It's early morning in Tokyo where Pentax has just announced the new *ist DS2, a subtly updated *ist DS. The only differences we could establish between the *ist DS and the DS2 are a larger LCD monitor (now 2.5" 210,000 pixels), this kind of 'upgrade' seems to becoming a trend. Interestingly it appears that this camera will not be available in Europe but should be available elsewhere in the world.

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Press Release:

PENTAX Introduces a Super-Compact *istDS2 Digital SLR Featuring an Extra-Large LCD Monitor and Simple, User-Friendly Operations

Pentax *ist DS2

PENTAX Corporation is pleased to announce the marketing of the PENTAX *istDS2 digital SLR camera equipped with a large, high-resolution 2.5-inch color LCD monitor.

The new *istDS2 has been developed as the sister model of the popular *istDS, which was introduced to the international market last year. Inheriting all the outstanding features of its predecessor, it offers the extra benefit of a large 2.5-inch, 210,000-pixel color LCD monitor to enhance image confirmation and on-screen operations. Coupled with the high-magnification glass pentaprism viewfinder, which was well-received by the *istDS users, it assures a large, clear view of the subject at every stage of digital photography, from shooting to playback and editing.

With its enhanced operability and maneuverability, the new *istDS2 assures high-quality digital SLR photography to photographers of all levels.

Major Features

1. Large, high-resolution color LCD monitor

The *istDS2 incorporates a high-precision 2.5-inch color LCD monitor with approximately 210,000 pixels, making post-shooting image confirmation much easier. Recorded images can be magnified up to 12 times during playback for a closer examination of subject focus and image details. In addition, on-screen menus are displayed with large, easy-to-read letters and digits to facilitate user operations.

2. Compact, go-anywhere design

Thanks to a host of advanced size reducing developments, including a high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis, multi-layered electronic circuit boards and high-density packaging technology, the *istDS2 is designed extremely compact and lightweight — measuring only 125mm (4.9˝) wide, 92.5mm (3.6˝) high and 67mm (2.6˝) thick and weighing a mere 505 grams (17.8 oz.) without batteries and an SD memory card. As a result, it assures outstanding portability and maneuverability for anyone and in all applications.

3. Bright, high-magnification pentaprism viewfinder

The *istDS2 comes equipped with a glass pentaprism viewfinder offering a 95% field of view and a 0.95-times magnification. It offers a large, bright viewfinder image equal in size, clarity and brightness to those incorporated in conventional 35mm-format SLRs. It also makes confirmation of the subject’s focus much easier, even in manual-focus mode.

4. High-definition, maximum-gradation images with 6.1 effective megapixels

Thanks to its large, high-performance CCD image sensor measuring 23.5mm by 15.7mm, the *istDS2 offers 6.1 effective megapixels. Coupled with PENTAX’s original image processing technology, it produces high-definition images rich in gradation and saturation. It also offers a choice of finishing touch between “Bright” and “Natural” to reflect the photographer’s creative intention.

5. Auto sensitivity setting

Like many digital compact cameras, the *istDS2 features an “AUTO” position for sensitivity setting. In this position, the camera’s sensitivity is automatically set by the camera, based on such factors as subject brightness and lens focal length, while the user can randomly select the upper limit of sensitivity between the standard output of 400 and 3200. This position is extremely useful to avoid camera shake in poorly lit locations and to prevent sensitivity resetting failures by the photographer.

6. Compatibility with PENTAX interchangeable lenses

The *istDS2 offers the outstanding benefit of lens interchangeability, allowing the user to take advantage of a wide selection of existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses to deal 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.

7. User-friendly function guidance

Taking full advantage of its large LCD monitor, the *istDS2 offers convenient and informative function guidance, which not only provides a detailed explanation of shooting, drive and flash modes and white-balance settings using text and pictures, but also displays a comprehensive list of current camera settings for at-a-glance confirmation.

8. User-friendly automatic operations

The *istDS2 is equipped to make camera operations simple and effortless for the user. Its innovative Auto Picture Mode automatically and instantly selects the optimum combination of exposure settings for a given subject or situation, including shutter speed, aperture, white balance, saturation, contrast, and intensity of edges. The built-in auto flash automatically pops up in dimly lit or backlit situations.

9. 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 around the *istDS2’s compact body to assure smooth, fingertip control.

10. High-precision 16-segment multi-pattern metering

The *istDS2 incorporates an advanced 16-segment metering system to assure high-precision light measurement, even under complicated lighting conditions. Center-weighted metering and spot metering are also available to meet specialized applications.

11. High-accuracy 11-point AF sensor

The *istDS2 features the sophisticated SAFOX VIII AF system incorporating 11 AF sensors (nine of them in a cross-type wide-area sensor grid in the middle). This not only provides accurate, pinpoint autofocusing on a wide variety of subjects, but also lets the user select one of the sensors to accommodate a specific image composition. It also offers a choice of AF-single or AF-continuous** AF mode to accommodate different types of requirements.

** In the Auto Picture and Picture modes, AF-continuous is activated only when the Action mode is selected.

12. Superimposed AF sensor point indication

The selected AF sensor point is highlighted in red in the viewfinder for easy visual confirmation.

13. 1/4000-second high-speed shutter

The *istDS2 features 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.

14. High-speed consecutive shooting

The *istDS2 records up to eight images (in JPEG format, at Best image format and with noise reduction off) consecutively at a speed of approximately 2.8 frames per second, allowing the user to capture a series of the subject’s action or movement.

15. SD memory card compatibility

The *istDS2 uses the widely available SD memory card as its storage media, not only assuring high-speed recording and readout of image data, but also contributing to the compactness of the camera body.

16. Others

  • 19 user-programmable custom functions to personalize camera operations to the user’s 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
  • USB2.0 HIGH-SPEED compatibility for speedy data uploading to a PC
  • Functional playback functions, including 12X zoom display and nine-image thumbnail display
  • A choice of image format between JPEG (best, better or good) and RAW
  • Four built-in digital filters (black-and-white, sepia, slim, and three-level soft) for easy editing of recorded images
  • PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 2.1 RAW-data processing software and PENTAX Photo Browser 2.1 browser software included
  • PictBridge compatibility

Pentax *ist DS2 specifications

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 • 11-area AF
• TTL Phase matching AF system
• Focus point selectable
• EV 0 to 19 (ISO 100) detection range
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 to +4.0 EV in 0.5 EV steps
• -2.0 to +2.0 EV in 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-prism finder
• Natural bright-matte focusing screen
• Magnification approx. x0.95
• 95% frame coverage
• Diotric 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
• High speed sync
• P-TTL sync
Drive modes • Single shot
• Continuous (2.8 fps, up to 8 frames)
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
• 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 66 mm (4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 in)
Weight (no batt/lens) 505 g (1.1 lb)
Weight (no lens) 605 g (1.3 lb) (reduced by approx. 20 g if using CR-V3 batteries)