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04-22-2008, 08:18 PM   #1
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*Ist DS opinions

I have been resisting buying a DSLR to this point but think I may get one to compliment my K-mount film cameras. I have a chance to pick up a low use, good condition *Ist DS for around $200. So, I have a couple of questions about this:

1. Is this a reasonable price?

2. Any known problems I should watch out for?

3. Any problems using my existing K-mount lenses? (mixture of MF K & A and a couple of AF)

4. What do you like/dislike about the DS?


BTW, just to define where I'm coming from, my most used film cameras are Ricoh XR-1, Chinon CP-6, Pentax MZ-6, Mamiya M645, and Mamiya RB67. I shoot color in 35mm and B&W in 120. I have used some different digital including my glovebox Fuji E510 and a Kodak P850.

04-22-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by WJW Quote
I have been resisting buying a DSLR to this point but think I may get one to compliment my K-mount film cameras. I have a chance to pick up a low use, good condition *Ist DS for around $200. So, I have a couple of questions about this:

1. Is this a reasonable price?

2. Any known problems I should watch out for?

3. Any problems using my existing K-mount lenses? (mixture of MF K & A and a couple of AF)

4. What do you like/dislike about the DS?


BTW, just to define where I'm coming from, my most used film cameras are Ricoh XR-1, Chinon CP-6, Pentax MZ-6, Mamiya M645, and Mamiya RB67. I shoot color in 35mm and B&W in 120. I have used some different digital including my glovebox Fuji E510 and a Kodak P850.
G'day WJW,
I bought a DS in 2005 and still have it to this day. It is still going as well as the day I bought it.

A couple of pieces of advice though, buy some Sanyo Eneloop batteries for it (if they aren't already in it). My usage allows the camera to sit unused for days or even weeks at a time, I found the normal re-chargeables would go flat. Eneloops have solved that issue.

The only other thing I have noticed is the wheel on the back of the camera had become 'tight' and wasn't adjusting what it should have, as well as it once did. A couple of drops of Inox fixed that.

As for price I cant really comment...its your call....but...$200 seems ok but have you looked around for any k100's?

Cheers
Grant
04-22-2008, 09:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by WJW Quote
I have been resisting buying a DSLR to this point but think I may get one to compliment my K-mount film cameras. I have a chance to pick up a low use, good condition *Ist DS for around $200. So, I have a couple of questions about this:

1. Is this a reasonable price?
Sounds like a pretty good price to me. I pd $300 for my *ist DS about a year ago.

The prices get really compressed at the low end of the scale. You aren't going to find any used *ist DSes for, say, $75 (well, you might get really lucky on eBay but it's not something I'd count on). I think $200 is about as low as you're likely to find for any decent dslr, and the *ist DS is certainly a very decent dslr. The place to look is KEH.com, which seems to be a good reference for the fair market value of used photographic equipment. They currently have a K110D (similar in many ways to the *ist DS, I think) in LN- condition (probably similar to your *ist DS) for $340.


QuoteQuote:
2. Any known problems I should watch out for?
I have not had any problems with mine.


QuoteQuote:
3. Any problems using my existing K-mount lenses? (mixture of MF K & A and a couple of AF)
I don't have any old lenses. I have not had any problems at all using the *ist DS with my lenses, though.


QuoteQuote:
4. What do you like/dislike about the DS?
Well, most of the time I like the fact that the K10D/K20D bodies are big, and I like working with the K20D and the grip. But there are times, for example, if I am taking the camera out for a walk, when the *ist DS's smaller form factor is valuable.

Doesn't bother me personally that the *ist DS lacks shake reduction because I don't think I've ever put a long lens on it and I don't use it much in low light.

The main thing I don't like about the *ist DS is that it has only one e-dial. I'm so used to having the two e-dials on the K10D/K20D that, when I am using the *ist DS, it seems that I have to go through contortions to change the aperture.

Will
04-22-2008, 09:43 PM   #4
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I bought a *istDS new in March of 2005 and paid $899 for it with the 18-55 Pentax kit lens and a Quantaray 70-300 lens. It has been a great camera that I have never regretted buying. I would jump on the $200 price for a low use camera. I have no complains about that camera. I have taken nearly 12,000 pictures with it and still use it some. I did buy a K10D in September. I will say that the default settings on the *ist DS were better than the default settings on the K10D. If I had a chance to pick up another *istDS for $200 I would probably pick it up myself. It has been a great camera. Recently I have had a problem with it. When I turn it on, the first picture turns out to be totally black, but all the rest of the pictures are fine. Not sure what the issue is with that.

04-22-2008, 10:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WJW Quote
I have been resisting buying a DSLR to this point but think I may get one to compliment my K-mount film cameras. I have a chance to pick up a low use, good condition *Ist DS for around $200. So, I have a couple of questions about this:

1. Is this a reasonable price?

2. Any known problems I should watch out for?

3. Any problems using my existing K-mount lenses? (mixture of MF K & A and a couple of AF)

4. What do you like/dislike about the DS?
I've been using my DS (over 50K shots in the past 2.5 years) for the past couple weeks waiting for the return of my K10D. It's still going strong.

