Pentax *ist DL (with 18mm-to-55mm lens)
Manufacturer: Pentax Part number: 18428
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- Editors' review
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- Bottom Line:
- A great value per ounce, the Pentax *ist DL is a logical choice for budget-minded enthusiasts looking to upgrade to a digital SLR, but it's not ideal for shooting action or running on full auto.
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as of 07/30/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $799.95
- Reviewed by: Lisa Gidley
- Edited by: Lori Grunin
- Reviewed on: 03/16/2006
- Released on: 08/08/2005
The good: Svelte and affordable; logical interface; solid image quality.
The bad: Autofocus sometimes flustered by difficult scenes; auto white-balance setting mediocre for outdoor shadows or artificial light.
The bottom line: A great value per ounce, the Pentax *ist DL is a logical choice for budget-minded enthusiasts looking to upgrade to a digital SLR, but it's not ideal for shooting action or running on full auto.
by dapjang on November 5, 2005
Pros: Sold body, good kit lens
Cons: no af illuminator, no focusing grid
Summary: I was very excited to get my new camera. I've had this camera for about a two months now, so I've used this product for a fair enough ...
Summary: I was very excited to get my new camera. I've had this camera for about a two months now, so I've used this product for a fair enough time, enough to judge it. The camera camera has a very large LCD, which is nice. Also its kit lens is much better than the one that comes with the Rebel XT. The body has a very good solid feel to it (unlike a rebel which feels very cheap). However, I was unimpressed by the flash performance. Also, the DL doesn't have a AF illuminator so might as well focus manually in the dark, because the auto focus goes crazy. Another gripe I have is the image format. At the highest resolution, the images are 3008 x 2000 pixels. Which is not the correct ratio for most computer monitors, and for prints. For example if you wanted to print a picture you took on a 4x6, you'd have serious cropping at one of the ends (about 350 pixels!) VERY ANNOYING. Besides that its a nice camera, I hope pentax releases firmware for that last problem.
18 out of 23 users found this user opinion helpful.
What a great camera!
by codiac2600 on March 28, 2006
Pros: Easy to use, great kit lens, great color, built like no other camera in the price range!
Cons: White balance a little off, but somethign you can easily fix.
Summary: The first thing you'll notice with the camera is the fact that it looks well built and you get reassured when you slip it into your hands. This camera ...
Summary: The first thing you'll notice with the camera is the fact that it looks well built and you get reassured when you slip it into your hands. This camera is built far better than any other DSLR in it's price range and even some that surpass it by $300+.
The DL is built for the beginning DSLR user, but has plenty of room to grow with you for a couple of years. The ability to get lenses is so much easier than with any other brand because you can use almost every lens made for a pentax back to about the 1960s so if you need a great lens expect to spend around $50 in a garage sale because someones trash is now your treasure! Even online auction places have some really sweet lenses for about %75-$100 that will put most competitors lenses to shame especially their prices.
The image quality puts many other cameras to shame and a lot of people won't admit that. I've taken pictures with almost all the other competitors in the price range to about $400 more and the image quality is either above or equal to them all. The only thing you're loosing is a little bit of physical size becase megapixels don't mean better or higher quality images, it all in the lense and sensors.
If you're looking to get into digital photography at a higher level this camera is made for you and all you need to do is put it into your hands and take a few pictures to realize how great this camera is.
7 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
exceptional - simple and versatile
by jonessp1 on August 6, 2005
Pros: large screen, simple menu, comfortable in small hands
Cons: haven't found one yet
Summary: very intuitive for the advanced amature looking for more than a point and shoot. Fits well in a womans hands without being heavy. Ability to easily switch between automatic and ...
Summary: very intuitive for the advanced amature looking for more than a point and shoot. Fits well in a womans hands without being heavy. Ability to easily switch between automatic and manual along with different combinations inbetween (shutter speed, apature override, full manual, auto or manual focus, etc etc). The write speed to the memory card beats the other cameras I have had.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Awesome camera...awesome photos! Easy to use.
by Mulizza on May 25, 2006
Pros: Professional quality pics...easy to use. Love all of the options and pre-settings.
