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Pentax *ist D Digital SLRs

4.39 star rating
                      4.39 / 5 (18 Reviews)
MSRP : $1700.00


  • Image Sensor TypeCCD
    Resolution6.31 Megapixel
    Camera TypeSLR/Professional
    Interchangeable LensInterchangeable Lenses
    Focus TypeAutofocus & Manual Focus
    Camera Resolution6.31 Megapixel
    Image Resolutions960 x 640 • 3008 x 2008 • 2400 x 1600 • 1536 x 1024 • 1152 x 768
    Shutter Speed30 - 1/4000 sec
    White BalanceAuto • Manual
    Frames Per Second2.6 Frames
    Memory TypeCompactFlash Card Type I • IBM Microdrive
    Compression ModesFine • SuperFine • Normal • Uncompressed
    Compression TypeJPEG • TIFF • Raw Image
    ISO Speeds200 • 1600
    Flash TypeBuilt-In & External
    Flash FunctionsFlash Off • Red-eye Reduction Flash
    ViewfinderOptical (Through-the-lens)
    LCD PanelWith LCD Panel
    LCD Panel Size1.8 in.
    LCD Screen Resolution118,000 pixels
    LCD Protected PositionWithout LCD Protected Position
    Interface TypeUSB
    Video InterfaceVideo Out
    Battery Type4 x AA Batteries
    Battery Life1,000 Images
    Self Timer2 Sec.
    Mp3 Built In
    Built-in MicrophoneWithout Built-in Microphone
    Tripod MountWith Tripod Mount
    Operating SystemApple Mac OS 8 • Apple Mac OS 9 • Apple Mac OS X • Microsoft Windows 2000 • Microsoft Windows 98 • Microsoft Windows 98SE • Microsoft Windows ME • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Width5.1 in.
    Depth2.4 in.
    Height3.7 in.
    Weight1.21 lb.
    Warranty1 Year
    Included AccessoriesUSB Cable • Video Cable
    Product ID20700816

Product Description

One of the world’s smallest, lightest digital SLR camera bodies, the *ist D comes equipped with an array of advanced functions and user-friendly features. The *ist D is compatible with existing PENTAX 35mm-format interchangeable lenses and accessories.
  • Sensor: 6.3 megapixel CCD
  • Max resolution: 3008 x 2008 pixels
  • Sensitivity: ISO 200 - 1600
  • File formats: JPEG, Uncompressed 8-bit TIFF, 12 bit RAW
  • Exposure: Auto w. Hyper Program, Program AE, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Manual, bulb, w. exposure compensation and AE lock
  • Meter: 16-segment TTL w. spot and center-weighted modes
  • Max advance: 2.6 fps for up to 6 frames
  • Built-in flash
  • Flash sync: 1/150 sec
  • Storage media: CompactFlash Type I and II, MicroDrive
  • USB interface
  • Professional Reviews:
    Pentax *ist D Studio Test by Photo-John
    Pentax ist D Review at Imaging Resource


    Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

    Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:2
    Submitted by jrferrermn a Professional

    Date Reviewed: May 26, 2010

    Strengths:    It is a fairly reliable workhorse.

    Weaknesses:    Focus indicator is not accurate on older lenses, slow processor gives incorrect exposures, short battery life.

    Bottom Line:   
    This camera is very quirky, and although it can give good results, it takes a long time to figure out its various quirks. For example, the processor is relatively slow so when taking pictures in any kind of quick succession, you are sure to get some that are vastly under or overexposed. I think this is because the processor is not done processing the first image and doesn't relay the correct exposure information quick enough for the physical camera to keep up. Older lenses on this camera have a hard time taking sharp photos even though the *ist D's focus indicator tells you the subject is in focus.

    For a first generation digital camera, the *ist D simply was not ready for prime time. It does a good job at some things, but other things it doesn't do so well.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

    Price Paid:    $1300.00

    Purchased At:   B&W

    Similar Products Used:   Pentax PZ-1P, Pentax ME Super

    Type of photography:   People


    Overall Rating:1
    Value Rating:2
    Submitted by Thekingskid a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: April 22, 2009

    Strengths:    Easy to hold onto.
    Can use four AA batteries. Using Lithium AA batteries last a long time.
    Automatic shut off.
    Uses a SD Memory card which any one can find on the internet at a low price.


