Pentax ist ds?

I got one cheap and was wondering if any dslr users could give any advice?

While I am not new to cameras, I am completely new to slr’s of any kind. Having recently lost my sony v-1 (could be floating around, lost at the zoo or stolen), I have been looking for another camera. I have wanted a dslr for years but they were always too expensive. Normally I would research a camera extensively but I ran across the pentax ist ds kit for 275$ new at the wolf camera clearance center and impulse bought it due to the price. Knowing what I know about the clearance center, it could be a return, display model or whatever but is sold as new with full warranty. The items look handled (no film over the screen and finger prints) but looks new. cables look unopened (though the manual looks slightly looked at).

So how does this camera compare to something newer or anything else I might be able to find cheap (keeping in mind how much I paid for it). I might be able to spend as much as 450-500$ (so entry level model only), but it a real stretch of the budget to go that far (plus the pentax uses aa batteries and I wouldn’t have money for additional battery packs on a newer camera if it uses them). This will primarily be used for family photos (nothing professional or even serious amature hobby) as I don’t really have the time for much recreational shooting anymore (young kids). I mainly want an slr for better low light performance (preferably without flash) and better image quality. Faster performance would of course also be a plus. You never know, now that I have a dslr, I might get back into a little amature recreational shooting, but only a little.

Is this camera going to basically perform as well as anything new I could get for under 500$ (for a user like me) or close enough considering the price? Part of what I am wondering is how much the technology has advanced in the last 3 years since this was a new model? Would something new (even a cheap entry level camera) blow this one away due to its age? Should I bother even continuing to look for other cameras or just open this one up and keep it? Fyi, I can return the camera within a few days only and only if unopened and untouched. If I use it I keep it (it was a final sale but he agreed to a refund if I just left it alone and did a little online research about it).

[Quote=]Is this camera going to basically perform as well as anything new I could get for under $500 [/Quote]

Yep sure will :iagree: even better than some of the models that cost more $$$
I think once you get used to it you will be very happy :slight_smile:
Had a few pentax cameras and always been very happy with them.

In low light shooting it’s best to use RAW format improves color, makes the images crisper and clearer, and significantly boost resolution.

I decided to keep it. I think any additional money would be better spent on a faster lens for low light and or something that goes out to 200mm. There are a few things I would like such as image stabilization but you cannot have it all at that price.

All of the entry level DSLR’s are pretty good these days. Main thing is lens selection and quality. In those areas Nikon and Canon have all the others buried, lots of selection used and new, sometimes even cheap if your lucky.
If you get good lenses when you got the camera all ready, or can find what you need at your budget they all do a nice job pretty much.
I bought a Canon XT for 400 last summer because it was a smokin’ deal at the time and I, Like you, have always wanted a truly nice DSLR without going broke.
I have since spent almost that amount getting better lenses for mine, so far a nice used 100-300 USM and a 28-105 USM, plus the 18-55 lens that it came with.
The kit lenses generally are OK, but not great and get you going till you know what you really want to do.
If your lucky that model will take regular Pentax film lenses though it will crop them a bit as it’s sensor is smaller, probably 1.6 factor I guess, or maybe 4x3 depending on how it’s made.
There are a bunch of camera sites online that can help you with using it and finding more goodies for it, have fun with it.

Thats the advantage to pentax. It can take any pentax lens ever made. the older manual focus lenses of course stay manual focus but they work. It can even use old screw mount lenses with an adapter. I got a an old (new but old stock) pentax film 80-200mm for 50$ already (I think it was originally about a 300$ lens). The crop factor is 1.5x so its really a 120-300mm equ. I would really like a really fast prime lens but they seem to be 400-500$ and up. There are aparently lots of old used film ones you can get for 50$ or less though, so I’ll probably go that route. Thats probably as far as I will go with lenses for a while any way.
A bit of bad news though. the viewfinder barely if even comes into focus at its furthest adjustment. There are corection adapters avalable, but its strange as I have normal good eye site?

Well that’s great, good glass for 50 bucks is always nice, that is a advantage right there if your not going to want something they didn’t make.
I can get lenses all day for my Canon as anything made for a EF mount will work on it, but the OLD FD lenses wont without a kludge adapter thing and lens that many claim sucks.
I’ve been trying to be very picky about which lenses I get as I don’t need to overpay for junk like some of their new plastic mount consumer starter lenses are that everyone buys because they are cheap.
I think I want a small to medium wide angle zoom like the 18-55 but better quality glass then the kit one and I’m done for a long time.
I like to go to car shows and the wider angle really helps you get the car in without having to step back a bunch, none of the others are quite as good at that part.
Bet the older Pentax glass is cheap on Craigs list and E-bay as well as everyone is trying for Nikon and Canon stuff.
I wear glasses and so far I haven’t had any problems using the little focus wheel on the eye piece to get it focused in for me, and my lil sister used it and she had no problems either once she figured that out and got used to looking through a view finder again.
In fact she liked mine so much she went out the next week and got a 30D for herself :bigsmile:

Turns out the viewfinder thing isn’t the camera, its me. I tried two other dslr’s at the shop (another pentax and a canon) and both were the same way. I can only guess that part of it is my eyes have to get used to using a viewfinder. If my eyesite were that far off I think I would know it, though maybe my eye site isn’t as good as it use to be (not good if that is hapening to me at 35). Anyway, if It doesn’t get better as I use the camera, I can at least get an adapter (and at least the camera isn’t defective). I guess manual focus is out for now though. It also doesn’t help that I left my only sd card at the camera shop in one of the other cameras either, lol.

Your probably starting to get the trouble with your eyes focusing close up. I started noticing it when I was a bit after 40 but I all ready have nearsightedness so it’s kinda a double whammy for me. I just raise my glasses for now to see really close up, like reading or viewing my screen here, other then that I can see my dash gauges and things a few feet away with them on.
You might try just holding the viewfinder a bit away from your eyes and see if it helps, or maybe try the other eye if you haven’t yet. Most of the time the auto focus should do fine for you anyways.
Good luck figuring it out and enjoy the new toy.

I found out a little more. My camera’s adjustment goes to -2.5 diopter which compensates for nearsightedness, but -2.5 is very mild (about the point where you start to need glasses). So My eyes havent gone way out, they are just a little out but that is all the camera is designed to compensate for. I should probably get my eyes checked, but I can still see pretty well (I guess maybe just glasses when I need sharp vision for something). I can still read highway signs way off in the distance etc.