Returning to non digital. Just ordered a *ist. HELP.


Link Posted 27/07/2003 - 18:24
After a good many years not spending time on photography, just snaps out and about on a digital camera, I have just taken the decision to invest in a decent SLR camera and spend time doing some decent photography.

This was triggered by plans for a holiday around Prague in a couple of weeks time, a feeling that a digital camera would not be convenient (no means to download the photos unless I take a laptop which I am not keen on), a strong conviction that even the best digital cameras do not yet offer the quality of film (especially given that I have a decent scanner in the Epson 3200). I know it is, as described in a couple of the local photography magazines, a budget camera but I feel it is enough for someone like me with a focus on travel photography (landscapes, buildings, rather than portraiture, sport).

Now, I never was a good photographer and realise that I have forgotten just about everything. The decision to purchase the *ist was taken after two hours research online and the Pentax won for me against the Canon 300 series. I am hoping I have not made a mistake.

So, how can you help?

1. Reassurance I have not made a mistake in this investment
2. Pointers to any sites with tips/advice on getting the best from this camera (especially how to get around any weaknesses)
3. Links to good refresher/education material online to get me re-started on the learning curve to photography. I really have forgotten just about everything. If it comes flooding back when I start reading, then great. Obviously, I can learn most by getting out there and doing ...




Link Posted 27/07/2003 - 19:53

I too have used digital for some time, and in fact have come to appreciate my Pentax SLRs all the more

Personally, I love Fuji Provia slide film. It produces beautiful smooth images, and you can buy them in packs of 3 direct from Fuji with processing: And it scans nicely too ...but that's just personal preference.

Now, I haven't seen the *ist (waiting for the *istD ) but I have the MZ5, MZ10 and Z1 and all handle wonderfully. I am sure it will all come flooding back. The modern automatic cameras do usually perform well - so you could just shoot on full program automatic. If you are returning to the film SLR, just buy lots of film Film is light, and cheaper than your trip I am sure!

To improve my skills (if that is not a misnomer!), I bought a couple of books that I can recommend (though they'll be fairly weighty to carry) - "Learning To See Creatively" and "Understanding Exposure" both by Bryan Peterson. Both are available from Amazon in the UK. If you are really pressed for time, try some of these web sites:,,, , and

They should all point you in the right direction!!

Oh yes, and have a wonderful time in Prague. We were there last year, and were caught up in the floods (nearly didn't make it back ). We stayed about 100km East of Prague, and unfortunately only visited Prague for one day. Enchanting city. You'll need a lot of film! I have a few images on the PBase gallery...

Hope that helps,
(For gallery, tips and links)


Link Posted 31/07/2003 - 21:52
A belated thank you.

Got the camera today from Jessops. (Had ordered from Empiredirect as a twin kit but they messed up - could not find the stock in the warehouse despite the system saying they had 10, etc.) Also bought some filters (UV, circular poleriser, SA1) and a bigger zoome (FA, not FAJ, 80-320). Jessops gave me some free print film.

I ordered a load of dirt cheap slide film from which I am hoping arrives in time for our holiday (no worries if not, will buy the expensive way).

Currently working my way around the camera and using up one of those free films which we will get developed (I have an Epson Perfection 3200 scanner so can live without the prints) before going away so we can see how the camera behaves. Really like the way it works so far.

Fingers crossed on no floods.



Link Posted 01/08/2003 - 14:50
I like you abandoned serious photography years ago when my spotmatic was stolen. A couple of months ago I was looking through family photos and was reminded of the incomparable quality of my old slr shots. Like you i did my online research and I must admit a soft touch for the pentax brand.

My ist came yesterday and I have been time-warped in 30 yrs of photo technology......

she's loaded and I'm just popping into padstow to shoot some film, wish me luck.

Will tell you how I get on.


Link Posted 01/08/2003 - 15:08
Good look in padstow. I have been out and about in my local town today using up print film as quickly as I can, trying out the lenses, the bracketing, etc. I am sure that I am thinking more than I usually do with the digital camera (which has seen me degenerate to just snapshots these days). If I don't mention the results soon it means I could not work the camera properly

The one thing that took me a while to get my head around was the new lenses that Pentax have introduced. I have mentioned this elsewhere on the forum, but it fits here as well:


My additional lense (80-320) is therefore a standard FA rather than FA J and does have an appeture ring, set to A position on the Pentax of course.

As always, cost rules for production particularly if they want to pull up with Canon and Nikon again. The camera itself though does seem well made, well featured and very competively priced. (It was clear that the lady in Jessops wanted me to buy a Canon though so I guess they have a better margin on them at the moment.)



Link Posted 02/08/2003 - 22:13
We have been evaluating the *ist for a little while now, and it does the job just fine. It does seem to be well made and it handles very well indeed. My wife Sue uses the *ist and she loves it! We've just returned from a week's holiday and she gives her new camera full approval!
Best regards, John


Link Posted 13/08/2003 - 12:28
Just returned from holiday in Prague (even hotter and drier than here, phew!) and my first serious use of the *ist. Brilliant.

The CTK new agency has a very fast, very good, and cheap, C41 and E6 processing facilitiy open to the public so we were able to get a couple of slide films developed during our holiday which gave us confidence in the capabilities of the camera.

I did a fair amount of auto-bracketing but used mostly automatic exposure on the first film. I did more manual work (with advice from the camera) on the second film. The results were, IMO, excellent and far better than I have been getting over the last few years from my basic 3mp digital cameras.

These pictures will no doubt not come up to the standards of the experienced hands here, but they were good enough to encourage me to push through another dozen or so rolls of 24 exp slide film which I am sending off for processing shortly. (I can scan and upload a few to my website if there is any interest.)

The camera was very easy to use, light and easy to carry around with the standard zoom lense and the 80-320 I had purchased.

Highly recommended for a born again photographer like me. I might even go along to the local photography club!

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