    Weaknesses:    1GB card gives you 332 pictures on JPEG. You only get 342 pictures with a 4GB card. It isn’t worth getting the bigger card with this camera.
    Can not use manual setting on the exposure part of the camera.
    Does not have an exposure light meter.
    Doesn’t have a usable histogram
    Pictures come out light or dark.
    Need to touch up pictures.
    Auto focus doesn’t work or it has a hard time focusing in low light or dark background.
    Can make all the changes in the menu the pictures still don’t come out right.
    ISO doesn’t go below 200.
    You can miss a shot in automatic focus while the camera is trying to focus.
    I would not recommend this camera to anyone. I am presently looking for another digital camera. Presently looking at Canon or Nikon which the camera stores cater to which most professional photographer use.


    Bottom Line:   
    I had a Pentax K1000 which is totally manual set camera. When I started to have problems with the light meter, I decided to go digital. I thought I would stick with Pentax so I could use my zoom lens. The lens I had couldn’t be used with the Pentax *istD. I bought the Pentax *istD as a package with a QUANTARAY 70 - 300 zoom lens. Any lens used on this camera has to be an automatic exposure lens. Tried using the manual setting on the aperture and the camera would not work.


    I have not been satisfied with the Pentax *istD camera. I was getting better pictures with the Pentax K1000 Camera. I keep getting frustrated with the Pentax *istD camera because I can not get it to do what I want it to do. I bought a DVD for the Pentax *istD to try to learn more about the camera. The camera version on the DVD was different from the camera I had.

    When taking pictures with the Pentax *istD the exposure is off. The picture is either too dark or too light. With the many programs for processing pictures a lot of them are going to Auto Edit instead of letting use make the changes yourself. If you are fussy on how your pictures turn out this is not the camera for you! Taking pictures in continuous the setting change from one picture to the next. One will be light and the next will be dark. When using the flash I ran into the same problem. The metering keeps changing the camera settings. It didn’t matter if I used the camera flash or the Pentax AF-360FGZ flash.

    Taking pictures in low lighting is a big problem with this camera. You basically have to go to manual focus. It has a hard time focusing on what you want to take a picture of or taking pictures of fireworks.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Purchased At:   Ritz Camera

    Similar Products Used:   No DSLR camera
    Used a Canon Manual set Camera and Pentax K1000


    Type of photography:   Other


    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by frank a Casual

    Date Reviewed: February 9, 2008

    Strengths:    Small and compact. Great shooting responsiveness.

    Weaknesses:    Auto focussing in Dim lighting

    Bottom Line:   
    Just got the camera and having been using my old film lenses on it and it works great. I use the Nikon d70s at work and this is built very similar in fact the body plastic is identical only it is smaller and lighter and easier to carry. It was as if Pentax copied the d70 and made a smaller version of it. I did a lot of research before I bought it and really I found out that it uses the same sensor as the Nikon d100 d70 and d40. The image quality really depends on your lens and your white balance. I have gotten some great collor images with this camear. I have read that there is an issue with softness and really I don't see it. I think it depends on your lens. All my lenses are old and use glass not plastic so that might help. This camera is really the predecessor to the K10d. It has full pofessional features. It is very responsive and I like using it. The only fault I have with it is that auto focus syste4m in dim lighting. Get use to focussing manually. In the day it is fast, faster that the Nikon I would say as fast as a Canon. This cameara is the inbetween of Nikon and Canon.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

    Price Paid:    $350.00

    Purchased At:   ebay

    Similar Products Used:   Nikon d70

    Type of photography:   People


    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by jajurek a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: June 28, 2007

    Strengths:    Small, light, rigid body. Good controls. Multiple exposure, DOF preview, hyper program AE,. Individual AV and TV dials. Focus Point Switch Lever. Auto Bracketing (exposure). Works with K, M lens ( in manual mode). Powered from AA accumulators. Pentaprism viewfinder.

    Weaknesses:    Sensitivity from 200 ISO. Difficult access to CF card. Cumbersome four-way controller. LCD monitor too small. Lack of image stabilization. RAW files too large (about 13 MB).

    Bottom Line:   
    Very good camera, especially for analog Pentax cameras users with K,M lens. For beginners not recommended, rather for intermediates.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $400.00

    Purchased At:   CametaCamera

    Similar Products Used:   Canon EOS 350D (Rebel XT), Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi).

    Type of photography:   Outdoor


    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by danag42 a Professional

    Date Reviewed: August 9, 2006

    Strengths:    Well placed controls, easy to get used to and work quickly with. Uses all thosd old really classis lenses that some of us have collected over the yers. Very solid feel, I was worried that Pentax had given up on pro gear, but this goes a long way to redressing that issue. I anxiously await the new 10 megapixel DSLR with shake reduction.
    I have a lot of hope for Pentax ressurecting their pro customers, we may be old but we have a lot of experience that transends the analog/digtial devide!


