Pentax *ist DL Memory Card Compatibility

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

The Pentax *ist DL uses SD memory cards and has one card slot. The camera is compatible with cards up to a maximum of 32GB in capacity.

Attempting to use an SD card that has a capacity of 64GB or larger will cause the Pentax *ist DL to display an error code. You will need to get more SD memory cards if you require additional storage. The most important features to care about should be the transfer speeds the memory card is capable of.

Faster read speeds can save you time if you're transferring many photos, especially if your camera will get lots of use. At this time, a UHS-I memory card and a compatible SD card reader are the fastest way to transfer files.

To make sure the memory card can be used with as many other products in the future as possible, get a pro-level memory card. This will help avoid a future situation where you cannot use a feature on a camera, such as recording 4k video, due to the card not having a fast enough write speed.

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

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 introduction of the Pentax *ist DL, memory card prices have fallen and capacities have gotten massive. The difference in price between the the card that has the fastest transfer speed and a cheap one is remarkably little. Cost is more tied to storage, with the bigger SD memory cards costing more.

Paying for the cards with the largest capacity makes sense if you are going to capture a large quantity of RAW files for action, events, wildlife, or sports photography. Another reason could be if you intend to replace your camera or use the SD memory card in a different device.

I think that the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of memory cards are generally the best option for most situations. They have extremely fast read and write speeds, which means they have the best shot of working with future digital cameras or devices that also use SD cards.

I have also had good experiences with PNY Elite Performance And Lexar Professional cards. I have not had files or data become damaged or lost on these cards. If that scenario did happen, all of the manufacturers provide image recovery software.

When I have experienced problems it has been with generic SD cards. Having a low price or being a bundled accessory are the selling points of these cards. Unfortunately, this is also the most popular kind of card to have an incorrect product description.

A label that says Class 10 speed is effortless to put on a Class 4 card. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is destined to be an error message or corrupted images if the card's write speed is not good enough.

Storage capacity controls a big part of the price. You will be better off by buying a card with a smaller capacity to lower cost as an alternative to choosing a cheaper brand. Read and write speeds are important as they will impact your experience with the Pentax *ist DL.

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 DL. The only difference is that the Lexar SD card provides a slower write speed.

Sometimes there can be a difference in price between the Lexar and SanDisk memory cards. I wouldn't spend more for the Lexar, but also would not have a issue choosing 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 lower tier than the Extreme Pro when looking at specificatos. The benefit from that is that it costs less.

You will not notice a impact in performance unless you need to write a large number of files onto the card. It is not the ideal selection if you plan to use the memory card to shoot 4k video with another device.

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 can handle four different memory card formats. These cover all memory cart formats camera manufacturers implement in all but their latest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN memory card reader connects over USB 3.0. Transfer speeds over USB 3.0 will have faster transfer rates than what the Pentax *ist DL can achieve in USB transfer mode.

There are plenty of positive customer reviews for the card reader, which I agree with. I would recommend it because the card reader has been recognized by all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have tried it with.

The cable keeps card slots from being blocked by other accessories or devices that are plugged in.

When I looked for a card reader that would be easier to travel with, I needed to send a couple of orders back. I experienced the most frequently found problem mentioned in customer reviews, the memory card readers would not work with my computer.

The UGREEN reader is compatible with the following card formats:

  • 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 DL SD Card Compatibility

You can only use SDHC and SD cards with the Pentax *ist DL. Check to make sure your camera has the most recent firmware installed.

SDUC or SDXC cards can not be used with the *ist DL.

Four different types of Secure Digital (SD) cards exist that you need to be aware of. You can tell the difference according to their storage size.

  • 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 DL will effect how many image files that can be stored. Higher image quality settings will give you bigger image sizes.

If you're looking to shoot a bunch of RAW files, getting a card with a larger storage size can be smart.

If you shoot JPEGs, you would likely be much better off getting an additional battery instead of a bigger SD card. 32GB should be ample capacity to save a few days worth of photographs.

The limiting part to the number of pictures you can capture will be your camera batteries. Take into account that, any time the Pentax *ist DL is on, even if you're just navigating through menu settings or using the live view, that will still lower the battery life.

In low light settings, like indoors or at night, the flash built-in to the camera can be handy. Shutter speeds won't be fast enough without the flash to prevent motion blur. Using the flash is going to fairly quickly deplete the camera batteries.

The following is an estimation of the number of high-quality JPEG images you should be able to save on an SD card for the provided storage size:

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

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

The speed rating of an SD card is based on the sequential write and read speeds. The write speed of a card is important for video as well as continuous shooting.

A slow card can decrease the number of continuous photos the Pentax *ist DL can capture. This is because the buffer in the camera is not able to write data to the SD card fast enough.

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

Card read speed is important for file transfers to a computer. If you have cards that are full, an SD 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 a card is related to the sustained write speed. SD cards that have a minimum write speed of at least 10MB/s will be rated 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 brand name SD card that you can find for sale today will be rated Class 10. You can check the class rating of a card by looking for 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 can be found in SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC cards. UHS makes it possible to offer a way to increase data transfer rates.

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

To find the UHS rating of an SD memory card, look on the label. If the card has UHS, a Roman numeral I, II, or III can be found on the front of the 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 information into consideration, SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro is the best Pentax *ist DL memory card. You are now also prepared for any future camera you own.

Below are more pages on Pentax cameras with the same specifications as the *ist DL:

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