Pentax *ist DS Memory Card Compatibility

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

The Pentax *ist DS is compatible with SD memory cards and has a single card slot. SD memory cards with a max storage size of 32GB will be compatible with the *ist DS.

Attempting to use an SD memory card that has a capacity of 64GB or larger will cause the Pentax *ist DS to display an error code. For more storage capacity, you will need to buy several memory cards. The transfer speeds of SD memory cards are the most important specifications to pay attention to.

If your camera will be getting lots of use. Currently, a UHS-I SD card and a compatible memory card reader are the most efficient way to transfer photos.

Getting a top-level memory card also helps to future proof the card for use in another device or camera. You do not want to end up with a camera upgrade causing you to need to shop for a replacement SD card that has fast enough write speeds for recording 4k video.

This is my recommendation for the best memory card for the Pentax *ist DS:

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 launch of the Pentax *ist DS, memory card prices have dropped and storage capacities have gotten massive. The difference in price between the the SD card that is the fastest and a cheap one is unexpectedly little. The price is related to storage size, with the larger SD memory cards being more expensive.

Paying for the cards with the largest capacity only makes sense if you are going to capture a large quantity of RAW files for action, events, wildlife, or sports photography. Another contributing factor could be if you are going to upgrade your camera or use the card in other devices.

In my opinion, the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of memory cards are frequently the best option for most situations. They are extremely fast cards which gives them the best chance of being compatible with future digital cameras or devices that also use SD cards.

I have also had positive experiences with PNY Elite Performance And Lexar Professional cards. I have not had pictures or files become inaccessible or unrecoverable on these brands. If that's a situation that did happen, all of them have image recovery software available.

When I have encountered problems it has been with generic SD cards. Being a bundled accessory or a low price are the selling points of these cards. However, this is also the most commonly encountered version of card to have the wrong product information.

It's very 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 going to be an error message or corrupted photos if the card's write speed does not satisfy the camera's requirements.

One of the biggest controls over price you have is the storage capacity of a card. You will be better off by getting a card with lower storage capacity to reduce cost as an alternative to going with a generic brand. Read and write speeds are important as they will influence your enjoyment of the Pentax *ist DS.

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 SD card when used in the Pentax *ist DS. The important difference is that the Lexar card features a slower write speed.

Sometimes there can be a big difference in cost between the Lexar and SanDisk cards. I wouldn't pay more for the Lexar, but also would not have a issue purchasing it if it was more affordable.

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 specs. The benefit from that is that it costs less.

You won't detect a difference in performance except if you need to write a large number of files onto the memory card. This isn't the most desirable option if you plan to use the memory card to shoot 4k video one day.

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 common types of memory cards. These cover everything camera manufacturers make use of in all but the newest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader has a USB 3.0 connection. The USB 3.0 transfer speeds will be faster transfer rates than what the Pentax *ist DS can reach using the USB transfer mode.

There are many 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 plugged it into.

The cable prevents memory card slots from interfering with other devices or accessories that are plugged in.

When I looked for a more compact card reader that would be used for travel, I had to return a couple of orders. I encountered the most common problem in customer reviews, the readers did not work with my computer.

The card reader can use 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 DS SD Card Compatibility

Only SD and SDHC memory cards can be used by the Pentax *ist DS. For best performance, make sure your camera has the most up to date firmware.

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

Four different types of Secure Digital (SD) cards exist that you need to know of. They are divided by 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 settings on the Pentax *ist DS will influence how many image files will fit on the memory card. Higher image quality options will create larger image sizes.

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

If you shoot JPEGs, you would likely be much better off purchasing an additional camera battery in place of a bigger card. 32GB would be more than enough space to store more than a couple of days of photos.

In reality, the controlling factor to just how many pictures you can take will likely be your camera batteries. Take into account that, any time the Pentax *ist DS is on, even if you are just going through menu options or using the live view, that will reduce the battery life.

In low light settings, like indoors or at night, the built-in flash can be useful. Without using the flash, shutter speeds won't be fast enough to avoid motion blur. Using the built-in flash will quickly drain the camera batteries.

The following is an approximation of the number of high-quality JPG images you can expect to save on a memory card for the listed 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 determined by the sequential write and read speeds. The speed of a card is very important for continuous shooting as well as video.

A slow SD card can cut down the number of continuous frames the Pentax *ist DS can capture. This is because the camera's buffer will not be able to write data to the memory card fast enough.

With video, a slow card can cause recording to stop. The video file could also end up being corrupted. If you are going to record video, it is important the memory card you use meets the minimum requirements of the camera.

Card read speed is nice to have for file transfers to a computer. If you are filling up cards with images or video, a card with a fast read speed will decrease the transfer 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 determined by the sustained write speed. SD cards that have a minimum write speed of at least 10MB/s are rated 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. 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 is found in SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC cards. UHS makes it possible for faster file transfer rates.

There are 3 different versions. They are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

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

If you wanted to choose one, SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro is the best Pentax *ist DS memory card. It also has great compatibility with other cameras.

Below are more pages on digital cameras related to the *ist DS:

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