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pentax ist ds vs other (new purchase)
While I am not new to cameras, I am completely new to slr's of any kind. Having recently lost my sony v-1 (could be floating around, lost at the zoo or stolen), I have been looking for another camera. I have wanted a dslr for years but they were always too expensive. Normally I would research a camera extensively but I ran across the pentax ist ds kit for 275$ new at the wolf camera clearance center and impulse bought it due to the price. Knowing what I know about the clearance center, it could be a return, display model or whatever but is sold as new with full warranty. The items look handled (no film over the screen and finger prints) but looks new.



So how does this camera compare to something newer or anything else I might be able to find cheap (keeping in mind how much I paid for it). I might be able to spend as much as 450-500$ (so entry level model only), but it a real stretch of the budget to go that far (plus the pentax uses aa batteries and I wouldn't have money for additional battery packs on a newer camera if it uses them). This will primarily be used for family photos (nothing professional or even serious amature hobby) as I don't really have the time for much recreational shooting anymore (young kids). I mainly want an slr for better low light performance (preferably without flash) and better image quality. Faster performance would of course also be a plus. You never know, now that I have a dslr, I might get back into a little amature recreational shooting, but only a little..

Is this camera going to basically perform as well as anything new I could get for under 500$ (for a user like me) or close enough considering the price? Part of what I am wondering is how much the technology has advanced in the last 3 years since this was a new model? Would something new (even a cheap entry level camera) blow this one away due to it's age? Should I bother even continuing to look for other cameras or just open this one up and keep it? Fyi, I can return the camera within a few days only and only if unopened and untouched. If I use it I keep it (it was a final sale but he agreed to a refund if I just left it alone and did a little online research about it)...

Comments (14)

Richard Homeyer wrote:.

So how does this camera compare to something newer or anything else Imight be able to find cheap (keeping in mind how much I paid for it)..

It's been reviewed here:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxistds/page24.asp.

I might be able to spend as much as 450-500$ (so entry level modelonly),.

IMHO you'd be better served by spending extra cash on lenses..

Is this camera going to basically perform as well as anything new Icould get for under 500$ (for a user like me) or close enoughconsidering the price?.

I'd say so. It's primary disadvantage (if you are picky) is that for best results you'd want to shoot RAW and use a 3rd party converter..

Part of what I am wondering is how much thetechnology has advanced in the last 3 years since this was a newmodel?.

Newer cameras will have a little more resolution (only important if printing larger than 11x14 or cropping a lot), are a little faster and have more bells/whistles..

Erik..

Comment #1

Thanks for the input. I have decided to keep it. The first thing I did was check prices on it, and the second was read the review here. Only problem with the review is it compares to cameras of that time, not new models (though it did give me an idea of it's quality)..

If I had spent 500$ on one, that would have given me little or no money for another lens right now. I'm considering either one that goes to 200mm or something with a wider apature to improve low light shooting. Beyond that I'll have to wait a while. The fact that it can use older lenses is also a big plus (considering my lens budget)..

The poor jpeg thing kind of sucks (mainly since I dont know how to work with raw files yet). The best any camera I have owned has had was tiff. Hopefully the jpeg will be good enough to use some (I'm coming from point and shoot cameras so I hope the jpeg is at least as good as them till I learn raw processing). Resolution doesn't matter to me (I will probably never print larger than 8.5x11 so even 5mp would probably be enough). Speed would be nice, but coming from a dog slow sony v-1? I probably wouldn't know how to use half the bells and whistles. SR would have been nice but you cannot have it all at that price..

I think for the money it will serve well enough, especially with aa battery's and cheaper older/used lenses as budget it the biggest factor by far (at least till the kids are past daycare age)..

Do you have any advice on cf cards? Does speed of the card make that much of a difference? I was thinking of just getting a cheapo micro center card for now (I was surprised that their cheapo jump drives benchmarked as fast as my way overpriced high speed memory sticks so maybe the sd cards are as good). Would it make a drastic difference (especially with raw) to get a faster card later? Fyi I can get the micro center cards locally so no shipping.http://www.microcenter.com/...single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0250133Also found this one that claims to be 60xhttp://www.microcenter.com/...single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0239973..

Comment #2

You don't have to shoot RAW with that camera to get good results, especially at the maximum print size you plan to use (although, even with the jpeg from that Pentax, you'll be able to get a good 16 x 20)..

If you were happy with what you were getting from your Sony jpegs.you'll be blown away by the Pentax ist DS!.

You got a steal at the price you paid.enjoy it!.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #3

The sony was good enough (though better would of course be nice). I'm really hoping to get better low light performance than with the sony or previous canons like the a70. I know I need to get a faster lens to help with that too...

Comment #4

If you want a faster standard lens, hang on for a month or two until the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 comes out in Pentax mount. It has received many favourable comments on this forum from Canon / Nikon users and I've read several other good reviews too.... I'm waiting to pounce on one for my Pentax K100D..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #5

Richard Homeyer wrote:.

The sony was good enough (though better would of course be nice).I'm really hoping to get better low light performance than with thesony or previous canons like the a70. I know I need to get a fasterlens to help with that too..

