If you're looking for a relatively cheap way to enter the world of digital SLR photography, the UK's DigiCam Review thinks you could do a lot worse than the Pentax *ist DL, which despite its unpronouncable name, came out a clear winner in their testing. Successor cheaper alternative to the company's *ist DS, the 6.1 megapixel DL impresses on many fronts, including image quality, response times, ergonomics, and, perhaps most importantly to a DSLR newbie, ease-of-use. Specifically, the DL -- which was tested with the optional 15-55mm Pentax DA lens -- captured pictures with good contrast, detail and color, low noise except at the highest ISO setting, and a general lack of purple-fringing or red-eye, while providing a lot of features, such as RAW support, auto ISO, and a 2.5-inch display, for its $740 price tag. The only real knocks here seem to be the lack of image stabilization or CF card support -- meaning storage is limited to the most capacious SD card available -- but since this model is certainly not targeted at pros, those issues may not even matter to most.

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