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Nikon D1 Review

November 2000 | By Phil Askey

Nikon's D1 has been around for over a year now, first officially announced on 15th June 1999, though we'd seen plenty of "behind glass" prototypes before then. I first got my hands on an early product D1 back in September last year.

The D1 was Nikons answer to Kodak's domination of the professional SLR's market. It marked an important step in history, the first digital SLR designed and built solely by one of the big manufacturers ("home grown"). It also marked a huge change in expectations over price for this kind of equipment, at the time it was releasd it was at least half (if not a third) the price of it's nearest Nikon based competitor the Kodak DCS 620. Better stll it soprted a 2.7 megapixel sensor compared to the DCS x20's 2.0 megapixel allowing the camera to shoot for larger prints and higher quality output.

I'd better explain why it's taken this long to come out with a review, I did have a loan D1 at the beginning of this year, however my move from Singapore back to the UK interrupted the work on this review. I'm publishing this review to help complete the range of digital SLR reviews (also Canon EOS-D30, Fujifilm S1 Pro, Kodak DCS 520, 620 & 620x).

2.74 megapixel CCD

The D1 features a 2.74 megapixel 23.7 mm x 16.7 mm CCD which outputs 2.62 million pixels (2000 x 1312). This sensor is slightly larger than than that used in Canon's new D30, although still smaller than APS or 35mm film. This means that, like other digital SLR's the D1 features a focal length multiplier of 1.5x, thus a 28 mm lens on a D1 has an equiv. focal length of 42 mm

Sensor / Camera Effective pixels
Effective ** resolution Imager size (mm) Pixel (unit) size
Sony 1/1.8" CCD *
3.12 2,048 x 1,536 5.52 x 4.14 3.45
Nikon D1 CCD 2.62 2,000 x 1,312 23.6 x 15.5 11.8
Canon EOS-D30 CMOS 3.11 2,160 x 1,440 22.7 x 15.1 10.5
APS negative (C type) n/a n/a 30.2 x 16.7 n/a
35mm negative n/a n/a 35.0 x 23.3 n/a

* As used in Nikon Coolpix 990, Sony DSC-S70, Olympus C-3030Z etc.
** Effective meaning pixels used to produce final image

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Photographs of the camera were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 990 and Canon EOS-D30, images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 1024 x 768 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Adobe Gamma at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2000 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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