That camera will do very well at low light (better than many more expensive and newer cameras). Iso 3200 is useable, just be careful not to underexpose...give it a little ecposure compensation at it will be fine. Just get some faster lenses..congrats , you got a steal..

Neil..

Comment #6

Since I didn't do a lot of research before purchasing like normal, now I'm doing it. I gather from the review here, the camera can only transfer about 3MB/s, right?http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxistds/page10.asp.

So in theory, a 60x card which is somewhere around 8MB/s should be plenty fast, right (as in no performance increase with a 150x card)? I hadn't realized how cheap these cards had gotten till just now looking on newegg..

Also, in the past I have always used CF (memory controller is in the card so no size limit) or memory stick (largest I ever got was 1 gig and that cost 100$ at the time). Is there a size limit on the card this can use? The manual only refers to 1GB and smaller. Can I use a 2, 4 or even 8GB card? I cannot seem to find card size limit info anywhere...

Comment #7

You can't use SDHC memory cards (4GB or larger), but you should have no problem with SD cards 2GB or less..

While the camera isn't capable of writing at 133X.neither is a Nikon D3!.

But, the higher speed cards will allow the camera to write as fast as it possibly can, plus your download speeds will be faster with high speed cards..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #8

Richard Homeyer wrote:.

Normally I would research a camera extensively but I ran across thepentax ist ds kit for 275$ new at the wolf camera clearance centerand impulse bought it due to the price..

At that price a terrific way of entering the world of DSLRs..

So how does this camera compare to something newer or anything else Imight be able to find cheap (keeping in mind how much I paid for it)..

To all intents and purposes just as good - except that the K100D has shake reduction built into the body. Which is a big plus..

This willprimarily be used for family photos (nothing professional or evenserious amature hobby) as I don't really have the time for muchrecreational shooting anymore (young kids). I mainly want an slr forbetter low light performance (preferably without flash) and betterimage quality..

The DS should give you all of that..

Is this camera going to basically perform as well as anything new Icould get for under 500$ (for a user like me) or close enoughconsidering the price?.

It will perform better than most things you could get for that price. Did it come with the 18-55 kit lens? That itself is quite a useful lightweight zoom that could be re-used with any body you may buy in the future.tim..

Comment #9

I have a DS and it has one disadvantage compared to others. The AF is slow in lower light..

JPEG's are actually great if you change the settings to natural tone, +1 Sharpness and -1 Contrast. ISO 1600 is clean enough as long as you get a half way decent exposure. I have made large prints and posters and they look great, even from ISO 1600. You have to realize the signal path is so clean that unlike other 6MP DSLR's, it uses zero noise reduction to achieve these results...

Comment #10

MusicDoctorDJ wrote:.

You can't use SDHC memory cards (4GB or larger), but you should haveno problem with SD cards 2GB or less..

While the camera isn't capable of writing at 133X.neither is aNikon D3!.

But, the higher speed cards will allow the camera to write as fast asit possibly can, plus your download speeds will be faster with highspeed cards..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything thatcame in it!.

I knew that memory card had came down in price but I hadn't realized how much they had recently dropped. I got a 2 gig ocz sd 150x card at frys for 15$ (and I can get another online for 10$ if I like) so with prices like that, it's not an issue. Its hard to believe that it wasn't that long ago that I paid 100$ for a 1 gig memory stick (and I did shop around)...

Comment #11

Thanks everyone.@timo, I did get the 18-55 kit lens with it (included for the 275$)..

@K1000Photographer, thanks for the recomended settings. I was a bit worried about the jpeg performance based on reviews as I'll be using them till I learn raw processing..

Looks like it might be a little longer till I can fully play with it though. I thought it was defective (viewfinder wouldn't focus and I have good vision or so I thought). I thought (and hoped) it might be an improperly seated focusing screen (I heard that happens with canons and pentax told me it's a possibility). The good news is, it's not defective, the bad news is, it's my eyes. I'm hoping they just need to get used to using a viewfinder (right now I can barely get decent focus at -4, it fullest setting). I guess my eyesite might be going too (not good at 35 years old)..

Can anyone make recomendations on a diopter correction lens adapter if I wind up needing one? I understand that more than one brand will fit but how do I tell which ones will fit, or which are good (and not too expensive)?..

Comment #12

Did you try focusing the diopter adjustment on the viewfinder?.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #13

MusicDoctorDJ wrote:.

Did you try focusing the diopter adjustment on the viewfinder?.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything thatcame in it!.

Yes. Thats what made me think the camera might be defective or the focusing screen might be mis seated. I had to adjust it to it's fullest - adjustment to just barely get into focus. When I took it to the camera shop to get it checked out, they let me try a couple of other dslr's and it was the same thing (and they tried my camera and it was fine for them). On every camera, I had to go to the full - diopter adjustment to get into focus. I have just found out that the full adjustment on my camera is -2.5 which is aparently around the range where you are starting to need glasses.

Getting glasses seems the thing to do, but I would still like to get a diopter adjuster so it's not mandatory to wear glasses to use the camera...

Comment #14

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