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Pentax *istDL review with 18-55mm f3.5~5.6 DA lens Gordon Laing, December 2005



The following images were taken with the Pentax *istDL and the optionally bundled 18-55mm f3.5~5.6 DA lens. The recording mode was set to 6M / ***, thereby using the full 6.1megapixel resolution and the least-compressed JPEG setting. The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

City: 3.23MB, Program, 1/350, f9.5, ISO 200, 18-55mm DA f3.5~5.6 at 40mm

Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 40mm f9.5   This shot of The Tower of London with the City of London in the background, was taken with the 18-55mm kit lens at 40mm f9.5.

As you'd expect mid-way through the focal range and at f9.5, the image and crops are sharp and detailed.

There's no noise to speak of at the DL's lowest ISO setting of 200, although some may find the default image processing a little punchy.
Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 40mm f9.5 lower left crop   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 40mm f9.5 middle crop   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 40mm f9.5 upper right crop  

City: 2.40MB, Program, 1/180, f16, ISO 200, 18-55mm DA f3.5~5.6 at 55mm

Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f16   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f16 lower left crop   This shot of St Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge in London, was taken with the 18-55mm DA kit lens at 55mm f16.

Closing the aperture to f16 has delivered sufficient depth-of-field to keep both foreground and background in reasonably sharp focus despite the longer focal length of 55mm.

Again at ISO 200 there's little noise in real-life results with the DL.
  Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f16 upper middle crop  
  Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f16 right crop  

Portrait: 2.05MB, Program, 1/180, f9.5, ISO 200, 18-55mm DA f3.5~5.6 at 55mm

Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5 left crop   This shot of a guard was taken at The Tower of London using the DL's kit lens at 55mm.

The first two crops taken from the lower left and central portions of the original are sharp as you'd expect, but the crop from the upper right corner, is quite blurred in comparison. This was also despite using a relatively small aperture of f9.5.
  Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5 middle crop  
  Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5 right crop  

Aquarium: 2.13MB, Program, 1/60, f4.5, ISO 800, 18-55mm DA f3.5~5.6 at 18mm

Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 18mm 800 ISO   The light level in the tanks of the London Aquarium can be very low, forcing the use of higher sensitivities.

Here we photographed this tiny jellyfish with the kit lens pressed against the tank glass using an ISO of 800. There's inevitably visible noise on the crops but it allowed a shutter speed of 1/60 to freeze any motion. Note this shot was a challenge for the DL's AF system.
Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 18mm 800 ISO left crop   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 18mm 800 ISO middle crop   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 18mm 800 ISO middle right crop  

City: 2.67MB, Program, 1/250, f9.5, ISO 200, 18-55mm DA f3.5~5.6 at 55mm

Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5   Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5 lower left crop   This shot of London's Tower Bridge, taken with the kit lens at 55mm, shares many similarities with the first and second pictures in this gallery.

With the aperture closed to f9.5, optical quality is generally good, although the crop of the ticket office on the far left is slightly soft. Again, while there's no noise to be concerned with, the default image processing is quite pronounced.
  Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5 upper midlle crop  
  Pentax *istDL with 18-55mm lens at 55mm f9.5 middle right crop  

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