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Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Image provided by Yamada Kumio / digitalcamera.jp. Used by permission. Pentax prepares to ship the *ist D SLR
(Friday, August 8, 2003 - 02:00 EDT)

Pentax has today announced that it will soon begin shipping the *ist D single-lens reflex digital camera (pronounced ist-dee) in the USA, Europe and Japan.

According to the US release, the plan is currently that the camera (which was first announced in February of this year) will ship next month. (We don't have details of ship dates in other countries, but presume they will be similarly soon). Pricing is not expected to be announced until shortly before the ship date, Pentax presumably wanting to ensure they're competitive with prices for similar products.

Alongside the announcement of the camera, the company is announcing two new lenses. The smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18mm-35mm FA-F5.6 AL is equivalent to 27.5mm-53.5mm in 35mm, whilst another lens tentatively named the PENTAX-DA Zoom 16mm-45mm F4 ED AL is the first of a new line designed specifically for *ist D digital SLRs, and is equivalent to 24.5 - 69mm on a 35mm camera.

Specifications for the camera and lenses follow, along with the US press release, and Japanese press releases for the lenses. Note that images of a prototype *ist D that we shot at PMA this Spring have been used in this news item. It is possible design changes could have been made since these photos were taken. Also note that availability for the lenses hasn't been announced in the USA, but in Japan the 18 - 35mm lens should ship in September.

Once again, we must apologise to our readers - the US and Japanese announcements we had clearly stated an NDA time of 2AM Eastern / midnight Mountain time in the USA, equivalent to 3PM Japanese time. Apparently one of our competitors was given an NDA time an hour earlier than these times. We always attempt to bring you news items at the earliest possible moment, but if NDA times aren't equal worldwide, it becomes impossible to do so.

