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11-03-2010, 03:02 PM   #1
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Buy a used Pentax ist DL?

Hi,

As I am a beginner to photography I have some old analogue Chinon and Pentax cameras I took some shots with, but I feel that a digital camera would make it easier for me to just go around and take random shots and so forth without having to buy film and pay for developing films and such, maybe for less "artistic" photos if you understand me right.....And as I have some K-mount lenses, (eg. Tamron, Chinon) I thought of buying a used Pentax DSLR.

So my questions are:
I found a used one Pentax ist DL with the original lens 18-55 for 150-160 (1500 sek) here in Sweden (probably around 220usd?). Is this a good price and will this old model still keep up with digital photography of today? I suppose it's nothing advanced but for using my old manual lenses it should work right?

What common errors should I look for and what should I generally look out for? The problem is that this camera is a bit far from me, so I would have to send my mother to check on the camera and do the transaction as she is going to that town anyway. What can I tell my mother to immediately check for?

There is no cable and maybe not a box with the camera but they claim that the camera is lightly used and that the menus and everything works as it should and there is no problems at all. I have a card reader somewhere so shouldnt be a problem right?

What do you think?
Is this a good camera and good to use as a beginner with my old lenses?

11-03-2010, 03:36 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sarajevo Quote
Hi,

As I am a beginner to photography I have some old analogue Chinon and Pentax cameras I took some shots with, but I feel that a digital camera would make it easier for me to just go around and take random shots and so forth without having to buy film and pay for developing films and such, maybe for less "artistic" photos if you understand me right.....And as I have some K-mount lenses, (eg. Tamron, Chinon) I thought of buying a used Pentax DSLR.

So my questions are:
I found a used one Pentax ist DL with the original lens 18-55 for 150-160 (1500 sek) here in Sweden (probably around 220usd?). Is this a good price and will this old model still keep up with digital photography of today? I suppose it's nothing advanced but for using my old manual lenses it should work right?

What common errors should I look for and what should I generally look out for? The problem is that this camera is a bit far from me, so I would have to send my mother to check on the camera and do the transaction as she is going to that town anyway. What can I tell my mother to immediately check for?

There is no cable and maybe not a box with the camera but they claim that the camera is lightly used and that the menus and everything works as it should and there is no problems at all. I have a card reader somewhere so shouldnt be a problem right?

What do you think?
Is this a good camera and good to use as a beginner with my old lenses?
As long as the camera work, it would be an excelent way into digital. I have never had a DL, but my DS is still alive and takes great pictures. 1500 is a fair price, but you might be able to bring it down a couple of hundralappar. The original 18-55 was decent, but not as good as the later versions.
11-03-2010, 08:21 PM   #3
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Check for any signs that it was dropped, such as dings and dents. Carefully check mirror and inside area for scratches, bad finish, etc.
11-03-2010, 10:39 PM   #4
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DL is definitely worth a look!

I got one a few days ago as a back up to my K7 for some weddings and I am impressed with the image quality even with the 18-55 AL zoom. The kit lens is a bit vulnerable to flare even with the lenshood so watch out in backlighting situations. I consider up to 800 ISO to be very acceptable and even 1600 will produce acceptable results if the lighting is good. The mirror/shutter action is definitely not a "class act" compared to the K7, but then mine was a bit less than1/4 of the K7 price!

Could also check: Should be on firmware 1.03

11-04-2010, 04:18 AM   #5
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The *ist is a great little DSLR. It takes great photos. My wife has one & loves it.
11-05-2010, 11:46 AM   #6
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Seems like I'm an owner of one now, my mother had to check it and bought it for me, so If I'm less lucky there is something wrong with it that she didn't discover...


Will have it here on sunday

So what you are saying is that this "older" camera produces as good as photos are more modern ones, just that it might not be as fast (or as good) in all technological aspects?

Well, I just needed a digital body so I don't have to spend a fortune on film and this seems to do the work (I hope)

About the firmware, is this something I can update myself if it's not updated? I read somewhere it must be updated for being able to use with SDHC-cards?

// Sarajevo

Last edited by Sarajevo; 11-05-2010 at 11:55 AM.
11-06-2010, 07:11 AM   #7
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I have an ist DL along with a k100d, Kx and K20. The ist uses the same sensor as the K100d (and I believe the Nikon d100). Fairly basic with no image stabilization, sensor cleaning and some of the features of the later generations. All "K" mount lenses will work, with some limits as to extra features for example, power zoom lenses will have to be zoomed manually, the SMD lenses will use the in body focus motor instead of the focus motor in the lens.

The image quality from that camera is very good within it's limits. The 6.2 mp sensor can result in outstanding prints up to 8x10.

Think of theist as the grandfather of the Kr, very similar in feature sets, build quality and similar in size.

Pentax ist, approx 200mm(Sigma 70-300), iso800, f8, 1/1000sec


FRANK
11-06-2010, 07:21 AM   #8
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Hi Sarajevo, I just upgraded to a K-7 from my DL. Back when I bought it 4??? years ago I really wanted a Canon. But back then, Canon felt like a cheap plastic toy in my hands, Nikon was better but the Pentax felt really well built.

