Home » Camera » Digital SLRs » Pentax » PENTAX *IST DS 6.1MP DIGITAL CAMERA WITH PENTAX DA 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 AL DIGITAL SLR LENS

  • High-definition, maximum-gradation images with 6.1 in effect megapixels
  • Large, high-precision two-inch tone LCD monitor
  • High-precision 16-segment multi-pattern metering; high-accuracy 11-point AF sensor
  • 1/4000-second high-speed shutter; fast uninterrupted sharpened of up to 8 images during we estimate 2.8 frames per second
  • SD mental recall label compatibility

Product Description
The *ist DS is a single of a smallest as well as lightest digital SLR cameras available. Measuring only 4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 inches as well as weighing underneath eighteen ounces, a *ist DS additionally delivers higher design peculiarity in compress design. Despite a size, a *ist DS offers 6.1 in effect megapixels as well as PENTAX strange design estimate technology. The camera is written to be concordant with many PENTAX transmutable lenses to encounter a far-reaching operation of applications as well as visible creativity.The *ist DS hosts an form of advanced, user-friendly facilities together with a high-magnification viewfinder, a 2.0 in. tone LCD monitor, a inexhaustible LCD interpretation panel, as well as an innovative Auto design mode for involuntary preference of a correct bearing program. Offering quick, free operation as well as easy portability, a *ist DS is a preferred digital SLR for all levels of photographers, together with first-timer digital SLR users as well as families.

Pentax *ist DS 6.1MP Digital Camera with Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Digital SLR Lens

5 Reviews

  1. R. Auger says:


    As an advanced hobby photographer, I often compete in galleries in my area. I normally shoot with 35mm and medium format, and I scan the negatives and edit them in Photoshop CS. I hesitantly took the plunge into the world of digital SLRs several months ago, and the *ist ds exceeded my expectations. Like any camera, you will need to learn how to get good photographs out of it; it won’t take them on its own. I print everything on the i9900 Canon large format printer. The following review should help decide if this camera is for you:

    Size and Weight

    The most noticeable advantage of the Pentax is its size and weight. I don’t have small hands, but the competition makes them too bulky and heavy (some may disagree), sometimes with buttons out of reach. You can program the buttons on digital SLRs to do different things, but only the ds has the buttons within reach to be useful when shooting. For instance, the “ok” button can be pressed to temporarily switch to manual focus. Many people with other digital SLRs buy a separate smaller digital camera to use normally, which in my opinion, defeats the purpose of buying the SLR, since you’ll end up almost never using it. But the Pentax is small and light enough to carry around normally, such as to a party or on vacation, especially now that they created the super slim 40mm lens that weighs next to nothing.

    Outdoor Picture Quality and RAW format

    For artistic shots, I always use the RAW format, which Adobe recently updated for the RAW plugin. Blowing up these shots to 13×19, I have found them to be quite sharp and clear. Keep in mind that I have read several books in Photoshop, and like in the darkroom, it takes skill to get quality prints out of any media.
    I mostly shoot outdoors, and have been impressed at how balanced shots come out in harsh lighting. Even if the sky is partially blasted out, the highlight/shadow option in Photoshop brings them right back in, with virtually no loss in detail in the clouds. Realize that this is not the case with the 8-bit JPEG format, which doesn’t blow up nearly as well. For quality prints, you’ll need to use the RAW mode, which maintains the sharpness and color detail.
    The biggest picture difference in other SLR’s and the DS is that Pentax calibrated the camera to interpret with a more neutral color balance. Some may feel disappointed by this, but from an advanced editing perspective, this is a blessing. It allows me to have total control over the photo. If the camera has oversaturated an area from the beginning, and you need to do an adjustment, there may be a lack of detail in that area afterward. The Pentax appears much more natural looking, and with minimal adjustments from the Adobe RAW plugin, you can easily make the photos look exactly how you want. With my Canon i9900 printer, which tends to print vivid photos, the combination produces realistic, vivid photos, not oversaturated and cartooning images.
    Even objects far away and in deep shadow areas have been quite clear and detailed, and overall, I have been extremely satisfied with the picture quality. When blowing up photos to 13×19, make sure to use “bicubic smoother” when increasing the resolution size. I have found that this completely eliminates any type of stairstepping that may occur. I had the opportunity to compare with a friend 8mp Canon SLR, and found no difference in sharpness of the image. I also found there was less noise in my camera (we both took them side by side of the same landscape).

    Indoor Photography

    I have only done this in personal situations combined with the 360 FGZ flash, which is a fantastic unit. The bounce flash works perfect automatically, with uniform and realistic lighting. Red eye has also not been a problem. The built in flash, like with most SLRs, is just a backup, and works O.K.
    Unlike the *ist d, the *ist ds doesn’t connect directly to the wireless flash units. If you have a wireless flash unit like the 360 FGZ, however, it will connect to other wireless flash units. I have not had the chance to test this out myself.

