Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pentax *ist DL Review at DigiCamReview

Thanks to Engadget for the tip that DigiCamReviews has posted an evaluative review of the Pentax *ist DL, which is quite favorable (8.5/10). Like most reviewers, Matthew Waller was impressed by the DL's auto setting abilities, the easy ergonomics, and fine image quality, especially as this camera sits on the entry-level rung of the DSLR ladder. This review is a bit late in coming, as the camera's been out for quite a while (the DL2 is available already in Canada), but it's still good news.

Probably the best aspect to this review is the image gallery, which provides plenty of examples of ISO speeds and location photography in and around London. Compared to a Fuji Finepix F10, the DL demonstrates far better noise reduction, better contrast control, and, as Matthew writes, "rich colour." The lens tested is the kit 18-55mm DA lens, and none of the images appear to have any additional sharpening applied. An additional light touch of sharpening to a RAW or JPEG file, as most kit lens users should know, can punch up the amount of detail and help with the apparent len softness when you look at the image at pixel resolution on a screen. I don't think that most professional DSLR users are ignoring the impact of post-sharpening at this point, no matter which sensor or lens.

Another aside, I really appreciate that Engadget picked this up without getting snarky, because, like Gizmodo, it's easy for tech blogs to look only at feature innovation, ignore user experience because they've never tested the camera themselves, and then crack some jokes. For example, it's rarely been mentioned how fragile the Canon Rebel 350D XT feels, how small the viewfinder screen is on the relatively large Nikon D50, when compared to a DS or DL, while other issues like AF speed become contentious. Engadget seems to be coming around lately, with fewer jabs at Kodak, Sony and Pentax, or at least seems to be holding back on just favoring Canon and Nikon users. Anyhow, it's all good to see.

Links: DigiCamReview Pentax *ist DL Review, Engadget Post

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