Pentax *ist DS Brief Review


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  • 6.1 megapixels (effective)
  • auto and manual focus
  • program and manual exposure
  • JPEG and RAW file format
  • ISO range 200 - 3200
  • 4 AA batteries. Accepts interchangeable Pentax KAF
  • KAF2
  • and KA lenses -- lens not included
  • Release Date: 2004-09-15
  • Final Grade: 67 3.35 Star Rating: Recommended

Pentax *ist DS
6.1 megapixels (effective); auto and manual focus; program and manual exposure; JPEG and RAW file format; ISO range 200 - 3200; 4 AA batteries. Accepts interchangeable Pentax KAF; KAF2; and KA lenses -- lens not included
By , Last updated on: 9/29/2014

The Pentax *ist DS offers a remarkable combination of portability and power. With a 6-megapixel image sensor and a body that is noticeably smaller than the competition, the *ist DS offers all the capability of an SLR without usual size and weight. Despite it's small size, the Pentax *ist DS offers big camera features like a 2" LCD screen, high speed shooting, and an 11-point autofocus system. Unlike most other digital SLRs, the Pentax *ist DS is compatible with AA-size batteries, which is a great advantage for travelers who may not always have access to a power source.

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Pentax/Ricoh Reviews

Pentax, who just recently merged with Ricoh, has long been a sort of underdog—but not necessarily in performance or quality. Pentax/Ricoh offers some quirky cameras, but for the most part, we've found that to be a good thing.

The Pentax/Ricoh DSLR’s are mostly weather-sealed, giving them a unique advantage over competing manufacturers that don't offer anything similar. When we tried out models like the K-50, we were quite impressed with the image quality. The autofocus was a bit noisier than a Nikon, but the weather-sealing and often better price is hard to resist when the image quality is so good. Pentax continued to add in innovations by adding an anti-aliasing filter that can be turned on and off to the 2013 K-3.

Pentax hasn't jumped into the mirrorless battle too much, but they do offer the tiny and colorful Q7. With a smaller sensor and a smaller price point, the Q7 and similar models are more of a consumer mirrorless than one for the enthusiasts, but it's an extremely small camera with a whole lot of color options.

Pentax has a few solid compact models out too. The Pentax MX-1 earned our Best Budget Advanced Compact for 2013 for its advanced features yet small price tag. They offer a waterproof line that includes macro ring lights built in, something unique to the WG cameras.

Pentax/Ricoh may be a bit quirky, but many of their cameras are well worth a look and offer excellent image quality for the price.

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