    Portrait Photography

    Flesh tones are realistic and pleasing, and hair maintains detail when enlarged. This of course, depends on the lens used, but most results have been surprising pleasing, especially compared with 35mm color and medium format color film. I still, however, prefer B+W film for portraits, but when I shoot in color, I have come to prefer the digital. Against harshly lit backgrounds, shots have come out surprising evenly lit and vibrant.

    Night Photography

    Long exposures, also during the day, come out quite sharp, especially after the new firmware update that corrects some issues with night shots. The camera is well programmed to handle night photography, and it usually is close to the correct exposure. The camera also has the ability to lock up the mirror 2 seconds before the exposure to minimize camera shake.


    The actual rotating speed is slower than my 35mm SLR, but this camera is more deliberate and actually gets to the correct focusing spot faster. Red dots inside blink to show where the lens is focused. The 16 segment metering is impressive, and I have found myself rarely using the manual focus option. Even when shooting birds in trees, the focusing system doesn’t get distracted by the braches.
    In action mode, the camera switches to a continuous focusing system, which has been very reliable for action shots, such as sports or when people are walking toward you. This feature only works in action mode, however.

    Custom Settings and Ease of Use

    You can program the buttons to do extra functions while in shooting mode. For instance, the OK button can be used to temporary switch off the autofocus or to use center metering. Make sure to go through the easy to read manual and the custom settings menu, since you will find some important features, such as changing the color to Adobe RGB instead of sRGB.
    Nothing is “hidden” on the camera, and everything is easy to use and quick to locate. The well written manual is worth reading front to back, and gives useful information. The custom features require some knowledge of how you like your camera to operate, and others require light technical knowledge. Both beginners and advanced users will be satisfied with features and ease of use.

    The SD Chip and Camera Performance

    Make sure to buy a 60x chip, like the ATP which I have, or the SanDisk Ultra II. I have tested the cheaper media, and they slow down the camera so that when the buffer runs out, instead taking 1.5 frames (I’m guessing) per second, its taking about 1 every 3 seconds. The 60x chips really aren’t that much more. The SD chips aren’t made quite as large and are more expensive than CP, but it contributes to making the camera smaller.
    The buffer is comparable to the competition, with almost 3 frames per second until it reaches about 8 or 9 and then slows down about half way. In RAW mode, it will start slowing down at about 5 or 6 frames. I have never had a problem where it didn’t take the picture when I wanted it to.

    The Optional Included Lens

    For another $100, it is a useful lens, especially for personal shots in small rooms, where you’ll need a wide angle zoom lens (and when you don’t want to risk damaging a really expensive lens). Its fairly light and compact.
    There is also a slim 40mm lens coming out soon, make sure to check it out on amazon. Maybe you’ll want to get this one instead, since other people will feel more at ease taking a picture for you.


    The camera used four AAs or two CR-V3. I prefer this over a propriety battery, since when the battery dies, you can’t just pop by Wal-Mart and buy more. Also, with newer NiMH rechargeable AA’s, you can buy batteries just as good, and use the same batteries as in your hotshoe flash. With lithium AAs and CR-V3s, you can take over 400 pictures before the batteries die out, making it nearly impossible to have dead batteries on vacation. And if you did, you can just pop by anywhere and get more. I have not yet had a situation where my 2500mah rechargeables died on me. I have heard that CR-V3 batteries fit rather tight into the compartment, but have not had this problem myself.


    Overall, I’ve found the *ist ds quite impressive. Even if you don’t already have a collection of Pentax lenses, you’ll find this camera to be a good alternative to the competition, with excellent build quality, easy of use, light weight, and compactness. A large line of Pentax lenses will also impress you, but that is another discussion. Although this hasn’t replaced my other cameras, it has replaced my use of 35mm color film, since it’s far sharper, with better color and detail.
    Like any other camera, it will take some time to learn how to get the best pictures possible out of it. However, even beginners will find that quality results are easily possible. Good luck camera hunting!

    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. J. Bailey says:

    I’ve had this camera about 4 months now, and I’m more satisfied than ever that I chose this over the Canon (20D) and Nikon (D70) that I tried for several days each.

    First I didn’t even consider the Canon Rebel (other than picking it up for a few moments at the store). The Rebel is cheaply built plastic, and feels like toy. I’m sure it’s more durable than it feels, but if I had bought the Rebel, I would have regretted it every time I picked it up. Plus, why would you buy one when the Pentax is available for about the same price, and the Pentax feels much more like a professional camera should.

