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Viewfinder

The D2H appears to have the same excellent viewfinder and prism chamber as the previous D1 series of digital SLR's. The view is bright and clear with no distortion (although to my eye slightly smaller compared to the Canon EOS-1D which has a 1.3x FOV crop). The viewfinder has a dioptre adjustment and internal viewfinder curtain, the later of which is engaged by turning the small left-hand lever clockwise. This curtain is used to remove the possibility of light entering the imaging chamber through the viewfinder.

One nice touch is that you can not remove the eyepiece from the camera (it's a bayonet fit) without having the shutter curtain closed, this helps to avoid the eyepiece coming off accidentally. The focus screen now indicates the D2H's eleven AF areas, the center nine of which are sensitive to both vertical and horizontal detail, the outer only to vertical detail. In the example below the red AF area is that which has locked onto the subject. Note that Nikon has added a new vertical LCD bar down the right hand edge of the frame which provides information about the 'digital' settings, white balance, image size / quality, ISO. A welcome improvement (and something I nagged Nikon about in my D1H review). You can customize the information displayed on the rear control panel and viewfinder display via CSM d6.

1 Focus indicator 14 FV lock
2 Metering mode 15 Sync
3 Bracketing indicator 16 Aperture stop
4 Auto exposure lock 17 Electronic analog exposure display / compen.
5 Shutter speed lock 18 Flash ready
6 Shutter speed 19 Voice memo status
7 Aperture lock 20 White balance bracketing
8 Aperture (f-number / stop) 21 White balance
9 Exposure mode 22 Image size
10 Exposure compensation 23 Image quality
11 Frame count / remaining / buffer space / EV 24 ISO / Auto-ISO
12 'K' indicates a multiplier of 1000 for frames 25 Sensitivity (ISO)
13 Battery status    

Diagram reproduced with permission from the Nikon D2H manual.


Battery, Compartment and Charger

Things have come a long way in battery technology since the original D1. The D2H reflects this, it now uses a compact, lightweight Lithium-Ion battery which charges much more quickly and lasts longer. The EN-EL4 Lithium-Ion battery has a capacity of 1900 mAh at 11.1 V (21.1 Wh) and contains a memory chip which is used to track usage, charges and performance. As you can see from the third image below the battery compartment door clips onto the battery body, if you have just one battery that's where it will stay, however carrying multiple batteries is now more convenient because they have an easier to store shape (with the door unclipped). Kudos to Nikon for some lateral thinking.

The new MH-21 Quick Charger is a new 'docking style' design, simply slide the battery on and it will begin charging (a full charge from flat should take around 1.5 hours). A column of four LED lights indicate either the current battery charge (0, 50, 80 or 100%) or calibration progress (a full calibration taking 6 hours).

Overall the new battery setup is a considerable improvement over the D1's battery and is more advanced than anything offered by any other digital SLR.

Battery information available on the camera:

  • Top control panel has a five segment battery life indicator
  • Camera Menu: Set Up -> Battery Info provides:
    • Battery meter (as a percentage)
    • Picture meter (estimated frames on current power)
    • Calibration (required / not required)
    • Charging Life (a scale from 0 to 4 indicating if the battery has come to the end of its useful life)


Compact Flash Compartment

Just like the D1 the D2H's Compact Flash compartment is set in the rear of the hand grip. To open the compartment door you must first lift a spring loaded flap and then press a release button, the compartment door then springs open to reveal a large eject button for removing the card. The D2H takes Compact Flash Type I or II and supports both FAT16 (up to 2 GB) and FAT32 (over 2 GB) cards. One nice thing about the design and location of the door is that you can close it by simply picking up the camera (placing your palm against the grip). The door is lined with a rubber grommet which seals the compartment when closed and gives a nice damped feeling to the door close.

 


Connections

All of cameras connectors are located on the left side of the body (from the rear). On the front of the camera are the Flash PC Sync and remote terminals, these are normally protected by screw on caps which were removed for the photograph below. On the left side of the body are the A/V out, DC-IN and USB 2.0 connectors, all covered by solid rubber doors. Note that the circular moldings on the inside of the compartment door are for storing the flash sync and remote terminal caps.

I'm glad to see the addition of USB 2.0 but I'm sure I won't be the only one to miss Firewire (IEEE 1394). Note also that the D2H doesn't have a serial connector for GPS data (unlike the D1 which did).

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