Pentax has today put official specifications to the *ist D digital SLR first seen at PMA earlier this year. Pentax are describing the six megapixel *ist D as the world's smallest and lightest lens-interchangeable digital SLR, and that's easy to believe when you see it beside the competition (see our preview). The *ist D has a Pentax KAF mount which is compatible with KAF2, KAF and KA mount lenses (as well as K, S, 67/645 lenses with adapters / restrictions). It has a sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 1600 (3200 as a boost option), has selectable color sapce, stores images on Compact Flash (Type I/II) and supports RAW format. We have an exclusive detailed preview of the Pentax *ist D available.

Click here for our fully detailed Pentax *ist D Preview
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)

Press Release:

PENTAX Corporation is proud to announce the marketing of the PENTAX *ist D lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera.

Housed in the world's smallest, lightest SLR body, the *ist D comes equipped with an array of advanced functions and use-friendly features, including: a large sized CCD with impressive 6.1 effective megapixels; a responsive SAFOX VIII autofocus system with 11-point AF sensor; a sophisticated 16-segment multi-pattern metering system; a bright viewfinder with a newly developed compact glass pentaprism; an innovative "Hyper" operating system; 22 user-adjustable custom functions; and compatibility with existing PENTAX 35mm-format interchangeable lenses and accessories. Thanks to its user-friendly direct-access operation system, the user can adjust most of digital camera functions - such as white balance control - with pushbutton ease, thus eliminating the time and trouble of recalling the menu each time.

Because it combines high-resolution digital images with the outstanding benefits of SLR photography, PENTAX is confident that the new *ist D will outperform digital compact models and outclass competitive digital SLR cameras currently on the market. PENTAX also expects that this high-performance digital SLR camera will have tremendous appeal for a wide range of photographers - especially digital compact users looking for superior image quality and SLR versatility, and conventional 35mm-format SLR users who demand the added convenience and benefits of the advanced digital format.

Major Features of the PENTAX *ist D

1) 6.1 effective megapixels for outstanding image reproduction
Incorporating a large sized CCD (effective image area: 23.5mm by 15.7mm) and driven by high-performance data processing circuitry, the *ist D offers impressive 6.1 effective megapixels to capture super-clear, high-resolution digital images and faithfully reproduce subtle hues and fine details.

2) The world's smallest, lightest body with a high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis
Thanks mainly to PENTAX's industry-leading 3D CAD design technology and a newly developed super-compact glass pentaprism, the *ist D measures only 129mm (5.1") wide, 94.5mm (3.7") high and 60mm (2.4") thick, and weighs a mere 550 grams (19.4 ounces) without batteries, making it the smallest and lightest digital SLR camera currently on the market.* As a result, it offers outstanding portability and maneuverability in a wide variety of photographic applications. Its stainless-steel chassis offers exceptional rigidity - especially against torsion - to protect the interior mechanisms from shock.

* As of July 26, 2003, for lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras.

3) Compatibility with 35mm-format lenses and accessories
Featuring the acclaimed PENTAX K lens mount used in conventional 35mm-format SLR cameras, the *ist D accepts a large number of existing 35mm-format interchangeable lenses - including zoom lenses and special-application lenses - and accessories to accommodate diversified photographic requirements and maximize creativity and image quality.**

PENTAX plans to expand its interchangeable lens lineup for *ist D users by adding the smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18mm~35mm F4~F5.6 AL (equivalent to 27.5mm~53.5mm in the 35mm format) at the time of the *ist D's market launch and the smc PENTAX-DA Zoom 16mm~45mm F4 ED AL (tentative name, equivalent to 24.5mm~69mm; a marketing date to be announced), which is the first model of the compact DA series exclusively designed to match the *ist D's CCD size.

** Some restrictions and conditions may apply to certain lenses and accessories.

4) Bright, high-precision viewfinder with superimposed AF-point display
Exclusively designed to complement the high-performance CCD, the *ist D's viewfinder offers a super-clear, high-precision view of the subject at a magnification of 0.95 times (with a 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity, -1m-1), improving focusing accuracy in manual focus operations and assuring precise framing. Its display system offers a wide range of information to keep the photographer informed of the camera's operational status at the shooting position. It even comes equipped with a built-in diopter adjuster with an adjustable range of -2.5 ~ +1.5m-1.

