I'm wanting to buy the Pentax 'ist' DSLR

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by amanda mumma, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. I currently shoot with a pentax kit of 3 SLR's and various prime and
    zoom lenses. I admit to knowing very little of digital photography
    as I have been film to date. I am interested in the 'ist' as I don't
    need to start from scratch again but need some advice. I mostly
    shoot children (photographically of course!) and have a small
    kiddies portraiture business. Therefore the speed of the camera is
    important. I have noticed that my little p&s digital has a delay
    from when you press the shutter release till when the picture is
    actually taken. Is this the case with the ist? My main queries are
    as follows:
    1) Does anyone own one and can they give me their opinion.
    2) I have been told that the focal length of your lenses change on a
    digital - how so?
    3) QUALITY - does it deliver an equivalent to film. I realise it has
    a range from 200 - 3200 ISO. Is this the ssame as film? Am I going
    to be able to achieve sharp shots which would enlarge as well as the
    film equivalent of ISO 50 or 100?

    If anyone owns a Pentax 'ist' then please let me know what you
    think - I have been told that the white balance is off - especially
    for light conditions in the late afternoon (the golden hours ruined -
    I hope not), is this easy to override?
    Thanks in anticipation, I dont want to ask at the camera store as I
    don't necessarily trust I am being fed correct information!
    Sometimes a sale is more important than anything else - learnt the
    hard way already!
  2. I don't have a Pentax anymore, but you should read up on lens compatibility before
    buying it. I understand that a lot of older lenses won't work properly, and many work
    only in stop-down mode with the *ist. Other than that, it has the same sensor as the
    Nikon D100 - both by Sony. It is quite highly regarded.
  3. DPReview is usualy very thorough in their reviews: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxistd/.
    As for the focal length: yes, there is a crop factor, which is 1.5x on the ist D. This means a 50mm lens will give the same field of view as a 75mm one, but still have the same depth of field charactaristics of the 50mm.
  4. If you can, go play with the istD at a camera shop, and bring your lenses. I just got done doing this and was quite surprised at the feel and speed of the camera. I don't like the salesperson hovering over me the whole time so I only use them for a question. I brought my 31mm limited lens and popped it onto the camera. It just felt good. There is a good thread on the pentax forum of this site about this camera, you should check it out. There is a manual white balance and you can store three different white balance presets in the camera.
  5. Oh, about the lens compatability issue. IF you have a non A lens - like the older M or K lenses, or if your lens does not have an A position on the aperature ring, you basically don't have metering and your autofunctions like Shutter priority and Aperature priority do not work. The camera functions in metered manual mode, but wont meter. Its very confusing to read about this in the forums, some say the camera wont stop the lens to the desired f stop, others say you have a completely dead camera. They are both wrong. Here is the scoop that I have pulled from another thread to understand the compatability issues.

    "M35/2 In Av mode it won't stop the lens down, so regardless of what you set the aperture ring to it is always wide open. This means that the metering is correct and the picture is correctly exposed. In Manual mode it will stop the lens down so you need to get the correct exposure. There is no need to swap between modes. Hit the "green button" (that is the official pentax name) and you will get the correct exposure for wide open, then adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

    Note: If you take an A/F/FA lens off the A setting on the aperture ring it will behave as if it is an M lens. You won't see the aperture value in the viewfinder."
  6. Thankyou so much for all this becauseit really helps to make my decision for me. Thanks to all!
  7. I have tried out the Pentax *istD and like it. That being said, it is not for everyone. For a negetive review of the camera you should read here:


