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07-13-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Pentax ist DL

I bought a used Pentax, now can't get the thing to format. Don't know what I am doing wrong. I have tried to download the software to my computer (1.03 firmware update). I have a new 4 GB, 16GB and 32GB SD cards, cant get them to format. Tried to download the firmware to the SD cards, no luck there.

I have a very basic knowledge of computers, zero knowledge of DSLR cameras, so to say I am at a complete loss is an understatement. I think I got a decent buy, 3 lens, the ist body, and the manual for about $225. This camera did not come with a SD memory card at all. I have ordered a power cord and rechargeable CR batteries.

First, how do I get the SD cards formatted for the camera?

Second, how can I get the camera updated to the latest firmware?

Third, is there some place where I can buy a computer disc with the basic firmware on it?

Any help/suggestions will be appreciated. Plain english, please, this old head is already foggy, lol.


07-13-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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Without a firmware update, the DL cannot use SDHC cards (i.e. those >=4gb and <= 32gb).

So first, find a standard, old SD card 2Gb or smaller. You will usually not have to format the card, but if needed, this can be done via your camera's setup menu.

If you don't have such a card, this one will work:
SanDisk 2GB SD Memory Card Class 2 SDSDB-002G-B35 B&H Photo

Then, download the firmware here and follow these instructions:

  1. Unzip/extract the firmware file to a folder of your choosing (double click on it, etc)
  2. Locate the extracted .BIN file and copy it to the root (top level, not inside any folder) of a formatted SD card
  3. Insert the card into your camera and ensure it is fully charged
  4. Turn the camera power on while pressing the Menu button
  5. Select "Yes"at the firmware prompt
  6. Once the screen displays "Complete", turn off your camera
  7. Power your camera back on and resume normal use
  8. In order to verify that the firmware update was successful, hold the menu button while powering your camera on. The screen should indicate the latest firmware version. You should then power off your camera and resume normal use.
The firmware is not available on discs, but you should be all set if you follow the guidelines above

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07-13-2013, 06:58 PM   #3

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Perrineville, NJ
Posts: 1,373
Just to add some context to what Adam said ...

Straight from the factory, the *ist DL could only read standard SD cards, not the "high-capacity" SDHC cards which were just being productized around that time.

But a later firmware update from Pentax allows the *ist line to support the SDHC cards.

The trick is getting the newer firmware onto a standard SD card first, then upgrading the camera, exactly as Adam described. Fortunately the standard SD cards are still available on the market, usually the only size you can find is 2 GB. If you have an old camera lying around, you might find a working SD card of much smaller capacity (e.g., like 256 MB) but which will still work fine for this purpose.

Anyhow, after the upgrade, your *ist DL will then be able to use any of your 4, 16, and 32 GB SDHC cards, which are now ubiquitous.

Hope this helps.

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