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Pentax's *ist DL2 digital SLR. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Pentax announces new DSLR
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, January 27, 2006 - 11:45 EST)

Pentax Japan has today unveiled its new *ist DL2 digital SLR, an update to the existing *ist DL model.

Changes in the new camera are few (at least, in terms of the specifications - it is quite possible that there are more changes under the skin that don't show up in a spec table). There's also a little confusion as to what exact changes have been made, since Pentax Japan's press release and specifications contradict each other - for example the press release touting a five-point AF function, while the spec sheet lists three-point AF.

Presuming the AF has indeed been overhauled, that would mark the most significant change to the hardware. There's also a new "digital preview" function, which essentially looks like it just captures a photo using the current camera settings, and then displays the image on the LCD display for review - but without actually saving the image to the camera's flash memory. We could see this being useful if you tend to shoot a lot of preview images to tweak your setup, and then have to manually delete them later.

Pentax has also added eight scene modes in the *ist DL2. The new modes are Night Scene, Surf&Snow, Text, Sunset, Kids, Pet, Candlelight, and Museum, and they've also necessitated two changes to the camera's hardware. The "Standard" mode from the original *ist DL has been removed, and the space it had occupied on the Mode dial has now been taken over by a "Scene" setting on the dial. There's also a slight change to the camera's viewfinder display, with the addition of a "Scene" indicator in the viewfinder LCD.

The only other change we could find in browsing the specifications was the addition of a fifth digital filter mode, accessible in Playback only. The Brightness digital filter allows brightness of a photo to be tweaked in camera after capture, which might be useful if you like to make prints directly from your camera / flash card without using a computer.

Pricing and availability, or plans for sale outside of Japan, have not been announced at this time.

Pentax *ist DL2
Pentax's *ist DL2 digital SLR. Courtesy of Pentax, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.
General
Camera Type SLR
Manufacturer Pentax
Model Number *ist DL2
Dimensions 4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6"
125.0 x 92.5 x 67.0mm
Weight 470.0 g
16.4 oz
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1.12" CCD
6.31 megapixels (total)
6.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 1.50
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Image Dimensions 3008 x 2008 (6.0 megapixels)
2400 x 1600 (3.8 megapixels)
1536 x 1024 (1.6 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 2.8 frames per second
Image Quality 4 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, Fixed molded penta-mirror type
96% field of view
LCD 2.5", 210,000 pixels
Lens
Lens Type Interchangeable Lens
Lens Mount Pentax K-mount
Focusing System 5-point phase detection (SAFOX VIII) w/ selectable spot AF
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 16-segment coupled with lens / AF info: Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy,Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light (W, D, N), Flash, Manual, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Flash-On, Flash-Off, Red-eye reduction
Range: 15.6m (ISO 200)
Creative
Scene Modes Portrait , Landscape, Macro, Action, Night scene portrait, Standard flash off, Night Scene, Surf&Snow, Text, Sunset, Kids, Pet, Candlelight, Museum
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 12 seconds
Time Lapse No
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format CCD-RAW, CCD RAW, JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other DC In
Power
Battery Type Alkaline or Lithium disposable, NiMH rechargeable
Battery Form Factor 4 x AA or 2 x CR-V3
Product Bundle
Flash Memory 0.0MB
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone No
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes
 

Original Source Press Release:

PENTAX Introduces the Compact, Lightweight *ist DL2

to Deliver Excellent Cost Performance and Simple Operations to Digital SLR Beginners

PENTAX Corporation is pleased to announce the marketing of the PENTAX *istDL2 lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera to offer the fun and excitement of high-quality digital SLR photography to many levels of photographers — especially first-time digital SLR users.

Developed as a proud successor to the popular *istDL, this new digital SLR inherits many of its predecessor's popular features, including a compact, lightweight and easy-to-hold body and a simple, accessible operation system. At the same time, it provides several improvements and additions, such as an increased number of AF sensor points and eight user-friendly Scene Modes. As a result, it delivers greatly enhanced overall cost performance to its users.

PENTAX believes that the new *istDL2 is an ideal starter camera for many different users around the globe, ranging from photographic novices and family snapshot enthusiasts to current digital-compact and film-SLR users who want to take up digital SLR photography.

