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Nikon D100 Preview

by Patrick Hudepohl, May, 2002


Pending a full review of the D100, this preview article attempts to illustrate the features as well as the strong and weak points of this newly announced camera from Nikon.

The Nikon D100 is a 6 megapixel digital SLR, supporting Nikon's extensive array of (AF) lenses and accessoires. It is targeted at the advanced amateur ("prosumer") and the professional user. The D100 fills the gap between the cheaper and simpler Coolpix cameras (such as the Coolpix 5000) and the more expensive, professional D1 series (see the reviews of the D1, the D1H and D1X cameras).

At the moment, pricing is not yet certain.

The main features are:

  • 6 megapixel ( 3008 x 2000 pixels) CCD imager
  • 1/4,000 sec. top shutter speed and flash sync speed up to 1/180 sec.
  • USB 1.1 interface and Nikon View 5 software for computer connectivity.
  • 8 bit-per-channel JPEG and 12 bit-per-channel RAW formats
  • supports Compact Flash type I and II cards, as well as IBM Microdrive.

Expectations

The D100, as seen on Nikon's website and in their brochures, looks like a digital N80 (F80 outside the USA). This is somewhat confusing, since the D100 name seems to imply it is a digital F100. Instead, the D1H and D1X look like digital F100s. I guess it is reasonable to expect N80-like build quality and (AF) performance. Some interesting features of this camera, particularly when compared to the D1H and D1X series, are:

  • 6 megapixel resolution: this is much better than the D1H and actually even better than the D1X, although we will have to wait and see if the image quality is as good as well. Perhaps the D1 series cameras will provide better results at higher ISO speeds or longer exposure times.
  • On-demand grid lines: as in the N80 / F80, these can be very helpful when taking photos of architecture.
  • Smaller, lighter body: the vertical grip is optional and leaving it out (and mounting a lens like the AF 35/2D) will make the D100 a small and yet powerful package. If the D100 can manage a full day shoot on a single battery, it would be a super package indeed. A D1 series camera, because of the larger body and non-removable grip, is always going to be very bulky and heavy.
  • Built-in flash: although generally speaking on-camera flash is probably the worst lighting you can have for your photographs, a built-in flash can be a great help. If it is too dark for available light photography, the flash helps to at least get a shot. But more importantly, a built-in flash can provide a little fill flash for an outdoor portrait. This can be very important as high contrast can easily overpower an 8-bit JPEG.
  • Use of a simple cable release. The specifications are not very clear on this point, but it would appear that the D100 has the same threaded shutter release button as the N80. This would enable the use of a simple, mechanical cable release (available for EUR 15, versus EUR 100 for an MC-30). I admit this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine...

The CCD is the same size as the one in the D1 series (23.7 by 15.6 mm), which is considerably smaller than 35mm film. It means that focal lengths are effectively multiplied by 1.5, resulting in a tighter crop of the image. An 80-200 zoom becomes a 120 - 300 zoom with more telephoto power, but a 24-85 zoom becomes a 36 - 128 lens with a somewhat disappointing wide-angle coverage.

For their APS SLR cameras, Nikon has designed a couple of special IX lenses. It surprises me that they have not made a special "DX" series for their digital cameras. A true wide-angle, a compact standard lens and a nice portrait lens would be welcomed by many, I believe. Perhaps they expect to launch a full-size sensor camera soon enough not to be bothered with an intermediate solution like this?

The most appropriate lenses for this camera are the modern AF, AF-D and AF-S lenses. Older lenses without a CPU can be used, but then the built-in exposure meter does not work. This applies to certain modern film cameras as well. I think a camera in this class should support older lensesa s well -- every now and then I still use an old AI 50/2 or AI 24/2.8 lens on my Nikon F100.

The optional MB-D100 vertical grip allows the camera to run on 6 AA-size (penlight) batteries. Unlike the MB-15 for the F100 and the D1H built-in grip, this one does replicate both the command wheel and the subcommand wheel (the subcommand wheel is used to set the aperture, particularly with AF-G lenses which do not have an aperture ring). It also features a voice/memo recording / playback function and a 10-pin connector for an (MC-30) remote control.

The D100 supports the latest in Nikon flash technology, but only with a new DX-type flash, such as the SB-28DX or SB-80DX. With older flashes, only non-TTL (i.e., primitive) flash is possible.