    I tried the Canon 20D and Nikon D70 for several days each before deciding to buy the Pentax. First on the D20, there is no doubt that it is a better camera than the Pentax or the Nikon in several ways. First SPEED. The D20 is by far the fastest camera of the 3, and will take something over 5 frames per second I believe. It focused very fast, and had very little noise, even at high ISOs. However it is at least $600 more than the the Pentax or the Nikon, and I decided the extra fps speed was not worth it for what I need a camera for. The Pentax is no slouch at 2.4 fps, and I’ve found that to be as fast as I need.

    Compared to the Nikon D70, both cameras take good pictures (the should, they both use the same 6.1mp Sony sensor), but I like several things about the Pentax better. 1st, the Pentax is a MUCH smaller camera, and I really didn’t like the behemoth size of the Nikon. If you’ve never held the Nikon, be sure to go to a store and try it first. You won’t believe how huge it is. 2nd, The LCD screen on the Pentax is bigger and brighter. 3rd the viewfinder on the Pentax is a pentaprism, which gives you a much larger and brighter image than the pentamirror (cheaper) on the Nikon. 4th, I like the menu system much better on the Pentax (much more intuitive). And finally, I like the fact that the Pentax uses SD memory as opposed to compact flash memory, and it uses AA batteries (rechargeable) as opposed to a proprietary battery.

    Try the Pentax *ist DS, you will LOVE this camera.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. W. Hoover says:

    My first three digital cameras were Canon. I still own a Canon G3, but when the ist DS came out I was interested.

    I did my research on the Canon Rebel and the Nikon D70 and the Pentax and after all was said and done I chose the Pentax! I am very happy with the camera.

    It is much smaller size than the others and seems very solid. Pentax lenses are also cheaper than similar Canon and Nikon lenses (You are paying for their marketing efforts). Also Pentax lenses from 30 years ago can be used with this camera.

    Pictures thus far are excellent and I work with it each day. I enter many photo contests and this camera holds it own!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. 35-year Technology Consumer says:

    As an enthusiastic early adopter of digital photography, there were simply some aspects of SLR photography that I missed, especially for situations when I wanted specific control of exposure or focus via shutter speed or aperature size. This camera is loaded with functionality and features that return such control, yet most of its functions can be learned in one sitting with its fantastically written user manual.

    If you are an old-school SLR shooter who wants to return to mastery of composition through control of aperature or shutter speed, this will get the job done.. It also offers typical autofocus/auto exposure/autoflash when you are just making snapshots.

    It’s surprisingly lighweight. The controls and data information displays/interface are extremely user freindly. Some retailers are offering an additional aftermarket 70-300mm zoom lens in a bundle. Whether you purchase through them or this single lens offering via Amazon, you’ll be doing high quality digital SLR shooting for about the cost of other DSLR bodies alone.

    The included software has some terrific features, including dual monitor support for slideshows. For the serious amateur or professional looking for a cost effective “working” tool…this is a great deal.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. E. Ham says:

    This is a very very good camera for anyone considering a digital SLR. Especially considering the price. If you already own Pentax lenses, this should be an easy decision.

    This is my first digital SLR. I’ve had Pentax and Sony digital point-and-shoot type cameras and Nikon Coolpix 8700. Also, I’ve been using Pentax SLRs for past 20 years.

    Others have already detailed many reasons to buy this camera and dpreview has done a good job comparing the image qualities, but I should highlight the following advantages of ist DS:

    1. Flexible power source. ist DS can use AA batteries. I use NiMH rechargeable AA batteries … about $10 for 4 of them compared to $50 for proprietary batteries for Canon or Nikon SLRs. But the fact that the camera can use AA batteries is great when I’m traveling. Also, the fact that external flash light uses AA batteries make it easy in that you only need to worry about one type of batteries.

    2. Sturdy and compact design. The camera simply feels solid in my hands.

    3. Good image quality. Some have said and documented that the JPEG image isn’t as good as Nikon or Canon because of the weap processing power within the camera. BUT, if that’s the concern, shoot in RAW format and use your computer to process the images. If you are the type that don’t want to bother with doing that much work, you probably won’t notice the difference in JPEG image between ist DS and Nikons or Canons anyway.

    4. Easy controls. Controls are intuitive and easy to access/learn. You won’t need a manual to learn the controls. (In contrast, Nikon Coolpix 8700’s controls were simply difficult. Really needed the manual for the camera.)

    5. SD card rather than using Compact Flash card. I like it because SD card is much more compact and easy to move it from the camera to the computer … any computers.

    The 18-55 mm kit lens is worth it for the price. If you buy a package, the price of the lens comes out to be under $100. I think Pentax is planning on introducing 12~24 mm lens in about a year.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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