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04-30-2012, 02:00 AM   #1
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Shooting With Pride (—on old dSLRs)

For some reason, I stumbled onto an old review of the Pentax *Ist DS over at The Luminous Landscape entitled, "The K1000 of digital SLRs." Mike Johnson writes: "The DS, you see, has something that a lot of other cameras don't – and it's something I personally like a lot. It's just about 'perfectly sorted,' to use the term Phil Askey applied to the D2h. It's plain, which is perfect. While it may not do any one thing the absolute best, it does everything well, in a simple, straightforward, ergonomically sound, and conservatively designed package."

This mirrors my experience with the original *ist D: the camera is small, plain, hefty, reliable, and… old looking. This is the reason I've stuck with the camera for so long—for about seven years—I use it as it were my old Nikon FM2 with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. I've had this camera for so long I'm beginning to get scared. With the old Nikon FM2, I knew that I had something that I could hold on to if I wanted to—if I took care of it, I could've kept it for years upon years. I sold it because I couldn't afford film, and what 17 year old nerd could resist the urge to go digital? Now, with the *ist D, I know I'll have to upgrade at some point. I'm not sure I have a choice.

Right now, the list of problems with this camera are compounding: the low-light performance is not-so-great, the CF card write speed is dismal, the camera is finicky about which batteries it'll accept (CR-V3s are all it will take now—at least that's cheaper than film), and the screen is rubbish for checking sharpness. I'm afraid I'll have to admit that the *ist D was released at a time when companies were still trying to figure out how to make a dSLRs, and if I upgrade to a K-7 (or K-5), perhaps then I'll have an absolutely "timeless" camera: one that won't easily pale in comparison to newer technology, one that will stand up better to the elements. This all sounds like a pipe dream. How many people use a Pentium II…on purpose?—and don't forget: the Ivy Bridge Core i7 will end up just as obsolete one day. I don't want my heart broken again.

I have a lot of memories with this body and I'm still shooting with it—that has to count for something—but I don't know where to go from here. Mike Johnson calls the *ist DS the K1000 of dSLRs, but he admits "the *ist DS won't last nearly as long, no doubt. The pace of technological change in digital cameras is just too rapid." It lasted longer than I ever expected, but I want it to last even longer. I wish I could pass this camera down to my children—but will any digital camera have that kind of longevity? Too bad Pentax doesn't have a digital version of its K1000 (I would pay for that, no questions asked).

Here are a few questions. First, do you guys think the K-7 (or K-5) have 6-7 (or more) years worth of longevity? Second, how often do you folks try to upgrade your cameras? Third, would you laugh at someone for shooting on a 6.1MP camera?


Last edited by keyofnight; 04-30-2012 at 02:40 AM.
04-30-2012, 02:32 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I dont know about the answers to your other questions since I have never held anything other than my ist DS. Its 6.1 but for everything that I use it for, it is perfect for me. It runs around on manual with M42 lenses and I have never printed out anything bigger than 4x8. I would love to find a good price on a K7 but that will probably come when the DS gives up the ghost. There are certain things that I have just gotten used to doing before taking it out of the bag and loading a lens on. Check the sensor for dust, check the mirrors for dust and check the viewfinder for dust. Having no seals kind of sucks but whatever. Its been a great camera.
04-30-2012, 03:01 AM   #3
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I have no plans of upgrading my K100D any time soon, it has the same sensor as your *ist D, it still does everything I need. Granted, it does have a nicer screen, shake reduction and probably a few other nice upgrades from the *ist D, but it is still way behind.
04-30-2012, 03:39 AM   #4
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Why would someone laugh...

Oh.
I'm spoiled by this forum.

04-30-2012, 04:09 AM   #5
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I still use my K10D, I prefer the RAW output from its CCD sensor and Weak AA filter - since these days I shoot with cameras that have no AA filter I often get annoyed when clients put me in situations where I have to use a Nikon D3s or 1Ds MkIII - and deal with their rather heavy handed AA filters and the PP overhead that causes.
04-30-2012, 05:03 AM   #6
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My wife has an *ist DS... Solid little camera. I wouldn't feel shame in shooting with any Pentax DSLR.
04-30-2012, 05:11 AM   #7
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I too would still be shooting with the *ist D if it weren't for the slow write speed and struggling AF. But what I have shot with that camera has been timeless coupled with lenses such as the DA 12-24 and FA 77. One thing about Pentax cameras: they're built to last. I'll be keeping my K-5 for many years to come.
04-30-2012, 05:17 AM   #8
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If anyone does laugh it just shows their ignorance. I still have my *istDL and it takes great photos.