Major Features

  1. User-friendly automatic operations
    The *istDL2 is equipped with the innovative Auto Picture Mode, which automatically and instantly selects the most appropriate Picture mode from Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro or Action for a given subject or situation to assure the optimum combination of aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast, and sharpness. In addition, the built-in auto flash automatically pops up in dimly lit or backlit situations. As a result, even first-time digital SLR users can immediately produce high-quality digital images with minimal effort.
  2. Simple, accessible operation system
    The *istDL2 features a functional, easy-to-access operation system to simplify complicated camera operations. From the large, easy-to-use mode dial and the responsive Av/Tv select dial to the multi-function four-way controller, all switches and dials are designed and laid out for optimum accessibility and maneuverability. Coupled with its ergonomically designed, easy-to-hold grip, it assures smooth, flawless operation at every stage of photography.
  3. Auto sensitivity setting
    Like many digital compact cameras, the *istDL2 features an "AUTO" position for sensitivity setting. In this position, the camera's sensitivity is automatically set by the camera, based on such factors as subject brightness and lens focal length, while the user can randomly select the upper limit of sensitivity between the standard output of 400 and 3200. This position is extremely useful to avoid camera shake in poorly lit locations and to prevent sensitivity resetting failures by the photographer.
  4. Large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor
    The *istDL2 incorporates a large, high-precision 2.5-inch color LCD monitor on its back panel. With approximately 210,000 pixels, this monitor displays recorded images sharply and beautifully for effortless confirmation of focus and composition, even when the original image is enlarged by 12 times using the digital zoom capability. To maximize the benefit of this large monitor, the menus are displayed on-screen with large characters and digits for easy, quick confirmation. The menu screen also provides an optimum color scheme between menu descriptions and background to assure effortless menu reading under all types of lighting conditions.
  5. Compact, go-anywhere body
    The *istDL2 offers a compact, lightweight body for outstanding portability and maneuverability, thanks to such advanced downsizing technologies as a high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis, 10-layer electronic circuit boards, high-density packaging technology, and mirror-box and shutter units that are designed in perfect proportion to the CCD size. By combining a compact, lightweight penta-mirror with PENTAX-original optics and focusing screen, it provides a large, bright viewfinder image for easy confirmation of the subject's expression and picture framing.
  6. High-definition, maximum-gradation images with 6.1 effective megapixels
    Thanks to its large, high-performance CCD image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm), the *istDL2 offers 6.1 effective megapixels. Coupled with PENTAX's original image processing technology using a high-performance engine, it produces high-definition images rich in gradation and saturation. It also offers a choice of finishing touches between "bright" and "natural" to satisfy user preferences.
  7. User-friendly guide screen
    The *istDL2 features a user-friendly, multi-data guide screen, which offers detailed description of shooting modes, displays drive, flash and white balance settings using text and sample photos, and presents a comprehensive list of all camera settings on the large 2.5-inch monitor.
  8. High-precision 5-point AF system
    The *istDL2 incorporates a five-point wide-area AF system (SAFOX VIII with five cross-type sensors) to assure dependable, high-precision autofocusing. Using the five sensors positioned in a cross pattern over the image field (one in the middle, two at sides, and two at top and bottom), this system automatically and unfailingly selects the optimum sensor for a given subject. It also allows the user to fix the AF detection point at the middle sensor. In addition, the *istDL2 offers a choice of two AF modes: Single AF to lock the focus when the shutter release button is half-depressed, and Continuous AF to adjust the focus continuously to the subject's movement. *
    * The AF-mode switching function is available only when the Programmed AE, Shutter-Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE, Metered Manual or Bulb shooting mode is selected. In the Auto Picture Mode, Picture Mode or Scene Mode, either the Single AF or Continuous AF mode is automatically selected by the camera according to the mode in use.
  9. Eight Distinctive Scene Modes
    The *istDL2 offers eight different Scene Modes (Kids, Pets, Candlelight, Museum, Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Text and Sunset) to simplify camera operations for particular subjects or certain situations. The user can easily and quickly set the most appropriate Scene Mode for a given subject or situation by selecting the corresponding icon on the mode palette displayed on the LCD monitor.
  10. Two preview functions
    In addition to the conventional optical preview function, which allows the photographer to confirm the depth of field in the viewfinder, the *istDL2 also comes equipped with a new digital preview function, which allows confirmation of not only the depth of field, but also the exposure level, image composition and flash lighting effect, on the LCD monitor.
  11. 1/4000-second high-speed shutter
    The *istDL2 incorporates a high-speed shutter unit, with a top speed of 1/4000 second and a top synchronization speed of 1/180 second, to assure greater visual creativity. The bulb setting is also available to accommodate extended exposures at night.
  12. High-speed 2.8-frame consecutive shooting
    The *istDL2 records up to five images (at "best" image quality in JPEG format) consecutively at a speed of approximately 2.8 frames per second, allowing the user to capture a series of photos of the subject's motion.
  13. Compatibility with PENTAX interchangeable lenses
    The *istDL2 offers the outstanding benefit of lens interchangeability, letting the user take advantage of the wide selection of PENTAX interchangeable lenses for use with diversified subjects and applications.**
    ** PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2-mount 35mm-format lenses can be used without an adapter or modification. PENTAX screw-mount 35mm-format lenses and PENTAX 645- and 67-system lenses can be used with an adapter. Some functions may not be available with certain lenses
  14. Sporty, fashionable design
    The *istDL2 is designed to be sporty and fashionable, with eye-catching silver-colored edges around the shutter release button and LCD data panel on the upper panel, and the LCD monitor and four-way controller on the back panel.
  15. Other features
    1. Eighteen user-programmable custom functions to personalize camera operations to user preferences
    2. SD memory card compatibility
    3. Storage of recorded images in separate day-by-day files on an SD memory card
    4. Versatile three-mode metering system, with a choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, center-weighted metering and spot metering.
    5. Noise-reduction system to minimize annoying digital noise during extended exposures
    6. Dual power source, with a choice of two CR-V3 lithium batteries or four AA-size batteries
    7. Effortless PC data upload via USB 2.0 (HIGH-SPEED) connection
    8. Functional playback functions, including 12X zoom display and nine-image thumbnail display
    9. A choice of image format between JPEG (good, better or best) or RAW
    10. Five built-in digital filters (black-and-white, sepia, slim, soft and brightness) for easy processing of recorded images.
    11. PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 2.1 RAW-data processing software and PENTAX PHOTO Browser 2.1 browser software included
    12. PictBridge compatibility

* PENTAX and *ist are registered trademarks of PENTAX Corporation
* PENTAX PHOTO Browser and PENTAX PHOTO Labratory are trademarks of PENTAX Corporation
* All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
* This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant
Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Print Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
* Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice

REMARKS : This information is current as of the date of publication. Note that information displayed may have already been changed without prior notice.

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