Pentax *ist D
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Type Single-lens-reflex-type digital still camera with TTL auto exposure, autofocus and built-in TTL auto flash.
Effective Pixels 6.1 megapixels.
Interline interlace CCD.
Size: 23.5mm x 15.7mm (diagonal line: 28.40mm).
Total pixels: 6.31 megapixels
Recorded Pixels
Large: 3008 x 2008 pixels.
Middle: 2400 x 1600 pixels.
Small: 1536 x 1024 pixels.
(Switchable to 1152 x 768 pixels or 960 x 640 pixels by custom function.)
Sensitivity Equivalent to ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (3200 available as Custom Function)
File Formats Exif 2.2, DCF, DPOF
Quality Levels
Compressed: JPEG-baseline with compressibility rates of ***(1/3), **(1/6) and *(1/12).
Uncompressed: 8-bit TIFF-RGB Ver.6.0 and 12-bit RAW.
Storage Media CompactFlashTM cards (Type I and Type II) and MicroDriveTM
Color Composition
JPEG: YCbCr (4:2:2).
TIFF: TIFF-RGB (4:4:4).
RAW: RAW data of CCD.
White Balance
Auto: TTL control using image sensor.
Preset: Daylight, Cloudiness, Shade, Tungsten light and
Fluorescent light (W, N, D).
Manual: 3 settings.
LCD Monitor 1.8 inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with backlight
LCD Function Single frame, zoom in/out, nine-image, slide show, image rotation, shooting data indication (including date and histogram), quick view (instant display of image after shooting)
Delete Function Single-frame-deletion, All-frame deletion, card format, protect
Video Output NTSC/PAL switchable
Interfaces USB 1.1
Lens Mount
PENTAX KAF mount compatible with PENTAX KAF2-, KAF- and KA-mount lenses.
Power zoom function not available.
K-mount lenses usable with restrictions.
S-mount lenses usable with adapter and restrictions.
67/645 lenses usable adapter and restrictions.
Exposure Modes
Auto exposure with Hyper Program, Programmed AE, Shutter-Priority AE,
Aperture-Priority AE, Metered Manual, bulb
Electronically controlled vertical-run focal-plane shutter with electronic release.
Auto shutter speeds:1/4000 sec. to 30 sec.
Manual shutter speeds:1/4000 sec. to 30 sec. (0.5EV steps) and bulb.
Shutter lock at power-off position.
Eye-level-type fixed pentaprism viewfinder with Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen.
Field of view: 95%.
Magnification: 0.95X (with 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity, -1m-1).
Diopter adjustment: -2.5m-1 to +1.5m-1.
Viewfinder Indication
Out of image area: Built-in flash status, AF sensor pattern, in-focus, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation factor, bar graph.
Within image area: AF frame with superimposed AF sensor point, spot AF frame.
External LCD Panel Indication
Quality level, Tv dial, Av dial, shutter speed, aperture value, exposure compensation, exposure frame number, battery exhaustion warning, RTF recharge, flash status, RTF function, red-eye reduction flash, wireless flash mode, high-speed synchronization, remote control, self-timer, film advance mode (single-frame/consecutive), multiple exposure, auto bracketing, auto white balance control, preset white balance control, manual white balance control.
Illumination activated by preview lever.
Exposure Meter
TTL open-aperture 16-segment metering.
Spot metering and center-weighted metering selectable.
Metering range (at ISO200 with 50mm F1.4 lens): EV0 to EV21
(EV1 to EV21.5 with multi-segment metering).
Exposure compensation ±3EV (in 1/2EV steps), ±2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
Auto Bracketing
3 frames (proper/over/under) within range of ±1.5EV (1/2EV steps) or ±1.0EV (1/3EV steps).
Simultaneous use with exposure compensation possible.
AE Lock
Pushbutton type with approx. 20-second timer.
Extendable with shutter button half-pressed.
Drive Modes Single-frame advance, continuous advance (2.6 fps.) up to 6 frames (at noise reduction off).
TTL phase-matching autofocus system.
Applicable illumination range: EV0 to EV19 (at ISO200).
AF-Single, AF-Continuous, Manual Focus switchable.
Focus lock available.
AF sensor point selectable.
AF auxiliary illumination by built-in flash available.
Buil-in Flash (RTF)
Guide number: 15.6 (at ISO200/m), Guide number: 11 (at ISO100/m).
Angle of view coverage: 18mm.
Synchronization speed: 1/150 sec.
Flash-Off, flash-on and red-eye reduction functions available.
Via hot shoe (with X-contact for dedicated flash unit).
Dedicated accessory flash units available.
Sensitivity range: ISO200 to ISO1600.
Flash synchronization: up to 1/150 sec.
High-speed synchronization, wireless remote-control synchronization and
P-TTL synchronization functions available with dedicated flash unit.
Electronically controlled type with 12- or 2-second delay.
Mirror lock-up mechanism available.
Mid-operation cancellation possible.
Remote Control
Infrared wireless remote control with optional remote controller.
Effective range: 5m (16.6 ft.) from front side of camera.
Instant release or 3-second-delay release switchable.
Electronic preview.
Available in all modes.
Power Source
2 CR-V3 batteries or 4 AA-sized batteries (lithium, Ni-MH, alkaline).
Optional AC adapter available.
Battery Life
CR-V3: Approx. 1000 frames at normal temp. (68°F/20°C) and no flash used.
Lithium batteries: Approx. 900 frames at normal temp. (68°F/20°C) and no flash used.
Ni-MH batteries: Approx. 450 frames at normal temp. (68°F/20°C) and no flash used.
Alkaline batteries: Approx. 110 frames at normal temp. (68°F/20°C) and no flash used.
Dimensions 129.0mm x 94.5mm x 60mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches)
Weight 550g (19.4 oz.) for body only (without batteries and memory card)
More Photos
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
.Pentax's *ist D digital SLR. Copyright (c) 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18mm-35mm F4-F5.6 AL
Lens Constructions 12 elements in 10 groups
Angle of View 100° - 63°
Diaphragm Fully Automatic
Minimum Aperture 22 at 18mm / 32 at 35mm
Photometric Method TTL open-aperture metering
Minimum Focusing Distance 0.28m (0.92 ft.)
Maximum Magnification 0.18X
Filter Diameter 67mm
Maximum Diameter & Minimum Length 72mm x 68.5mm (2.8 inch x 2.7 inch)
Weight (Wo/hood) 190g (6.7 oz.)

smc PENTAX-DA Zoom 16mm-45mm F4 ED AL
Lens Constructions 13 elements in 10 groups
Diaphragm Fully Automatic
Photometric Method TTL open-aperture metering
Minimum Focusing Distance (To be advised later)
Filter Diameter 67mm
Maximum Diameter & Minimum Length 72mm x 92mm (2.8 inch x 3.6 inch)
Weight (Wo/hood) (To be advised later)

Original Source Press Release:


ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (August 8, 2003)…PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. announced that the long anticipated digital SLR *ist D camera (pronounced ist-dee) will begin shipping in September 2003* to the United States.
* Date subject to change.