    Weaknesses:    When the camera first came out, they left out the ability to use the old K and M lenses. Well, the howl of outrage was heard from Tokyo to London, and they quickly backpedalled with a firmware upgrade. Good job, Pentax, you listen to your customers!
    They left out the cam to allow you to use ancient manual lenses in apeture priority mode, so we use them in manual (after all, they ARE manual lenses). Hopefully the 10 megapixel pro model will include the cam. I'm old and getting lazy. Even though I mostly use it in the studio with a flash meter, so it stays in Manual most of the time anyway. But for personal goofing around, I'd like the cam back in the mount, no more "crippled" KAF mount, please!


    Bottom Line:   
    I'm glad i held out for a Pentax DSLR. I almost jumped ship to the copier-company cameras, I;'ve used some of their cameras in the past. But I started in the 1960's, when it was Pentax and Zeiss if you wanted the best lenses, so I had a collection of really excellent glass.
    The thing that sold me is that all my K mount (or even M42) lenses will work and meter on this camera. Of course, a manual lens is still manual, but Pentax is to be praised for letting us old codgers use our favorite old glass on the new sooper-dooper electronic cameras. Of course, I had to get the 12-24 super-wide because of the crop factor, but, hey, it's business expense!
    I actually like the fact that Pentax has held back on the in-camera sharpening. I'll do my own #%^&$ sharpening in Photoshop, thank you very much!! The copier-company cameras seem to sharpen jpegs or tiffs so you get artifacts, so I like a camera thart lets me do my own sharpening.
    I've been shooting RAW, which bypasses the whole in-camera processing nonsense. If you're shooting for a living you really need to go with RAW. Maybe I'm prejiduced, I'm one of those darkroom freaks with Dektol stains on m fingers! RAW puts me back in the driver's seat with my images, and it sure doesn't smell as bad as the chemical darkroom!
    I congratulate Pentax on their commitment to backwards compatability. They have the most complete usability from old classics like my 45-125 K lens, totally manual. It works just like it does on my old MX cameras. Plus it has all the electro-techno connections for the new lenses that thind they're smarter than the photographer. I'm pleaed as punch with this camera, and it's the first Pentax professional grade camera that's not medium format in a long time. (Remenber the LX?)
    It uses Lexars WA technology, so I can shoot a long string of RAW files without running into the dreaded buffer problem. The viewfinder is bright and clear, it makes C and N look like dark tunnels!! Imortant for an old codger like me whose eyes are not what they used to be!
    This is not a camera for beginners, Pentax have the K100D and other simpler machines for the hobbyist market. But a serious photographer can't go wrong with this unit!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $2300.00

    Purchased At:   Camera store in Mont

    Similar Products Used:   Nkon F, Canon T70 and other fancy Canon and Nikon film cameras, Olympus digital SLR's (the sensor is just too tiny), all sorts of lenses from old classic manuals to modern electronic marvels. Pentax MX cameras, and even a K1000 just for the sake of having one (no DOF preview, so the MX cameras with DOF preview got the most workout).

    Type of photography:   Other



    Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


    Pentax *ist-D or Olympus E-500?

    **I think I posted this is the wrong area the first time, so I'll try here :idea: ** First of all- I just wanted to say hi! I'm new here, and hope to get to chat with everybody! Second of all- I'm shopping for my first SLR. I was at a camera store today and found these 2 cameras that I was interes ... Read More »

    Pentax *ist-D or Olympus E-500?

    First of all- I just wanted to say hi! I'm new here, and hope to get to chat with everybody! Second of all- I'm shopping for my first SLR. I was at a camera store today and found these 2 cameras that I was interested in. The Pentax was on sale for $250. It seemed nice, but i'm not sure if I liked t ... Read More »

    Pentax *ist D Test is Up

    I just finished the Pentax *ist D camera test. I'll be refining my test procedures and posting format for a while, but I think this one is pretty good. Remember, the main thing are the studio tests. The rest is just my general experience with the camera. My intention isn't to tell you which camera t ... Read More »

    Pentax *ist D

    Look what I picked up today at the Pentax PMA booth. I get to play with this for a few weeks. I've been very curious about the *ist D and I'm psyched to try it out. I'll be posting photos and letting you know what I think. I have to get used to the controls but first impression is pretty nice. To me ... Read More »

    Pentax *ist D Test

    I picked up the Pentax *ist D digital SLR at this year's PMA tradeshow, in Las Vegas. Pentax marketing manager, Michelle Martin, was kind enough to lend me her personal camera. I was excited to finally get a chance to use it, especially since I was driving home to Nor Cal, through LA. The road trip ... Read More »

    Read More »



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