    I disagree with many of his points as you might, but if you are considering this camera then it is worth a read as it is the most critical I have ever seen. E-mail me directly if you have any specific questions.
  8. I own an *ist D. I love the camera! One of the things I love about this camera is that you can turn it on and shoot a picture in a 1/2 second. Depending on the mode the shutter will flip that very second -- no delay.
    ALL lenses can be used with this camera with some limitations (with newer firmware). Here is the basic break down.
    AF -- all auto-focus lenses work with it<BR>
    KA -- this was what most of my lenses were. They have an "A" on the apature ring. They work just fine. <BR>
    K -- These work, although you have to push the "green button" for the camera to close the apature and get a light reading. This is a little goofy, but it does allow you to use very old lenses.<BR>
    Screw mount -- even the screw mount lenses work although you still have to use the "green button"
    For me this is great because it opens up a huge range of lenses that I can buy. I would highly recomend this camera.
    Although I have not tried it, www.ofoto.com says they can print my images at 20"X30".
    The largest I have printed my pictures is at 8X10, and they are beautiful.
    Please feel free to contact me with more questions.
  9. I'm particularly interested in this thread because I too had all Pentax gear (albeit only the 1 crappy (IMO) 28-80 KA lens, rest being manual focus good quality Pentax or 3rd party K lenses.
    I rejected the istD because I read the reviews. A large factor for me too was never being happy with the 28-80 FA lens that came with my Z-1. I loved the camera but the lens....
    Anyway, Like Amanda, born in UK, but now an Aussie, I switched to an EOS10D, buying through Adorama in NYC and saving quite a few A$100 even after shipping and duty. Have only had the EOS10D a few days but a few of the shots and the 24-85 lens have reassured me I made the correct decision. Please excuse long and somewhat rambly post.
  10. Hello Amanda, The istD's response speed is as good as any reflex camera. As an example a few mins ago I was sitting at my computer with the istD at my right with the builtin flash in the up possition. I heard my Amazon parrot begin flying from a position about 20 feet away. I picked uo the camera turning it on as I lifted it. The exposure I made caught him just as he was leaving the frame. The entire sequence was less than three seconds. In this case the lens had been focused at approx the exposure distance when the camera had been shut off. What I got was a flying bird without a beak otherwise a usable immage. I find it awkward to use older non auto lenses. You will have to mentally adjust the focal length of all your 35mm lens by a factor of 1.5. For example if you use a 100mm lens for your portrates it will become a 150mm. You would have to move the camera back an additional 50% for the same sized immage. To get the same perspective in your portrates you would have to go back to a 65mm lens. If you are interested I would send you the image and you could evaluate the response speed of this camera. Hope this helps D.D.
  11. Hello Amanda, A postscript to the previous message. Don't be concerned that " the golden hours ruined " This camera has a very capable white ballace adusting system. The beauty of digital images is that if you make any exposure mistakes that with the right software you can correct it ( up to placing the subject in frint of another back ground ) Hope this helps D.D.
  12. I have an *ist D, and I love it. It's extremely fast and responsive. As far as using older manual lenses, if you install the firmware update from the Pentax site, you can acutally use the old K series lenses in arpeture priority mode, but for best results, shoot in manual mode, and press the little green button to meter.
    White balance can be easily overridden with a manual setting-just have a piece of paper handy to set it with.
    As far as quality, I've printed up to 10x15, and the prints look as good as anything I've ever printed from my K1000. ISO 50 film would still give you slightly better results, but all the prints I've made have looked great.
  13. The *istD seems the 1st affordable digital able to please me. I don't feel no release delay.
    I shot RAW files all the time, so I can overwrite the white ballance with an other preset one. - easy. I don't feel able to do this in photoshop by hand for a part of the picture. - To be on the very safe side I suggest to use the manual measured white balance. The camera provides enough pixels for a 7x10" enlargement or a whatever by 14" offsetprint. Surely some well processed 50 ASA films provide more if good lenses are used. - I'd prefer to talk you into MF & LF for quality, than going the squeezing-everything-out-of-a-Leica route.
    I'm damned far from being able to buy other lenses, so I didn't care about other DSLRs. The *istD is usable; that's enough for me. It was my first serious chance to compare my lenses and well it's easy to discover why one should stop down for quality. Especially some old Zooms show a to few contrast.
    One disadvantage is after 4 continous frames the camera needs half a cigarrette of time to store the data. On the other hand a digital is damned good to warm up your subjects and go for film later.
  14. I have to sincerely thank everyone for their time in answering this thread. It is extremely reassuring to me. I will be buying this camera but need to wait till we have the money for it (one of my husband's main employers went into liquidation owing us plenty - it hurts)! I am so impatient......I want it now!!!!! I am envious of all of you. I am thinking of building my own library of images for stock purposes and I think the ist D will pay for itself over and over in that regard. But once again - thank you all so very much for your time and advice, it IS greatly apreciated. All the best - Amanda
  15. As a new DS owner, I am certain you will be making the right choice with this camera. It would be informative to hear from you after you have used this camera for a few weeks.
  16. Hi James - I actually purchased the camera nearly a year ago and LOVE IT!!! There are a few hitches that I haven't sorted out - there doesn't seem to be an exp comp feature for flash use which has actually been added on the new cheaper Ist D (DG - I think). Therefore TTL on camera fill flash has been a hit or miss thing - strangely the PZ-1P has it?????? I have been using it for work and now that I am used to it my images have been improving out of sight. I love the flexibility that the ist D offers. I stress that I own a few very good quality pro lens - both zooms and primes which helps for picture clarity but the camera is nice and surprisingly sharp. One of the biggest bummers is that the white balance needs to be manually set for the golden hours and my studio lighting is rendered very red on flash white balance. Shooting in open shade mode improves this considerably.
    One of its best features for me is the size of the camera. With a 2.8 constant zoom and on camera flash the weight beccomes an issue for me. I find that its sturdy and solid and manageable and that my arm only aches when I repeatedly check the lcd screen as I twist my forearm a funny angle.
    Another huge plus is that the camera takes regular AA batteries which has saved me a fortune. I recharge my Nimhs and off I go. I have a lot of batteries so the initial outlay was there but now I jsut keep on recharging.

    I wouldn't hesitate in purchasing the Ist D - I'd definitely check out what the cheaper DG offers though - I do believe it doesn't have spot metering which is a bummer and a few other features but if those features aren't useful to you then you will save yourself a lot of dollars.

    Cheers Amanda

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