Pentax *ist D Memory Card Compatibility

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: October 25, 2019
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Olympus SD Memory Card Compatibility

The Pentax *ist D has only one memory card slot that supports SD memory cards. It is compatible with SD cards up to a maximum of 32GB in size.

Attempting to use an SD card that is 64GB or larger will cause the Pentax *ist D to display an error code. For more storage space, you'll need to buy additional SD memory cards. The important specifications to focus on should be the read and write speeds the card is capable of.

Faster transfer speeds can reduce the time needed to transfer photos, especially if your Pentax *ist D gets lots of use. At this time, a UHS-I SD memory card and a compatible SD card reader are the fastest way to copy files.

To make sure the SD memory card will be compatible with as many devices in the future as possible, get a professional level card. To prevent ending up with a camera upgrade causing you to need to shop for a replacement memory card that has fast enough write speeds for shooting 4k video.

Here's my recommendation for the best SD card for the Pentax *ist D:

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB

  • Best SD card available
  • Largest compatible storage capacity.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s.
  • Write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.

Best SD Cards

Since the Pentax *ist D was released, SD card prices have fallen and storage capacities have become massive. The price difference between the fastest card and a mediocre one is surprisingly little. The cost is related to storage size, with the bigger cards having a higher price.

Buying the highest capacity cards only makes sense if you're going to shoot a large quantity of RAW files for action, sports, events, or wildlife photography. Another reason could be if you are planning to replace your camera or use the memory card in a different device.

I think that the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of sd cards are generally the best option for most situations. They are fast cards which gives them the best prospect of working with future digital cameras or devices that use SD cards.

Lexar Professional and PNY Elite Performance are other cards that I have had good experiences with. I have not had pictures or data become corrupted or unrecoverable on these brands. If that scenario did occur, all of the manufacturers provide image recovery software.

Problems I have encountered have been with generic SD memory cards. Having a low price or being a bundled accessory are the selling points. Unfortunately, this is also the most commonly encountered type of card to have an incorrect product description.

It's really easy to put a Class 10 sticker on a card with a Class 4 rating. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is bound to be an error message or unreadable photos if the card's write speed doesn't meet the requirements.

One of the largest controls over price you have is the storage capacity. You will be better off by going one step down in capacity to lower cost as an alternative to going with a generic brand. Read and write speeds are important factors that will affect your enjoyment of the Pentax *ist D.

Recommended SD Cards

Lexar 633x 23GB UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

Lexar Professional 633X 32GB

  • High-speed, Class 10 performance.
  • UHS-I technology for a read transfer speeds up to 633x (95MB/s).
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow.

The Lexar Professional is close in performance to the SanDisk Extreme Pro card when used with the Pentax *ist D. The important difference is that the Lexar card provides a slower write speed.

Sometimes there can be a big difference in cost between the Lexar and SanDisk SD memory cards. I would not pay more for the Lexar, but also would not have a problem picking it to save money.

SanDisk Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Ultra 32GB

  • Good value to save some money.
  • Quick transfer read up to 80MB/s.
  • Class 10 rating for Full HD video (1080p).
  • Waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray Proof, magnet-Proof, and shockproof.

The SanDisk Ultra is a step down from the Extreme Pro when it comes to specificatos. That also comes with a modest decrease in price.

You will not perceive a impact in performance except if you need to write data that will fill up a large part of the memory card's capacity. It is not the most desirable selection if you plan to use the memory card to shoot 4k video in the future.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB

  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.

Memory Card Reader

UGreen 4-in-1 Card Reader
There's a bright blue LED that bothered me. It is now covered in gaff tape.

The UGreen 4-in-1 memory card reader supports four types of memory cards. These include all memory cart formats camera manufacturers make use of in all but their newest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader has a USB 3.0 connection. Transfer speeds over USB 3.0 will have faster transfer rates than what the Pentax *ist D is capable of using the USB transfer mode.

There are overwhelmingly positive customer reviews for the UGREEN reader, which I agree with. I would recommend it because the reader has been compatible with all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have used with it.

The cable stops memory card slots from being blocked by other accessories or devices that are being used in an adjacent port.