Cons: None. It has everything I wanted. If you care about size, it's a larger size. But I don't.
Summary: I had owned a great 35mm Pentax camera before that took wonderful pictures, which, after 20 years went caput. So, after repairing failed, I wanted to try no one else ...
Summary: I had owned a great 35mm Pentax camera before that took wonderful pictures, which, after 20 years went caput. So, after repairing failed, I wanted to try no one else but Pentax. Again, I'm extremely pleased with the photo quality and look forward to adding my new 70-300mm zoom lens to my collection. I highly recommend buying from Ritz camera or Wolf Camera (same folks)...buying from my local WC, I got 18 free photography classes with my purchase. You don't need to know that much about cameras to operate this one, though, and it's pro quality.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
My best SLR
by NJAnalyst on May 21, 2006
Pros: Great photos, color, ease of use, compact size, compatible with Pentax mount lenses
Cons: Autofocus is slow , auto white balance doesn't work as well as manual setting
Summary: I have been a Pentax SLR user for years, beginning with the SuperProgram, ZX-50, and ZX-5n. Recently, I upgraded to the *ist DL and I am very pleased with it. ...
Summary: I have been a Pentax SLR user for years, beginning with the SuperProgram, ZX-50, and ZX-5n. Recently, I upgraded to the *ist DL and I am very pleased with it. The photos are as good if not better than my 35mm SLRs and all of my lenses work with the new camera. I especially like the ability to shoot in low light without the use of a flash. The kit lens works very well and produces high quality images. The only weaknesses are the slow autofocus and the auto white balance. For me, these are not major problems are are outweighed by the strengths and fair price of the body.Updated
I recently purchased the Pentax 50mm-200mm consumer lens for the Pentax istDL. It is an excellent lens, perhaps sharper and faster than the 18mm-55mm lens. Colors are also vibrant.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
by mr e on March 20, 2006
Pros: compact size, bright viewfinder, large LCD, great build quality and optics
Cons: none to speak of at this price
Summary: I bought the *istDS having test-driven the Canon 350D and Nikon D70. The latter was just too big, the former was obviously less well built, and with an inferiour kit ...
Summary: I bought the *istDS having test-driven the Canon 350D and Nikon D70. The latter was just too big, the former was obviously less well built, and with an inferiour kit lens. The *istDL is very similar to the DS and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone wanting a decent entry-level DSLR. Pentax have been making great lenses and cameras for a long time, and this range is no exception. Compatibility with older Pentax lenses is a real bonus too, as these are usually of very high quality and can be picked up at good prices second-hand.
2 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Good camera for the money.
by snotfester on August 6, 2006
Pros: Picture quality and ease of use.
Cons: Manual focus for point and shoot only.
Summary: I used a 35mm SLR for about 16 years before it finally broke. I don't have big bucks to spend on a digital SLR (I just bought a new ...
Summary: I used a 35mm SLR for about 16 years before it finally broke. I don't have big bucks to spend on a digital SLR (I just bought a new Acura TL and am quite broke). This one was on sale online at Circuit City. There was an instant rebate of $72.00 and a mail in one for $100.00. Total cost after rebates, about $470.00.
This camera will accept the 3 lenses from my old 35mm SLR (one weighs as much as the *ist w/lense) and I don't have to spend $500.00 to replace all the 52mm filters I have.
The old lenses require I use the *ist in manual mode--my prefered method.
This camera is intuitive to use. I do use the automatic mode with the supplied lense. But for ultra creative photography, I prefer to use the old lenses in manual mode. Using my past experience with 35mm photography and applying it to digital makes for great picture taking.
I haven't noticed any problems with the white balance, but I'm only a good amature photographer, not a pro. The manual focus can be frustrating on anything but simple pictures, but is useful none the less. It is adjustable between "wide" and "spot", a useful feature. The auto pop up flash is annoying--I know when I need a flash and when I don't. I often set the camera to the flash off mode.