Housed in one of the world’s smallest, lightest SLR camera bodies, the *ist D comes equipped with an array of advanced functions and user-friendly features, including an APS-sized CCD with impressive 6.1 effective megapixels, a responsive SAFOX VIII autofocus system with 11-point AF sensor, a sophisticated 16-segment multi-pattern metering system, a bright viewfinder with a newly developed compact glass pentaprism, an innovative “Hyper” operating system and 22 user-adjustable custom functions. The *ist D is compatible with existing PENTAX 35mm-format interchangeable lenses and accessories.*
* Some restrictions and conditions may apply to certain lenses and accessories.

To further delight advanced users, PENTAX will expand its interchangeable lens lineup for *ist D users with two new lenses in the coming months. The smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18mm-35mm FA-F5.6 AL (equivalent to 27.5mm-53.5mm in 35mm) and the first model of a new DA series designed to match the *ist D CCD size—the PENTAX-DA Zoom 26mm-45mm F4 ED AL. [Editor's note: The US press release says 26mm - 45mm, disagreeing with the Japanese press release. We believe the Japanese figure of 16mm - 45mm is correct.]

Initially previewed in March 2003 at the Photo Marketing Association Trade Show in Las Vegas, the new *ist D features a user-friendly direct-access operation system so users may adjust many digital camera functions, such as white balance control, with pushbutton ease to eliminate the trouble of recalling the menu settings each time the camera is used.

Offering a combination of high-resolution digital images with SLR photography, PENTAX suggests the new *ist D will outperform competitive digital SLR camera models currently on the market. This high-performance PENTAX digital SLR camera will have tremendous appeal for a wide range of photographers, both compact digital and conventional 35mm SLR users, looking for superior image quality and SLR versatility and the convenience and benefits of the advanced digital format.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, lenses, mobile printers, scanners and internet cameras. For more than 80 years, Pentax technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. PENTAX U.S.A., INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX CORPORATION.

# # #

6.1 effective megapixels for outstanding image reproduction
Incorporating an APS-sized CCD (23.5mm by 15.7mm) and driven by high-performance data processing circuitry, the *ist D offers impressive 6.1 effective megapixels to capture super-clear, high-resolution digital images and accurately reproduce subtle hues and fine details.

One of the world’s smallest, lightest bodies

Dimensions: 5.1” wide (129mm) x 3.7” high (94.7mm) and 2.4” thick (60.1mm)
Weight: 19.4 ounces (550 grams) without batteries

With the PENTAX industry-leading 3D CAD design technology and a newly developed super-compact glass pentaprism, the *ist D offers outstanding portability and maneuverability in a wide variety of photographic applications. A stainless-steel chassis offers exceptional rigidity, especially against torsion, to protect the interior mechanisms from shock.

Compatibility with 35mm-format lenses and accessories
Featuring the acclaimed PENTAX K lens mount used in conventional 35mm-format SLR cameras, the
*ist D accepts a large number of existing 35mm-format interchangeable zoom and special-application lenses and accessories to help accommodate diversified photographic requirements and maximize creativity and image quality.**
** Some restrictions and conditions may apply to certain lenses and accessories.

Bright, high-precision viewfinder with superimposed AF-point display
Exclusively designed to complement the high-performance CCD, the *ist D viewfinder offers a super-clear, high-precision view of the subject at a magnification of 0.95 times (with a 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity, diopter at -1m-1), improving focusing accuracy in manual focus operations and assuring precise framing. The display system offers a wide range of information to inform the photographers of the camera’s operational status at the shooting position. The *ist D is equipped with a built-in diopter adjuster with an adjustable range of -2.5-1 ~ +1.5m-1.

High-precision 11-point autofocus with SAFOX VIII
With a newly developed SAFOX VIII phase-matching autofocus system, the camera’s 11-point AF sensor covers a wide area of both horizontal and vertical image fields with exceptional speed and precision even under poor lighting conditions. Nine of the 11 AF sensors are a horizontally extended, cross-shaped type, improving focusing accuracy and aligned to effectively cover the middle section, while two additional sensors are positioned at each side of this section. In addition to the versatile “Auto” mode and the pinpoint “SPOT” mode, the *ist D offers the innovative “SELECT” mode, which allows the photographer to select one of the 11 AF sensor points using the four-way controller on the back panel. The user-selected sensor point is superimposed in the viewfinder with a red LED indicator.