Nikon film users

The big question for many Nikon film users is whether or not to go digital now. Except for professional photographers, the D1 series is too expensive for most and the D100 might just be cheap enough to buy it.

I am not going to order a D100 right away. Obviously, I want to test it first, or at the very least read a few reports by others. But something else is important for me as well. I have invested quite a bit in film-specific equipment over the last couple of years (F100, MB-15 grip, SB28 flash, Coolscan III scanner) and I do not want to "dump" that gear for a digital substitute just yet. Also, if a complete D100 kit is going to be priced similar to the Canon EOS D60 pro kit (currently $3400 here in the Netherlands), it will cost too much to be considered an extra body.

I do not spend over $1000 per year on film and development and I even like editing -- a Schneider 4x or 10x loupe really makes a properly exposed Velvia slide look great. If, however, you do spend $1000 or more and do not mind staring at a computer display, buying a D100 makes perfect sense.

As an aside, I also like working with digital images, using Photoshop to make them look as good as possible and sharing them on the Web. In fact, I do not particularly enjoy the scanning process itself, nor am I too keen on sleeving negatives and pasting pictures. So, one day I will probably switch to digital. I also do not expect to buy more film-specific equipment, such as a second F100.

Competition

The most obvious competitor is the Canon EOS D60. In many ways the cameras are likely to give similar performances. It is not unreasonable to expect similar pricing as well (though Nikon cameras tend to be slightly more expensive than their Canon counterparts).

How to decide between D60 and D100? If you already own Canon lenses, consider the D60. Likewise, if you own Nikkors, consider the D100. If you own neither, the choice may be quite difficult. Carefully take into account the entire system; you may like to have a Nikon FM3A as a backup film camera, or you may like Canon's MP-E 65mm 1-5X macro lens. Also, be sure to try the cameras in a photo shop. Camera handling is very personal and very important.

The older and more expensive D1X and D1H cameras are competitors as well. The D1H, while offering only 2.6 megapixels, is surely going to be much faster. Sadly, it is beginning to look outdated and most people except photojournalists, will probably not buy it. Both D1X and D1H have a FireWire interface for faster image transfer, offer faster maximum shutter and flash synch speeds and will undoubtedly have a better build quality. They may also have better image quality. However, for many "prosumers" and even professionals, the D100 may well prove to be equally good in actual use.

In fact, I would not be surprised if, after the launch of the D100, Nikon will introduce a new professional model (perhaps at Photokina 2002?). Combining D1H speed and D1X resolution, and perhaps improving on both by having a larger sensor, would ensure a clearer disinction between prosumer and professional.

If you do not mind depending on Sigma for lenses, the Foveon X3-based Sigma SD9 is a valid alternative too. Although it offers only 3.5 megapixels, the X3 chip may yet surprise us with image quality.

More information

Image of the D100 at the top of the article courtesy of Nikon USA. Patrick Hudepohl ( email).

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Victor Panlilio , May 09, 2002; 02:58 A.M.

On Apr 27 I got a few minutes to play with a preproduction D100 at a mini-trade show in my city. The local Nikon professional rep summed it up thusly: D1X guts in an N80/F80 body. At the time, the firmware was not yet finalized, and they had just loaded a new version prior to the trade show. The camera feels a lot lighter than a D1-series body, and it's a tad smaller too. My first impression was that the focal length multiplier caused by the CCD area makes the viewfinder seem cramped, especially since the five focus points take up the same room in the smaller frame. The LCD screen was clear and bright, especially the histogram display. I didn't test its frame rate, but was told that it should be about 3 fps. Perceived AF speed with a SilentWave 28-70/2.8 was swift. I'm looking forward to published tests of image quality with the final firmware. I also hope the price is less than 50% of the D1x... :-)

Robert Edwards , May 09, 2002; 06:40 A.M.

I too recently played with the D100. It isn't a simply a repackaged N80 (as the Fujifilm S2 is) because Nikon started with the D100, it just so happens the film-based N80 was released first. The batteries are more efficient and lot's of AA's may be used in an emergency. Local price is less than the Canon D60. The CCD is all new and cheaper than any previous Nikon CCD, with some fear of more noise due to smaller pixels. Like the Foveon X3 I'll reserve my opinion until I see an image produced by the camera.

Ayhan Inal , May 10, 2002; 04:00 A.M.