The AA batteries is a nice bonus because you can keep a couple of sets in those plastic 4 battery holders with covers in your pocket or in your bag and easily swap them out. A tad more convenient than a bulky battery. BUT, it is very sensitive to voltage so batteries need to be evenly charged or else it may not read them. People always recommended Sanyo Eneloop batteries for the DL, I never found them locally until yesterday...figures now that I have a proprietary battery K-7.

As far as photos, it takes nice pictures. They can be a bit soft so I recommend shooting at your lenses sharpest aperture if you can unless you are going for low light/depth of field stuff. It also tended to underexpose so I ran it pretty continuously at +.03 on the exposure compensation and it was fine.

I upgraded not because of picture quality necessarily(though my gf's Nikon D90 takes miles better shots on auto than I could get tweeking with the DL and I got jealous) but speed. I found I used ISO a lot and bracketing and no dedicated buttons for that and it was 4 or more presses to do that on the DL. K-7 has the dedicated ISO button but they dropped the dedicated bracketing button which is dumb. But it is 3 presses to do bracketing. I save a press. LOL.

Enjoy the camera, it is still a nicer feeling camera than even some out there today and you will get great shots.

11-06-2010, 08:57 AM   #9
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With all the new technology out there, we'd (I'd) be remiss to at least mention that the grass will likely be much too green on the other side if you buy this older model. Thinking back on my *ist days, even before I knew what I was missing, the autofocus issues were maddening. The first time I had picked up another camera touched the shutter button and got an instant lock, I was completely convinced a newer model (K20D which also caused me A/F grief, but not as much) was in the plans. Now I have a k7 that I'm pretty happy with.

Its certainly not cheap, but I'd consider cruising the used market for at least a K10.
11-08-2010, 02:38 AM   #10
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Got the camera now, and it works fine, very good condition. I was wondering, the number of exposures are in the file name? Eg. my latest photo was named 100-9981. Which means there soon has been 10,000 exposures? Or is it something else?

And the firmware seems to be 1.00, can I update it myself without any problems?

//S
11-08-2010, 05:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sarajevo Quote
Got the camera now, and it works fine, very good condition. I was wondering, the number of exposures are in the file name? Eg. my latest photo was named 100-9981. Which means there soon has been 10,000 exposures? Or is it something else?

And the firmware seems to be 1.00, can I update it myself without any problems?

//S
Download and use PhotoMe to get the bactual shutter count. Firmware can be upgraded. Check the Pentax site
11-08-2010, 05:36 AM   #12
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Thanks, I tried to use a manual lense but didn't work. By setting the custom setting to using aperture ring and trying to shoot in manual mode (I read that this was all I had to do), but maybe not?

I have to update the firmware for this?

// S

Last edited by Sarajevo; 11-08-2010 at 05:52 AM.
11-08-2010, 05:03 PM   #13
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Read Adam's sticky on using manual lenses with a Pentax DSLR. You have an extra bit with the power switch or green button as the case may be to be able to use manual lenses. I haven't actually done it yet on mine, but I believe with the *ist DL it's the power switch DOF thing, as we don't have "the button."

I swear every time I hear someone say that, talk about "the big green button" I hear David Tennant in his first outing as Dr Who talking to the Sycorax warrior about how he just has to push THAT other button. I've obviously watched way too much British Sci-Fi....
11-08-2010, 08:48 PM   #14
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Hi Sarajevo.
Good luck with the DL.
I have had a *ist DS since new, 7000+ photos taken (I'm a bit slower than a lot on this forum!) and found it a great camera. (Maybe K-5 nexr year?) Not a lot of difference between DS & DL, and as a learning tool you won't go wrong.
I upgraded the firmware (with much trepidation) to enable SD cards larger than 1GB. I'm still only using 2GB cards,which are sufficient for me, and I'm not sure what the current formware allows. Updating firmware not too difficult - need a 1GB card to load it, and good battery levels.
No cable is not a problem - I use a quality SD card reader, on the basis of why would I hook up my much loved camera to PC loaded with Microsoft Windows!!

PS I've had few card readers - the really cheap ones last just long enough for you to forget that you said you would never buy another cheap one!
11-09-2010, 12:39 PM   #15
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Thanks, the cable for my compact pentax seems to be the same one as for this so no worries there, and my Sd card is 2gb which seems enough

About batteries, I used a set with normal AA-alkaline batteries to test it out (both the one that the sellers had in it, and a new set), as I tested the automatic mode and the menus and such the most I guess it might have run out faster than it would had if I used it "normally". But still, 20 photos or such with 4 batteries? Not more? Alkalines are just for testing the cameras functions or such?

Sanyo eneloop batteries are not to be found in Sweden I think, I might be able to order them online though, and the charger I currently have just take two batteries, so I would have to buy a new one? Cause it wouldnt work to just buy rechargable batteries and recharge them two at a time, would it? How many photos do eg. a 1000 mah set of batteries last compared to one with 2500 mah? Do I need batteries over a certain mah?

I found one cheap charger with 4x batteries in town (I live in the middle of nowhere) but the batteries seemed to be only 800 or 1000 mah. Would it be enough or just a waste with money?

I also heard CRV3 batteries works fine with this model, but you can't use rechargable ones with it, can you? No idea what a CRV3-battery and a charger costs though. I read somewhere someone had CRV3 batteries for his camera and it lasted for a year. But these are 40 usd / pair in Sweden. 40 usd?!
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