*istD/DS hands on comparison.

Started Jun 26, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Darren M Veteran Member • Posts: 4,365
*istD/DS hands on comparison.

As I mentioned, I picked up an *istDS late last week to complement my *istD. I thought those who have an *istD and are considering a DS (or vice versa) might appreciate a hands on comparison. Nothing scientific in my methods, just out shooting in the real world.

First, and most importantly, in terms of photo quality. There is no difference I can see, at least not that I can see on screen or in the small prints I have made thusfar. Metering is identical as I can tell. I find I am getting the same, very predictable results. It is not surprising, but I would suggest that in the end, your results will be identical no matter which you choose. However, I do believe there might be a slight difference in how the two cameras handle white balance; the DS photo seem to have a very slight pink quality as compared to the D. This might be a mistaken impression, or just coincidence. Certainly I haven't tested enough or in a methodical enough way (I never will) to say this difference really exists.

The autofocus is at least as good with the DS. My belief is that it is more or less identical, other than with my 35/2. My *istD is occasionally balky with the 35/2, but this does not occur on my new DS. Other lenses that I have tried (50/1.5, Sigma EX 15-30) work just as well on either body.

In terms of build quality, there are advantages either way. First, and maybe most importantly, the grip on the DS is vastly superior. Just a much more comfortable and secure piece to hold. Add the grip to the D and the story changes, but on its own the DS is superior IMO.

Other build quality issues probably give the advantage to the D. My opinion is that the D is just a little more solid feeling and the plastic of the body, as well as the rubbery grip both seem a little better on the D. Not huge differences, but I do believe they exist. One thing I really don't care for on the DS is the wheel that allows you to change between AV, TV, etc. The wheel on the D looks much nicer, having raised lettering and just a nicer finish. The wheel on the DS looks cheap in comparison and I can't help but notice it every time I look at my camera. Functionally of course this is a non issue, but cosmetically it bothers me (more than it should).

One other build quality issue which comes up is the action of the mirror (I think, could be the shutter itself). The DS is louder and seems a little rougher. No real world experience but my instinct is that when it gets dim I will be able to handhold my D with sharper results at longer shutter speeds. Quite honestly, I am surprised there is a difference; it would seem it best to just use the same assembly in both cameras, but they certainly aren't. I am just a little surprised with the sound everytime I release the shutter on my new camera.

One area in which the DS just walks all over the D is in terms of write speed. Quite honestly, I am pretty much shocked in how much faster the DS writes to a card. I am not sure if it is because my new SD cards are 80X as opposed to my fastest CF card being 52X, or because of the smaller file size or better processor in the DS. Probably mostly the last two, but the difference is not slight. On average, I think the DS takes less than half the time to write a RAW photo to the card. It doesn't affect the way I shot at all really, but I am a little surprised in how much I enjoy the greater speed of the DS.

Another small advantage to the DS is the SD card door. it is much less likely to get accidentally opened while a file is being written and it just seems a little better designed to me. The battery door seems the same to me.

Ergonomics are a mixed thing. The four way controller is much better on the DS, I think we all know that. However, having put the rubber foot on the button (as suggested in a previous thread) has improve the 4 way controller responsiveness on my D, so the difference is now not as great. Still, the DS was better designed here. I was also pleased and somewhat impressed to find out that you can make a change in the set up menu so the OK button functions for auto-focus. I used to use the AF button on the back of my D before I put the grip on it and this can be a really good system, actually an almost professional touch. I am surprised noone on these forums has mentioned this as far as I have seen.

I also like the addition of the function button on the back. This is a really quick and effective way to change shooting mode, ISO, white balance and the flash mode.

to be continued


Have camera, will travel

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