Pentax *ist D review

Started Apr 7, 2005 | User reviews
myreview New Member • Posts: 4
Pentax *ist D review

Generally an excellent camera. I've had this camera about a couple months now, so far I’m very happy with it. I mainly bought this rather than any other brand because of my Pentax lenses but I truly do think this is a good camera. I'd be interested in seeing how Canon and Nikon compare but so far I’m not that bothered.

Good points. This camera is so easy to use. An SLR user could pick it up without looking at the manual and pretty much be shooting pictures properly in 20-30 mins. It's simple and yet it also has a myriad of features. For this class of camera I imagine this is normal but I was impressed nonetheless.

It's also very solid which is a welcome change to the flood of plastic goods these days. Yes this is still plastic (with a metal sub frame) but it feels really great. Add a good quality heavy lens and it's a lethal weapon!

I'm pretty happy with the images, they seem to be quite natural and with very little noise. I'm really impressed by the quality of the images even at high ISO levels.

The camera is also compatible with just about every lens Pentax have brought out I gather. I just use AF lenses though.

Love the exposure lock

Love the depth of field preview

Loads of ways to set up the focal point

Constant focussing feature though not ideal for all situations perhaps

You can pick one up new for less than £600 if you shop around

Mirror lock up function

Solid sounding shutter

3 customizable user modes

Hyper manual mode

Compact size and reassuring weight

Very good viewfinder

Mercifully it takes AA batteries, THANK THE LORD!

Update. Just took it on holiday for a month. It performed very well but i did have a problem with images appearing to be 1/2 to 1 stop underexposed although i have to run some tests to check that my laptops screen calibration is correct. I just got around the problem by permanently overexposing each shot, problem solved.


I have a lot of criticisms to make but that does not mean I am more dissatisfied than satisfied.

Key points:
Images a little soft when magnified though can be sharpened pretty well in Photoshop IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. It's not as sharp as my Canon S70 compact but I guess the Canon must have lots of in camera sharpening.

Fiddly removing CF card but easily fixed by attaching a piece of sticky tape to the card

The rubber covers are easy to knock open

Pictures don't always seem to be exposed right when they appear on my laptop compared to the camera(although I need to check this more - it could be my fault). However i would expect to do at least some basic post processing anyway if i want to get good images

Focussing a little slow in low light

Slow write times for Tiff and RAW with Lexar 80x 1GB CF card (going to try a SanDisk Extreme III 130x 1GB CF card soon)

Four way button a bit fiddly but not a major problem

Pop up flash although fairly standard I get a shadow when I use my 17-35 Sigma EX lens but that is more to do with my choice of lens anyway and i have a large flash gun now

Burst mode lagging behind competition in speed

Can only get about 50 images in RAW or Tiff on a 1GB card but maybe that should be reassuring

Selectable area of focus dial too easy to knock which would cause incorrectly focussed images

Buffer size could be larger

ISO not visible until changed (very irritating!)

Seems to underexpose images by up to 1 F stop

Pentax *ist D
6 megapixels • 1.8 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Feb 26, 2003
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