When I looked for a more compact card reader that would be better for travel, I needed to go through the return process with multiple orders. I experienced the most frequently found problem mentioned in customer reviews, the card readers did not work with my computer.

The card reader is compatible with the card formats below:

  • CompactFlash Cards
  • SD, SDHC, & SDXC Cards (UHS-I supported)
  • Memory Stick (MS), MS Pro, MS PRO-HG, & MS XC DUO
  • MicroSD, Micro SDHC, & Micro SDXC Cards

Pentax *ist D SD Card Compatibility

Only SDHC and SD memory cards can be used by the Pentax *ist D. Check to ensure that your camera has the most up to date firmware.

SDUC or SDXC cards can't be used in the *ist D.

Four different types of Secure Digital (SD) cards exist that you need to be aware of. SD memory cards can be identified based on the card's storage capacity.

  • Secure Digital (SD) - 128MB to 2GB.
  • Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) - 4GB to 32GB.
  • Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) - 64GB to 2TB.
  • Secure Digital Ultra Capacity (SDUC) - 4TB to 128TB.

Image Capacity

Olympus SD Memory Card Contacts

Image quality options on the Pentax *ist D will determine the number of images that can be stored. Higher image quality settings will create bigger image sizes.

If you are going to shoot lots of RAW files, it can be smart to get a larger capacity card.

If you shoot JPEGs, you'd likely be better off buying an extra battery in place of a larger SD card. 32GB would be enough space to save several days worth of photos.

In fact, the controlling factor to just how many photos you can take will be your camera batteries. Remember that, any time the camera is on, even if you're just going through menu settings or using the live view, that will lower the battery life.

For low light settings, like indoors or at night, the built-in flash can be handy. Shutter speeds will not be fast enough without using the flash to avoid motion blur. Utilizing the flash is going to rapidly deplete the camera batteries.

The following is an approximation of how many high-quality JPEG images you should be able to store on a card for the provided capacity:

  • 4GB - 1,160 images
  • 8GB - 2,320 images
  • 16GB - 4,640 images
  • 32GB - 9,280 images

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

Speed ratings of an SD memory card is dependant on the sequential read and write speeds. The write speed of an SD card is essential for clearing the buffer for continuous shooting in addition to recording video.

Slows SD cards can decrease the number of continuous frames the Pentax *ist D can capture. This is because the buffer in the camera is not able to write to the card quickly enough.

When shooting video, a slow SD card can cause an unexpected end to recording. The video file might also end up being corrupted. If you are going to record video, it is important the memory card you use meets the requirements of the camera.

Card read speed is nice to have for file transfers to a computer or laptop. If you have cards that are full, a card with a fast read speed will save you time.

Speed Class Rating

Example of where to find SD Card Speed Class
The 10 inside of the C means the card is Class 10.

The Class rating of an SD card is related to the sustained write speed. Memory cards that have a write speed of at least 10MB/s are labeled as Class 10.

  • Class 2 - 2MB/s
  • Class 4 - 4MB/s
  • Class 6 - 6MB/s
  • Class 8 - 8MB/s
  • Class 10 - 10MB/s or faster

Every name-brand card that you can buy online will have a Class 10 rating. To check the class rating of a card, find a number inside of a C on the label.

Ultra High Speed (UHS)

Example of an SD memory card with a UHS-I rating.
The UHS rating of a card can be determined by a Roman numeral I, II, or III on the label of the card.

The Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus is available in SDUC, SDXC, and SDHC cards. UHS memory cards to achieve faster read and write speeds.

Three separate specifications exist. They are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

Look at the front of the memory card to figure out the rating of a memory card. If there is a Roman numeral I, II, or III on the front of the memory card, that will be the rating of the SD memory card.

  • UHS-I - Maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/s
  • UHS-II - Maximum transfer rate of 312 MB/s
  • UHS-III - Maximum transfer rate of 624 MB/s

Related Cameras

Taking the facts into consideration, SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro is the best Pentax *ist D memory card. Any future camera you own, you will know what sd memory card to buy.

Listed below are more pages on digital cameras with similar specs as the *ist D:

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