August 22, 2005 – Pentax unveiled the **ist DS2 digital SLR today, an update to last year’s **IST DS, featuring a new larger LCD screen.
"Following in the footsteps of the **ist DS, our most popular digital SLR to date, the **ist DS2 is a user-friendly camera that is an ideal digital SLR choice for use by families that include beginning and more advanced photographers," said Ned Bunnell, director of marketing, PENTAX Imaging Company.
The 6.1 megapixel **ist DS2 builds on the **ist DS with the addition of a 210,000 2.5 inch TFT LCD screen. The *ist DS2’s 23.5mm by 15.7mm CCD sensor enables the capture of 12-bit Raw images, in addition to a range of JPEG files. The camera utilizes the same 11-point SAFOX VIII auto focus system as the DS and offers an ISO range of 200-3200.
Other key specs include a shutter speed range of 1/4000 – 30 seconds, with a top flash sync speed of 1/180 of a second. The camera also includes a bulb exposure setting. Up to eight frames can be captured at a burst rate of 2.8 frames per second. The camera uses an SD card for storage, complementing its compact 4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 inch size and 17.8 ounce weight (excluding batteries or memory card).
The *ist DS2, likes its predecessor, is compatible with the full line of Pentax K, KA, KAF, and KAF2 mount lenses and is expected to reach retailers in September, at an estimated price of under $800.
Along with the *istDS2, Pentax also announced the release of a high-power companion flash unit. The auto zoom AF540FGZ flash unit features a large guide number of 54 (m/ISO 100). The flash head offers a full range of twist and tilt functionality and utilizes Pentax’s P-TTL metering for automatic flash output control. The AF540FGZ flash can serve as a wireless master unit for compatible Pentax flash units.
The AF540FGZ is expected to be available in October at an estimated street price of under $400.