Metering range • EV 1 to 21.5 (at ISO 200 with 50 mm / F1.4 lens)
AE Lock • Button (20 sec timer)
• Half-press shutter release
AE Bracketing • 3 frames
• 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV steps
Exposure compen. • -/+2.0 EV in 0.5 EV or 0.3 EV steps
Exposure steps • 0.5 EV
• 0.3 EV

• Auto *
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200

Shutter • Electronically controlled vertical-run focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speed • 30 to 1/4000 sec
• Bulb
Flash X-sync 1/180 sec
Aperture values Depends on lens
DOF preview Yes, on power switch
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent W
• Fluorescent N
• Fluorescent D
• Manual

Image parameters • Saturation (-2 to +2)
• Sharpness (-2 to +2)
• Contrast (-2 to +2)

• Eye-level type fixed penta-mirror finder *
• Natural bright-matte II focusing screen *
• Magnification approx. x0.85 *
• 95% frame coverage
• Dioptric adjustment (-2.5 to +1.5)
• Viewfinder info bar

Viewfinder info

• Built-in flash status
• Picture mode
• In-focus
• Shutter speed
• Aperture value
• Exposure compensation factor
• Manual WB
• Manual focus
• ISO sensitivity warning
• AE lock
• Focus point indication
• AF frame with superimposed dislpay
• Spot AF frame

LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD *
• 210,000 pixels
Custom function • Default
• Custom (18 functions)
Record review • Off
• 1 sec
• 3 sec
• 5 sec
Flash • Built-in P-TTL pop-up flash
• Guide number 15.6 (ISO 200/m)
• Angle of coverage 28 mm (35 mm equiv.)
• Flash sync 1/180 sec
• Electronic pop-up
Flash modes • Auto
• Flash on
• Auto & Red-eye reduction
• Flash on & Red-eye reduction
External flash • Hot-shoe
• Wireless sync
• P-TTL sync
Drive modes • Single shot
• Continuous (2.8 fps, up to 5 JPEG images, 3 RAW images) *
Self-timer • 12 sec
• 2 sec
Remote release • InfraRed remote
• Wired (optional)
• Instant or with 3 sec delay
Playback mode • One frame
• Zooming in/out (up to 12x)
• Nine-image
• Slideshow
• Image rotation
• Delete: One-frame-delete, All-frames-delete, Card-format, Protect
Menu languages

• English
• French
• German
• Spanish
• Swedish *
• Dutch *
• Italian
• Russian
• Korean
• Chinese
• Japanese

Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• Video out
• Remote terminal
Video out Selectable NTSC or PAL
Storage SD card
Power • 4 x AA batteries (NiMH rechargeable recommended)
or • 2 x CR-V3
• Optional AC adapter
Firmware User updatable
Dimensions 125 x 93 x 67 mm (4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 in)
Weight (unloaded) 470 g (1 lb)
Weight (loaded) 565 g (1.3 lb) (reduced by approx. 15 g if using CR-V3 batteries)

*new or changed specification compared to the Pentax *ist DS