Sophisticated 16-segment multi-pattern metering
The *ist D’s sophisticated 16-segment multi-pattern metering system solves even the most complicated lighting conditions efficiently and instantly to produce beautifully exposed images frame after frame. Spot and center-weighted metering modes are also available to accommodate specialized applications.

Multi-mode exposure system with flexible “Hyper” operations
The *ist D features a sophisticated exposure system with six distinctive exposure modes. In addition to the all-purpose Green Program mode and the conventional Aperture-Priority AE, Shutter-Priority AE and Bulb modes, it also comes equipped with the innovative “Hyper” exposure modes, which were originally developed by PENTAX to simplify camera operations and maximize creativity. The Hyper Program mode allows the photographer to instantly shift the exposure program using the Tv and/or Av dials without the trouble of resetting the exposure modes. The Hyper Manual mode allows fingertip adjustment of shutter and/or aperture settings in Metered Manual operation. In both Hyper modes, the photographer can instantly jump back to the original program or settings using the IF button. In the Hyper Program mode, the user can choose from the High-Shutter-Speed-Priority, Depth-Priority or MTF-Priority programs as the default program, rather than Normal program, using one of the custom functions.

User-adjustable custom functions
The *ist D features 22 user-adjustable custom functions, allowing the user to preprogram important camera functions to suit individual preferences. The user-selected function is clearly displayed on the LCD image monitor for at-a-glance confirmation.

Continuous shooting at 2.6 frames per second
In the continuous AF mode, the *ist D is capable of successively recording up to nine images at the speed of 2.6 frames per second, making it possible to capture the flow of the subject’s motion.

1/4000-second high-speed shutter with 1/150-second flash sync
The *ist D offers a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second to freeze the decisive moment of the subject’s action or motion. It also offers a high flash synchronization speed of 1/150 second to create dramatic flash images using large apertures.

Versatile multi-source power supply (AA-sized batteries, lithium batteries and AC adapter)
The *ist D can operate from three different power sources to maximize user convenience. In addition to the two accompanying CR-V3 batteries and the optional AC adapter, the *ist D can be powered by four AA-sized batteries (lithium, alkaline, and NiMH), which are commonly available around the world. The optional battery grip can also be combined with the batteries to accommodate extended photo sessions.

Storage media compatibility (MicroDrive™ and CompactFlash™ Type I and II)
The *ist D accepts the widely available CompactFlash™ Type I and II memory cards and the large-capacity MicroDrive™ for high storage volume and fast access speed.

High-precision 1.8-inch LCD image monitor and multi-data status LCD monitor
Located on the back panel, the 1.8-inch 118,000-pixel LCD monitor allows the instant viewing of a just captured image and the playback of recorded images with exceptional clarity and high precision. Positioned at the upper right corner of the top panel, the status LCD monitor provides a host of information on the camera’s operational status at a glance.

Convenient playback functions
Using the large image LCD monitor, the *ist D features four convenient playback modes: (1) The single-frame mode displays capture images one by one and allows the photographer to magnify a selected image up to 12 times; (2) The multi-frame mode lets the photographer view nine recorded images simultaneously; (3) The quick view mode shows a just captured image for one, three or five seconds; (4) The slide show mode automatically displays captured images one after another at an interval of three, five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds.

Choice of recording formats (JPEG, TIFF and RAW) and image file sizes
The *ist D offers a choice of three recording formats: compressed JPEG, and uncompressed TIFF and RAW. The user can select one of three file sizes (“L” at 3008 x 2008 pixels, “M” at 2400 x 1600 pixels, and “S” at 1536 x 1024, 1152 x 768 or 960 x 640 pixels) and one of five image quality levels (good, better, best, TIFF and RAW) to meet specific requirements.

Versatile white balance control
The *ist D offers a choice of three white balance modes: “Auto,” “Preset” and “Manual.” The preset mode allows the instant selection of one of eight different white balance settings, while the manual mode recalls one of three settings preset by the user with pushbutton ease.

Histogram display
Exposure levels can be displayed in graph form on the LCD image monitor during both shooting and playback, allowing the photographer to check the images with greater accuracy.

