Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Pentax 02/26/03 Press Release


Press Release - February 26, 2003

PENTAX Announces New Digital SLR Camera: Long Anticipated *ist D Offers Inter-Changeable Lenses

Pentax *ist D SLR

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (February 18, 2003)… Patience soon will pay off for digital SLR enthusiasts when PENTAX USA delivers the lens-interchangeable *ist D digital SLR camera. With the clarity of 6.1 effective megapixels, a pentaprism viewfinder, and a 1.8 inch LCD monitor, the *ist D will feature one of the world's smallest, lightest camera bodies in the digital SLR category.

Along with the *ist D, PENTAX announces an exciting wide angle lens for 35mm AF SLR cameras, the smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18-35mm F4-5.6 AL.

These latest PENTAX digital advancements will be showcased under glass at the 2003 Photo Marketing Association's (PMA) Show in Booth C140 from March 2-5 in Las Vegas. PMA hosts an annual trade show where manufacturers in the photography industry showcase their newest products

Photo via Peter K. Burian, a Contributor with MSN Photos Magazine

The *ist D will officially launch in July 2003.

6.1 effective megapixels

With a high-performance CCD measuring 23.5mm x 15.7mm and unique image processing technology, the *ist D achieves impressive 6.1 effective megapixel resolution for the recording of precise, superior quality images.

One of the world's smallest, lightest camera bodies

The design of the *ist D combines compact dimensions with surprisingly light weight. Measuring 5 inches (129mm) x 3.7 inches (95mm) x 2.3 inches (60mm) and weighing just 18 ounces (510g) without batteries, the *ist D will be one of the smallest, lightest lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras available.

A wide range of compatible PENTAX lenses for flexible shooting

A wide range of compatible PENTAX lenses are available for use with the *ist D, allowing the user to compose satisfying scenes regardless of the type of subject.*

*Compatible lenses: K, KA, KAF, and KAF2 mount lenses; screw mount lenses, 645, and 67 series lenses (adapter required). Some functions may not activate depending on the choice of lens.

New pentaprism viewfinder

An optical pentaprism viewfinder developed especially for the *ist D makes viewing easy with an ample 95% field of view and 0.95X magnification. A superimposed display function assists composition by illuminating the AF points in red.

Photo (c) 2003 Mark Peters

Mark Peters from with *ist D at PMA 2003

Other major *ist D features:

  • New 16-segment metering system achieves more accurate exposure
  • New 11-point AF sensor (SAFOX VIII) realizes enhanced focusing
  • Fast 1/4000 sec. shutter speed and high-speed flash sync at 1/150 sec.
  • Continuous shooting at approx. 2.7 fps
  • 2-dial system separates aperture and shutter speed settings
  • With individual dials for shutter and aperture selection, Hyper program makes it easy to switch between Shutter-Priority AE and Aperture-Priority AE.
  • Hyper manual let you achieve the proper exposure with simple button operation.
  • Custom function allows functionality to be tuned to satisfy user preferences
  • Noise reduction function activates for long exposures
  • Compatible with MicroDrive™ and CompactFlash™ Type I/II
  • Takes four AA batteries or two CR-V3 lithium-ion batteries
  • PC-based camera control and easy data transmission with USB 1.1 compatibility
  • 1.8 inch, 118,000-pixel LCD monitor for easy, high-precision viewing
  • Convenient playback functions, such as nine image- and 12X magnification-display
  • Choice of JPEG, TIFF and RAW recording formats
  • Comes complete with software compatible with RAW format data
  • Special battery grip (availability to coincide with *ist D)
New Interchangeable lenses

Photo via Peter K. Burian, a Contributor with MSN Photos Magazine

A new wide angle lens for 35mm AF SLR cameras, the smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18-35mm F4-5.6 AL, also will be displayed at PMA 2003 (shown in photo above) together with the *ist D. The lens is comprised of 12 elements in 10 groups and it has a focal length equivalent to 28-54mm in 35mm format when used with the *ist D.*

* Specifications and capabilities subject to change.

