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Pentax *ist DS

alaTest has collected and analyzed 547 reviews from magazines and websites. Comments about the lens and value for money are overall positive. The performance and portability are also mentioned favorably, but views are divided on the focus. There are some critical views about the control panel and shutter.

usability, portability, performance, value for money, lens

flash, low-light, exposure, shutter, control panel

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Digital SLR Cameras the Pentax *ist DS is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 89/100 = Very good quality.

See all Pentax Digital SLR Cameras

Review analysis

(Based on 547 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 317 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 317 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (117)

Expert review by:

Pentax [star]ist DS Camera


If you've looked longingly at digital single-lens-reflex cameras but have been put off by their size and weight, you'll want to check out the Pentax *ist DS ($900 with an 18mm to 55mm lens; $800 without). It's the smallest SLR I've seen to date--just a...

Shoots well in auto mode

Smaller-size CCD

This Pentax does have one distinct advantage over most of today's digital SLRs: While the vast majority of them employ proprietary rechargeable batteries, the Pentax uses two disposable CR-3Vs or four AAs. That means you can buy your own rechargeable...

Expert review by:

Pentax *ist DS Digital Camera with Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Digital SLR Lens (6.1MP, 3008x2008)


Photograph: Rick Rizner

Shoots well in auto mode

Smaller-size CCD

A no-brainer if you own Pentax lenses, this smallish camera shot well in auto mode, but its smaller-size CCD is a drawback.

Expert review by:

Pentax ist DS


Speedy buffering and file writing ; Very good image quality when shooting in Raw mode ; Good build quality ; Well-designed control layout ; Good feature set

Lowest ISO speed is 200 ; Detail problems and over-saturation issues when shooting in JPEG mode


Expert review by:

Pentax *ist DS


Although the most compact of the sub-$1,000 digital SLRs, the Pentax *ist DS is not a functionality lightweight. Packed into its 30-ounce (with 18mm-to-55mm lens, battery, and media), polycarbonate-clad stainless-steel frame is an array of automated...

Most compact digital SLR available; outstanding optical and LCD viewing; easy operation; solid performance.

No raw-plus-JPEG or TIFF mode; kit lens is a slow f/5.6 at longest focal length.

A compact design, flexible power sources, and a strong feature set make the Pentax *ist DS a digital SLR for the on-the-move photo enthusiast.

Expert review by:

Pentax *ist DS


Megapixels: 6.1, Media Format: Secure Digital, Maximum Resolution: 3008 x 2008 pixels, Type: D-SLR

Well constructed. Easy to operate. Works with all Pentax film lenses. Mirror lockup for CCD cleaning. Uses standard double-A batteries.

Limited feature set. Relatively slow recycle time. Some functions require too many button pushes.

The Pentax *ist DS is one of the smallest, lightest, and easiest to operate D-SLRs on the marketat a very affordable price.

Expert review by:

Pentax *ist DS


The Pentax *ist DS digital SLR was announced on 13th September 2004 in the run-up to Photokina 2004. The *ist DS is Pentax's second digital SLR and is aimed at a lower price point than the original *ist D. At the time of writing this review the street...

Responsive in use, good buffering feels faster than other 'budget D-SLR' models ; Compact and lightweight, yet still has good ergonomics ; Good auto focus, relatively quick, accurate ; Large viewfinder view provides an 'eye full' of the scene (x0.95...

Average resolution in JPEG mode, images can look over-processed, better to use RAW ; Over-saturated default color setting, can lead to channel clipping ; Natural Image tone setting should have had at least some sharpening included ; Edge demosaic...

The *ist DS is one of those cameras which grows on you, it's certainly compact and well put together but when you first pick it up you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a bit basic. In actual fact it packs more features and controls than most other...