Standard software for RAW-format data and browser
Enclosed in the *ist D kit, the S-SW10 CD-ROM contains the RAW-format data processing software “PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory” and the browser software “PENTAX PHOTO Browser.”

Noise reduction during extended exposure
The noise reduction function can be activated at slow shutter speeds to eliminate digital noise that may spoil the quality of captured images.

Exclusive accessories
Powered by four AA-sized batteries, the optional D-BG1 battery grip prolongs the *ist D’s operation time. It can be mounted onto the bottom of the *ist D without removing the battery stored inside the camera, so the battery life is extended considerably. It also comes equipped with a vertical-position shutter release button, a preview lever, Tv/Av dials and an AE lock button. The optional O-CC10 camera case stores an *ist D camera body set with a standard zoom lens and features an inside pocket to hold a lens cap and the optional remote controller.

Multi-function auto flash
When set in a pop-up position, the built-in auto flash automatically discharges in the dark and against backlight to provide supplemental illumination on the subject. Its red-eye reduction function helps the photographer avoid the annoying red-eye effect in the subject’s eyes in flash portraits.**** The flash can be activated or turned off manually to create specific visual effects or to comply with flash restrictions.
**** This feature does not eliminate red eyes in all instances.

Creative shooting modes: auto bracketing and multiple exposure
The auto bracketing function enables the capturing of three different exposures of the same subject — proper, under- and over-exposure — with a single shutter release. The photographer has a choice of three orders (proper/under/over, under/proper/over, and over/proper/under) and six exposure ranges (±0.3EV, ±0.7EV and ±1.0EV in 1/3EV increments; ±0.5EV, ±1.0EV and ±1.5EV in 1/2EV increments).

Remote shutter release
Using the optional remote controller, the photographer can release the shutter from a distance with a three-second delay or instantly.

Depth-of-field preview
Turning the main switch to “preview” position provides instant confirmation of the depth of field (in-focus area) for a selected aperture.

# #

PENTAX Markets a Compact 18mm~35mm Zoom Lens for Its 35mm-Format Autofocus SLR Cameras

PENTAX Corporation is proud to announce the marketing in September of the
smc PENTAX-FA J Zoom 18mm~35mm F4~F5.6 AL for use with PENTAX 35mm-format autofocus SLR cameras. Featuring an ultra-wide 100-degree angle of view at the 18mm focal length, this compact interchangeable zoom lens produces high-quality images with minimal aberration, thanks to the incorporation of an aspherical lens element.

Featuring a simple, functional design without an aperture ring, this compact, high-performance zoom lens measures only 72 millimeters (2.8 inches) in diameter and 68.5 millimeters (2.7 inches) in length and weighs a mere 190 grams (6.7 ounces). It also features an angle-of-view coverage between 63 and 100 degrees and a minimum focusing distance of 0.28 meters (0.92 feet) for a maximum magnification of 0.18 times. It comes equipped with a lens hood to cut off excessive light and minimize flare and ghost images.

When mounted on the new PENTAX *ist D digital SLR camera, this zoom lens offers focal lengths equivalent to 27.5mm~53.5mm in the 35mm format to cover wide-angle to standard ranges.
PENTAX Develops the New DA Series of Interchangeable Lenses for Its Digital SLR Cameras

PENTAX Corporation is proud to announce that it is currently in the final stage of development of the compact, high-performance smc PENTAX-DA series of interchangeable lenses, exclusively designed for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras.

The image circle in the DA-series lenses is designed to perfectly match the size of the CCD (23.5mm x 15.7mm) incorporated in PENTAX's digital SLRs, optimizing the performance of these cameras. The new design also contributes to a drastic reduction in size, weight and production cost, compared to 35mm-format counterparts with similar specifications.

As the first model of the new DA series, PENTAX plans to market the
smc PENTAX-DA Zoom 16mm~45mm F4 ED AL (tentative name, equivalent to 24.5mm~69mm in the 35mm format; marketing date to be announced), which features a three-times zoom ratio with focal lengths covering ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto ranges when mounted on the new PENTAX *ist D digital SLR camera. It also incorporates an Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass lens element and two aspherical lens elements for true-to-life image reproduction and size reduction. Its simple, functional design, coupled with the elimination of an aperture ring, considerably improves the camera's operability.

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