I've compared photos previously taken with a point and shoot 3.2 meg camera and retaken with this--BIG difference.
So--this is a great entry level digital SLR for the money. Good features and good picture quality.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
Best entry-level DSLR by far!
by nicanfhilidh on July 5, 2006
Pros: Solidly-built; feature-rich; good kit lens; excellent price
Cons: Lack of customization of auto modes
Summary: This fantastic DSLR is not mentioned when the big electronics and photography sites recommend cameras for those wishing to upgrade to digital single-lens reflex. Why is that? The Pentax *ist ...
Summary: This fantastic DSLR is not mentioned when the big electronics and photography sites recommend cameras for those wishing to upgrade to digital single-lens reflex. Why is that? The Pentax *ist DL delivers everything that the Nikon D50/D70 and other cameras in its class do, and for hundreds of dollars less. The camera's functions are intelligently laid out so that you can begin shooting great photos right away, and the manual is well-written and organized, making it easy to learn when you're ready to explore everything the camera can do. The kit lens is better than what ships with some competitors, and the camera is compatible with most older Pentax lenses, making it possible to save hundreds by buying used lenses rather than having to sink money into new digital lenses. Another great feature is that the camera runs on AA batteries, unlike some cameras which use proprietary batteries.
The camera has the capability to shoot RAW files and Pentax includes a disc with basic RAW processing software. Photoshop CS2 is probably a better choice for those who will be shooting many RAW photos.
One thing I feel compelled to mention is that shooting in any of the auto modes yields photos that are highly color saturated, and this setting cannot be changed. This isn't really a major gripe as the photos are easily corrected in after-processing in Photoshop.
Pentax is offering a $100 rebate on this camera body through October of 2006. Go to their website for the coupon, as it is not included in the box.
To sum: there's really nothing NOT to recommend about this lovely little machine. Kudos to Pentax to bringing the world of DSLR photography within reach, and let's hope the word gets out about this amazing deal.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
by banksnz on April 11, 2006
Pros: ergonomics, picture quality, lenses, price
Cons: only 3 focus zones, p-ttl flash
Summary: great, solid digi slr. for this price it's a steal. i just upgraded from a prosumer (shot 35mm film slr most of my life) and I have no complaints. ...
Summary: great, solid digi slr. for this price it's a steal. i just upgraded from a prosumer (shot 35mm film slr most of my life) and I have no complaints. If you're used to film slrs, you'll have no problems. If you're a point and shooter, you'll have the usual scene modes to help you make the transition, but I haven't used them much so I can't say how well they work. (they're perfect for my wife)
It's unfortunate how few people know what a great camera this is.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
As clear and sharp as it gets!
by morse11 on February 24, 2006
Pros: Optical Quality-Build Quality
Cons: Some features that are NOT life and death
Summary: This camera is an incredible value. Whether the build or optics. The end result is extremely sharp pictures with detail to the limit. I own some vary expensive cameras and ...
Summary: This camera is an incredible value. Whether the build or optics. The end result is extremely sharp pictures with detail to the limit. I own some vary expensive cameras and this unit holds it's own where it counts!