Expert review by:

Pentax *ist DS SLR


PENTAX has downsized digital SLR photography again with the *ist DS digital SLR. Even smaller than last year's *ist D SLR, the *ist DS is one of the smallest and lightest digital SLR cameras available. Measuring just 4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 inches and weighing un

4/15/2005: Pentax has released

Expert review by:

Pentax *ist D SLR


The PENTAX *ist D digital SLR camera combines a high-performance, APS-sized 6.1 effective megapixel CCD image sensor, Pentax K lens mount, pentaprism viewfinder, and a 1.8 inch LCD monitor in one of the world's smallest and lightest camera bodies in the d

For more information on these enhancements and how to use them,

Expert review by:

Pentax *ist DS Review


The Pentax *ist DS is an entry-level 6 megapixel digital SLR that is also one of the smallest and lightest DSLRs currently available. Highlights of the Pentax *ist DS include a large 2 inch LCD screen, 11 point auto-focus system, interchangeability...

The Pentax *ist DS is a very good entry-level digital SLR that manages to achieve the difficult task of being easy to use without sacrificing functionality. The *ist DS will more than satisfy all those people who are keen to upgrade from a film-based...

Expert review by:

PENTAX *ist:The little*ist SLR!


Is that a piece of jewelry around your neck or a real SLR?" someone asked one day when we were shooting field tests on the street with the Pentax *ist. It was said in jest, but the *ist may be as close as we ever get to an SLR that falls into both...

Product Specifications

The *ist DS defies convention. Weighing less than 18 ounces, this super-light, ultra-compact marvel boasts one of the world's smallest camera bodies yet houses an impressive array of features for astonishing image clarity and performance. A 6.1 megapixel CCD with advanced processing technology for high-definition images rich in gradation and saturation. Interchangeability with a wide selection of existing PENTAX lenses for convenience and versatility. An 11-point autofocus with SAFOX VIII for quick and accurate focus. And a host of user-friendly features including a high-magnification viewfinder, a large two-inch LCD monitor and data panel, and an innovative Auto Picture mode for fast and effortless operation. All packed into an attractive, sturdy casing. The perfect blend of portability and performance, the *ist DS is the ideal traveling companion for beginners and advanced photographers of every level. This product comes with PENTAX smc P-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens. The PENTAX smc P-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 is recommended for use with digital cameras. Ideal for beginners, it provides a focal length covering a wide to moderate wide-angle range. Like all PENTAX lenses, the smc P-DA 18-35mm F4-5.6 zoom lens is treated with PENTAX's acclaimed smc coating for maximum light transmission, sharp definition, and high contrast while minimizing flare and ghost imaging.

Audio Input

Type: None


Battery Form Factor:Standard form factor
Supported Battery Form Factor:AA / CR-V3/CR-V3


Auto Focus:TTL phase detection
Camera Format:35mm
Exposure Metering:Center-weighted / Multi-segment / Spot
Film Speed Range:ISO 6 - 6400
Shooting Modes:Action / Close-up / Full auto / Landscape / Night / Portrait
Timer Functions:Self timer
Type:SLR camera

Camera Flash

Flash Modes:Auto mode / Backlight mode / Fill-in mode / Flash OFF mode / Red-eye reduction / Slow synchro
Red Eye Reduction: Yes
Type:Pop-up flash

Digital Camera

Digital Camera Type:SLR
Supported Flash Memory:SD Memory Card

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:2in
Diagonal Size (metric):5.1cm
Display Form Factor:Built-in
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Pentax *ist

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/3.5-5.6
Lens for SD:Body only/PENTAX-DA 18-55mm lens
Max Focal Length:55mm
Min Focal Length:18mm
Optical Zoom:3
Type:None/Zoom lens

Optical Sensor

Optical Sensor Size:15.7 x 23.5mm
Optical Sensor Size (metric):15.7 x 23.5 mm
Optical Sensor Type:CCD
Sensor Resolution:6.1Megapixel

Optical Viewfinder

Type:Fixed eye-level pentaprism

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

ISO (Max):3200
Light Sensitivity:ISO 1600 / ISO 200 / ISO 3200 / ISO 400 / ISO 800/ISO 800 / ISO 400 / ISO 200 / ISO 1600 / ISO 3200
Still Image Format:JPEG / RAW/JPEG / RAW
Type:Digital camera


Viewfinder Type:Optical