I have both old K and A lenses as well as Takumars and most recently a lensbaby that I use with it. The older K mount lenses are my least favorite, since I can't just put in Av and shoot away but have to hit the green button to meter.

Likes - the sensor is better imo at higher ISOs than the K10; it's lighter weight; 6 MP is enough for me

Dislikes - I like the dual scroll wheels on the K10 and Raw+ and miss those on the DS

Good luck.
04-22-2008, 10:52 PM   #6
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I still have my *ist Ds - great little camera.
What I like:
It is small.
It has ISO 3200 - my desktop wallpaper is one of my very few ISO 3200 images.
Once you get the controls down you can do almost anything you need to do without taking it away from your eye.
It is reliable - mine has never screwed up.
Batteries are readily available - but always carry a spare set - I always use Li-Ion, rechargeables just do not do it for me.

Things I do not like:
ISO only goes down to 200 - I really try to shoot at the lowest possible ISO - 3200 is for one offs.
The LCD screen is small - compared to the K10D.
There is only one e-dial, it is a little too dependent on the menus in my view.
It does not automatically orient portrait images into portrait display.

If you can get one for $200 and you are just starting in Digital - get it. Unless it has been abused, you will be happy. Welcome to the fold.
Edit:
Go to the Pentax site and upgrade the firmware to the latest version v2.02. I have used 4GB SDHC cards in my Ds without an issue with that firmware. I did take some test images with my 8GB SDHC card too. Works like a dream - and SDHC cards are getting cheap these days.

The Elitist - formerly known as PDL

Last edited by PDL; 04-22-2008 at 10:56 PM. Reason: firmware
04-23-2008, 05:57 AM   #7
WJW
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Thanks to everyone for the replies so far. A few more comments/questions from me:

I don't think ISO 200 being the lowest will be a problem as that is what I normally use. Anyone with comments as to how the noise level in the digital compares to grain in film and are the resolutions roughly similar?

Since the LCD is the same size or larger than the few digitals I've used, I don't think that will be a problem. Same goes for the one wheel/two wheel issue so people mentioned. None of my film cameras have any wheels and the P850 had one.

The lenses I would be using primarily would be a couple of older Sigma APO zooms (28~105, 70~300, both have A) and an A 50/1.4. I might mount a V S1 90 Macro via M42 adapter. Anyone see any potential problems?

Why would you need a 4/8GB SD card? I would most likely shoot RAW, so the spare pair of 1GB cards would give me space for around 180 shots. Should be plenty for a week or two of shooting.
04-23-2008, 07:42 AM   #8
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In my camera case (small bag that has two lenses, the camera, filters etc.) I currently carry 2 4GB cards (my third is in the camera) and my new 8GB card. When I am having a good day, I can easily capture 200+ images in a few hours. I only shoot RAW.

On my last big vacation, my son and I shot nearly 21GB of images and I was being very conservative. (4 weeks in NZ) I could have easily shot more, but it was a vacation after all and I did all the driving. On some days, I only had the one 4GB and three 1GB cards, I would fill up two 1GB cards per day.

SDHC cards are cheap and knowing that you have the capability of shooting whatever you please is somewhat satisfying - no more excuses about "running out of film".

As I said - welcome to the fold, but your comment of 180 shots for a week or two, you do not understand what you have gotten your self into. I am in a photo slump right now, but 180 shots ---- that's the first half hour when the light is right. For World Pentax day I shot 94 shots in less than a hour. If I had really tried, gotten up early - looked for the fog etc., 180 shots would have been a warm up.

Anyway - get the latest firmware on the camera - the 16GB cards are getting afordable.

The Elitist - formerly known as PDL

04-23-2008, 09:34 AM   #9
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Hi WJW - welcome to the forum! Great place, great people.

That said, I've owned my *ist DS for about 2 years - have had absolutely no trouble with it (and I bought it used!!). I think $200 is a good price - I'd problably buy another at that price and give it to my daughter.

As to lenses - I've used the gamut - K series, A series, F series, FA series, Screwmount. Pentax, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Vivitar, and a bunch of "off-the-beaten-path" lenses. No camera problems with any of 'em - some learning curve for me!!

Bottom line - BUY IT!!!!
04-23-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
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I guess I have a medium format/tripod mentality. Filling two 2GB cards (180 @ RAW) would take me about 12 hours of focused photography. :-) And I doubt that would change as I will still be shooting film and using the 120 stuff as my primary cameras.
04-23-2008, 10:15 AM   #11
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Although I've moved onto the K10 I still use my istDS as a second body. It is still a great camera and I have no hesitation using it at all. The only real negative that it got was the jpg processing but I saw that you will be shooting RAW so no problem there.

My pbase account has a ton of examples with this camera (especially the Alaska Gallery, istDS with the Sigma 17-70 lens)

John
04-23-2008, 05:15 PM   #12
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Loved my istDs.
Make sure you load, if not there already, latest firmware from Pentax.
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