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Pentax *ist DS Digital SLR Review

Review Summary
Reader Score: 8.86 (out of 10)
Pentax first announced development of a digital SLR back in September 2000, and even demonstrated a prototype of the camera at the PMA show in February 2001. It was to have been a six megapixel machine with a CCD sensor the same size as a frame of 35mm film. If it had gone into production it would have been the most powerful DSLR on the market, but in a surprising move it was announced in October 2001 that the company was cancelling the project in order to concentrate on the Optio range of digital compacts. It wasn't until February 2003 that Pentax finally entered the digital SLR market with the launch of the *ist D, which at the time was the smallest, lightest digital SLR in the world. In September last year it added a second model, the *ist DS, which has usurped that title.

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Other Reviews For This Model

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Megapixel 9.13  02-02-05 Read Full Review
The *ist DS is a consumer version of the *ist D, Pentax's first digital SLR, introduced in late 2003. While the *ist DS is a competitor to Canon's Digital Rebel/EOS300D and Nikon's D70, it is a much more compact and lighter dSLR than either of these. Weighing in at 605g (21.3oz.) with the kit lens, the *ist DS is the lightest DSLR currently on the market and still offers compatibility with a wide selection of lenses, and the comfortable ergonomic design of an SLR body.
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Digital Camera 9.00  12-20-05 Read Full Review
"The Pentax 6.1-megapixel *istDS is a "feel good" camera. It feels good when you pick it up, feels good when you hold it to your eye, and feels even better when you realize you paid less than $900 for it with a 18-55mm (27-83mm equivalent) lens included. The controls are where they should be and the viewfinder is one of the biggest and brightest of all. It's a vast improvement over its predecessor, the *istD, which took great pictures but had some ergonomic quirks that could drive you mad.

With its best-in-class viewfinder, strong, compact body, and excellent pricing, this camera is at the top of the 6MP class. In fact it will even stand toe-to-toe with the bigger guys and take some of them to the mat. If you're looking for a feel-good, take-along DSLR that will deliver exceptional image quality, pick up the *istDS and lift it to your eye. It will be almost impossible to put down."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Spot Photo 8.82  03-28-05 Read Full Review
At the time of announcement new Pentax *ist DS was the lightest and smallest of digital SLRs you could get. Now Canon is releasing even smaller EOS 350D but DS still beats all competition when it comes to price (unless you count in Canon EOS 300D that is morally outdated). When I went through the technical specification it sounded all very nice. How did it come out of my 4 day test-shooting? Read on and find out.
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DPReview 8.76  03-31-05 Read Full Review
he Pentax *ist DS digital SLR was announced on 13th September 2004 in the run-up to Photokina 2004. The *ist DS is Pentax's second digital SLR and is aimed at a lower price point than the original *ist D. At the time of writing this review the street price of the *ist DS (body only) is $899 in the US and £699 which is just a little more expensive than the six megapixel Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) and about the same price as the eight megapixel Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT). The *ist DS continues the *ist D's tradition, being one of the smallest and lightest digital SLR on the market. The *ist DS features a six megapixel CCD sensor and has a Pentax K lens mount which supports K, KA, KAF and KAF2 lenses. Just like the *ist D it is also possible to use screw mount lenses, 645 and 67 series lenses with an adapter.
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Photo.net 8.75  03-13-05 Read Full Review
One month before I sat down to compose this review, the tedium of scanning colour slides made me head out yet again to a couple of our big camera shops in Toronto to see if I could finally persuade myself the Nikon D70 viewfinder really wasn't that awful after all. I couldn't. Another big company's offering at the price point did little more for me (though I was actually somewhat relieved: didn't relish learning to cope with the ergonomic regression of lenses with no aperture ring). In an age when marketing departments have so much say, the calculated absence of critical 50-year-old technology shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It's pretty much common knowledge these days that a serious problem with entry-level digital SLRs is how very little of the budget finds its way to the viewfinder, which I maintain is one of the handful of body features to approach anything resembling a sine qua non of successful camera design: if you can't see clearly what you're shooting, how can you shoot clearly?
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
PC Magazine 8.00  05-04-05 Read Full Review
The Pentax *ist DS is one of the smallest and lightest digital SLRs available. It's very easy to operate, and it shoots faster and has a bigger and better LCD than its more expensive big brother, the *ist D. Good looks, nice ergonomics, great handling characteristics, and a very reasonable price will make it a formidable challenger to Canon's best-selling Digital Rebel and EOS Digital Rebel XT.
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
CNET Reviews 7.67  05-04-05 Read Full Review
Although the most compact of the sub-$1,000 digital SLRs, the Pentax *ist DS is not a functionality lightweight. Packed into its 30-ounce (with 18mm-to-55mm lens, battery, and media), polycarbonate-clad stainless-steel frame is an array of automated and user-selectable exposure and scene controls, a brilliant optical viewfinder and an LCD that are easy on the eyes, and enthusiast-pleasing options such as an eight-frame, 2.5fps drive mode. In some ways, the *ist DS is an upgrade from its more expensive *ist D sibling, trading a few minor features for some significant improvements.
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DCViews 7.62  01-22-05 Read Full Review
Priced to compete with Canon's Digital Rebel or EOS 300D, the Pentax *ist Ds was introduced in the run up to Photokina 2004. It is Pentax second digital SLR and it continues their position of having the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market today. The extremely compact *ist Ds features a 6.1 effective megapixel CCD sensor - the same as used in Nikon's D70 - and a large 2.0" LCD monitor which occupies a large part of the rear of the camera. Good news for Pentax users of the pre-digital era is that the *ist Ds is backwards compatible with most older Pentax K, KA, KAF and KAF2 mount lenses, albeit with some limitations in metering or functionality. Even older screw mount lenses like the 645 and 67 series can be used through an adapter.
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Photography Blog 6.36  06-23-05 Read Full Review
The Pentax *ist DS is an entry-level 6 megapixel digital SLR that is also one of the smallest and lightest DSLRs currently available. Highlights of the Pentax *ist DS include a large 2 inch LCD screen, 11 point auto-focus system, interchangeability with a wide selection of existing Pentax lenses and a range of different picture modes for beginners and experienced photographers alike. At a current street price around £650 / $850 / €850 with the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens, the *ist DS represents Pentax's attempt to capture a slice of the entry-level DSLR market, and is subsequently competing with the likes of the Canon EOS 350D, Nikon D70s and Olympus E-300. Pentax themselves have recently announced an even cheaper version, the *ist DL. So is the Pentax *ist DS a good choice in what is rapidly becoming a saturated sector of the digital SLR market? Read my review to find out.
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