I am a EOS D60 user. Two days ago I saw sample images from D100 on the internet and there is not too much difference between two machine.

Check this link : http://www.digitalcamera.jp/report/D100-020508/

Marco Frissen , May 13, 2002; 10:48 A.M.

I too am going to hold off.. Looking at the japanese page, I feel dissapointed, since I personally think the images are not as sharp as they should be .. I'd love to see a comparison between the S2 Pro and D100.. And of course, the X3 Foveon technology.. will it break through??

Patrick Hudepohl , May 17, 2002; 07:28 A.M.

In a press release, Nikon UK announced that "the RRP price of the 6 megapixel D100 digital SLR will be £1,899.99 body only." and that it "is due to go on sale at the end of June."

John Traversaro , May 18, 2002; 08:46 P.M.

To give those of us in the States some perspective, how much is Canon charging for the D60 in the UK?

Jason Elsworth , May 19, 2002; 07:26 P.M.

The fact that the D100 doesn't take manual focus lenses has confirmed my final move to Canon in the next 1-2 years. I will not be able to use my 500 f4 P with this body and AFS lenses are still very expensive, even second hand. However, Canon USM non IS big guns are cheaper second hand than AFS and I expect prices to drop as more and more people to the wonderful, but expensive, IS lenses.

Jason elsworth www.jasonelsworth.co.nz

Patrick Hudepohl , May 20, 2002; 03:46 A.M.

With respect to the D100 and manual lenses, their brochure states the following:

Compatible Lenses:

  1. D-type/G-type AF Nikkor: All functions possible,
  2. D-type Manual-Focus Nikkor: All functions except autofocus possible,
  3. AF Nikkor other than D-type/G-type: All functions possible except 3D Matrix Metering,
  4. AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D Matrix Metering and autofocus possible,
  5. Non-CPU: Usable in [M] mode (camera’s built-in exposure meter does not work), Electronic Rangefinder usable with lens with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster;
IX-Nikkors cannot be used.

Jason Elsworth , May 20, 2002; 04:20 A.M.

Looks like I may have jumped the gun a bit here. I see from the brochure stuff that was posted that there is no 3D matrix metering. I presume this means that "normal" matrix metering is OK, or does it just mean no matrix metering ???

Patrick Hudepohl , May 21, 2002; 07:01 A.M.

Jason, I think (but do not know for sure) that it means that center-weighted and spot metering are available, but no matrix at all. All exposure modes (P, S, A and M) should be available as well.

Javier Cuadriello , May 21, 2002; 11:47 A.M.

What is the logic behind moving to Canon because a new Nikon camera won't take old manual lenses? Is not like the Canon is going to take the old nikkors!!! :-) (not even the old Canon's!!). Changing brands will cost more money. Is this revenge? Canon also changed their mount once, they have now been forgiven (finally). I of course agree that the lack of compatibility is a very bad move from Nikon, not good for PR.

William Nicholls , May 21, 2002; 04:02 P.M.

The camera will have 3D matrix metering using the same system as the N/F80. Here's a link to specs and a pre-release review of the camera at the DPReview website:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp?cameras=nikon_d100&method=sidebyside

With other sites getting actual use previews of the camera as well as offering test images of beta cameras, I'm not sure what this "hands off" preview does except generate comments from people with additional information. Here's the DPReview site page with links to test images, including high ISO samples:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0205/02051504nikond100gallery.asp

Patrick Hudepohl , May 22, 2002; 11:43 A.M.

The Canon UK press release states: "The Canon EOS D60 will be available from late March 2002 at RRP £2,199.99 inc VAT. "

Nikon UK has confirmed (by email) that their price includes VAT as well.

Steven Lyons , May 22, 2002; 02:41 P.M.

Is it really true that the D100 will not support all the features of older Nikon flashes (like the SB-28)?

William Nicholls , May 24, 2002; 12:38 P.M.

Presumably, the D100 requires a dx model speedlight to provide TTL flash control just as the D1 series does. Nikon discovered that metering TTL flash off the ccd during exposure didn't work. DX allows flash metering during the monitor preflash cycle before the shutter trips. That means that non-dx speedlights would have to be used on the D100 with conventional auto or manual modes.

Sven Ubik , May 26, 2002; 09:10 A.M.