5) High-precision 11-point autofocus with SAFOX VIII
Thanks to the newly developed SAFOX VIII phase-matching autofocus system, the *ist D's 11-point AF sensor covers a wide area of the image field - both horizontally and vertically - with exceptional speed and precision, even under poor lighting conditions. Nine of the 11 AF sensors are a horizontally extended, cross-shaped type, improving focusing accuracy and aligned to effectively cover the middle section, while two additional sensors are positioned at each side of this section. In addition to the versatile "Auto" mode and the pinpoint "SPOT" mode, the *ist D offers the innovative "SELECT" mode, which allows the photographer to select one of the 11 AF sensor points using the four-way controller on the back panel. The user-selected sensor point is superimposed in the viewfinder with a red LED indicator.

6) Sophisticated 16-segment multi-pattern metering
The *ist D's sophisticated 16-segment multi-pattern metering system solves even the most complicated lighting conditions efficiently and instantaneously to produce beautifully exposed images frame after frame. Spot and center-weighted metering modes are also available to accommodate specialized applications.

7) Multi-mode exposure system with flexible "Hyper" operations
The *ist D features a sophisticated exposure system with six distinctive exposure modes. In addition to the all-purpose Green Program mode and the conventional Aperture-Priority AE, Shutter-Priority AE and Bulb modes, it also comes equipped with the innovative "Hyper" exposure modes, which were originally developed by PENTAX to simplify camera operations and maximize creativity. The Hyper Program mode allows the photographer to instantly shift the exposure program using the Tv and/or Av dials without the trouble of resetting the exposure modes. The Hyper Manual mode allows fingertip adjustment of shutter and/or aperture settings in Metered Manual operation. In both Hyper modes, the photographer can instantly jump back to the original program or settings using the IF button. In the Hyper Program mode, the user can choose from the High-Shutter-Speed-Priority, Depth-Priority or MTF-Priority programs as the default program, rather than Normal program, using one of the custom functions.

8) User-adjustable custom functions
The *ist D features 22 user-adjustable custom functions, allowing the user to preprogram important camera functions to suit individual preferences. The user-selected function is clearly displayed on the LCD image monitor for at-a-glance confirmation.

9) Continuous shooting at 2.6 frames per second
In the continuous AF mode, the *ist D is capable of successively recording up to nine images at the speed of 2.6 frames per second up to six frames with the noise reduction function off, making it possible to capture the flow of the subject's motion.

10) 1/4000-second high-speed shutter with 1/150-second flash sync
The *ist D offers a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second to freeze the decisive moment of the subject's action or motion. It also offers a high flash synchronization speed of 1/150 second to create dramatic flash images using large apertures.

11) Versatile multi-source power supply (AA-sized batteries, lithium batteries and AC adapter)
The *ist D can operate from three different power sources to maximize user convenience. In addition to the two accompanying CR-V3 batteries and the optional AC adapter, the *ist D can be powered by four AA-sized batteries (lithium, Ni-MH or alkaline), which are commonly available around the world. The optional battery grip can also be combined with the batteries to accommodate extended photo sessions.

12) Storage media compatibility (MicroDrive™ and CompactFlash™ Type I and II)
The *ist D accepts the widely available CompactFlash™ Type I and II memory cards and the large-capacity MicroDrive™ for high storage volume and fast access speed. In addition, it is capable of accepting CompactFlash™ cards incorporating Write Acceleration Technology (manufactured by Lexar Media, Inc.).

13) High-precision 1.8-inch LCD image monitor and multi-data status LCD monitor
Located on the back panel, the 1.8-inch 118,000-pixel LCD monitor allows the instant viewing of a just captured image and the playback of recorded images with exceptional clarity and high precision. Positioned at the upper right corner of the top panel, the status LCD monitor provides a host of information on the camera's operational status at a glance.

14) USB 1.1 compatibility for PC-based camera control and easy data transmission
Using the supplied USB cable, image files stored in the *ist D can be easily uploaded to a computer and swiftly imported to a range of applications. The optional "PENTAX REMOTE Assistant" software (available soon) offers remote release of the camera shutter from the computer as well as additional functions including interval shooting and direct uploading of image files to the computer's hard disk without first storing them on the camera's storage medium.***

*** System requirements: PC running on Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP, or Mac OS 9 or higher (installation of the included driver software is required.)

