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05-23-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Posts: 3,881
Pentax *istDS2

The pentax *istDS2 is a minor upgrade of the *istDS: The LCD on the back grew from 2 inches to 2.5 inches. Like the *istD and *istDS, the *istDS2 has TTL flash automation (in addition to P-TTL) which is a big plus for flash photography with older lenses.

Pentax *istDS2
Year introduced
KAF2 (without coupling for aperture ring)
Meter range
1 to 21.5 EV
Meter pattern
m (16 segments) c s
ISO range (expanded)
200 - 3200
Expanded dynamic range
Exposure modes
AutoPict, P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M
Program modes
Normal, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, Night-scene Portrait, Flash Off
Scene Modes
Exposure compensation
+/-2 EV
Exposure lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30s - 1/4000s (stepless)
Shutter speeds (manual)
B, 30s - 1/4000s
Mirror lock-up
Self timer / Interval shooting
Yes / No
Continuous shooting
2.8 fps up to 8 frames
Shake reduction
Auto bracketing
Yes (3 frames)
HDR mode
Multiple exposures
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 15.6 (ISO 200)
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Extra external flash functions
Wireless, High-speed, Contrast control
Yes (SAFOX VIII, 11 focus points)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 to 18 EV
Autofocus with SDM
AF Assist
Front/Back focus corr
Power zoom
Lens correction
0.95x, 95%
Viewfinder type
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Digital preview
Live view
Video/Movie Mode
Movie mode restrictions
Not applicable
Sound in Movie mode
Not applicable
Camera controls
1 control wheel. Most functions accessed through menus
Custom Functions
6.1 MP CCD
Image size
15.8 x 23.6 mm
Color Depth
3 x 12 bit (RAW)
Dust removal / alert
No / No
Pixel mapping
File format
Memory card type
SD (SDHC with firmware upgrade)
Back LCD
2.5 in. 210,000 pix
Weather resistant
4 x AA
Battery grip
Size (W x H x D)
125 x 92.5 x 67 mm
505 g
Latest firmware
Version 1.02
TTL flash. The *istD and DS/DS2 are the only Pentax DSLR's with support for TTL flash. TTL flash works where P-TTL doesn't: With M and K lenses, bellows, manual extension tubes.

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Last edited by Ole; 02-12-2011 at 02:00 PM.
05-25-2009, 06:28 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Ontario
Posts: 750
Just some thoughts regarding the DS2, which I no longer have:

1) The ergonomics were excellent. It was a small camera with a good heft.
2) The auto-focus was slow - especially AF-C. However, it was accurate....more so than the k10 in my experience. If the focus locked, I knew what I was getting - more so than with the k10.
3) I found it very quirky with batteries. Sometimes it wouldn't pick up that the batteries were there at all. I suspect this was just my camera though. However, it was a pain in the butt when trying to shoot birds that weren't very keen on holding still for long.
4) In spite of the short-comings, I loved this camera. It had the right feel to it, being small and portable.

Overall, I'd have to rate this camera 6/10 for my uses at the time, which involved a lot of bird photography. It was slow, and with exception to the battery quirks, it was a steady performer. Compared to the k10???? Tough call. I really loved that DS2.
12-14-2010, 12:40 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Fairbanks
Posts: 3
Pentax *istDS2 Camera Review

Pros yes
Cons yes
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) 500
Years Owned 5

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size

Camera Review
The Pentax *ist DS2 was built on 2003 technology and released in 2005, over five years ago. A DS2 purchased in early 2006 was my first DSLR. Nothing introduced earlier appealed to me. Either they were too large and heavy and expensive; or the viewfinders were unacceptable dark little tunnels. The DS2 has a pentaprism. Five years on, it is still among the brightest and largest APS-C viewfinders available. And five years on, it is still nearly the smallest and lightest DSLR available. It has a top-body LCD and a 2.5” rear LCD screen, a bit undersized by today’s standards, but not so much as to seem outdated and small (although the 210,000 dots is a bit shy).

Beyond the small and light is the shape; smoothly curved and nonprotuberey. It slides easily to and from the pocket and hangs comfortably one-handed.

Build quality has proven to be excellent, in this example. Five years of use and still going strong. Granted, the shutter count is still under 10,000.

I find the AA batteries to be an advantage. Sony 2800mah NiMH rechargables in the DS2 seem to last as long as the Li-ion batteries in my K7 or Canon 5D. Yet the AA’s are much less expensive and much more easily available than proprietary batteries.

Auto-focusing is slow compared to modern expectations, but is accurate. I find it usually usable in daylight, iffy in low light. I like to focus with my right thumb or my left hand and have the shutter release be just a shutter release. The DS2 allows the user to place the autofocus function on the “OK” button.

Having only a single control wheel is a drawback, but not a fatal one. The one wheel it does have is well-placed for the thumb. The camera has a total of only 5 shooting-control buttons on the right side of the body: shutter release, exposure compensation, exposure lock, an “OK” button in the center of the 4-way controller, and a “Function” button. All are well and widely placed.

Lack of a one-touch dedicated button for ISO or white balance is a drawback, fortunately it is still fairly easy and quick to access control using the “function” button which calls up a nicely functional short cut menu for ISO, shutter behavior, flash, and white balance.

The camera will collect RAW or JPEG files, but not both. This is doubly unfortunate, because one must use the MENU button and then repeatedly pushy-pushy through menus to get to the right place to change the file type. Perhaps it is triply unfortunate because jpegs straight from the camera, while not evil, can be considerably less nice than post-processed RAW files of the same scene. Writing RAW files to the SD card can be slow.

High ISO low light performance is middling; high ISO is 6200.

The advantages of this camera that have stood the test of (accelerated digital) time are: good viewfinder, solid build, good shape, small size and weight, very nicely laid out (albeit limited) controls, and the ability to use both legacy film lenses and the small modern Pentax primes. Although it is what it is - 6mp and ancient - the sensor is good enough to take advantage of the quality of the best lens I have; the 77mm limited.
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