The author says: "focal lengths are effectively multiplied by 1.5, resulting in a tighter crop of the image. An 80-200 zoom becomes a 120 - 300 zoom with more telephoto power". It is surprising how this misconception about "multiplying" the focal length persists in discussions about digital cameras. Using a smaller picture taking area (a CCD/CMOS chip smaller than 35 mm film frame) reduces angle of view, but the focal length remains the same. There is a relation between a focal length and an angle of view, we are used that a longer lens means a smaller angle of view. But this relation holds true only when that the picture taking area is the same. You don't get more "telephoto power" by cropping an image. A similar effect happens when you enlarge the picture taking area. That is why medium format cameras use longer lenses than 35 mm cameras, a 80 mm lens is considered a standard lens similarly as it is a 50 mm lens with 35 mm cameras.

Jens Sucksdorff , June 10, 2002; 11:23 A.M.

This solution gives spot, centerweight and matrix metering (not 3D) with or without flash, with any lens with a Nikon F-mount on the D100.

It is perfectly possible to manually set the same information as the camera get from the lens-CPU (max/min aperture etc.) on a D100 via the "shooting menu settings" for any non-CPU lens. You also have to set the lens at the smallest aperture and control the aperture from the D100 command dial (the aperture would then be transferred to the lens via the mechanical lever at the moment of the shot). If you change lens to any other non-CPU lens, you have to change the settings manually, but the camera could easily detect any change of lens to any new CPU-lens and set the data accordingly.

This solution does work, which has been confirmed with Rolland Elliot, who upgrade old non-CPU lenses to work with the exposure meter in the new Nikon-bodies (F80, D100 etc).

It would of course require a firmware update, but would certainly open up another huge piece of the market for Nikon, not to mention how many old and faithful Nikon-customers like me, with a lot of excellent old glass, it would make happy. There is also a lot of glass out there that is performing better than the corresponding new, AF, CPU-lenses. And manual focus is still working fine!

To Nikon: There is a h.. of a lot of value in Goodwill. And if the old lenses are made obsolete - I may as well change to Canon any minute.

Finally. If Nikon won’t do the firmware upgrade, maybe some hacker will……..

michael smith , June 19, 2002; 05:13 A.M.

D100 goes on sale tomorrow 20th June in Tokyo Japan - they have stocks in today but they wont release them (i'm here for the football). I guess the rest of the world can't be far behind. If the price is good will buy one here tommorow and post initial comments. To editor not sure this will help take better picturs but i know lots of people are frustrasted about the dates on this camera.

David Moffitt , June 26, 2002; 09:08 P.M.

I saw both the D100 & S2 today at a trade show in the UK. Latest prices are D100 £1617 + VAT, S2 £1697 + VAT. D100 is being shipped this week. After seeing the cameras side by side, I still cannot decide which to buy. I have used an S1 for over a year without any problems. I would like to see some technical and image comparisons as soon as possible.

David

Brian Mottershead , June 30, 2002; 10:11 A.M.

The camera is now available from photo.net's partner, ritzcamera.com. If you order the camera by clicking this link, part of your purchase price will support photo.net.

Steve Sanders , July 01, 2002; 05:52 A.M.

So far I haven't found anything to complain about in the pre-production camera, it has been functioning flawlessly and the image quality is nothing short of awesome. I've printed a number of the images at 13x19" on my Canon S9000 printer and no one, including pro photographers, can tell them from film prints.

Nikon has definitely batted in a home run with the D100, especially at $1999 -- only a year ago a 6Megapixel dSLR cost over $5K. 2002 is definitely the year that "pro level" dSLR cameras became affordable!

-Steve

Karla Eckhoff , July 03, 2002; 06:58 P.M.

I finally got my hands on a D100 yesterday. So far it's great! My only digital experience before this was with a D1X I rented for a weekend. The D100 is a great improvement over the D1X in many ways. It's really compact,light, easy to handle. The display seems good. My biggest complaint is that it doesn't have a PC terminal. I was able to compensate with a Nikon AS-15 adapter, which is a slight nuisance because I have to take it off to use the on-camera flash. I wish I could also buy an additional battery and AC adapter, but they are not yet available.

Neil Lasher , July 13, 2002; 05:20 A.M.

Well I finally bought one and got delivery two days ago.

No one seemed to mention the instruction manual, it is always a worry when you buy a new piece of kit that has so many new features.

