I have owned an *istD for two years now and it has served me very well indeed. All my cameras have been Pentax since I started snapping photos in the early 80's and I already had Pentax lenses from the MZ
-30 which I had purchased a couple of years earlier. Also some CompactFlash media storage cards from a Canon Powershot A40 'point and shoot' as well as several sets of rechargeable batteries. Combine that with a *very* favourable USD/GBP exchange rate during a visit to the USA - well, it was an economically easy-to-make decision
review is IMHO a very fair reflection of what the *istD is good at as well as it's weaker areas.
I love the handling of the camera - it does not feel like a housebrick like many other DSLR's must do - and with Pentax lightweight lenses it is so easy to track fast moving aircraft and other objects. The autofocus function is very swift and reliable too. The option to save images as TIFF files is useful because these give much greater flexibility when editing and negates the need for a RAW converter.
Negative points - well some of the mode dials are a bit fiddly and do take some time to get used to, and the small CF compartment is a pain especially when you have to quickly change the card in the middle of a flying sequence! The main issue is the softness of the images though for me it is not a problem.
Have to be honest and say that if I was starting from scratch I would think very seriously about the choice open to you; an extra 2MP aligned with a competitive price as well as a better range of lenses...
The acceptance ratio of my DSLR submissions to A.Net has been relatively good though I mainly shoot military aircraft as well as W&R, most rejections have been the result of my poor editing rather than the camera.
Oh well, plug time
[Edited 2006-05-08 22:40:33]