*ist D Specifications

TypeSingle-lens-reflex-type digital still camera with TTL auto exposure,autofocus and built-in TTL auto flash.
Effective Pixels6.1 megapixels.
SensorInterline interlace CCD.
Size: 23.5mm x 15.7mm (diagonal line: 28.40mm).
Total pixels: 6.31 megapixels
Recorded PixelsLarge: 3008 x 2008 pixels.
Middle: 2400 x 1600 pixels.
Small: 1536 x 1024 pixels.
(Switchable to 1152 x 768 pixels or 960 x 640 pixels by custom function.)
SensitivityEquivalent to ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (3200 available as Custom Function)
File FormatsExif 2.2, DCF, DPOF
Quality LevelsCompressed: JPEG-baseline with compressibility rates of
***(1/3), **(1/6) and *(1/12).
Uncompressed: 8-bit TIFF-RGB Ver.6.0 and 12-bit RAW.
Storage MediaCompactFlash cards (Type I and Type II) and MicroDrive
Color CompositionJPEG: YCbCr (4:2:2).
TIFF: TIFF-RGB (4:4:4).
RAW: RAW data of CCD.
White BalanceAuto: TTL control using image sensor.
Preset: Daylight, Cloudiness, Shade, Tungsten light and Fluorescent light (W, N, D).
Manual: 3 settings.
LCD Monitor1.8 inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with backlight
LCD FunctionSingle frame, zoom in/out, nine-image, slide show, image rotation, shooting data indication (including date and histogram), quick view (instant display of image after shooting)
Delete FunctionSingle-frame-deletion, All-frame deletion, card format, protect
Video OutputNTSC/PAL switchable
InterfacesUSB 1.1
Lens MountPENTAX K AF mount
Exposure ModesAuto exposure with Hyper Program, Programmed AE, Shutter-Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE, Metered Manual, bulb
ShutterElectronically controlled vertical-run focal-plane shutter with electronic release.
Auto shutter speeds:1/4000 sec. to 30 sec.
Manual shutter speeds:1/4000 sec. to 30 sec. (0.5EV steps) and bulb.
Shutter lock at power-off position.
ViewfinderEye-level-type fixed pentaprism viewfinder with Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen.
Field of view: 95%.
Magnification: 0.95X (with 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity, -1m -1).
Diopter adjustment: -2.5m -1 to +1.5m-1
Viewfinder IndicationOut of image area: Built-in flash status, AF sensor pattern, in-focus, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation factor, bar graph. Within image area: AF frame with superimposed AF sensor point, spot AF frame.
Data LCD InformationQuality level, Tv dial, Av dial, shutter speed, aperture value, exposure compensation, exposure frame number, battery exhaustion warning, RTF recharge, flash status, RTF function, red-eye reduction flash, wireless flash mode, high-speed synchronization, remote control, self-timer, film advance mode (single-frame/consecutive), multiple exposure, auto bracketing, auto white balance control, preset white balance control, manual white balance control.
Illumination activated by preview lever.
Exposure MeteringTTL open-aperture 16-segment metering.
Spot metering and center-weighted metering selectable.
Metering range (at ISO200 with 50mm F1.4 lens): EV0 to EV21
(EV1 to EV21.5 with multi-segment metering).
Exposure compensation±3EV (in 1/2EV steps), ±2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
Auto Bracketing3 frames (proper/over/under) within range of ±1.5EV (1/2EV steps) or ±1.0EV (1/3EV steps)
Simultaneous use with exposure compensation possible.
AE LockPushbutton type with approx. 20-second timer.
Extendable with shutter button half-pressed.
Drive ModesSingle-frame advance, continuous advance (2.6 fps.) up to 6 frames (at noise reduction off).
AutofocusTTL phase-matching autofocus system.
Applicable illumination range: EV0 to EV19 (at ISO200).
AF-Single, AF-Continuous, Manual Focus switchable.
Focus lock available.
AF sensor point selectable.
AF auxiliary illumination by built-in flash available.
Built-in Flash (RTF)Guide number: 15.6 (at ISO200/m), Guide number: 11 (at ISO100/m).
Angle of view coverage: 18mm.
Synchronization speed: 1/150 sec.
Flash-Off, flash-on and red-eye reduction functions available.
SynchronizationVia hot shoe (with X-contact for dedicated flash unit).
Dedicated accessory flash units available.
Sensitivity range: ISO200 to ISO1600.
Flash synchronization: up to 1/150 sec.
High-speed synchronization, wireless remote-control synchronization and
P-TTL synchronization functions available with dedicated flash unit.
Self-timerElectronically controlled type with 12- or 2-second delay.
Mirror lock-up mechanism available.
Mid-operation cancellation possible.
Remote ControlInfrared wireless remote control with optional remote controller.
Effective range: 5m (16.6 ft.) from front side of camera.
Instant release or 3-second-delay release switchable.
PreviewElectronic preview.
Available in all modes.
Power Source2 CR-V3 batteries or 4 AA-sized batteries (lithium, Ni-MH, alkaline).
Optional AC adapter available.
Battery LifeCR-V3: Approx. 1000 frames no flash used.
Lithium batteries: Approx. 900 frames no flash used.
Ni-MH batteries: Approx. 450 frames no flash used.
Alkaline batteries: Approx. 110 no flash used.
Dimensions129.0mm x 94.5mm x 60mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches)
Weight550g (19.4 oz.) for body only (without batteries and memory card)

Return to
Breaking News page