Pros Viewfinder - Great Ergonomics - Very Low Noise
Cons None that I can think of - would have preferred CF over SD
Summary Sold my Digital Rebel to get this - Why ? One of the most important things in a camera is the viewfinder , this has a noticeably better one than the Rebel. I also like to shoot in low (natural) light , I can get useable images up to ISO 1600 (ISO 3200 can even be used for smaller prints) It also has better ergonomics. Everything seems to where you expect it. A great camera especially for those who take photography seriously.
Pros Very easy to use right out of the box. The controls are pretty well self explanatory. Despite what some reviews say, in my opinion it takes as good jpegs as raw. great picture quality all around!
Cons None really... But to get the full use of this camera read the manual and adjust the settings manually it's awsome!!
Summary I considered buying Nikon or Canon but chose Pentax, after trying all of these out!Picture quality is fantastic in either Jpeg or raw.Battery life is really good,uses AA Batterys which is very handy.Taking pics using the flash, use Flash compensation, set Iso at 400. Brightens things up considerably. Great pics indoors or out! I got the best deal from Wolf Camera, the camera and 2 lenses for $899.I noticed that to get the full benefit or the most out of this camera you need to use the custom settings! You can select one of 2 color modes. Personally I really like the natural mode. The colors are excellent. Picture quality is excellent! I love this camera! Read the manual and adjust the settings and you will be thrilled at what you can come up with when using this camera!
Pros Size, ease of use for novice and enthusiast alike.
Cons Continuous AF only accessible from Sport mode.
Summary Having used the Digital Rebel, D70, and the 20D, the Pentax IstDS impressed me quite a bit. It has a much better lens package than the Rebel and the base 20D kit. It offers a more well rounded group of features than the rebel, but falls short on the pro side when compared to the D70 or the 20D. In short, I bought it. However, to rate a confusing name of a camera as a downside is, well, idiotic. It's like rating a car badly because you didn't like the colour of the test model. It has absolutely no bearing on performance. Your credibility in reviews has gone down a bit in my eyes.
Pros Light weight and small size, great for hiking or canoeing or nature photography.
Cons Raw format only for best image quality means 10 meg pictures for top quality (ouch).
Summary A fantastic camera all around. For an older guy like me the part of the auto focus that puts a red dot on what the camera is focusing on is a godsend. I can tell what's in focus without depending on my own bifocal dependant eyesight. My pictures are almost as good as I used to be, back when I could see. Even in manual focus mode, the camera still shows you what you've focused on. That allows you way more control of depth of field than any one my age deserves.
Pros Lightest Weight Digital SLR, Solid Build, SD Card Slot
Cons Requires Firmware Update to read SD Cards Greater than 1GB
Summary Superb camera. I looked at the Nikon and Canon equivalents and found them to be significantly larger. That's a big minus when you need to fit it into a separate camera bag with other accessories. Oddly enough it weighs more than the larger camera. This usually means more metal components and gives the camera a more solid feel. In general my experience with lighter larger cameras are that there are more plastic components and if "heaven forbid" you drop it the camera is trashed. Pentax has always been known for durability and when I took it with me to China the camera held up extremely well. There are actually a few additional models a DS and I think a DZ. The *ist DS is in the mid range. The camera is also cheaper than the comparable Nikon and Canon. The megapixel number is slightly lower 6.1 vs 8, but I think you would be hard put to tell the difference and Pentax claims to get more data per pixel using a proprietary technology. The simple answer is that for the average user it will make no difference. I feel that the SD Card Slot is a big plus. Compact Flash cards are bulky and interesting enough are slower than SD Cards in general. Of course you can get larger and faster compact flash cards, but you pay the price and you would still likely find that you can get a faster SD Card. I'm not sure you will notice unless you are doing bursts of multiple shots at a time. The other big plus to SD Cards is that they are starting to be used in other devices like computers and phones. This allows for easy transfer and showing of photos. A very nice advantage. Most Toshiba laptops have an SD card slot, but I don't know many computers that will accept a compact flash card. One draw back is that the firm ware that comes on the camera DOES NOT allow it write beyond 1GB. It would have been nice if they told me this in the manual, since oddly enough a preformatted 2GB chip will read like it really is 2GB and you won't realize you can't write 2GB until it simply stops writing. This took me a while to figure out, but there is a firm ware upgrade that you can simply download and transfer to the SD card and from the SD card update the computer. It's very easy to do, they just should have said something about it in advance. The Canon purports to be a few frames faster, when you try to shoot multiple frames. I did not feel that having 6 frames per second was a draw back compared to 8. Again this is a difference that is very hard to appreciate. Finally I think the Canon requires that you use a proprietary battery set and the Pentax uses 4 double AA. Believe me that makes a big difference when you are out of battery power and are looking for a store that has double AAs verus a proprietary format. Although the Pentax has less features I think that for most of us it has more than what we actually need. How many average users would want to shoot in RAW? The other really nice feature is that ALL of Pentax's lenses will work on this camera where as my understanding is that depending on the Canon model only certain lenses will work. It may be a draw back that Pentax doesn't have as many different lenses, but for the average user a good zoom and perhaps a faster lens is about all you would use 99% of the time any ways so I'm not sure what you would miss. My guess is that for the 5-10% of us that are near professional level these kinds of things might be important.