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Posted 20/07/2003 - 21:55 Link
We've done quite a bit of photography in the past couple of weeks so Sue has now had a chance to get through a few films in her new *ist.

The conclusion (admittedly without seeing any results yet) is very favourable. She loves the handling of the camera, the zoom lens and finds the autofocus to be excellent. She has been exploring the various picture modes and it remains to be seen whether she will use these or revert back to aperture priority or some other traditional programme.

I have handled the camera and although substantially polycarbonate in construction it is very well made and I would have no complaints about using it. The controls are smooth, the finish extremely good and it looks to be good value for money as well.

So, apart from my neanderthal liking of aperture rings on lenses, we like what we have bought and the next logical step will be to add the *istD when it is available. I won't have any reservations about that, so don't tell Sue what her Christmas present might be!
Best regards, John
Posted 22/07/2003 - 23:48 Link

I'm thinking about adding the *ist to my ZX-L (6), but I have not had the chance to actually handle one. I know the camera is small, but is it akward to handle? I would definitely purchase the BG-20 battery grip. I would appreciate any comments you can add on the *ist's size.

Posted 23/07/2003 - 23:07 Link
One more question. From photos I have seen, it appears that the tripod socket is plastic and not metal. Can you verify this for me.

Thanks Again,
Posted 23/07/2003 - 23:19 Link
The *ist is quite a small camera, but it is very well sculpted and fits the hands beautifully. In some ways it is bulkier than an MX or ME, but the shape is quite different. It is light but not excessively so. All in all, the handling is extremely good.

I have just been looking very carefully at the tripod socket, and although the base plate of the camera is plastic the tripod thread itself is a separate part and I am not sure that it isn't black finished metal. It's actually very hard to tell! I would assume that whatever material it is manufactured from it has been designed to hold the camera securely on a tripod, so I'm going to have to assume the Pentax engineers have made the correct design decisions!

Hope that helps!
Best regards, John
Posted 24/07/2003 - 01:25 Link
Yes it does. Thanks for the information.
Posted 22/08/2003 - 21:55 Link
The new issue of AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER has a very favourable review of the *ist.

In common with most camera reviews these days it doesn't really go into any great depth. Whatever happened to the shutter speed checks, the lens resolution charts and so on? Older USA magazines actually partially dismantled cameras to see how they were made. Now we only seem to get superficial reviews, hardly tests.

If Pentax want a reviewer for their new *istD I'll be happy to do pretty much the same as AP!
Best regards, John
Posted 31/10/2003 - 15:37 Link
I would like to know if the LCD screen is backlit and is there good information in the viewfinder ? Does the camera come with a remote control for tripping the shutter or do you have to buy it separately ?
Posted 02/11/2003 - 21:16 Link
Hi Jim

Sorry about the delay in responding - we've been on holiday.

The back LCD screen is back lit. The viewfinder shows a mass of information: focus points, spot metering area, program setting symbols, focus indicator, shutter speed, aperture, AE lock, bar graph and exposure compensation.

Best wishes,
Best regards, John
Posted 07/11/2003 - 18:55 Link
Hi guys.
I read your comments with interest as I am considering buying this camera. I have never used a SLR before - always had Pentax compacts (zoom and otherwise) - so I'm used to everything automatic! I want to get a better camera which does everything for me but which I can fiddle with manually and learn and experiment if I want to. I also like the idea of the 75-300 zoom. Also will I need to buy the 28-80 zoom too?
Do you think this is the one? I don't want to spend a fortune on a wonderful camera with features I won't use.
Look forward to your opinions.
Posted 07/11/2003 - 20:10 Link
Hi Annie

Over the years we have bought so many things that were either too little or too much for our needs! I'm not sure how you can avoid the danger of making a wrong choice, but you can narrow it down by defining what you want to achieve.

The *ist is excellent as a beginners camera (set everything to auto!) but has enough features to be very useable by experienced photographers. You just switch in what you want to use or leave well alone if not sure...

But an SLR is a revelation if you are used to compact cameras - the viewfinders are so much easier to use, defining the picture clearly in a black surround that makes composition so much easier. Then you can use macro lenses, wide angles, telephotos and explore virtually any area of photography. The 35mm SLR is the ideal general photographic tool.

If new to SLRs I would strongly recommend starting with the standard zoom. As part of the package it is very cheap, very good quality and will enable you to explore most general subjects. After a while you will know whether you need a wide angle zoom to go with it, or a telephoto, or, indeed, both.

I know Sue is very pleased with her *ist and has taken some superb shots with it already. Of the current crop of bodies I personally would choose the MZ5n or MZ3, but that is because they have conventional shutter speed dials the same as my older pentax cameras. For a new user this is not necessarily an advantage.

Hope this has helped to clarify rather than confuse!
Best regards, John
Posted 07/11/2003 - 22:29 Link
Thanks for your reply John.
My compact has a 70mm zoom which is why I got excited at the prospect of a 300! Is it that the longer the zoom, the bigger and heavier the lens? Does the lens move in and out automatically via a lever with a display which shows the current length? As you can see, I really haven't got a clue!
Posted 07/11/2003 - 23:11 Link
Hi Annie

On an SLR zoom lens there will be a ring which zooms the lens. There will be an index mark on the barrel that shows the approximate setting of the focal length, but not an electronic indication. The viewfinder will of course show exactly what is being looked at - it would be usual to view the subject whilst zooming until the desired effect is seen, rather than setting a particular length in itself.

I can see the attraction of the longer lens, but you would need a normal one too wouldn't you? Don't forget, the longer the lens the more likelihood of camera shake and you will need bright light to get a fast enough speed at 300mm to avoid it. Or a tripod...(Great theory, but really restricting)

All things being equal, the longer the zoom the bigger and heavier the lens will be. Lens designers reduce this by using smaller maximum apertures, allowing the f stop to change as you zoom and by the extensive use of plastics. The Pentax 75-300 J lens will not be too bad to carry around.

There are some very attractive deals around that include the *ist body plus the J series 28-80 and 75-300 lenses. Prices do vary quite a lot, so shopping around may well save you a lot of money!
Best regards, John
Posted 25/03/2004 - 09:53 Link
Got a chance to handle an *ist today. Perfectly balanced and extremely portable. It would be perfect if I could use my 40mm M mount without problems. Does anyone know?
Posted 25/03/2004 - 22:16 Link
The *ist does not work with the M series lenses. Although function 17 allows the shutter to be fired when the aperture ring is not set to "A", it doesn't actually read the aperture, and set the correct exposure. I can't see the purpose of this function.

I've had my *ist since last July, and it is a superb camera. It is well built, even though mostly plastic, very light, and small.

Fortunately, I have sufficient PKA and later lenses, not to be overly bothered by the misfunction with M series lenses. If I do need to use an incompatible lens, then I can always use my MZ6 or MZ-M cameras.




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