I have moved to SLR digital from film and was worried about how hard it was going to be to operate a camera with so many buttons and multifunction wheels.

Be assured, I have sat and read the book cover to cover, all 199 pages. It is really simple to use, however it would have been great to have had a credit card size card with quick instruction to carry in your pocket.

BTW.. Pictures are fantastic, I just printed out 2 samples, one on a SonyDP10 @ 7x5 it's as good as a pro print, the other, the same picture on a Designjet 5000 this one at 1.06 mts x 2 mts ( yes you read correctly 2 meters wide) printed on semi gloss and it's wonderful.

Walter Lee , July 19, 2002; 08:58 A.M.

I have just bought a Nikon D100 complete with the SB80DX, the IBM 1GB Microdrive, and the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm 1:3.5-4.5G. I have also tested the camera with my Tamron 28-200 AF lens. Some samples can be found at:

http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=221236

I had an Olympus E10 prior to the Nikon D100.

I am impressed with the battery life of the standard lithium rechargeable that comes with the Nikon D100. However, I am still trying to get use to the 1.5x lens angle. For example, at 24mm, my lens is only showing an equivalent "coverage" of a 36mm lens. To get a "coverage" of 24mm I would need a 16mm lens. Something to note is that the coverage I get for a 200mm lens is equivalent to a 300mm but the depth of field effect remains as a 200mm. What that means is a reduced coverage for a lens with a D100 while the depth of field remains the same as the original lens.

This effect is due to the size of the CCD which is still smaller then a standard 35mm film.

p/s I have just bought a SIGMA 15-30mm D EX lens; a great wide angle zoom for digital cameras.

With the Nikon D100, I am able to use my previous set of Nikkor AF lenses at the Matrix auto exposure modes and not the 3D-Matrix mode unless I have the G or D type lenses.

I am delighted with the rapid response of the camera. It operates and feels like a good old SLR and brings back fond memories of photography into the digital realm for me. I am delighted with the ability to use a traditional cable release for long exposures.

Shots taken at the new super ISO enhanced speed of H1-1 and H1-2 are quite noisy though.

The bundled software, Nikon Viewer 5 is quite useful but the editing features of the bundled editor is extremely limited. I am using the Serif Photo Studio to supplement.

Overall this is an excellent camera and I am delighted with owning one. I will be taking alot more pictures with it and you can see them at http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=221236 . Please feel free to provide comments!

Konrad Kal , August 12, 2002; 01:58 A.M.

I've been using the D100 for about a month now and can safely say I am a digital convert. There's nothing like the instand feedback you get from the LCD a few seconds after the exposure (faster than you can switch and rip with polaroid backs!) and the rapid "photo-lab" turnaround times (in my computer and out a Canon S9000 printer in 5 minutes flat!).

All my Nikon glass are put to great use though none of my Speedlights work via TTL (SB80DX is a must). Quality of images are stunning with judicious use of USM and levels/curves in Photoshop (batch processes for the most part). For those who are wary of the leap to digital, consider the lattitude that this format provides for creativity and efficiency. F5 and N90 up for sale soon!

Fazal Majid , August 19, 2002; 11:10 P.M.

I bought one for my father (a longtime F3 user, who hasn't even made the move to AF yet, although he happily scans on a Coolscan IV ED and works on them in Photoshop).

I posted some test shots I took with a 60mm Micro-Nikkor.

I also tried it with the 45mm f/2.8P that is the main lens on my FM3A, and it works like a charm, including metering. The viewfinder is quite usable for manual focusing, much better than the one in my own Canon D30. I use compressed NEF format for my pictures, on average 4MB each. Unfortunately, playback zooming is very slow with compressed NEFs, at least with an IBM Microdrive.

If you are buying one from a dealer, make sure it has the green and/or blue stickers on the box next to the serial number. This means the firmware has been upgraded to 1.01 (an operation that can only be done by returning the camera to the factory) to fix a white balance issue. I tested for automatic and preset white balance with halogen light. On a color-calibrated monitor, the result comes out correctly.

dominique dierick , August 21, 2002; 08:15 A.M.

I have my D100 now for a week, having been used for years to traditional Nikon gear, and a coolpix 9xx for one year. I must admit I am amazed about the quality one gets out of this beast. 40x60cm enlargements are no problem when used with the proper tools in Photoshop (check out miranda.com for some nice filters).

