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Pentax *ist DL | Digital Camera Review | Camera
If you are acquainted with the Pentax *ist DS you won't easily find the differences between the Pentax *ist DS and *ist DL. The two digital reflex cameras look almost similar. The only item that differs on the outside is the huge monitor on the back of the *ist DL. Its 2.5 inch size takes up a dominant spot on the camera's back. We are testing the silver coloured model of the Pentax *ist DL and it looks rather attractive in this colour. The outside of the camera is made of artificial material, plastic, but it certainly doesn't feel cheap. The extended handgrip contains a rubber coating which ensures a steady grip on the Pentax *ist DL. The camera could have been a tiny bit higher for my hands, they just don't fit within the handgrip. The inner frame of the Pentax *ist DL is made of stainless metal. It gives the camera a firm base. Still the camera is certainly not heavy. The batteries are responsible for a large part of the weight.
Pentax *ist DL | Digital Camera Pentax *ist DL | Digital Camera
Pentax *ist DL - Metal bayonet mount
The front of the Pentax *ist DL contains a metal bayonet mount. Although many manufacturers experimented with plastic mounts, the metal bayonet seems to be the frequently used mount. Apparently it is stronger and capable of having the lens changed many times. Pentax did well, in my opinion, to equip even the cheapest model with this metal bayonet mount. The mount itself contains metal contact points for transferring data from the lens to the camera. When mounting the lens, you hear the contacts slide against each other, so at least you know they are making contact. Left from the lens mount the button to unlock the lens is placed. On the other side we find the switch for manual or auto focus. Unfortunately Pentax didn't add an extra mode for continuous or single focus. This adjustment has to be made through the menu of the *ist DL, a limited feature, which would be less time consuming if a quick button was available.

Pentax SLR - Interfaces
Left on the camera, behind a beautiful door, the interfaces for remote control, PC and video OUT and external power adapter are positioned. This latter one is, together with the remote control, optional. Pentax has decided for a real door, just like the one on the *ist DS. I consider that as well-chosen, much better than a piece of sloppy rubber. Regrettably the tiny door is not equipped with a rubber coating to prevent water and dust from getting to the interfaces. The construction however is solid and gives you a trusty feeling.

Pentax *istDL - The control centre
The back is, apart from the larger monitor, identical to the *ist DS. And why should Pentax change anything on the *ist DL while the concept is perfect? Just a few buttons decorate the back, which keeps it neat. Left from the monitor we find a few buttons: the button for activating the flash, the menu, the recycle bin, the information button and the play button. The recycle bin and the play button are carried out in blue to indicate that they belong together. It is somewhat difficult to recognize them on the black surface though. Especially when you find yourself in a darker environment. Above the monitor the viewfinder is placed carrying a large eye-piece. The viewfinder is equipped with a dioptre setting, which is rather luxury for a reflex camera in this class. On the right of the monitor we find the commend dial, also serving as zoom button when reviewing the images. Next to it the exposure lock is found, also functioning as security when set to play mode. A handy feature is the blue colour of the symbols when in play mode so you know exactly the function for this button, no need to dig into a manual.
Below the commend dial the four-way controller is positioned with in the centre the OK button. This controller lets you scroll through the different settings, everything is crystal clear. Below that we find the function button. This button lets you adjust transfer mode, white balance, sensitivity and flash settings. Completely on the right a little lamp is placed that lights up when something is happening on the memory card and when the door to the memory cart compartment is opened. The door of the Secure Digital (SD) memory card is carried out beautifully on the *ist DL. It shuts well and opens sufficiently wide to easily change the memory card.

*ist DL digital reflex - Top side of the camera
The top of the Pentax *ist DL is also very neat and peaceful. Completely on the right side the button for different shooting modes is placed. Of course we find the famous icon modes too, for example Portrait, Landscape, Macro and Sports. The full automatic mode is clearly indicated in green. But for those who like to control the camera by him or herself will leave this green mode for what it is and move on to the P, Tv, Av, M or Bulb mode. When testing I used the Av mode nearly all the time, with the aperture you can decide the depth of field, which offers you an expressive tool. In the centre of the camera the built-in flash is placed. It doesn't pop out too high, so beware if you are using a lens hood. When using the standard Pentax 18-55mm lens it is recommendable leaving the lens hood off when the internal flash is activated, because in wide angle a dark circle will appear on the bottom of an image. A hot shoe is available for many other flash options. Separate flashes can be mounted on it, preferably of the Pentax brand. Sadly the Pentax *ist DL doesn't enable FP flashing, where as the *ist DS still does. Right from the viewfinder we find an LCD display rendering all shooting information, like shutter speed, aperture and image counter. Above it the button for exposure correction is placed. When exposing manually this button serves for adjusting the aperture. Around the release button the on/off switch is placed to activate or deactivate the Pentax *ist DL. It also lets you check the depth of field. A very welcoming function. The release button itself feels fine, with a clear and pleasant pressing point.

Pentax *ist DL camera - The bottom side
Turning the Pentax *ist DL digital reflex around, viewing the bottom side of the camera, we find a standard universal tripod mount. Also made of metal, which makes it nice and firm. The handgrip contains the cover to house the batteries. It can contain four AA batteries (rechargeable or not) or two CR-V3 batteries. The construction is carried out sound, the finishing more than excellent.
Pentax *ist DL Pentax *ist DL
   
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