However........

I would say that once you get an upgraded camera (in my case the K-r)......the differences really show! It's not just the improved high ISO shots (which is probably the most glaring distinction), but the overall responsiveness. Everything is so much snappier. The AF is like a laser compared to the DL. The bigger and brighter LCD is REALLY an improvement. The extra MP is nice for cropping. The dynamic range is much greater. Image stabilization is awesome.

But as far as images on low ISO, I would say there's something about the ccd output of the DL that is very appealing. Not much of a gap there....and in some cases I prefer the DL's renderings. I use the DL as a backup.....I love having that security when committing to a long photo trip.

04-30-2012, 05:30 AM   #9
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I thought, in retrospect mistakenly, that the K-01 would be a fit istds replacement for an old hobbiest like me.
So first i got a cheap, new, Micro4/3 to check out the lCD viewfinder issues with manual lenses. LCD/zoom/ focus/fiddly buttons... LCD is no good for me at all.

Don't laugh.... for manual lenses, the 2004 ist ds is a much better thing than a 2010 M4/3
And for travel, the M4/3 has no significant size/weight advantage over the istds.

I am just going to hang about 4ever with the istds, (I have 2 plus a parts donor), , waiting for perhaps a Ricoh/Pentax K FF with an optical VF!
04-30-2012, 05:48 AM   #10
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When my wife thought she might like to try photography, too, I bought her a used *istD. I love it's size and feel. I keep saying that I'm going to upgrade her so that I can steal her *istD and use it as my carry-around camera. lol The only thing I don't like about it is its slow write speed. Other than that, it's a tremendous little camera.
04-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #11
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My first dSLR was a K100D. My wife has sort-of taken it over now but it is 6 years old and still going strong. I got a K-5 late last year (my first upgrade) just before we went overseas and I decided to rather take the K100D in case something happened so I wouldn't feel too bad about losing an old camera. After using the K-5 I had to think a bit more when using the K100D and I ended up taking some really GOOD pictures! So, the older cameras still have a place in this world. The K100D will no doubt die sometime and then my wife may take over the K-5. By that time Pentax may have brought out a FF DSLR or I might be shooting film full-time again and have bought a good negative scanner?
04-30-2012, 09:16 AM   #12
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If my *ist DL hadn't bitten the dust I'd probably still be using it sometimes even though I have a K-x. It was a nice little camera actually. I love my K-x more but I still liked the *ist too.
04-30-2012, 09:57 AM   #13
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I got 2 *ist's. Use them at the beach. I only shoot 6 - 12 mp Pentax. Only bodies that run on 4 AA batts. They do fine for me. Don't worry what others think, just go out and get the pix.
04-30-2012, 09:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ccd333 Quote
If anyone does laugh it just shows their ignorance. I still have my *istDL and it takes great photos.

But as far as images on low ISO, I would say there's something about the ccd output of the DL that is very appealing. Not much of a gap there....and in some cases I prefer the DL's renderings. I use the DL as a backup.....I love having that security when committing to a long photo trip.
That's something I've noticed too—there is definitely something pleasing about some of the noise the CCD produces. Here's one I took some time ago:



Sometimes I wish I had the foresight to set a high ISO for other shots to get this same quality of grain.
04-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyofnight Quote
Here are a few questions. First, do you guys think the K-7 (or K-5) have 6-7 (or more) years worth of longevity? Second, how often do you folks try to upgrade your cameras? Third, would you laugh at someone for shooting on a 6.1MP camera?
1. Sure; if *istD has been good for 7 years, K-5 can be good for 10. The thing is *istD was behind film in some areas, which can hardly be told about K-5. Now, if people were happy with film for decades why they should want better and better now? Some features will improve but I guess you should have really good reason to be after those coming specs.
2. I have done it every 3 years, but I admit unnecessarily!
3. Will you laugh at someone driving their '70 car? Why should I care what others choose or can afford? Specially there is a good chance that the guy with a 6MP may produce photos much better than me with my gazillion MP golden body camera.
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