I thought the lack of B/W mode would be restricting, but no sir, it works out real fine. I will post a folder with D100 portraits soon in my galleries here.

The only thing which still bothers me is the excessive noise in long exposures, even at 200 ASA. Nikon should look at the Canon D60 sensor and consider it for the next D camera.

Dmitriy Babichenko, August 26, 2002; 03:59 P.M.

About a month ago I decided to go digital. I photograph weddings, and wanted to save money on film costs. After some research, I sold my Hassy and bought a D100. BIG MISTAKE. I used it for candid shots last Saturday, and the results were less than satisfactory. The media card bay latch is right on the thumb rest -- with a flip bracket and an SB-80DX flash I was afraid that it would break off. The auto white balance is not very impressive -- shooting candids I did not have the time to play with it, and had to spend hours adjusting images in Photoshop. Moreover, non of the handheld images were sharp -- not even with Nikkor 85 1/1.8 lens. Only when I put the camera on a tripod, the images were relatively acceptable. Overall, the camera was a big dissapointment -- I had much better results with Sony Cybershot F707. I'm planning on returning the D100 and going back to medium format.

Siegfried Burgstaller , October 10, 2002; 01:18 P.M.

I have to say I like everything about this camera. Nice combo with my ED-IF AF-S Zooms, most images are tack sharp and focus is quick and smooth. The metering system is also a real winner. All functions and dials seem to be laid out logically and are easy to use.

Noise reduction can be used to great effect for longer exposures.

Pure digital beats scanning with the old Supercoolscan 4000 any day of the week, it is now a very expensive paperweight.

I can sum it up in two words… “Instant Gratification” and

Buy one...sell your car or your wife to get one!

<edit> A few gripes...

Flash upgrades for the firmware have to be done by Nikon, this is stupid...I should be able to just download it and install it from a pc (not that I'v had to do it yet)

No automatic 1.5x compensation for lens focal length in the recorded exp. info.

With the SB80 DX speedlight no automatic 1.5x compensation for focal length is sent to the unit...small irritation.

A really big gripe is that the Nikon Capture 3 software is extra, now if I buy a new 2k camera you'd think that they would include the software to fully use the freaken thing...NP, there is a free 30day trial that is fully functional, it comes with the camera and there is a crack on the web...bah to Nikon for this, I am not impressed!

Mark Norton , October 21, 2002; 11:40 P.M.

I've had the D100 for a month and it's re-awakened my interest in photography. Over the last few years, I've tired of the whole film processing thing, the delays, to some degree the cost, and the lack of opportunity to then do more with the pictures without special equipment - never got around to buying a film scanner.

With the D100, I can experiment freely, knowing that there's no waste in using it, with a large memory card, I'm taking hundreds of pictures to understand the different effects and settings. Best of all is instant results. Plug it in, download, there are your pictures. Delete the ones you don't need, work with the others, put the ones you want to keep on to CD, compact storage, easily handled.

Getting the camera is just part of it, you rapidly get a shopping list of other things - a 14mm lens, 60mm Micro, new flash, memory cards, Nikon 3, Photoshop.

I'm going to sell my F90, probably keep my Leica and mint Nikon Fs for more camera collecting reasons, but I don't think I will buying any more film. In 5, 10 years time, I feel sure, film will have gone the way of reel-to-reel audio tape - a specialised niche for professional use only. Digital gives us enthusiastic amateurs all you could possibly want with great convenience.

Jay Dougherty , November 07, 2002; 08:44 A.M.

This is a fine little camera -- "little" being one of its virtues. Pictures are on a par or exceed quality of D1X. But Nikon goofed on some things here. There's no PC socket for studio lighting. There's no auxiliary socket for important add-ons such as the remote control unit. One can buy the battery grip, which does add the auxiliary socket, but then the camera is no longer small, and the battery grip itself does not fit snugly. Nikon stupidly put the ISO/WB/Image quality settings on the P/S/A dial, so if you change ISO, for example, you have to turn a dial, change ISO, turn the dial back, and then snap a shot. It's stupid. Otherwise, this camera responds about as quickly as you do. It's instant on (important), does not hesitate much at all in focusing, and can quickly become an extension of you. In short, it doesn't force you to think about it but allows you to think about your photo. You can't say that about the pathetically slow-focusing Canon D60.

Shun Cheung , November 11, 2002; 09:03 A.M.

