Pentax *ist D SLR Review

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Pentax *ist D

Camera Controls, Storage, I/O, & Power

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The controls on the grip side of the camera: the Power switch / DOF preview and Shutter Release button, the Green Operation button, the Drive button for selecting Single, Self-timer, Remote or Continuous mode, the Flash mode button and the monochrome status LCD display. On the front below the shutter release is the Tv Dial for changing shutter speeds.

Rotating the power switch to the DOF position also illuminates the data display for five seconds which allows you to check settings in dim to dark environments.

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

Data LCD with all possible icons shown and illuminated.

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

On the back of the grip is the AE-Lock button, the Exposure compensation button and the Av Dial for changing aperture values. The Av Dial also serves as the Index and Magnification Dial in playback mode (discussed more further on in the review.)

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The Mode Dial has positions for: Green Program mode, Aperture-Priority AE, Shutter-Priority AE, Bulb and the Hyper Program mode that allows you to instantly shift the exposure program using the Tv and/or Av dials. The Hyper Manual mode allows fingertip adjustment of shutter and/or aperture settings in Metered Manual operation. In the Hyper Program mode, the user can choose from the High- Shutter-Speed-Priority, Depth-Priority or MTF-Priority programs as the default program, rather than Normal program, using one of the custom functions.

The other three positions let you change:

    White Balance - Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten light and Fluorescent (W, N, D), 3 Manual settings.

    Image Size - 3008 x 2008, 2400 x 1600, 1536 x 1024 pixels. (Switchable to 1152 x 768 pixels or 960 x 640 pixels by custom function) and
    Quality (Compressed JPEG with rates of 1/3, 1/6 and 1/12, Uncompressed: 8-bit TIFF-RGB Ver.6.0 and 12-bit RAW)

    ISO Sensitivity - ISO 200 to ISO 1600, 3200 available as Custom Function.

Below the Mode Dial is the Metering Selector switch with positions for: 16-segment multi-pattern metering, Spot and Center-weighted metering.

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

Images are stored on CompactFlash devices. The *ist D can use any capacity CompactFlash Type I or II card and is also fully compatible with all IBM and Hitachi Microdrives.

Capacity3008x2008 3008x20082400x16001536x1024
1GB70 5587209
512MB34 2743104
256MB16 142152

Approximate JPEG Storage

Size3008x2008 2400x16001536x1024
CapacityBestBetterGood BestBetterGood BestBetterGood
1GB243473908 3827161350 90816362832
512MB119232452 185354676 4528121412
256MB57111222 87172335 222401701

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams
Input/Output ports are on the left side:

On the top is the PC flash X sync port

Combination USB 1.1 and Video Out (selectable NTSC or PAL format)

Bottom front is for a wired release button. On the back is a DC IN jack for optional AC power supply.

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The Pentax *ist D can powered by either four AA type (lithium, alkaline, nickel-metal hydride) or two CR-V3 lithium batteries.

Pentax *ist D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

There's also a CR2016 "memory" button battery located on the bottom of the camera. This retains the time and date and camera settings when the main batteries are removed.

Pentax recommends against the use of rechargeable CR-V3 (aka RCR-V3) type batteries because some manufacturer's batteries put out too much voltage, i.e. 3.7v versus the 3v delivered by one-use CR-V3 lithium cells.

Pentax *ist D

The optional D-BG1 battery grip prolongs the *ist D's operation time. It can be mounted onto the bottom of the *ist D without removing the battery stored inside the camera, so the battery life is extended considerably.

Pentax *ist D

The D-BG1 is equipped with a vertical-position shutter release button, a preview lever, Tv/Av dials and an AE lock button.

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