15) Convenient playback functions
Using the large image LCD monitor, the *ist D features four convenient playback modes: (1) The single-frame mode displays capture images one by one and allows the photographer to magnify a selected image up to 12 times; (2) The multi-frame mode lets the photographer view nine recorded images simultaneously; (3) The quick view mode shows a just captured image for one, three or five seconds; (4) The slide show mode automatically displays captured images one after another at an interval of three, five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds.

16) Choice of recording formats (JPEG, TIFF and RAW) and image file sizes
The *ist D offers a choice of three recording formats: compressed JPEG, and uncompressed TIFF and RAW. The user can select one of three file sizes ("L" at 3008 x 2008 pixels, "M" at 2400 x 1600 pixels, and "S" at 1536 x 1024, 1152 x 768 or 960 x 640 pixels) and one of five image quality levels (good, better, best, TIFF and RAW) to meet specific requirements.

17) Versatile white balance control
The *ist D offers a choice of three white balance modes: "Auto," "Preset" and "Manual." The preset mode allows the instant selection of one of eight different white balance settings, while the manual mode recalls one of three settings preset by the user with pushbutton ease.

18) Histogram display
Exposure levels can be displayed in graph form on the LCD image monitor during both shooting and playback, allowing the photographer to check the images with greater accuracy.

19) Standard software for RAW-format data and browser
Enclosed in the *ist D kit, the S-SW10 CD-ROM contains the RAW-format data processing software "PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory" and the browser software "PENTAX PHOTO Browser."

20) Noise reduction during extended exposure
The noise reduction function can be activated at slow shutter speeds to eliminate the annoying digital noise that may spoil the quality of captured images.

21) Exclusive accessories
Powered by four AA-sized batteries or two CR-V3 batteries, the optional D-BG1 battery grip prolongs the *ist D's operation time. It can be mounted onto the bottom of the *ist D without removing the battery stored inside the camera, so the battery life is extended considerably. It also comes equipped with a vertical-position shutter release button, a preview lever, Tv/Av dials and an AE lock button. The optional O-CC10 camera case stores an *ist D camera body set with a standard zoom lens and features an inside pocket to hold a lens cap and the optional remote controller.

22) Multi-function auto flash
When set in a pop-up position, the built-in auto flash automatically discharges in the dark and against backlight to provide supplemental illumination on the subject. Its red-eye reduction function helps the photographer avoid the annoying red-eye effect in the subject's eyes in flash portraits.**** The flash can be activated or turned off manually to create specific visual effects or to comply with flash restrictions.

**** This feature does not eliminate red eyes in all instances.

23) Creative shooting modes: auto bracketing and multiple exposure
The auto bracketing function enables the capturing of three different exposures of the same subject - proper, under- and over-exposure - with a single shutter release. The photographer has a choice of three orders (proper/under/over, under/proper/over, and over/proper/under) and six exposure ranges (±0.3EV, ±0.7EV and ±1.0EV in 1/3EV increments; ±0.5EV, ±1.0EV and ±1.5EV in 1/2EV increments).

24) Auto power off
The power is automatically turned off when the *ist D is left unused for 10 minutes. Using one of the custom functions, the user can also select the stand-by time of 30 seconds, one, three, five, 15 or 30 minutes, or inactivate this function completely.

25) Remote shutter release
Using the optional remote controller, the photographer can release the shutter from a distance with a three-second delay or instantly.

26) Electronic self-timer
The electronic self-timer delays the shutter release by either 12 seconds or two seconds (with the mirror locked up), allowing the photographer to become part of the picture with the family and friends.

27) Depth-of-field preview
Turning the main switch to "preview" position provides instant confirmation of the depth of field (in-focus area) for a selected aperture.

28) AE lock and exposure compensation
The AE lock function provides sufficient time to the photographer to recompose the image by memorizing the measured exposure settings for a pre-designated period of time, selectable from six settings between six seconds and one minute. The exposure compensation function allows the photographer to intentionally shift the exposure within a range of either ±3EV in 1/2EV increments or ±2EV in 1/3EV increments to create the desired visual effect.

Click here for our fully detailed Pentax *ist D Preview
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)