No, you don't have to turn the exposure mode/ISO dial to change the ISO on the D100. That is merely one of two ways to do it.

When the camera is on, push the "MENU" button, scroll down to "SHOOTING MENU," select "ISO" and enter. Now you can scroll to the ISO you want from the menu. I do agree that changing ISO from the mode/ISO dial can be a pain because after you select an ISO, you have to turn the dail back to an exposure mode before you can take a picture (capture an image). A few times I forgot about that and when I pushed the shutter release button, nothing happened.

Jean HEINTZ , January 13, 2003; 07:53 A.M.

I've just bought a D100 and went to the mountains to test it thoroughly in rough winter conditions. We went backcountry skiing to Switzerland on January 11-12th : -15°C the whole day long, altitude 3000 metres. I had packed the D100 in my backpack, wrapped inside a down jacket for insulation. I shot 30-45 pictures problemless. It went well until the summit : I took a picture, the LED indicator (writing on the Compact Flash memory) went green, but... at the end, "CHA" blinking on the LCD monitor. That means - I guess so - that due to the cold the writing on the CF could not be completed. As I was set on JPEG Large/Fine, I tested a shot with JPEG Small/Norm and it worked. Then my conclusion : - in cold conditions, bring 2x128MB cards rather than 1x256 and keep a card in a hot pocket; it might help. - minimize the picture's size can improve durability in the cold - for extremely cold weather, it's worth bringing a traditional backup camera (I had a Hexar RF and it still worked despite the cold)

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Jean Maurice Touboul , April 29, 2003; 09:57 P.M.

As an entrenched film photographer shooting slides for the past many years transitioning to digital was not obvious. After trying my hand at it with an Olympus E10 for a year, I purchased a D100 last fall right before a trip shooting the fall colors in New England. My prime camera was my F100 with the D100 in toe. It became very quickly evident that my D100 was becoming my prime camera while my D100 was tangling on the side. This is a great camera for outdoor shooting thanks to its light weight and great flexibitily.

While there are obvious advantages of digital what was great to me is the incredible flexibility when shooting RAW. Shooting in this format saved me from throwing away a lot of shots that I thought unusable as they appear to lack details and felt "muddy". However, this impression was the result of my lack of understanding of digital image manipulation. This seems to be true, especially shooting in under-woods with huge differences in f stop between ground and sky.

As I am learning to better manipulate images and get the most of them in correcting levels, selectively changing contrast with the curve and sharpening images, shooting RAW was the best decision I made. For example, I recently came to realize that the tone setting on the camera (normal) created a lost of unsharp edges with high contrast. Thanks to the raw mode, I was able to reset the tone to "Less" and adjust with curve and have a much better shot at sharpening without over-doing it in these areas of the image.

As a result, I would highly recommend to anyone to shoot RAW.

Alan Kearney , August 16, 2003; 08:26 P.M.

I traded in my Nikon N90 for a D-100 last Christmas. Purchased the 17-34mm 2.8 wide angle lens at the same time (almost as expensive as the body but worth every penny;~). I've shot Hassablad, Nikon F3, N90 and now the D-100. The D-100 is a DREAM to use. Feels and sounds just like a 35mm camera.

The quality of images is stunning, which I can now truely appreciate with the purchase of an Epson 2200 printer. Printing full sized 13x19 inch prints is amazing! I also bought the SB80DX flash and enjoy the full "D" auto exposure. Someone mentioned battery life and I just spent a full day hiking around the Grand Canyon and the battery is still working fine. I would agree that shooting in NEF is the best option and with a 512 megabyte card bring a laptop computer to download your pictures as you only get about 50 shots. Don't try to save money on a cheap memory card, a friend uses a Nikon 5700 with a cheap card and is constantly "loosing" pictures. I use the Lexar High Speed pro card because a Nikon rep didn't recommend a "micro-drive" at the time. That may have changed and now there are larger cards than 512 megs.

Nikon Capture 3 Editor is a wonderful program to edit images with. I use it first and only move to Photoshop 7 if I have to. One reason is NEF files are 9.5 megs in size but when opened in PS they're converted to TIFF files at 34 megs each. An interesting point the Nikon rep pointed out was that when editing an NEF file with Capture Editor you are NOT changing the image at all, only the instruction set the computer uses to display and print the image. That's hard to get your "head" around but it works great.


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