Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Equipment TestDrive: Pentax *ist D
It may have the strangest name of any camera we’ve seen, but the new Pentax D-SLR is a capable camera
Exposure compensation is possible, up to ±3 EV in 1⁄2-stop increments. Auto-exposure bracketing lets you automatically capture three frames (normal, over, under) in 1⁄2- or 1⁄3-EV steps. Set the *ist D's ISO equivalence from 200 to 1600 by default, or up to 3200 via a Custom Function setting. Available shutter speeds range from 1⁄4000 to 30 sec., plus Bulb. Noise Reduction technology can be activated to improve the quality of low-light long exposures, although this feature does slow the camera's processing speed. With Noise Reduction disabled, the camera can capture 2.6 frames per second for up to six frames before needing to pause for file processing.
The *ist D captures in TIFF, JPEG and RAW file types. JPEG recording allows you to choose three quality levels of compression. TIFFs are uncompressed as are RAW files. To take full advantage of RAW capabilities, the *ist D comes with Pentax Photo Laboratory software for RAW-format processing, and the Pentax Photo Browser to help you quickly view and sort the files.
The *ist D accepts CompactFlash media and the IBM Microdrive. It's powered by four AA or two CR-V3 batteries, or an optional AC adapter. On the whole, the *ist D is a very capable, if oddly named, first entry into the digital SLR category for Pentax. MSRP: $1,999.
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