2 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Pentax
- Part number: 18428
- Description: Bigger only where it matters most, PENTAX delivers better for a third time in the PENTAX ist DL digital SLR. Hosting an array of advanced, user-friendly features including an Auto Picture mode for automatic exposure selection, the ist DL features a generous 2.5 inch color high definition LCD monitor that offers an entirely new playback dimension. Add to this, a 6.1 megapixel CCD, convenient SD media card storage, high speed USB 2.0 data transfer, and a compact high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis design offering simple, accessible operation to delight new and advanced users alike.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Digital camera - SLR
- Enclosure Color Black
- Resolution 6.1 megapixels
- Optical Sensor Type CCD
- Total Pixels 6,310,000 pixels
- Effective Sensor Resolution 6,100,000 pixels
- Optical Sensor Size 15.7 x 23.5mm
- Optical Zoom 3 x
- Auto Focus TTL phase detection
- Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty 3
- Image Recording Format JPEG,
- AV Interfaces Composite video/audio
Exposure & White Balance
- Light Sensitivity ISO 3200,
- Exposure Metering Multi-segment,
- Exposure Metering Zones 16
- Exposure Modes Program,
- Shooting Programs Action,
Night scene with portrait,
- Special Effects Soft,
Black & White,
- White Balance Automatic,
- White Balance Presets Daylight,
Fluorescent light (daylight),
Fluorescent light (warm white),
Fluorescent light (cool white),
- Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec
- Min Shutter Speed 30 sec
- Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range, in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
- Auto Exposure Bracketing 3 steps
- X-sync Speed 1/180 sec
- Exposure Range EV 1-21.5 ( ISO 200 )
- Type 3 x x Zoom lens - 18 mm - 55 mm - F/3.5-5.6 DA Pentax KAF
- Focus Adjustment Manual,
- Min Focus Range 9.8 in
- Max View Angle 76 degrees
- Zoom Adjustment Manual
- Lens Construction 9 groups / 12 elements
- Filter Size 52 mm
- Lens System Mounting Pentax K
- Camera Flash Pop-up flash
- Guide Number (m / ISO 100) 11
- Flash Modes P-TTL,
Flash OFF mode,
- Continuous Shooting Speed 2.8 frames per second
- Self Timer Delay 2 sec,
- Flash Terminal Hot shoe
- Status LCD Display Information Aperture,
Remote control indicator,
White balance indicators,
- Additional Features Digital image rotation,
Depth-of-field preview button,
PRINT Image Matching,
RGB primary color filter,
Auto power save,
Digital noise reduction,
Camera orientation detection,
USB 2.0 compatibility,
- Viewfinder Type Optical - Eye-level mirror pentaprism
- Viewfinder Color Support Color
- Field Coverage 96%
- Magnification 0.85x
- Dioptric Correction Range -2.5 to +1.5
- Viewfinder Frames Autofocus frame
- Viewfinder Information Exposure compensation,
Flash charge completion,
- Type 2.5 in LCD display
- Resolution 210,000 pixels
- Display Features Built-in
- Connector Type 1 x USB,
1 x Composite video output
- Software Pentax Photo Browser,
Pentax Photo Laboratory,
Drivers & Utilities
System Requirements for PC Connection
- Operating System Support MS Windows XP,
MS Windows 2000,
MS Windows ME,
Apple Mac OS 9.0 or later
- Peripheral Devices USB port,
- Included Accessories Eyepiece cover,
- Supported Battery CR-V3,
- Supported Battery 4 x AA Alkaline battery,
4 x AA NiMH rechargeable battery,
4 x AA Lithium battery,
2 x CR-V3 Lithium battery
Memory / Storage
- Memory Card Slot SD card
- Supported Memory Cards SD Memory Card
- Image Storage RAW 3008 x 2008 : 11 VA - With 128MB card,
Super-fine JPEG 3008 x 2008 : 34 VA - With 128MB card,
Fine JPEG 3008 x 2008 : 70 VA - With 128MB card,
Normal JPEG 3008 x 2008 : 117 VA - With 128MB card,
Super-fine JPEG 2400 x 1600 : 51 VA - With 128MB card,
Fine JPEG 2400 x 1600 : 96 VA - With 128MB card,
Normal JPEG 2400 x 1600 : 161 VA - With 128MB card,
Super-fine JPEG 1536 x 1024 : 106 VA - With 128MB card,
Fine JPEG 1536 x 1024 : 173 VA - With 128MB card,
Normal JPEG 1536 x 1024 : 271 VA - With 128MB card
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 4.9 in
- Depth 2.6 in
- Height 3.7 in
- Weight 1.1 lbs
- Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
- Max Operating Temperature 104 °F