Pentax Ist DS2 Camera Review: The Affordable DSLR You Need To Check Out

Discover the powerful and budget-friendly Pentax Ist DS2 camera and its impressive features that make it a great entry-level DSLR option. Get all the information you need to know about its specs, image quality, usability, and more.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Pentax ist DS2 article cover photo

Key Features

Aug 22 2005


6 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C

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Overview of the ist DS2

Looking for an affordable yet reliable DSLR camera that can help you capture stunning shots and level up your photography game? Look no further than the Pentax Ist DS2 camera. This option is not only budget-friendly, but also packs a punch with its impressive features and capabilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate photographer, this camera is sure to become your go-to choice for capturing all sorts of moments and scenes. So, let’s dive into the details and see why the Pentax Ist DS2 is worth checking out.

Pentax ist DS2 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Pentax ist DS2 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Affordable price point
6.1 megapixel resolution
Compact and lightweight
APS-C sensor size
Compatibility with K-mount lenses
Dust and weather-resistant construction


Limited ISO range (up to 3200)
No built-in image stabilization
Slow autofocus system
Short battery life
No live view feature
Limited video capabilities

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Pentax ist DS2

Weather sealed
Dimensions125 x 93 x 66mm

Weather Sealing

The Pentax ist DS2 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution210k dots
Body typeMid-size SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type " screen, with a display resolution of 210k dots. This makes the Pentax ist DS2 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


ist DS2 includes a optical viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 95% and a magnification of 0.64x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Pentax ist DS2 has a 6MP sized CCD sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 6 pixels. Pentax ist DS2 has a native ISO range of 200 - 3200 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Aug 22 2005


200 - 3200

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution3008 x 2008 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Pentax ist DS2 camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the ist DS2 is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageSD/MMC card
Battery Life
Battery Model4 x AA
Wireless Connectivity


The Pentax ist DS2 supports SD/MMC card with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Pentax ist DS2 uses the 4 x AA model of undefined. This is rated for undefined shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Pentax ist DS2 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Pentax ist DS2 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Pentax ist DS2 includes phase detection autofocus (AF), with 11 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Pentax ist DS2?

The Pentax ist DS2 features a CCD sensor

Is the Pentax ist DS2 weather sealed?

No the ist DS2 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Pentax ist DS2 announced?

The Pentax ist DS2 was announced on Aug 22 2005

Does the Pentax ist DS2 have in-body image stabilization?

No the ist DS2 does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Pentax ist DS2?

The ist DS2 has a native ISO range of 200-3200, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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